The Chic Country Hotel Everyone’s Raving About |
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An elegant home away from home, The Rectory is the newest addition to the Cotswolds’ catalogue of rural retreats. Boasting lavish Georgian décor, delicious food and stunning countryside views, this former rectory has all the makings of a perfect country escape, yet without a hefty price tag. Having just made the Sunday Times’ list of top 100 British hotels, we couldn’t resist a one-night stopover at this effortlessly glam auberge…

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The vibe…
Oozing with vintage glamour, The Rectory is the epitome of country chic, with an elegant modern twist. Outside, the grandiose Georgian building glows with a buttery Cotswold stone façade, whilst inside radiates with rural charm. Rustic touches run throughout, with roaring log fires, wooden flooring and a heritage colour scheme to rival any of The Pig hotels – fans of the bucolic Brockenhurst retreat will fall in love with this Cotswold offering – whilst sumptuous velvet sofas, splashes of modern art and a glitzy cocktail bar bring this 18-century hideaway bang up to date.

The location…
Set in the pretty Wiltshire village of Crudwell, this former rectory is nestled between Cirencester and Malmesbury, with its famous Abbey, so is perfectly placed for scenic Cotswolds pursuits. There are endless stretches of rolling countryside for those keen to explore the area, or alternatively, the beautiful garden and lawns that surround the house are ideal for a gentle stroll.

The interiors…
Sophistication wafts through every room, but The Rectory’s friendly, lowkey vibe makes you feel right at home. There are two elegant sitting rooms, where guests are beckoned by open fireplaces and huge vintage sofas, a spacious dining room, airy conservatory and a plush bar area with yet more snuggly sofas, this time in red velvet, where shelves of paperbacks adorn the walls and rustic tables are paired with retro 50s-style lamps.

The rooms…
The calming bedrooms – there are 15 in total to choose from – are unfussy in design, with a slightly more countrified scheme. Blankets are strewn artfully across soft velvet sofas, fireplaces come fully stocked with freshly chopped logs and roll top baths are strategically placed beneath large sash windows, some of which overlook striking views of the surrounding landscaped gardens. Rooms come in ‘Small’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Big’, and are all impeccably styled. With prices starting from £150 per night, it’s lower-priced luxury at its finest.

The food…
In keeping with the hotel’s laid-back ethos, food is traditional with a modern flair; dishes are unpretentious in presentation, yet brimming with flavour. Diners are given the choice to hole up in the formal dining space, which has plenty of dark, cosy corners, or the bright, airy conservatory which turns all romantic and alluring at night. Seared Cornish scallops are served alongside sautéed clams with nduja sausage and seaweed butter, whilst mains come in the form of English veal with girolles and roast baby artichokes and pan roasted hake with grilled courgettes. We couldn’t resist the surf and turf option, so shared half a grilled Cornish lobster with béarnaise sauce, and rib eye steak with bone marrow, parsley butter and fries between two. A delectable yet indulgent combo that delivered big on flavour.

For desserts, there’s a rickety cheese trolley that comes rolling out of the kitchen in a rather comical manner – Fawlty Towers eat your heart out – and is definitely worth an order if you want to add a little humour to your dining experience, but it was the Florentine doughnuts served with Chantilly cream and strawberry jam that really stood out from the crowd; soft, pillowy parcels of doughy deliciousness.

Come morning, a breakfast buffet is served in the conservatory where you can help yourself to pastries, breads, cereals, meats and cheeses, and there’s a small selection of dishes that can be cooked to order too, including poached eggs, avocado on toast or a full English breakfast. Plus, there’s a Bloody Mary and Bucks Fizz station to add a boozy twist to your morning feast.

The rest…
The Potting Shed is the hotel’s sister pub, and a mere two-minute stroll from the main grounds. With low beams, bare stone walls and large open fires, this country pub ticks every box. Curl up on the comfy armchairs and sample the fresh, seasonal fare – think black pudding scotch egg; British charcuterie; and roasted bone marrow with garlic and parsley crumb. Posh pub grub at its finest. There’s also an outdoor pool that's open year-round – glorious in the summer months and heated up in winter for those who want to brave it.
Crudwell, Wiltshire SN16 9EW; rooms from £150 per night including breakfast


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