Remember that Wales holiday we got stung for? Yeah, we do too. Anyway, this is not about that. It’s about how we made things right and maybe how it was kind of a blessing in disguise.
So, a while back, I took a flight to Aberdeen for work. Whilst the rest of the country enjoyed 34 degree temps, my plane got stuck in a holding pattern above 14 degree heavy fog. It gave me a chance to read the inflight magazine. In it was an article about a woman who set up Chien Bleu Travel to recommend dog friendly accommodation. Not just any place that will let your pooch run amok, but genuinely nice places that you would want to stay in with or without your four legged friend. So, I made contact and was quickly offered all sorts of assistance to reclaim a decent holiday for us and The Dog.
I was nervous – we’ve never actually stayed in a hotel with The Dog. Though we’ve done everything we can to tempt him into an acceptable set of behaviours, it’s a bit hit and miss. While he won’t shit on your carpet, he’ll reliably bark at anyone leaving a room whether he’s met them or not. He will let you rough house with him all day, but if he hears a text message alert, he’ll scramble to hide in a corner in fear. Anyway, his good traits far outweigh the negative ones, so we decided to chance it on a hotel stay.
Chien Bleu picked us a total winner of a hotel – The Rectory Hotel, nestled in the heart of the picturesque Cotswolds in Crudwell. From the website it appeared to be everything we usually like in a hotel – great style and great food. Here’s what you see when you head up the buff stone drive.
The quirky lounge and bar where the staff happily fix you a cocktail (try the Rectory Martini) while you perch on giant champagne corks and relax with your dog. Yep – dogs are totally allowed in here. In fact they are allowed everywhere but the restaurant – which is no problem, the staff will either bring you breakfast to your room or serve it in here. Splendid!
And the rooms themselves? Quirky shabby chic. Read Tripadvisor and you will see people saying the carpets aren’t pristine. Frankly, as a dog owner, this relaxes me a little bit. And the carpets are fine. Besides, I sleep on the bed, which was really comfy. Like, zombie-dead sleep. Throw in some quality toiletries (which of course I took home with me) and it’s pretty bloody perfect.
I tried to count the number of ways to relax in this place, but in the end I was too chilled to keep it up.
Lounging about in the front room which incidentally is where you will find the croquet gear, mint green Hunter wellies in every size and a range of walking guides.
Oh, look who managed to relax in the bar? Good boy. Stay.
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home, Mrs Robinson.
Imagine yourself the star in a period drama. (Oh Mr Darcy!)
After all that relaxing, you can really work up a hunger. Now, like I mentioned, the only area The Dog was denied access was the restaurant. No problem – The Rectory also own The Potting Shed just 2 minutes walk away where dogs are definitely welcome.
The style follows you here too.
Oooh, who doesn’t love a British summer evening to imbibe a few pre-dinner drinks?
Back inside and we settle down to dinner at a suitably cute table (not this one, but just as nice).
I’m not going to post everything I ate, but here’s the starter I inhaled. Pulled pork and cous cous lollipops. From memory I also hoovered up the rabbit for main and a decadent pecan and maple tart with salted ice cream. Divine.
And that’s how you ‘Rectory-fy’ a lost holiday, in a nutshell. (This by the way is a seat for two in the rolling greens surrounding the house.)
Many thanks to Chien Bleu and The Rectory – I’m currently looking for any excuse to return. Won’t be too hard, I’m sure.