Lock up your laptops and slip on your Wellington boots – this blissful country bolthole will make you feel brand new.

If we want to get the best out of this extremely cool, hyper-connected, permanently plugged-in world of ours, we need to escape it from time to time. We need to give ourselves permission to switch off. We need to remove the digital temptations that lurk in our path every day.

Deep in the Cotswolds lies a charming little hotel that enables you to do just that. The Rectory doesn’t particularly set out to offer guests a digital detox; it just sort of does so by accident.



Walk into one of its 18 recently done-up rooms and calming classical music is playing on the Roberts radio. There is a television standing on a gorgeous mid-century modern side table – but you barely notice it because you are too busy fondling the herringbone rug at the end of the giant bed, wondering when you can get into the free-standing bath and drinking in the views of the countryside.

In the chic green folder of guest info, there is a line that says: “We will confiscate your TV remote if you would like us to.” The hotel’s WIFI password is: “goforawalkinstead”. Piles of board games and shelves of Penguin classics in the games room downstairs remind the frazzled device-addict that there is another way.



When first-time hotelier Alex Payne bought the hotel in 2016, his vision was to create an experience that felt like a person’s country home. He enlisted the help of the established hotel duo, Charlie Luxton and Dan Brod (who’ve made a success of The Beckford Arms and the Talbot Inn), for a major refurbishment.



The result is gorgeous, with smart, dark paint colours, overstuffed sofas and stylish Fifties drinks tables. Carefully chosen lighting, art and antiques finish the look off beautifully. It does feel like a country home – one that is supremely comfortable and where you don’t lift a finger.

Breakfast is served in a gorgeous conservatory. Radio Four plays unobtrusively throughout, and the buttermilk waffles with berries, granola and mascarpone will blow your mind. In the evening, the panelled dining room is candlelit and peaceful. We had a delicious, refined dinner there – of mouth-watering dishes with a local emphasis. Across the road from the hotel is a pub called The Potting Shed. Book dinner or lunch there for a heartier but no less memorable menu.



As for drinks, the enchanting barman told me that some people think he makes the best cocktails in the Cotswolds. We certainly found his Negronis irresistible and laid waste to several, while playing Scrabble by the fire in the drawing room.

We ate a lot and went for walks and nestled in the pub and had long baths. We left renewed. Do yourself a favour – check into The Rectory for a while in order simply to check out for a while.

March 2018