I've just come back from a two-day walking trip with friends. We chose the pretty Cotswold town of Painswick as our base, which was perfect for discovering some truly beautiful English countryside - wild meadows, crystal-clear streams, shady woods and honey-coloured villages. Classic Laurie Lee country.
After the first day's walk, we had a much-needed drink at Cotswolds88 Hotel
, spending an hour or so in the garden, enjoying the amazing view across the valley as the sun went down.
Owned by hotelier Marchella De Angelis (former rock chick and founding member of Shoreditch's Loungelover), Cotswolds88's quirky, ultra-modern interior isn't exactly my taste, but it certainly has impact, and works well in the grand spaces of the stunning Palladian house.
It’s been tipped to become the latest country house hotel for the London 'it-crowd' (whatever that is), but we were the only people rattling around on the Sunday night we visited. Even more surprisingly (and annoying because we were going to ask to have a snoop around a couple of the bedrooms), the hotel had a closed sign on the door when we went back for tea the next day.
Perhaps they saw us coming...