A real find. This successful upgrade of an existing hotel has most of what we look for. It is informal and relaxing, but in the background are people who know what they’re dong. One of the owners, Jonathan Barry, learned the hotel craft in the Hotel du Vin group and the other, Julian Muggridge, ran an art gallery and traded antiques. It’s close to the Cotswolds, within Crudwell village.
The entrance hall-cum-reception manages to be up-to-date yet quite like a real home, with an arresting pair of lamp stands and tall, unadorned half-shuttered windows. The well-stocked three-tier magazine rack invites you to flop into one of the traditionally styled sofas and the welcome is personal without being intrusive.
From reception – if you can call it that – it’s a space for hanging out in as well as for booking in – you walk down a well lit, pretty stone corridor with intelligently placed mirrors and side tables. Off it is the handsome dining room – elegant in its panelled simplicity, and a bar-sitting room with eclectic furnishings and a warm atmosphere. In summer you can eat outside on a terrace near the uncommon baptism pool – it’s not just a basin, but a pool in which candidates were dipped - completely. The restaurant menu has recently been improved with the appointment of a new chef, James Dobson: readers' comments welcome.
The 12 bedrooms could have been furnished and decorated specifically for this guide – each different, each charming without being gimmicky – just how some people would like their own bedrooms to be. We stayed in the largest, Leckhampton, with cream panelling, and a spacious bathroom with free-standing bath.
The Rectory’s front (road) facade is somewhat serious, dating from the 19thC, but the garden side dates from the mid 1800s – more friendly and graceful. As you cross from front to back, and as time passes during your stay, you may find your feelings change accordingly, like ours, from contemporary-hurried to a gentler, old-fashioned pace.
The hotel owns a well-loved pub, The Potting Shed, just down the road which serves great food and hosts popular quiz evenings.