Dormy House is a hotel I’ve longed to visit. Although I hadn’t been myself, I was confident in recommending the hotel to our very good friends Max and Grace who wanted a chilled-out weekend with a spa. I honestly couldn’t think of anywhere else other than Dormy House that would fit the bill. They both came back absolutely delighted, stress-free and Grace was singing the hotels’ praises. I was delighted for them both and I knew that one day, I too would have to visit this gorgeous country house hotel in the Cotswolds.
That day was Sunday 26th May, our wedding anniversary. I was so happy and excited to be spending the weekend with my husband who has himself been stressed to the hilt launching his new business. What I was looking forward to the most was dinner at Mo, Dormy’s exciting new interactive dining experience which has seen rave reviews in the three months it’s been open and the spa of course; being pampered is one of life’s luxuries after all.
Dormy House is part of Farncombe Estate in the village of Broadway in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside about 5 minutes from Moreton-in-Marsh. Privately owned Farncombe is home to another two hotels, The Fish and Foxhill Manor, Dormy House is the only hotel with a spa. Each hotel offers something quite different but one thing’s for sure, they’re all super stylish, cosy and luxurious but still retaining that country farmhouse feel and the service is quite special too. Visitors’ staying at Dormy House have priority over the House Spa and Mo restaurant but guests staying at Foxhill Manor can take a private shuttle to Dormy to use the spa facilities.
The estate itself is a 400-acre rural idyll, sprawling countryside for those long country walks, rambling and cycle trails are within the estate, you may even spot some animals as the hotel aims to raise its own livestock to be used by their hotels. This is a weekend break like no other where total relaxation is the order of the day. One thing that I love about Farncombe is their commitment to a greener way of living. Their ethos is sustainability, some examples are how they convert their waste cooking oil into biodiesel to power their plant equipment and how they process timber from their own woodlands and using energy efficient exterior lighting. Protecting the environment matters a great deal to Farncombe, it really is a unique place to stay.
As we pulled up to this grand country house, an immediate sense of wonder and curiosity took over. I was bursting with excitement hungry to investigate every nook and cranny of Dormy House. We arrived about lunch time, door to door, it only took about two hours. The last hour was mainly driving through beautiful Cotswolds countryside as a result of coming off the motorway earlier than we anticipated.
Inside, Dormy House was just as I expected. Beautiful cottage-like panelled wood interiors blending harmoniously with the more modern shabby-chic look of the reception and lobby. Furthermore, three very different sitting rooms add to the relaxing ambience of Dormy House.
One is an inviting warm and relaxing space with a huge stone log fire, I can imagine being cocooned in its warmth sipping on hot chocolate in the winter while the other is just like a regal stately home.
The moment we sat down to check in, we were greeted with a glass of prosecco each, it was such a lovely touch and made us feel very welcome.
We were shown around our Top-Notch room, which was magnificent, it literally took my breath away.
The hotel has a category of three room types – standard, suites and hot tub suites. There are a variety of four room types in the standard category, our Top-Notch room was the largest and most luxurious of the standard rooms. Dormy House also offers a choice of six suites, with names such as The Den, The Snug, The Loft and The Attic, they sound so inviting, we promised each other next time, we’ll book a suite.
The hotel’s Courtyard Hot Tub Suite has its very own hot tub on a private courtyard outside and there’s also a stand-alone cottage called Rose Cottage again with a hot tub full of character and floral interiors.
Dormy House has a very Hygge feel to it with Scandinavian touches and clean lines thanks to the origins of the Nordic Sorensen family who own Farncombe Estate hence the Hot Tub Suites. Having stayed in Finnish Lapland, I know that Scandinavians love their sauna’s and hot tubs!
The Top-Notch room is full of country elegance with exposed beams and vaulted ceiling, antique touches everywhere including a magnificent wardrobe and contemporary chandeliers, it was simply gorgeous; the feature is definitely the large four-poster bed. It was so high; I could have done with a stool to climb into it, but it was super comfy with a real majestic feel to it thanks to its dramatic canopy.
The room’s beautifully sophisticated cream and light olive furnishings and fabrics gives the room a light and airy feel. We even had our own terrace-come-patio which overlooked the herb garden.
Equipped with the usual TV, internet, a super-cool retro-style radio and even an iPad, modern touches are still necessary! We also had use of a Nespresso coffee machine and a jar of ginger biscuits.
I’m always excited to see the bathroom just in case there’s a separate shower and I was very happy to see that there was.
So often when I stay in luxury hotels, I find the bathrooms are a real let-down because they don’t have individual showers; I feel passionately that every hotel room should have this available, it’s not even a luxury, it’s a necessity.
The deep bathtub had something I’ve never seen before, a really impressive wall-mounted waterfall spout able to fill the bath very quickly; the shower was so powerful complete with separate attachment and fresh smelling spa toiletries in the eve. This is how I want my bathroom to be when I move to a new house and preferably complete with en-suite!
The only bug I have is that there isn’t an extendable magnifying mirror which is essential for precise make-up application, I found it very difficult to get up close to the mirror because the sink is so wide. If the hotel can make some adjustments and add this accessory, it will make us ladies very happy…. even men who might want to get a good close shave in.
I had an hour-long spa treatment booked at 3:30pm so, mindful of the time, we decided to have a quick lunch in the Potting Shed, the hotels’ casual pub-style restaurant. The large bar area is the centre piece of the Potting Shed where you can just have drinks if you like, it’s laid back, warm and cosy and the perfect spot for lunch, a pint or glass of wine to while away some time. Traditional pub fare is the order of the day at The Potting Shed but not just any old pub food, it’s creative using locally sourced meat and ingredients whether you choose to have a steak, traditional pie, fish & chips or meltingly tender pork belly.
Mr A and I decided on Corn-fed Chicken Kiev with parsley mash and seasonal green vegetables for me and an organic home-made Bowser’s Burger with all the trimmings, triple cooked fat chips and a side of sweet potato fries. We only had water to drink as there was a chilled bottle of champagne in our room waiting to be opened and we knew there would be even more booze at Mo. The food at The Potting Shed was satisfying and delicious, it really hit the spot as we were both famished after the journey to Dormy.
We headed back to the room as Mr A took a well-earned rest while I got ready for my indulgent pedicure at the spa. I changed into a comfy bathrobe and gingerly walked down to the spa trying to go unnoticed, it’s not every day you wander around in your bathrobe. The state-of-the-art spa is exquisite, a soothing aroma of scented candles wafting through the lobby, it’s a serene tranquil space. It’s no surprise that it consistently wins awards including the 2018 Good Spa Awards.
I was accompanied round to the Green House, the spa’s organic restaurant, it’s a blissful sanctuary away from the rest of the hotel where you can unwind while enjoying healthy nutritious lunches, fresh juices and soothing teas. While I was completing my consultation form, I was offered a vibrant energising shot of fresh carrot and mango juice which was just what I needed.
The Nail Parlour itself is a super luxurious space adorned with dozens of bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne, it’s a sea of yellow matching the champagnes’ label. Comfy chairs have blankets thrown over them should you feel a touch chilly and a glorious blaze of nail colours were on display.
I settled into the comfort of the plush chair to relax and enjoy my luxurious one hour pedicure which is offered with a glass or two of champagne. A huge grumble here, I was not offered any champagne which was disappointing even though my therapist and I were literally discussing the stunning display of champagne bottles!! The Nail Parlour make a point of mentioning a glass of bubby while being pampered and I was looking forward to a glass especially as it was my anniversary – make sure you’re not shy about asking for champagne when you visit the Nail Parlour.
When I was finished, I was accompanied back to the Green House where I was offered a glass of water and a refreshing scoop of watermelon sorbet, did I say it’s the little touches that make Dormy House so magical?
I was in two minds whether I should have a cup of tea, the view out to the gardens is so beautiful and it’s not often I get to have some me-time, but I was eager to get back to Mr A. The House Spa at Dormy House is available to the hotels’ guests as well as to those staying at Foxhill Manor. There’s an array of super-lux treatments with enticing names such as Diamond Energy and Diamond Life Infusion Ritual or how about a Champagne and Truffles Crème de la Crème facial, Mud Rooms for detoxifying mud treatments such as a Turkish Delight and all-over body balancing and harmonising massages and all over scrubs. There are special Spa Days that can be booked where the emphasis is solely on you – a day of pampering treatments and pure indulgence. The spa has a 16m heated infinity pool with special family slots you can book in advance and wet and dry thermal suites to enjoy a hot juniper and lavender infused Finnish-style sauna and there’s even a fitness suite!
I felt completely mellow and chilled as I walked back to our beautiful Top-Notch room with a good two and a half hours before dinner at the amazing Mo Restaurant. We opened the bottle of chilled champagne and if my toe nails weren’t wet, I would have filled the bath up to enjoy a long hot soak, instead, I sat back on our sumptuous four-poster bed as we sipped on glasses of champagne and toasted our anniversary, 28 years married today.
Mo Restaurant was just the most fun I’ve had in a long, long time. Offering a unique and intimate dining experience, a 7-course tasting menu is enjoyed in the company of 12 other diners while the talented chefs unleash their culinary skills coming up with an exciting and imaginative up-to-10-dish tasting menu. There are always a couple of little extra surprises in the menu to excite and delight and an extra dish at a supplement plus wine pairings or Wine Flight which complemented each dish beautifully. The evening which spanned over four hours was full of laughter in the company of some amazing people enjoying the most inventive tasting menu I’ve had in a long time.
The next morning, we relaxed back in our magnificent bed with a cup of tea and made some plans while looking forward to breakfast deciding to take a walk through the estate before leaving for home.
Breakfast at Dormy House is served in the Back Garden restaurant, which by the way is an alternative restaurant to enjoy dinner serving a more traditional three course menu and of course there’s The Potting Shed for casual dining. The Back Garden overlooks the herb and vegetable garden which was being attended to by the resident gardeners.
Breakfast is a self-serve buffet with cereals, cheese, yoghurts, bircher muesli, pastries, sourdough bread and a selection of jams and honey plus a fresh fruit juice bar. There’s also a gluten-free section which I’ve never seen that in a hotel before. As well as having something from the buffet selection, you are also able to order a hot breakfast from the menu at no extra charge.
I had a “semi-English breakfast” a sausage, flat mushroom and scrambled eggs which were creamy and soft, and Mr A had rich buttery Eggs Benedict with perfect poached eggs. Breakfast was just what the doctor ordered to nurse a couple of slight headaches, we talked about the fun we had the night before and how much we’d like to make this a yearly tradition. What I also loved about breakfast is tea, English Breakfast made using proper tea leaves in a pot! not a tea bag in sight. We rounded off breakfast with a pot of freshly brewed coffee, it was the perfect end and offered a much-needed caffeine kick.
Our anniversary break was sadly coming to an end, we took a long walk in the grounds before heading back up to our room to pack. When we checked out, we were offered a small goody bag of water and dark and white chocolate cookies “for our journey home” I love the special little touches at Dormy House.
Our stay at Dormy House was simply perfect, outstanding; we loved every minute of it. It’s the ideal weekend getaway as it’s not that far from London and with the addition of the spa, it’s the perfect place to lie back and relax leaving the cares of the world behind. With gorgeous food at a choice of three restaurants, I really recommend you try Mo, it makes for an unforgettable evening with exquisite food. Dormy House has become my new favourite destination, Mr A and I both agree that “we MUST make this a yearly treat”. I just can’t wait to come again specially to eat at Mo which was the highlight of the whole weekend for us.
Dormy House is everything I expected it to be and more, is it any wonder it’s won Country House Hotel of the Year and overall Hotel of the Year in the Small Luxury Hotels of the World 2017.
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Dormy House Hotel
All photo’s unless mentioned are my own, opinions are my own.