Mrs Smith is AWOL. Her Gloucestershire-bound train from Paddington has been delayed. As a result, I’m alone in Cotswold House Hotel & Spa’s sleek Sezincote suite, watching a Chinese vet giving a panda what one might refer to as an ‘executive massage’. Sir David Attenborough’s soothing toffee tones fill the snug, fire-warmed lounge; as I crack open a minibar merlot, the giant TV tells me about panda porn, animal Viagra and breeding these black-and-white bears in captivity.
Perhaps it’s the wine, or maybe I’m missing my lady, but when cubs finally appear on the scene – bald, blind and mewling like kittens – I shed a (manly) tear. It’s moving stuff, this mating lark, so I decide to explore a Christmas fair outside. It’s bitingly cold, and only the hardiest are out, scarf-wrapped and hat-topped. All I can spy of the locals are a chink of eyes here, a glint of teeth there – they might be aliens beneath their thermals. However, Chipping Campden is too pretty for sci-fi thoughts, so instead I shop for beauty unguents for my sweetheart.
As a second free mince pie makes it into my mouth, Mrs Smith rings to announce her arrival. I hasten back to our stately Regency townhouse, to find her waiting by a crackling fire in reception. Another hearth in full flame can be heard nearby in the bar – if there were an award for ‘Hotel with the Most Most-Crackling Fires’, Cotswold House would win. As Mrs Smith tries to pry in my bags, I distract her with suite talk: ‘Palatial bath, disco shower, private courtyard, three TVs, a remote-control fire...’
My spiel works; by the time I’m mentioning the La Sultane de Saba products, Mrs Smith is flinging open Sezincote’s door to discover the boutique bounty for herself. I trail around in her wake, offering bits of trivia – ‘The shower’s LED lights change colour, the spa can be accessed from our courtyard, I ordered you an orthopaedic pillow’ – until Mrs Smith silences me by diving onto our bed, heels and all. All that animal mating earlier might have spurred me on to strip my Mrs Smith, but there’s an obstacle: I’m hungry. Starving, in fact. Mrs Smith is in accord; we de-rumple our attire and head to the restaurant. The ruby-red Cotswolds Grill is a hotel hug: warm and inviting, relaxed but luxurious, smart without being stuffy.
Nestled in a fireside nook, Mrs Smith and I study the menu. One glance and I’m happy – it’s short but beguiling; of the seven or so mains, I’m torn between five. We embark on a waistline-widening feast: roast pheasant and a silky quail’s egg, duck so tender it must have lived off butter and marshmallows, an earthy pumpkin salad, a ravishing apricot soufflé, and a cheeseboard in a rainbow of local varieties. Such excess is exhausting – when Mrs Smith and I retire, we clamber into bed and promptly start snoring.
The next morning, I awake and leap straight to my feet. Having arrived in darkness, neither of us has properly appraised our surroundings. I yank the curtains aside, realise I’m still naked, scream like a girl, and dive back into bed. Mrs Smith, in contrast, stands serenely in her robe and admires our courtyard. ‘There’s nobody to see you’, she reminds me. ‘And if they could, who’s to say they’d be interested?’ she laughs.
A bath is begging to be run in the gargantuan stone cauldron lording it over our ensuite, and soon Mrs Smith is asoaking, emerging only to peep at the TV flickering on the wall. Meanwhile, I marvel at the raspberry and emerald lights in the shower – where I’d stay all morning, if Mrs Smith’s stomach didn’t start rumbling. Breakfast is most civilised: we sit in the Garden Room by the French windows, perusing the papers. Mrs Smith tackles whisky-laced porridge, before we both demolish a faultless full English.
From one pleasure to another; it’s Temple Spa time. Having crunched along the garden path, admiring the manicured hedges and sculptures, Mrs Smith then commandeers the pool, before hitting the hammam. I’m dispatched to a massage room and treated like human pastry: pummelled, kneaded and flattened. Not a fan of the timorous poke-and-stroke variety, I’m putty in masseuse Melissa’s forceful hands. Ingeniously, my massage bed is heated, and I slip into an impromptu slumber. ‘You fell asleep,’ murmurs my therapist as I come to. ‘Oh no – I wasn’t snoring?’ I ask. ‘No,’ she replies. ‘But you were sleeptalking. And I could swear you mumbled something about pandas and Viagra.’
Anonymously reviewed by Mr & Mrs Smith
Whenever you book a stay at a Mr & Mrs Smith, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what real-life guests had to say in Cotswold House Hotel & Spa's guestbook below.
Nothing was too much trouble; we were upgraded as well. The food was excellent; all in all, a fab couple of days !
Max, BlackSmith stayed on 30 Oct 2013
The hotel is perfectly situated right in the middle of Chipping Camden. It also has a sister hotel opposite which provides a more informal setting. The hotel has lovely gardens for sitting out for lunch or pre-dinner drinks; the spa was very busy and quite small. The breakfast was excellent. The staff were also very accommodating and bent over backwards to give us a late check out.
There was a shortage of water supplied in the bedrooms.
Katherine, SilverSmith stayed on 13 Jul 2013
We loved the Cotswold House Hotel. The room was incredible: hot tub, open fire, TV in the bathroom, champagne on arrival – it was amazing from the moment we arrived. The staff were friendly and helpful and the dining room food was unbelievable! We had seven courses and every one was perfect! Fantastic atmosphere, wonderful spa and beautiful surroundings. We would recommend this hotel to anyone, and we will definitely be visiting again!
Edward, SilverSmith stayed on 19 Feb 2013
The hotel staff were so accommodating. We asked to move rooms after the first night as we discovered the bath (which was of swimming pool proportions) did not have any kind of shower. They arranged this with the minimum of fuss. They also provided us with lots of recommendations for everything from dining options to the best local walking routes. It's so lovely to stay somewhere and feel like the staff genuinely want you to get the most from your stay.
We had visions of sitting in front of a fire with a bottle of red and a good book, however the lounge is not the most inviting. I would have swapped a few of the modern leather chairs with a big squidgy sofa!
Nicola, BlackSmith stayed on 11 Jan 2013
Dining room food, dining room service, grill service, the Ashbee cottage, location – Chipping Campden is a lovely place. The spa building.
Reception service – forgot the cot, forgot the champagne. Room service – forgot to provide turn-down service and didn't clean room from the first night to the second. Spa service – very strict on timings, even when I had to wait for them.
Nick, SilverSmith stayed on 28 Sep 2012 Yes - one son of 18 months
The service was incredible, I went for my birthday and let them know beforehand. When we arrived we found that we had been upgraded to a suite with the most amazing bath and our own patio plus some complimentary champagne, it really made my birthday so much better. We had gorgeous afternoon tea on the terrace in the sun and went for a walk around Chipping Campden which is just idyllic. We had breakfast in our room with bucks fizz which was delicious and we even had a call to say when our food was on its way. Overall our stay was amazing, would definitely recommend Cotswold House Hotel to anyone. Felt so indulged and relaxed and would love to go back again.
There was a slight mix up with our dinner reservation as it had been changed from six people to eight, which we were told was fine. When we got round to it however, we were told that we were dining in the Grill and not the Dining Room as we expected because they could no longer fit us in. This was slightly annoying as there was clearly a communication error somewhere. We still had a lovely evening and it wouldn't put me off going there again.
holly, BlackSmith stayed on 5 Sep 2012
The staff were very friendly and helpful. The food was also 10/10 in the Cotswold Grill.
With our Smith members extra offer we chose a bottle of champagne over the cream tea. But we were disappointed to find out you are only allowed to drink it in your bedroom. Not in the public areas and not in the lovely gardens. This was a shame as it was a really nice sunny day, but we had to stay up in our room to drink it. Would have been perfect to sit in the garden. However, if you are happy to pay £25 corkage, you can drink it anywhere.
Debbie, BlackSmith stayed on 28 Aug 2012
The Longborough Cottage is just perfect as a weekend getaway... It feels like its own little cottage and has the best hot tub in the back garden. It worked very well for a young family but would be superb for honeymoons or romantic breaks. Staff were excellent, they could not have put themselves out more for us. 5 for service.
The staff brought dinner to our room without any kind of heating facilities, so we had delicious starters but steaks sitting there looking a bit sad. They took them away to keep them warm, but it was not ideal.
Arabella, BlackSmith stayed on 23 Aug 2012 Yes, and it worked well: good children's menu and they were very good with them – although I would not call the hotel child-friendly per se.
Our weekend included dinner in the restaurant, dinner in the grill, breakfasts and an afternoon tea. One of the breakfasts was supposed to be with champagne but on our request they let us have it with the afternoon tea instead - perfect! We walked over to Hidcote and back. A surprisingly quiet walk ( we only saw 3 other walkers) totalling 7 miles with a lovely stroll around the beautiful gardens and a coffee. We returned to the hotel for afternoon tea and then a relaxing couple of hours in the Spa. In the evening we headed out into the village to visit a couple of the local pubs before returning to the hotel for another lovely meal in the Cotswold Grill. It was our third visit and I can't wait to go again!
Wi fi for the whole hotel. Coming back to the room after breakfast and not finding the girl in the middle of housekeeping when I wanted to get ready to go out for the day. They really should wait until you have left the hotel. Big fluffy dressing gowns for ALL the rooms please!
Naomi, BlackSmith stayed on 3 Aug 2012
We have been visiting this hotel for a long time now and it has changed quite a lot over time, from small family run hotel, to a large extension to a corporate boutique hotel with Spa. We had not been back for quite a while since our children were so small but we decided that we would return now and take our children with us. Our room was fantastic with a giant egg bath and a rainfall shower and the children slept in the lounge together in a z bed and cot, which they loved. We had room service the first night and sat in our little courtyard drinking wine and generally relaxing, whilst the children slept in the lounge. Both restaurants looked very nice, the Grill was great for an informal dinner and can be as many or as few courses as you want and was really good fun with the children, the staff were great even though our youngest was very keen on still throwing her food around. The other restaurant is a bit more formal and decided it would be unfair on the other guests to take our children in there but it is great for pre-dinner drinks in the bar and we had some lovely cocktails. We all had afternoon tea on the Saturday with dainty finger sandwiches and the yummiest little cakes, hot chocolate for the children and Champagne for us adults, it was great fun and as it was pouring with rain outside we all cuddled up and watched Olympics and Toy Story 3 in the giant bed. There is a little fridge in your room, which is great for storing children food/drinks bits and also any bubbly/wine that you might want to have in that big bath.
House keeping was a bit hit and miss and clearly did not hoover under tables or dust all the glass shelves in the bathroom and breakfast in bed was a let down, eggs were over cooked, porridge was truly awful and several items had been forgotten which I had to call Reception for twice. However, breakfast in bed is never that good in any hotel as the time from kitchen to bedroom is too long and the food is generally cold or over cooked so here was no different.
Celia, SilverSmith stayed on 3 Aug 2012 two children with us, one 3 yrs and the other 1 yrs. Both slept in the lounge together. Charge per night was £35 per child, not entirely sure what you got for that as £70 a night seemed a bit much for two mini beds.
Great destination, great ambiance and friendly, efficient staff.
Service in the garden can be hit or miss.
Bruce, BlackSmith stayed on 20 Jul 2012
This hotel is great for all ages. We loved it so much that we went home, collected our two year-old, and returned for another two nights. We loved the Snowshill lavender farm and it was wonderful to have room service in our room looking out over the beautiful garden and listening to the sheep and the birds having spent a hard couple of hours in the spa. With the said two year-old we were spoilt for choice, visiting the Cotswold Farm Park which she loved, and the railways at Toddington and Winchcombe which we all loved once I had got over the horror of being a bona fide trainspotter. We came home squeezing a quick trip in to the Cotswold Wild Life Park which was so much more fun than I had remembered from school trips in the 90s. If you only have time for one though, go to Winchcombe – it was such fun.
Kate, SilverSmith stayed on 9 Jul 2012
Run don't walk to the Cotswold Grill restaurant – attached to Cotswold House hotel – for the best steak you'll have for a long time, served on boards in a pleasantly relaxed setting. If you like the funky tableware, it's all from Robert Welch (www.robertwelch.com), the famous local manufacturer with a shop a few yards down the high street.
Ben, SilverSmith stayed on 4 Jun 2012
Our stay at Cotswold House was wonderful. We ate at the hotel's restaurant and the food we enjoyed there was excellent quality and value for money: the bavette steak and beefburger were truly delicious and arrived with innovative accompaniments that made you feel as though you were dining somewhere truly special with a very talented chef. Breakfast was just as enjoyable and the service was friendly and efficient throughout. We visited nearby Stow-on-the-Wold and with its picturebook buildings and many lovely tea rooms you can easily spend a good few hours pottering around the shops and dipping in and out for a coffee as much as you please. The nearby National Trust's Snowshill Manor is well worth a visit too: gorgeous views and gardens to see and enjoy when the weather is good. When the weather isn't so good, just head back to the hotel and enjoy the spa and let the hours pass you by as you alternate between the hamman steam room or the Jacuzzi swimming pool. The town of Chipping Campden is a little treasure trove to discover when you wish for a relaxing break away from the hustle and bustle of city life and Cotswold House is the perfect stylish, comfortable and high-quality hotel to do so.
Nathan, BlackSmith stayed on 3 Apr 2012
We were given a complimentary room upgrade because we were from Smith and stayed in one of the cottage rooms which was very spacious and light. The hotel is well situated right in the centre of the main (only) street of this attractive village and so it's easy to explore on foot the surprising number of shops and places of interest there are for such a small place. We ate both nights in the hotel restaurant, though there is plenty of choice just yards from the hotel. Only one thing marred the dining: one night I had to send back my main course due to the meat being uncooked and I mean uncooked not undercooked, as it was a veal escalope and you can't get your meat thinner than that. The chef must have had his vision obscured by the breadcrumbs. However they quickly recovered the situation and brought a new escalope. The time delay did not cause me any real pain as I was soon able to catch up with Mrs Smith and so she wasn't delayed getting into the dessert which could have caused me real pain. This dining experience does not detract from the overall quality and style of the hotel and we will certainly visit again.
Reg, SilverSmith stayed on 26 Feb 2012
A great location with a lovely spa. We had a nice time here and also thought the food in the restaurant was very good. The only negative was that our room was a little small/cluttered for 2 female friends sharing and getting ready to go out.
Julie, BlackSmith stayed on 23 Jan 2012