Recently acquired by the folks behind Calcot Manor and Barnsley House, both nearby, this magnificent manor house has been transformed into a stylish and luxurious country house hotel, nestled into one of the South Cotswolds' most delightful small towns. Situated midway between Stroud and Gloucester, its 16 bedrooms have all been individually designed, and range from smaller rooms up in the eaves of the house, through to larger rooms in the Garden and Chapel wings right up to large rooms with roll-top baths and finally the full-blown 'George's' suite, complete with four-poster bed and private balcony. Whichever you plump for, all the rooms are airy, contemporary and spacious, and are excellently equipped with ultra-comfy beds, and bathrooms with powerful modern showers, posh bath products and fluffy robes – some have freestanding baths too. Food, too, is taken very seriously at the Painswick, with an ever-evolving menu of contemporary cuisine that is all well priced and always imaginative – not least breakfasts, where you can opt for a 'Full Elvis' with waffles, banana, peanut butter ice cream and crispy bacon alongside classic full English or continental options. They serve a great lunch menu that varies from light bites – Scotch Eggs, Piazza Bianco – to more substantial fare (lobster and black pudding pie) – and the dinner menu includes Cornish lobster, steaks and always a great selection of seasonal dishes with a twist. All of this is in excellent counterpoint to the hotel's treatment rooms, which offer massages, facials, pedicures and everything else in-between. If we're honest, it's difficult to leave what is a very comfortable place to just hang about and do not very much at all, but if you do manage to drag yourself away, the charming town of Painswick is worth a look (and hosts a popular Art-Couture festival every summer), and Gloucester and Cheltenham are both within striking distance. All in all we reckon the Painswick is a fabulous place to stay, and in a terrific location – and it's worth knowing that the excellent Lord Crewe Arms in far-off Northumberland is another member of the hotel's family.
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