Much as I love Smith HQ, it’s always exciting to jet off (or, in my case, get on the First Great Western train) from London, in order to meet some of our properties in the flesh, as it were. So, when the chance arose to visit one of our newest Cotswolds acquisitions, the beautifully styled Didmarton House near Tetbury, I grabbed it with both boutique-beckoning hands. Here’s a postcard from my short but sweet rural reccie…
The day starts with a trip to Didmarton House, owned by the lovely interior designer, Jo Berryman (check out her design company, Matrushka). I fall hook, line and sinker for this cool but cosy self-catering property, with its equine-inspired Salon, sociable kitchen and sexy loft suite. (I’m equally enamoured with Jo and Phillip, who spoil me with delicious cake and pots of warming tea.)
Next up is a whistle-stop tour of Calcot Manor, where I admire the cosy, romantic rooms and sleek spa. All this hotel hunting (and the tempting aromas wafting from the Gumstool – the more casual of Calcot Manor’s two restaurants) has given me an appetite. I stop off in Tetbury for a quick bite of spinach and ricotta pasta at super-star deli, Quayles (stay at Didmarton House and you’ll get a hamper full of Quayles goodies). While wandering around the pretty market town, I also spot a vintage shop with dreamy dresses that have me wishing for a new wardrobe. Qetty Bang Bang stocks intricate trinkets and ravishing retro threads, and gives shops like Rokit and Rellik a run for their money.
The day’s final destination is Cotswolds88 Hotel in Painswick, where I’m welcomed by Maria, and given a cool G&T to perk me up (it’s tiring, this exploring lark). Maria settles me into my bold Palladium Room, decorated with splashes of black, white and red, and then I hit the 88room, the hotel’s restaurant. Dining solo has never felt this good – I feast on smoked duck with foie gras, and poached salmon with horseradish and beetroot cubes. Delicious. The only tricky part is negotiating the stairs alone after all the wine – it’s an occupational hazard, and one I’m prepared to face again.
Due to my phone’s faulty alarm clock, I don’t have time to enjoy breakfast the next morning, and I’m bundled off in a taxi before I can bid the Cotswolds adieu. That’s a big, fat reason for a return trip – not that I needed one…
* Quayles (+44 (0)1666 505151), 1 Long Street, Tetbury
* Qetty Bang Bang (+44 (0)1666 503148), 32 Long Street, Tetbury