Guest review: The Close, Tetbury

by Lucy Noone

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"You can't call her now, it's a Sunday..."

"Seriously, she won't mind," I reply, "and if you make me go home after promises of a treat night I'll cry."

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So goes the conversation in the breakfast room of a hotel on the outskirts of Oxford, the morning after a sustained effort of drinking and dancing and wedding/ing at nearby Somerville College. We've just moved house and with a week off work and nothing to go home to other than plaster dust and everything we own in bags, David has suggested staying away another night and I've got hold of the idea like a dog with a bone. 

I call Charlie (very apologetically) and give her a couple of criteria; we can't go any further south, it needs to be fairly countryside, max £200.

Twenty mins later, she's booked us in The Close in the heart of the Cotswolds. Tetbury is about an hours drive away and we meander there, stopping off in Burford for Lardy Cakes and a book, purchased from a Hat Shop. The Close is old-school, English bucolic gorgeous.

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Parking around the back brings you in through a lush garden, which in the rain has more than a touch of Frances Hodgeson Burnett to it. Hidden from the road, it at once snuggles a tower in ivy and a snazzy ornamental pond on the lawn, which we dash across to tumble through the door into reception. Service is brilliantly, hilariously, wonderfully English. More Jeeves and Wooster than Basil and Manuel. We are swept in, teased about our divided taste in newspapers ('a Guardian and a Times please', 'goodness me, we don't get many Guardian readers around here, you've not got lost have you') and deposited in a significantly posher room than the one we paid for. The bed is huge, the bathroom is perfect, the wallpaper is divine and there is a reading corner. You know where I'm going with this. It's the dream. We go for dinner; sausage and mash in a pub down the road, swipe a bottle of red wine from the bar and sit in the reading chairs 'til we snooze off. 

It's still raining the next morning so we feel less than guilty about rolling around in the four poster and then cheerfully being those guests who wander into breakfast three minutes before it ends. Nobody minded (if they did they hid it ever so well), we're installed in the navy-blue-and-tweed dining room with a pot of fab coffee and little individual juice bottles, filled in-house and branded with a magic little heat sealing machine which I may have asked too many questions about (no placcy bottles here). 

And then we're back on the M5, restored, refreshed and feeling like we've been perhaps just a little bit spoiled, which of course we have. Thanks, Charlie, you gave us a holiday in a heartbeat.                  

Now excuse me, where is that sander...


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