Lovers of country interiors will be very at home here. And that’s the idea. Staying at Thyme is, we’re told, rather like staying in its founder, Caryn Hibbert’s, home. She is a warm, cosy, friendly lady (the kind you want to sit and drink tea with) and that comes across in spades. Conceptualising all the interiors herself, she has incorporated pastels, floral wallpapers, antique furniture and endless fireplaces giving the whole places an undeniably inviting and relaxed aurora.
Cleverly nothing feels overly engineered with the beautifully designed bedrooms feeling more like guest rooms than hotel suites with littles touches like honesty bars dotted throughout the properties and a tipple by your bed at the end of the evening giving it extra charm.
Until recently Thyme didn’t have its own restaurant. It had its village pub (also owned by Hibbert), The Swan, a favourite of Kate Moss and the trendy Cotswolds set that serves really good pub grub in another very relaxed setting. When the sun is shining the garden is heaven or, you’ll find locals sitting with a pint on benches outside or on the grass just opposite. If you’re staying for two nights, do one dinner here or if you’re staying for just the one then lunch at The Swan is a must.
The Ox Barn is the hotel’s newest addition and very much a destination restaurant in its own right. The barn is large, rustic, light and warm all at once – picture exposed brick, shearling and endless wooden beams and you get the idea although in the flesh it’s really quite spectacular. The food is very much ‘of the land’ and the menu is small – four or five starters and mains but something for everyone all made from seasonal produce from their farm. Sitting under the glass roof with the sun pouring through you’ll appreciate what a triumph The Ox Barn is.
Then there’s the bar. If you’re anything like us you’ll spend a good few hours in Thyme’s bar. It’s so cool (if you’ve been then aren’t those sheep something else?!) and comfortable you won’t want to leave. The dreamy cocktails are home grown using cordials from the garden, the coffee table book game is strong, and the barmen are a delight.
They have just opened The Meadow Spa. It’s small and you guessed it cosy but perfectly formed. The interiors are fresh and green, the towels are white and fluffy, and the water is infused with herbs. A massage here is a treat personified and shouldn’t be missed.
Guests or day trippers after an activity with a difference, are very taken by the cookery school. Hen parties (nice ones), companies wanting to spoil their staff or just individuals joining a class are all welcome. It’s where Thyme all started (as a cookery school) and whether you’re learning new knife skill or how to cook a really good Thai curry, you’ll enjoy every minute.
In fact, you can’t help but enjoy every minute you spend at Thyme full stop. It’s a breath of fresh air. And if you’re someone that looks for substance, authenticity and style, forget anywhere else in the Cotswolds, Thyme is where it’s at.