The twee Cotswolds town that became the playground of the super rich

We have to talk about Tetbury. That is its morphing from a quintessential Cotswolds village into a playground town. Full disclosure, I’m a bona fide townie, not partial to a bit of “London vulgar”. I’m very interested (I hope ironically) in fake brands like Versace and I’m often overcome with an urge to drink an acai smoothie. The question is, when does “Vulgar London” go too far? When do people like me, with our silly little habits and customs, go from being contributors to the “extraordinary spectrum” and “good for the local economy” when we come out of the capital to an invasive monster?

In my defence, at least I’m a Londoner who only occasionally shoots in the Cotswolds. At most, I’ll do one or two weekend trips a year. But I hear the locals are getting fed up with the rich towns and the international super rich buying second homes and poisoning the pavements with their Land Rover Defenders.

The hotel has opened a new £5 million health and fitness complex

The hotel has opened a new £5 million health and wellness complex – Calcot Manor

On a recent visit, I could see where they are coming from. The town center is full of people queuing for salted caramel donuts and chock-a-block with cars that are not smartly parked. Men in Lycra humblebrag about being “ridiculously unprepared” for L’Étape du Tour over oat flat whites in the local bike repair-cum-coffee hangout. A jar of honey from the Highgrove shop costs £60.

The hipsters come for everything eventually – so there’s no need to be snooty about Tetbury Calcot Manor hotel building a mega new £5 million health and wellness complex with the inevitable name: The Grain Store. Not that it’s partnered with cult brand Proverbs, best known for their refillable deodorants.

I admit with only the smallest sentence of shame that I absolutely loved it. The Grain Store is of course unashamedly OTT, a cross between a vegan cafe and a Dubai airport, with booths nestled against backlit plant displays and gold-plated lockers. He smelled of sweat and bergamot, and he seemed positively ambitious.

Enjoy facials, massages and everything in betweenEnjoy facials, massages and everything in between

Enjoy facials, massages and everything in between – Calcot Manor

Membership is not cheap, at £140 a month for non-guests. But he also delivers the goods. My personal training session (£55 per hour) was more tailored than anything I have ever experienced. I vaguely mentioned beforehand that it would be good to do some exercises to complete my ballet; trainer Verity tailored our session with thoughtful precision that amazed me, from exit rotations and curtsy lunges to arabesque balance on the “wobble pad”.

The extended Proverbs session that followed was published. Bridging the gap between exercise and spa, the “Stretch Pod” concept is designed to improve mobility and recovery, with therapists using their body weight to ease you into positions that are normally impossible to achieve. Verity told me it’s popular with men who are less than enthusiastic about stretching after exercise.

Members can enjoy personal training for £55 per hourMembers can enjoy personal training for £55 per hour

Members can enjoy personal training for £55 per hour – Calcot Manor

Later at the spa, I tried a strange new “Skin Workout Facial” where the therapist vigorously lifts and flexes your facial muscles and then strokes them with cold spoons to make them look “tighter”. (I think I noticed a difference, though it might have been the Instagram-friendly lighting of the dressing rooms.)

If one were to briefly describe Calcot Manor, it would be Cotswolds-on-Thames at speed; the kind of place where famous children’s birthday parties rip maniacally from the privately rented rooms. It might be a total hoot, but you have to be willing to go with it. The decor is wellness-meets-first-Acre-Wood, with piles of wood cut into feature walls and giant scented candles lining the halls. There are more traditional lounges, all botanical textiles and antique mirrors.

The new fitness center also has regular fitness classesThe new fitness center also has regular fitness classes

There are also regular fitness classes at the new fitness center – Calcot Manor

The service in the rest of the hotel is not as dedicated as the Grain Store, and the staff are stretched in the restaurant, which is popular with locals who come to eat oysters with champagne. Traditional food has a trendy take and it feels delicious. I really enjoyed my cheese souffle with truffle, and Orc scallops slathered with yuzu butter.

After a packed day, I was relieved to retire to my bedroom, which of course had the obligatory trendy accoutrements – Roberts radio, mirrored armoire, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries in the bathroom. It was also very comfortable, with wood-beamed ceilings and a comfy bed.

The next morning after checking out I was taken on a tour of Tetbury church, where I was accosted by a kind local lady who asked if I was part of a coach tour, as there were “a lot of people walking around in the cemetery today”. I felt a little bad. Then I went to the deli around the corner and loaded up on venison pie and pumpkin salad.

Double rooms from £334, including breakfast.

Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8YJ (01666 890391;

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