Stow, a pretty market town, is nicely positioned for exploring the Cotswolds, with Stratford to the North, Cheltenham to the west, Oxford and Blenheim Palace to the east and the early stretches of the Thames to the south. As for this 17th-century inn, it’s just been refurbished from top to toe. It sits on the market square with golden stone walls inside and out. Interiors mix original beams and timber frames with a big dollop of contemporary style – leather banquettes and hanging lamps in the stylish restaurant; panelled walls and an open fire in the cool little bar; a pretty coffee shop that overlooks the square. In summer, you spin onto a beautiful terrace for wood-fired pizzas in the sun. Super-comfy beds in beautiful rooms are wrapped in the crispest linen. You get coffee machines, iPod docks, Bakelite telephones, old Penguin books. All have chic bathrooms, some with claw-foot baths (a couple in the room). Three are dog-friendly, the family suite has bunk beds and an Xbox. Good food waits downstairs, perhaps cured salmon, a chargrilled steak, then lemon and lime mousse.