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MARKET MARVELS: Caryn Hibbert, owner, Thyme

Caryn Hibbert

This year, Thyme hit the hospitality headlines when Anthony Cox, former GM at Danesfield House stepped in to take the helm of the ‘village within a village’ in Southrop on the cusp of the Cotswolds, as business began to build. Boutique Hotelier had already visited of course, and was suitably wowed by the concept.

Caryn Hibbert and her film director husband Jerry moved to Southrop Manor 17 years ago, leaving behind a career as an obstetrician and gynaecologist in London. She created the concept for Thyme in 2003 with her inventor father Michael Bertoili and they then started renovating the derelict buildings attached to their family home, without ‘really having a plan’.

Slow and steady, the business began to form over the next few years, spearheaded by the creative innovation and eye for detail of Caryn. Now, Thyme has 31 bedrooms, situated in the Georgian rectory, The Lodge, The Farmhouse and the cottages around the courtyard. A spa has been created, complete with pure water swimming pool and a cookery school, where business first found traction.

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The old lambing sheds have been transformed into The BAA.

At the heart of the estate are its principal buildings, the Tithe and the new 56-seater Ox Barn restaurant, which was unveiled last year following the transformation of a former stables.

Caryn’s son, Charlie, heads up the kitchen at Thyme and the operation at the Ox Barn in his first position as head chef.

Thyme has been created out of a genuine love of sustainable living with the site’s gardens an integral thread of the DNA for the business. The next 12 months will be crucial in establishing a foothold in the market. “Now it’s all finished we need to be operational; this year we can build our voice, it’s baby steps,” says Caryn.

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Thyme

Bedrooms: 31

Facilities: Spa, cookery school, Tithe Barn, Ox Barn restaurant, the Baa.

Website: www.thyme.co.uk

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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