“Yes,” said Belle, as we checked into the Old Stocks Inn in Stow-on-the-Wold, “this is me. This is my aesthetic.”
“This is your aesthetic?” I repeated, turning around slowly to face her. I feel sometimes like I don’t really understand the modern world and the language young people use. She’s always telling me to do things like ‘search things up’ on the internet and yesterday I went into Waterstones and there was a whole display that I just didn’t understand – it seemed to be young people from The YouTube who had made their own picture books with silly names.
“Yes,” she said. “You know, the pastels?”
I didn’t know, but I took her word for it, because the decor at the Old Stocks Inn was amazing. They have clearly gone to a lot of effort with the finish, and from the minute we arrived there was that lovely feeling of being spoilt – the sort of feeling that makes you sit a little bit more neatly at dinner, and be sure to always be smiling, to fit in with the nice surroundings.
We were shown to our room – the bunker.
Thankfully there was no aspect of it at all that actually resembled a bunker, and we were thrilled with it. It’s designed for families with up to three children, which makes a nice change for a hotel, and Belle was immediately at home in her area, which had triple-stacked bunks and an XBox. We were particularly pleased with the way you could separate the children’s area with a curtain, so we could all have a bit of privacy at the same time as feeling like a family.
When we got there, the digital radio next to the bed was playing Classic FM. “I’ve got a lot of time for that,” said my fiancé. He is a clever type who knows about classical music.
“I have a lot of time for these teabags,” he said, as he put the kettle on.
He explored the mini fridge and found fresh milk in a jug rather than those annoying sachets.
“Fresh milk!” he cried. “I’ve got a lot of time for that. I’ve got a lot of time for that TV too.”
You get the drift.
The Old Stocks Inn has recently been completely refurbished, and has turned itself from a slightly dated Cotswolds B&B to an incredibly stylish and well-designed boutique hotel. The word boutique gets overused a lot in the hotel world, but here it feels very well deserved. All of the rooms have a unique character and style, the style being ‘gorgeous’.
The downstairs of the Old Stocks Inn is just as beautiful.
The bar area is incredibly glamorous, and in one snug corner of the bar is ‘the library’, a cosy little area full of books and games – a properly good selection of games, with all of the pieces, not like some places that claim to have games and actually just have half a chess set and a Monopoly board without the money. We had two back to back games of Cluedo, because we know how to live.
And then there was the restaurant. Where to begin with this? The food, obviously, was amazing – properly beautiful and delicious too. My duck starter was the stuff of duck starter dreams, and a cocktail or two definitely didn’t hurt our enjoyment of dinner.
The service was fantastic and we were especially impressed by the care of the staff when it came to Belle’s dairy intolerance; there wasn’t anything dairy free on the pudding menu for example, so they made her a special blueberry sorbet with fresh blueberries. The next morning at breakfast they had remembered, and brought Belle a separate jug of soy milk.
“Wake me up early,” said Belle as we went to bed on the Saturday night. “I want to have as much time in the room in the morning as possible.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. “It is Sunday?”
“I don’t care,” she said. “I love it here. I want us to live here. Please, please can we come for my birthday next year? Can this just be our house?”
Recommendations don’t come much stronger than that.