Injecting a dash of celebrity design into one of the Cotswolds most popular hotels

Interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is known for his lavish and flamboyant styling and he's lived up to his reputation in a remarkable revamp of five bedrooms at The Dial House in Bourton-on-the-Water.

By Emma Luther  |  Published

The Dial House in Bourton-on-the-Water has undergone its biggest bedroom makeover by none other than Cotswolds interior design television star Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

With five fresh colourful looks based on historic icons including Oscar Wilde, Owen Jones, Walter Crane, Aubrey Beardsley and May Morris, the rooms have proved hugely popular since their launch in August 2022.

SoGlos caught up with hotel manager Karl Newman to find out more about the inspiration and story behind the lavish look guests are loving.

How popular are the rooms? Does one get more bookings than others?

All of the redesigned rooms are very popular because of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's influence — he has a big presence. People want to stay in these beautiful revamped rooms.

The colourful bedroom inspired by May Morris, the daughter of William Morris, is definitely the favourite. People love the headboard which looks like a bookcase.

What kind of feedback do you get from guests on the rooms?

We love hearing how comfortable they find the rooms and how they relish seeing the river from their room. We often get a lot of praise for the location in the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water as well and the feeling they describe of being in someone's house — not a hotel. The new bedrooms really add to that feeling of individuality.

And it's not just guests who are singing our praises. We're proud to have a great relationship with our neighbours, who live just across the road. Since we took over the hotel just over a year ago and changed the atmosphere and audience, they've called it 'the rise of The Dial House'.

What did it mean to have Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen design the rooms for you? And how did the partnership come about?

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is an ambassador for the hotel owner Pimol Srivikorn's furniture and carpet company, TCM Living.

TCM Living furniture is used throughout the tipi and Llewelyn-Bowen's designs spill out on to the parasols dotted throughout the garden. Llewelyn-Bowen is a friend of the hotel and visits at least once a month. He has a close relationship with the team — he's a really nice guy.

Did you get the transformation because you wanted to do something decidedly different from the traditional Cotswolds aesthetic?

We wanted something that was playful. The hotel was built in 1698 and is full of quirk and character. 

It's not your typical Cotswold hotel and when Llewelyn-Bowen launched his maximalism range it was also the perfect time for a revamp here, especially as the owner's wife is called Maxi! It was an obvious choice, made sense and it's working very well.

The hotel is run as a family business and we're not corporate in any way, the staff don't have uniforms and their own personality shines through. The maximalism makeover links in with this sense of individuality.

Have you noticed any changes in tourism to the Cotswolds since the pandemic?

Our day business of people popping in for food and drink is huge. We are a foodie place and we have a great cocktail and street food ambiance as well as more fine dining style dishes in the classic Cotswolds restaurant.

People see us as a food and drink venue with rooms and we are absolutely flying. 

It's interesting to see that events are now such a big thing. People developed a passion for partying in their houses during the pandemic and now with our tipi they can party with us in our gorgeous garden.

I would definitely say that after the pandemic, tourism is flying. We're not witnessing any cost of living crisis at The Dial House — people are here to have a good time and celebrate living!

More on The Dial House

More from Visit