I bet you a fiver the thing you notice when you step into The Rectory Hotel is the glass jar full of traffic light lollypops. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. I bet the second thing that you’ll notice is the jar of doggy treat biscuits and you’ll wish you had a cute canine friend with you. Yeah, me too.
Home Sweet Home
Walking into this Cotswold hotel is like visiting well to-do friend. You feel at home and welcomed, but you know that your own place is nowhere near as grand. Perhaps it’s the manicured green lawns or the outdoor pool that notch it up into the next class. Possibly. It’s only once you go back out later that you notice the teddy bear bushes and the pigs in the garden. You then realise your well to-do friend is actually quite different (in a good way).
The reception area is simply a rustic table with a bell to ring if no one is there. Of course, the two treat jars sit pretty on the table so you’re sure to pause for a moment. The staff are down-to-earth and wear beaming smiles. They can’t wait to show you round your new abode for the night and who can blame them? Flashes of bright cushions and modern lamps jump out from each of the classy lounge rooms. You know that a fleeting glance isn’t going to be enough and you make a mental note to test out all of the spaces later – especially the one with the cute bar and Moët cork stools.
Climbing the stairs you muse over the classy carpet runner and wonder where you can buy one. You then spy the playful chandelier and giggle to yourself at the fusion of fun and chic. The door swings open to Leckhampton and you’re blown away by the sheer size of the room. Despite an antique wardrobe, a fancy sofa, a desk, an arm chair…well near enough everything you could think of, there is still just so much activity space (high five to any fellow Step Brothers fans).
The best bit about this room is the beautiful bed. It’s dressed in crisp white sheets, a super fluffy duvet and yellow cushions. Yes, they would notice if you borrowed them. You’ll have to resist slipping into the comfy bed until after dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Back on the ground floor, the dining room overlooks the prettiest of all gardens. You bank the top table for two right next to the huge window that is letting in the beautiful late evening light. You muse the menu and pause to watch the blackbirds and sparrows having their evening bathe in the generous pond, surrounded by the cream and purple tulips. An early 7pm dinner means that you have the whole restaurant to yourself and an attentive waiter to serve you the locally sourced food.
No sooner than you’ve ordered, complimentary arty appetisers appear in front of you. The duck with apple sauce, and the goats cheese and olive wrapped in prosciutto ham, are soon remedied to account for the vegetarian tastebuds. An equally stylish platter of goats cheese cones evens out the table. Both are devoured within minutes and you swiftly move over to the warm baked breads.
The beetroot and (more) goats cheese starter, and the belly of pork are also well received. By now other guests have started to take their seats and they eye up your table with the perfect view. You sit back with your glass of white wine and stifle a smug smile. As if to test your restraint, the young waiter presents your main course meals. You feel all eyes on you as the other diners endeavour to peer at your plate. The tomato and basil risotto looks as good as it read on the menu. There’s no denying it, you are definitely proud of your seating and foodie choices tonight. A breeze from the door wafts the smell of piping hot lamb and buttery mash to the others, and moments later you hear several orders for the same dish.
“There’s always room for pudding” you exclaim. Yes, you’re full, but what a silly question. You give the Strawberry Eton Mess, and the blueberry cheesecake your very best effort, which of course means that by the time your plate is collected it looks as though it never existed.
Sweet, Clean Dreams
Back up in the room you take advantage of the freestanding bath and fruity toiletries by having a sleepy soak. The big walk-in shower can wait until the morning. Standing side-by-side you brush your teeth over the his and her sinks, wandering if you could refurb your bathroom back home for this civilisation. Then you snap back to reality and remember that you’re not as lucky as your well to-do friend. The Rectory Hotel really is the home from home dream.
You’re woken by the sun beaming through a tiny gap in the curtains. With gloriously big windows surrounding two sides of the room it is to be expected. You smile as you take in your pretty surroundings and then bound out of bed at the thought of the hearty breakfast. It tastes as good as you hoped and sets you up for a big day of exploring the local area.
The Rectory Hotel is in the beautiful Cotswold triangle, meaning that you can easily enjoy Tetbury, Malmesbury and Cirencester. Choose from dainty cafes to pub gardens, and from charity shops to pricey antiques stores. Stroll the high street, paying particular attention to the Asian homeware and accessory treasure trove in Tetbury that is Artique. You’ll want to buy everything.
When you’ve had enough of the shops, get out and about at Cotswold Park and Beach. You can try watersports, walk round the lakes to walk off some the food, or perhaps hike a bike. Just remember your purse for the hefty £4 per person parking charge.
Truth be told though, if I were to visit again I could happily just spend my time enjoying the three acres of land at The Rectory Hotel and perhaps the pub across the road, The Potting Shed, which is the sister business of the hotel. Oh, if I must.
Rooms start from as little as £105 per night and a stay in Leckhampton starts from £195 per night. For details on rates and availability please visit the website. Big thanks to The Rectory Hotel for hosting my visit.
What do you look for in a local getaway? Where do you spend your time in the UK? I’d love to hear what you think of this hotel and what you like to get up to on your travels.