The Rectory, Cotswolds, England

is something about seeing the most sumptuous, sinkable
sofas in a reception area that signals “we won’t judge your
sloth-like behaviour here”. As if (lazy) Lucifer himself is
beckoning you away from your existence as a live-to-work urbanite
and dangling the gifts of rest and restoration in your reach, the
moment you sit on one you’re toast, so best give in to temptation
from the get-go and make the most of your stay. You’ll cave to
leisure’s lap eventually anyway.

Succumbing to this heavenly inertia at The Rectory is no bad trade-off.
Early 18th-century building; check. A little over an hour outside
London by train; check. Rolling hills and honey-coloured villages;
double check. Inside, modern art offsets antique features and a
modish London
set (from Notting
if our radar is in tune) set a tone of chic
countryside comforts. This is a place for low-key luxuries:
top-quality food, soft beds and open surrounding made for

Living rooms come with crackling fires, framed maps flank the
walls and a Penguin Classics colour-coded
sits just beyond a poker table made for four. Board
games are also on standby for idle hands who have managed to put
their phone in airplane mode in favour of a restorative weekend


Awash with golden finishes and exposed brick with hues of
oatmeal offset by duck-egg blue, if you were in any doubt of your

, the interiors will soon confirm your destination:
this is Cotswolds territory.

Originally the rectory to All Saints’ Church, the Grade
II-listed building was designed with a large number of bedrooms to
accommodate the rector’s 14 children. Rooms are cosy with slanted
ceilings, exposed beams and claw-foot bathtubs. Mixed textures and
over-sized accessories – from bulbous bedside lamps to gargantuan
upholstered headboards – contribute to each bedroom’s cocoon-like
feel. With a tea and coffee station by the desk and a television
synced up to Netflix and Amazon Prime, only when a slither of light
peeps through the curtains and you hear the hushed sound of a
newspaper sliding under the door should you be tempted to exit your

Beyond the main house, the cottage can cater to large groups,
with speedy pool access to sweeten the deal.

What’s for breakfast?

A la carte options include eggs with avocado and smoked salmon
on toast as well as decadent waffles, served with maple syrup and
all the trimmings. The main breakfast station is centred on a long
wooden table in The Glass House, where a spread of cereals, meats
and cheeses join the usual suspects. Its USP is the self-service
drinks set up, meaning Bloody Marys and Mimosas are available on
tap. Pace yourselves.

How about lunch and dinner?

Spread over two spaces, The Restaurant continues into The Glass
House. While the former has an austere and sultry palette, The
Glass Room is light and airy, with chevron-patterned, red-brick
floors and gilt-edged tabletops. Dripping candles and flowers in
shades of the season decorate the tables for an added softness. We
advise rotating rooms between lunch and dinner.

Come suppertime, dishes like octopus with pork belly and romesco
sauce are followed by roast cod served with potted-shrimp butter,
tenderstem broccoli and creamed potatoes. This dish is so popular
they haven’t dared remove it from the menu since opening in fear of
protest. The dessert menu is equally tempting; warm treacle and
plum tart with blackberries and stem-ginger ice cream is bliss.

It’s good to note that the hotel takes a pretty laissez-faire
approach to dining, so feel free to eat wherever takes you fancy –
even if that means a change of setting between your main course and

Is there a bar?

With red-velvet couches, dimly lit surrounds and fully stocked
drinks cabinet, The Bar covers all the necessary bases. Drinks are
available all day and for nighttime corridor creepers the
first-floor landing yields an honesty bar. Pitched below the
stairwell, help yourself to a treat or two – just make sure you jot
it down. A similar setup is also available by the


A heated-outdoor pool
is accessible from the furthest corner of the garden. Pick up
blue-and-white striped towels from the copper basin at reception
and head for a morning dip. Chase with a morning pick-me-up using
the pool’s public phone to dial the bar for drinks.

Things you should know

Kemble Station is a 10-minute car ride from the hotel. It’s best
to book in advance as the taxi rank isn’t wholly reliable. Be sure
to bring cash too, as the station is sans ATM and the closest one
is at a petrol station five minutes away (you might have guessed
that we’re speaking from experience here).

Once you’re checked in, unpacked and have toured the grounds,
stop by The Drawing Room for a film screening before dinner. Ask
staff for a rundown of screening times.

Within a short walk I can find…

The Potting Shed pub (owned by the same people) is situated 200
yards from the hotel. Following the same food philosophy, fare is
hearty and produce is local. A winning combination of great beers
on tap and scrumptious interiors – think green-hued glassware and
frame flanked walls – make it a must visit, and you can bill
straight to your room.

If you’re planning a daytime excursion, there are several
options in the immediate vicinity. Local farmers markets are held
at Malmesbury and Cirencester on Friday and Saturday respectively;
for a longer walk the Roman Road enclosed in beautiful fields
follows a loop and makes for a great pre-lunch activity.
Alternatively, rent a classic car from Classic Motoring Cirencester
and zip along country roads in a Jaguar E-type, because you’ll be
back at your desk before you know it.