Originally built in 1535 during the reign of King Henry VIII for John Steede a local Yeoman, the house has had many owners including Sir Thomas Estcourt, a wealthy wool merchant.

Cotswold Life ‘Where to Dine’ – The Close Hotel, Tetbury (approximate date 1972)

On a particularly cold evening recently, I joined with some friends to dine at the Close Hotel in Tetbury’s Long Street. We were greeted at the door and welcomed into a world of Georgian elegance – presided over by John and Peggy Hastings. Guests may be confident that good food and wine will be served, as “mine host” is this year’s president of the Reunion des Gastronomes and a Confrere of the Chevaliers du Tastevin – pretty impressive credentials.

The menu is not extensive but I found the choice adequate. It comprises about half-a-dozen starters followed by five main dishes, a good selection of fresh vegetables and some out-of-the-ordinary but simple sweets. Stilton cheese, incidentally, is a speciality. Between us we sampled home-made pate, delicious crab mousse and off-the-menu avocado pear with a vinaigrette dressing. Man-sized portions of boeuf au fleurie were excellent, as was roast duck with black cherry sauce. Green figs in pernod, and delice d’abricot (home made apricot sorbet) were among the selection of sweets to complete the meal.

The service was unobtrusive by well-trained local staff, and enhanced by sparkling glass, beautiful silverware and fresh flowers. The standard of presentation of a table is, I always feel, almost as important as the standard of the food itself.

Additional enjoyment to our meal was provided by the choice of wines available from a specially-selected wine list compiled by John Hastings himself. We chose a Chablis Villages from Avery’s of Bristol at £1.90, followed by Chambolle Musigny (French bottled) at £3.40. The only omission from the wine list appeared to be a lack of middle-priced red wines. Also I feel a little more thought might be given to the claret list.

After a very leisurely meal at a fixed price of only £1.80 pus ten per cent service charge, coffee was served in the lounge with the added detail of peppermint creams and sugared almonds.

To sum up I would unhesitatingly say that at The Close, one can be sure of an excellent meal served in all the luxury and atmosphere of a beautiful Cotswold home – a delightful and enjoyable way to spend an evening.

Telephone: Tetbury 272

The Citizen, 30th January 1974 – Waiter (20) rescued in Tetbury hotel blaze: Firemen rescued a 20-year-old waiter from a bedroom in a blazing hotel at Tetbury early today. Mr Eric Hynds was taken to the town’s cottage hospital suffering from severe shock. After being released he said: “I was awakened by smoke filling my room. I groped my way out and tried to get down the stairs, but the smoke was so dense. I went along the corridor into the next room and then hung out of the window shouting for help.”

There were no guest staying at The Close Hotel, in the centre of Tetbury, and Mr Hynds was the only member of staff sleeping on the premises. He was rescued from the third floor as firemen from a wide area fought to save the Elizabethan building. The entire front of the hotel was gutted by the blaze, as the flames were whipped up by strong winds.

It was shortly after 4am that the alarm was raised by Mr Hynds, whose cries for help were heard by people living above a shop opposite. They called the fire brigade. The owner of the hotel, Mr John Hastings, is in the West Indies on a fact-finding study for the World Bank. He and his wife Peggy live in the cottage adjoining the 12-bedroomed hotel. “The first I knew about the fire was when I was awakened by two firemen in my bedroom,” said Mrs. Hastings. “By that time time all the front of the hotel was ablaze. We are always most careful about fire. We check everything before we go to bed, taking out all the electric plugs and seeing that the ashtrays are emptied. I did so myself last night.”

The whole of the main street in Tetbury was closed to traffic while firemen, under the direction of Divisional Officer Warren King, of Stroud, brought the blaze under control.

Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard, Friday 1st February 1974: Firemen from six brigades fought a blaze which seriously damaged a Tetbury hotel early on Wednesday. The outbreak occurred at The Close Hotel and Restaurant in Long Street, causing many thousands of pounds worth of damage. It was the second major fire in the town in a week.

All the downstairs and upstairs rooms at the front of the Elizabethan building were completely gutted and the roof on this side of the hotel collapsed. Only those rooms at the back, facing out on to the walled garden escaped the flames. There were no guests staying in the hotel during the night and only one member of the staff was sleeping in the twelve bedroomed hotel. He was rescued by fireman from the third story and taken to Tetbury hospital suffering from shock.

While firemen fought the blaze and brought it under control, the whole of Tetbury was closed to traffic. Fire appliances, under the direction of Divisional Officer Warren King of Stroud, were from Tetbury, Cirencester, Stroud, Gloucester, Malmesbury and Nailsworth.”

Wilts & Glos Standard, Friday 8th February 1974 – Hotel plans a quick return to business: Within hours of being seriously damaged in one of the worst fires for many years in Tetbury, plans were already being drawn up to get one of the town’s leading hotels back in business. Although it is thought that this will not be for another six months at least. The Close Hotel in Long Street is cocooned in scaffolding and a false roof has been put on to protect the remainder of the building from the weather.

Mrs Peggy Hastings, the wife of the proprietor, Mr John Hastings, said her husband, who is in the West Indies on business, has been informed of the fire and of the extent of the damage. “There is no need for him to return right now. There will be little that he could do and I have been speaking to him by telephone about rebuilding plans,” she said.

It is estimated that the total damage caused to the Elizabethan building could exceed £70,000.

The Citizen, Wednesday 4th July 1984 – Bouquet for hotel: The Close Hotel at Tetbury, which was devastated in a blaze ten years ago has been commended for its personal service The exclusive 12-bedroomed hotel, built on the site of a Cistercian monastery, was officially accepted as a member of Romantik Hotels and Restaurants, a marketing company based in Frankfurt, West Germany. “Our aim is to offer a reliable alternative to the established mega hotel chains which are far too large and complex to cater for the visitor as an individual,” said Romantik boss Jens Diekman.

The Close, a short drive from Highgrove House, the Gloucestershire home of the Prince and Princess of Wales, is only the seventh hotel in Britain to be selected by Romantik. After the fire in 1974 the hotel was completely restored and has now become a family business, headed by Frenchman, Jean-Marie Lauzier (34), which also owns the hotel De La Bere and Country Club near Cheltenham. The Close bakes its own bread in the hotel ovens and used home grown herbs from a cloistered garden. There are 30 full and part-time staff on the payroll.

Standard Times, Thursday 22nd May 1997- Chef’s recipe for success: One of the country’s most prestigious classic French cooking awards has been won by a Tetbury chef. Sus chef Tony Duce cooked and marinated his way to victory in the annual Academie Culinaire de France awards to excellence and now he’s reached the highest possible standard. A delighted Tony, who has been working at The Close for the past two years, said: “I’m extremely chuffed. You can’t do any better than this, it’s well respected in the industry and its so big that I can’t enter it ever again.

9th July 1998 – Buyers snap up historic hotel: One of Tetbury’s finest hotels has been bought for more than a million pounds. The Close Hotel has been sold to The Old English Pub Company for £1.25 million, and the new owners are expected to review development options at the historic site. Bristol based agents Christie & Co confirmed there was much potential at The Close. “To the rear is a former chapel which has possibilities for conversion,” said Jonathan Hill, of Christie.

“There is full planning consent and listed building approval for the change of use of two shop units into a bistro restaurant. There is further planning for a reception and office. Considerable interest was shown in this property,” added Mr Hill, who sold the 15-bedrom, 16th century building for its asking price, “which proved once again the buoyancy of the hotel market in 1998.”

Wilts & Glos Standard, 4th November 1999 – Darren get his first three rosettes: The Close restaurant in Tetbury has been awarded three rosettes in the prestigious AA guide. The rosettes are a symbol of the quality of the food and service. And only 10 per cent of restaurants in the country reach this standard.

Louise Bale is general manager and her husband Darrel is head chef. Mrs Bale said: “It’s an extremely high standard of achievement. Especially as it’s the first time for Darren to gain the award.” The couple tool over the management of the restaurant in June last year. It was previously run by Virgin and had three rosettes, but they leave with the chef.

The Citizen, 19th April 2003 – Their chef is excellent: A hotel in Gloucestershire has been praised for the creative excellence of on one of its chefs. The Close Hotel in Tetbury has been named as one of the Greene King Pubs Company’s Kitchens of Excellence – giving recognition to the hard work of its head chef Steve Rimmer. Steve beat off stiff competition from the company’s 80-plus chain of hotels across the country.

4th July 2013 – Hotel sold to top group: The Close Hotel in Tetbury has been sold and is now part of a small hotel group operating in the Cotswolds. The 16th century Close Hotel right in the centre of Tetbury has been bought by Cotswold Inns & Hotels to become the eighth hotel in the group.

The hotel currently has 19 bedrooms and there is planning permission to create an additional five bedrooms and a 100-cover restaurant. Cotswolds Inns & Hotels was founded in 1997 specialising in supplying a mix of contemporary chic and classic Cotswold charm. Last year the group won the prestigious AA Small Hotel Group of the Year 2012-2013.

Company chairman, Michael Horton, said: “We had admired Tetbury and The Close for many years and are thrilled to welcome The Close into our fold.” The hotel was sold by Bristol businessman Geoff Dunford, whose family owned the famous Dunford Diary business in Bristol.



1974 John and Peggy Hastings

1998,2002 Louise Bale (General Manager), Darren Bale (Head Chef)

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