Hotel review

Wild Thyme & Honey Hotel review: A true dog-friendly country inn in the heart of the Cotswolds


Many hotels promise to welcome dogs, but few are as welcoming as Wild Thyme & Honey in the Cotswolds, say Paula Lester and her lab Nimrod.

Touted as a ‘love letter to the people of the Cotswolds’, Wild Thyme & Honey in Ampney Brook might not – from the outside, at least – look like the perfect place to take your dogs for a spoiled retreat break. of tranquil countryside, situated as it is right on the busy A417 three miles east of Cirencester. However, as we know, first impressions can be deceiving.

WT&H Terrace

Admittedly, the long, narrow building that adjoins the road isn’t the prettiest this incredibly attractive area has to offer, but its interior was refurbished in 2021 to create an inviting wooden bar, reception and lounge area that has sandwiched a 16th century inn (The Crown) as well as a cozy 24-room hotel (Wild Thyme & Honey).

Luckily our suite was located at the back of the property where the double glazing drowned out the traffic noise. It’s also been cleverly designed to make the most of a small space – without denying the comfort of a king-size bed and free-standing bath – as well as a dog bed and built-in closet. with plenty of room for rubber boots and wet coats.

Plus, not only are dogs allowed in the lounge – staff and other guests are remarkably insensitive to canine barking or whining – they’re also allowed to sit at your feet when dining in the restaurants downstairs. ground floor and upstairs.

Which brings me to the highlight of the establishment: the food, which aims to take the best local produce and turn it into truly tasty pub grub. During our two night stay, while the butler James looked after us, we devoured a healthy roast beef (me) and pork (my husband, Simon) on Sunday evening. Then on Monday evening, after being stunned by the breakfast display (from cold cuts to cheeses to fresh fruit yogurts served in champagne coupes, plus all the usual cooked dishes), we dove in the fish delicacies on the menu. Simon took the spicy monkfish tail with sweet potato dahl and I opted for the grilled plaice fillet with hazelnut butter and capers, enhanced with a salad of heirloom tomatoes and a glass of Albariño.

Aside from a series of thoughtful touches – such as earplugs and a Roberts radio – the best part about this latest boutique hideaway for dog lovers is that you can take them for a nice (and safe) walk in the village of Ampney Crucis, via a footbridge over the stream to the cricket ground and footpaths beyond. That, and being able to have your charges by your side in any area of ​​the hotel, makes it a winner for us and our trio: Nimrod, Mole and Chester, who would love to say ‘bark’.

while you are there

  • Cozy all year round, best visited in the fall and winter due to the ski lodge vibe offered by the fur throws in the al fresco courtyard, where you can sit back – with a cup of chocolate hot Marimba — in front of the centerpiece of the Argentinian grill, in which a crackling log fire is lit every night
  • Don’t worry if you forget your Wellington boots – the hotel provides their own in the lobby
  • Not only are guests entitled to a free cocktail on arrival (we had a ‘negroni thrown’ and a ‘signature cocktail’ made from Cotswold gin with honey and thyme syrup), there is a carafe of plum gin in each room for those who fancy a nightcap

  • Small bottles of milk are left outside your door every morning, so you can make your own tea or coffee using the Nespresso machines in your room
  • Licensed for weddings, the hotel has a VIP apartment, No. 3 London Road, which has its own lounge and private terrace, with sauna and hot tub, as well as a dedicated make-up area , making it ideal for brides and honeymooners.
  • For fun alfresco dining, even in the depths of winter, reserve one of the three heated “riverside beehives” (glass domes) that overlook the babbling creek behind the hotel.
  • Cirencester, with its elegant medieval church of St John the Baptist and its plethora of independent shops, cafes and restaurants, is a 10-minute drive away. Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, near Tetbury, is nearly half an hour further, but was well worth the trip for the burst of color exhibited by the 2,500 species it houses when we visited in October . It’s also incredibly dog-friendly – with areas where they’re allowed off-leash – although Mole, my husband’s Labrador, took a decided dislike to the Gruffalo lurking among the trees

From £170 per night including breakfast (01285 851806)

You can follow Paula Lester @paulaslester.

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