Prologue: Several moons ago, when I was a younger lass with big travel dreams, I got to talking with a former boss about his travels. Not only was he the go-to person for restaurant recommendations in Brussels, but he had great taste in hotels. He did not skim the surface when he travelled, but really tried to get to know a place. He forwarded me a link to a delightfully named website for boutique hotels which I would continue to drool over for years to come: Mr & Mrs Smith.
Fast forward a few years later and a (slightly) more grown-up but still as travel-obsessed Jessica checks her e-mails to find an invite from the team at Mr & Mrs Smith to escape to the Cotswolds for 24 hours (ok, technically 25 hours) to celebrate the launch of their new 24/7 travel team – Smith24.
*pause here for dramatic re-enactment of an excited Jessica solo dancing in her living room*
It is actually pretty incredible what you can get up to in 24 hours…we were to meet at The Artist’s Residence in Pimlico for brunch with the Smith team, then we would drive to Thyme in the Cotswolds, have a cooking class, gastropub dinner, cozy night’s sleep, breakfast of kings, full tour of the grounds and back to London in time for cocktails the next day. It was the stuff short luxury breaks are made of and – at least from my point of view – that’s because of two things: true projects of love and attention to detail.
When it came time to pack our bags and head back to London, we all agreed that 24 hours was simply not enough. I wanted to explore the countryside more and get lost in a long walk (my very brief encounter with a field after I woke up early on our day of departure resulted in an overly friendly greeting from a cow). We tried to capture the last little details we’d noted – from the made-in-Cornwall Rockfish wellies that lay in the foyer, to the Chris Levine portrait of the Queen hanging in the barn.
And then we realised that that’s half the fun of boutique hotel stays like this: there are so many little details in unique properties to love that you simply can’t write them all down… but you can look forward to planning the next trip… and in the meantime, give the dogs a parting hug.
I have to thank Mr & Mrs Smith for such a wonderful and thoughtful stay (if you are wondering what makes a Smith hotel, this is a great read.) The brand has both a wonderful beginning (a couple looking for a guide that spoke just to them for romantic weekends away) and exciting future rumblings (24/7 travel service and an increasing number of exciting international locations for starters).
Other links worth checking out:
Mr & Mrs Smith on the 7 steps of modern jetlag (because it spoke to me personally…)
The Thoughts from Thyme blog (check out Caryn’s posts on seeds)
The Swan at Southrop (the village pub)
Olivia von Halle (for making me think about investing in about silk pjs)