Updated: Jun 6, 2021
Sarah Cutler I CWC Director I 29 April 2021
Considering a staycation this year? Then why not try one of the twelve gorgeous properties that make up Cotswold Cottage Gems! With beautiful interiors and furnishings, unique, quirky features and all ideally situated to explore the Cotswolds, once you've walked through one of their front doors, you won't want to leave! We were lucky enough to have a quick chat with the woman behind those gorgeous properties, Gemma Elizabeth Conway, who talked to us about interior design, the extra touches they arrange for their guests and winning an award.
Hi Gemma, so tell us a little about how Cotswold Cottage Gems came to be and why you love what you do!
CCG was founded in 2018 by a group of shareholders who appointed myself as their general manager and gave me a pretty free hand to acquire and transform a group of cottages.
My job is so diverse, from sourcing new properties, to recruitment to choosing paint colours to liaising with guests that no two days are the same and that’s what keeps it exciting and challenging.
I have recently been promoted to director of the company which now owns and manages 12 boutique cottages alongside The Lansdowne. With over £5 million pounds worth of investment to date, fabulous customer service and a growing team of talent there is still a lot to look forward to.
You have twelve properties in total, do you have any particular favourites or any unique features you can tell us about?
We try to add a quirky touch to all of our properties so that they stand out and provide a unique home from home for our customers. I love Darly Cottage in Bourton on the Water with its very own ‘Pimms Garden’ and also Magnolia Cottage in Moreton in Marsh with its huge inglenook fire place and beautiful magnolia tree sheltering the back garden which at the moment is full of gorgeous Spring flowers.
Not all of your properties are cottages though – you also have The Lansdowne in Bourton-on-the-Water, an award-winning guest house with fourteen gorgeous bedrooms. Tell us a little about it and that award!
We are so proud of The Lansdowne Boutique bedrooms with breakfast. We actually have two very prestigious awards. One being the Eviivo Multi Property Wizard award which had over 600 entrants across all categories from the likes of Arkell’s Brewery. The award highlighted our excellent customer service, efficiency, management and personalised approach to self catering holiday lets. The Lansdowne has also been awarded the Visit England Gold Award. This is one of the highest accolades recognised by the country’s national tourist board. A huge part of the experience at The Lansdowne is our exceptional breakfast. All of our ingredients are sourced locally and cooked from fresh each morning by our resident chef.
Tell us a bit about what goes on behind the scenes at CCG – how much work goes into preparing the properties ready for your guests?
This year we decided to bring all of our cottage cleaning in house. This has required a restructure of our original team, creating more positions within the company and streamlining the service and quality of our guest experience.
The day to day management is 24/7. We deal with guest enquiries/special requests/recommendations, marketing, cleaning, maintenance issues and staffing. It’s a huge team effort to ensure all of the properties are ready on time with all those thoughtful gestures you just don’t get from the big agencies. Fresh lilles for a 60th birthday surprise, a last minute babysitter, private chef or just the flexibility of a short stay or a late check out. We are always on hand to enhance our guest’s stay in our cottages.
Tell us about your locally sourced welcome hampers, we hear you’re on the lookout for new local suppliers?
Our welcome hampers are a recent addition to welcome back guests from what has essentially been 12 months of restrictions and limited travel.
We wanted to showcase some of the fabulous local products and give guests something to take away with them. We are always looking to enhance/improve what we offer to customers. Personally I’d love an organic selection of locally produced jams and honey and a really good bottle of locally sourced wine.
Your properties are so beautifully decorated – do you manage the interior design all by yourselves?
We furnish and redecorate all of the cottages ourselves. We don’t have any formal training in interior design and we let the ‘feel’ of the cottage dictate how we dress it so they are all very much unique in style. I love the Farrow and Ball off white colours and also experimenting with a mixture of antiques, upcycled furniture and local handmade pieces.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future you can tell us about?
We have just had an offer accepted on a very large property right in the heart of the Cotswolds. It will take our portfolio up to 13 cottages. The house will sleep 12-14 guests and will be undergoing a stylish refurbishment to ensure it’s the ultimate place to host large groups of friends and family gatherings.
Cotswold Cottage Gems are currently offering a 10% discount when you book directly with them using the contact details below. You can also use the details below to enquire about becoming a supplier for their locally sourced welcome hampers.
Cotswold Cottage Gems
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