On the outside, Dormy House hotel – a boutique stay in the Cotswolds’ – is as quintessentially English as the clotted-cream-topped, jam-slathered scones in the genteel afternoon tea it serves. This photogenic farmhouse may be 17th century, but interiors guru Emily Todhunter has adroitly updated the rooms into cosy mid-century modern design dens, with bright geometric prints and Scandinavian-style furnishings; combined with garden-graced views they’re set for cool countryside romance. The hotel even has its own exclusive-use manor; add locally sourced fare in the restaurant and an upper-crust country pub and you have the ideal laid-back yet blue-blooded bolthole.
Get this when you book through us:
A scented candle – designed exclusively for Dormy House – in your room; GoldSmiths also receive a plate of handmade chocolates
Thirty-eight, including 10 suites. A five-minute drive from the main building, Foxhill Manor has eight rooms and can also be booked for exclusive house parties.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Early arrivals can stash their luggage and head to one of three lounges.
Double rooms from $223.74 (£179), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
A full English breakfast and a buffet is included in the room rate, with pastries, meats and cheeses and cereal; cooked options include eggs benedict with smoked salmon or kippers.
Need a bucolic breather? Ask reception for the key to the secret Japanese-themed garden, tucked away on the Farncombe Estate. Dormy House also offers a range of luxury hampers for garden jaunts, too.
At the hotel
Spa, gardens, lounge, two gyms, CD and DVD library and free WiFi. In-room: flatscreen TV, tablet computer, Nespresso machine, kettle and teas, alarm clock, free bottled water and Temple Spa bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The rose-hued Attic sits resplendent in the eaves, secluded in the Farmhouse, with whitewashed beams and plentiful shower space – including two shower seats for very intimate tête-à-têtes with your chosen Smith. Write-home-worthy detailing isn’t skimped on in the smaller rooms either; The Emily Todhunter-designed Comfy Room interiors range from regal mulberry walls with minimalist four-poster beds to calm caramel and taupe tones.
The spa has a sleek 16m infinity-edged pool, lit by candles encased in glass to add a touch of romance to your backstroke. Children are welcome in the pool and Greenhouse Café from 9am to 10.30am and 4pm to 5.30pm; at other times, it's adults only.
The sleek, Scandi-chic House Spa sprawls over several floors. There are two gyms: one for a leisurely work out and the Studio for pre-booked personal-training sessions. The thermal suite comprises of a hot juniper sauna, mild Cotswold lavender sauna, an experience shower and a salt-infusion therapy room, and a rhassoul-mud room and outdoor hot tub are a pampering preamble to the host of Temple Spa treatments on offer in the six serenely styled rooms (including a 'couple's closet'). Try truffle-rich facials and massage oils infused with ginger, bergamot and geranium, then head upstairs for a spot of grooming at the Veuve Clicquot nail bar and a health-packed lunch on the Greenhouse's terrace. Be sure to book your treatments in advance, though.
A pair of Muck boots for rustic rambling. Leave your tablet computer at home; all rooms have one and in this sublime spot you’ll want to gaze at the view rather than a screen anyway.
All public areas are wheelchair accessible and there are two disabled-access rooms (both are Comfy rooms).
Dogs over one year old can stay for £30 a night each. The Comfy-category room 32, and 35 in the Danish Court building are pet-friendly, and bowls, baskets, a pet menu, dog sitting and welcome pack are provided. Pets are not allowed in communal areas. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cotswolds.
Kids get goodie bags at check-in, and there's a creative kids’ menu that's tailored to under-12s. Plenty of kit is offered and babysitting is £15 an hour.
Babies, toddlers and juniors. Animal lovers and tractor- or train-enthusiasts will find lots to love in the surrounding countryside.
The spacious Den has a lounge, and extra beds (£40 a night for 4–12 year olds; £60 for 13–16 year olds) or cots can be added to some Comfy and Splendid rooms and suites (ask when booking).
The sprawling Farncombe Estate gives children a 400-acre playground, with a secret garden to explore. Nearby there are plenty of boredom-beating activities, including Cotswold Farm Park (run by Countryfile’s Adam Henson), where kids can frolic with small animals, drive tractors and learn about kidding and shearing. The Falconry Centre, All Things Wild Nature Centre and Cotswolds’ Riding are all within eight miles of the hotel, allowing for more outdoor exploits, and the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is a stunning antique steam train that will thrill Thomas the Tank Engine fans.
Children are allowed in the Garden Room restaurant, but they may feel more comfortable dining in the Potting Shed. A well-considered kids’ menu offers orzo pasta, grilled salmon, a stir-fry and crêpes, and high chairs, booster seats and baby-changing facilities are available. Meals can be customised to your child’s taste and staff are happy to heat milk and baby food.
Short-notice babysitting can be booked through reception, charged at £15 an hour.
No need to pack
The hotel may supply plenty of baby kit, including high chairs and booster seats, but be sure to stash a few favoured toys in your suitcase – these can’t be borrowed from reception.
On arrival, children are given a Dormy passport and a goodie bag.
If you only have eyes for each other choose a secluded corner table; otherwise ogle the view from a window seat (or one on the terrace if it’s sunny).
Buffed-up bumpkin: put aside pressed collars and slip into chinos; well-cut Margaret Howell-style corduroys, knits and shift dresses will serve Mrs Smith well.
The hotel's restaurants are helmed by head chef Sam Bowser, whose skills helped whisk him through the ranks in some of the country's most acclaimed kitchens, where he worked alongside industry heavyweights like Raymond Blanc, Philip Howard and Michel Roux Jr. The Potting Shed menu is more down to earth, but its offerings are no less delicious – expect wholesome, hearty dishes like roast duck, smoked haddock and pork belly. Tucked away in the spa, the Greenhouse serves wholesome lunches and tempting cakes; on a sunny day, its tree-circled terrace makes a peaceful spot for afternoon tea. The Back Garden highlights the best of the Cotswolds with slow foods, locally grown greens and rare-breed meats. Start with the fish of the day or duck Wellington and save room for orange marmalade soufflé with toast ice cream or a variety of rhubarb-based desserts. At MO guests (only 12 at a time) can settle in for a modern seven-course tasting menu that focuses on sustainable, seasonal ingredients.
The Potting Shed is a country pub that’s been tidied up around the edges – retro flooring, a spectacular conical skylight and architectural chandeliers denote a departure from the average British boozer. However, down-to-earth pub grub – replete with sharing platters – a selection of local Real Ales and a sociable seating plan show it hasn’t forgotten its rustic roots.
Breakfast from 7.30am to 10am daily; dinner from 7pm to 9.30pm Wednesday to Sunday nights and Sunday lunch from noon to 2.30pm. Snacks are served all day in the lounge. In the Potting Shed pub, lunch is from noon to 2.30pm, and dinner from 6pm to 9.30pm.
Room service can be ordered 24 hours a day. All it takes is the touch of a button on your in-room tablet to send staff scurrying to your door with silver-cloche-covered sharing platters and meals made with fresh local fare.
Dormy House sits deep in Cotswolds’ countryside, just a wellie-clad wander from Broadway village and a half-hour scenic drive to Stratford-upon-Avon.
The closest international hub is Birmingham Airport (www.birminghamairport.co.uk), an hour’s drive away. Bristol Airport is a 90-minute drive from the hotel and London hubs are further afield: London Heathrow is 82 miles away; Gatwick, 117.
Moreton-in-Marsh railway station is the closest, a 14-minute drive from the hotel. First Great Western trains (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) arrive direct from London Paddington in 90 minutes, Reading in an hour and Oxford in 40 minutes.
If you’re travelling from London, reach the hotel by the M40 and the A44, take the Saintbury turn off and you’ll see signs for the hotel. From Birmingham take the M42 and A46. Birmingham and Bristol airports and London terminals have car-hire kiosks and you’ll be glad of a set of wheels while staying in these eye-candy-filled environs.
To feel like true landed gentry the hotel can arrange for you to swoop in on a helicopter, or you can bring your own; the helipad coordinates are: Longitude W150.32.18/ N522.4.12.
Worth getting out of bed for
It’s a tough call to peel back your designer eiderdown and leave the cosiness of your room while staying at Dormy House hotel, but the call of the Cotswolds will tempt you outside. Even a simple country stroll or bike ride becomes a decadent affair when you take a Dormy House hamper (filled with sandwiches, cakes and champagne), and bike and helmet hire can be arranged at reception; customised maps are also on-hand. If heading further afield, the hotel can hire a classic car for you to zip up and down evergreen lanes and village hop. Broadway’s Gordon Russell Design Museum and dinky shops are a five-minute drive away, but it’s easy to see several of these bijou bucolic spots in a day: browse arts and crafts in Chipping Campden, antique hunt in Stow-on-the-Wold, stop at stately Sudeley Castle in winsome Winchcombe and prop up the bar in one of Burford’s wisteria-clad country inns. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also a haven for historic homes; a 15-minute drive away sits Snowshill Manor, a lavishly decorated house with an impressive collection of conversation starters – the legacy of artist and poet Charles Paget Wade – including stuffed animals, samurai armour and a penny farthing, which you can ride if you wish. A half-hour drive away, you’ll arrive at inescapably Shakespearean Stratford-upon-Avon, which has plenty of attractions honouring its native son – the best of a bard bunch includes Shakespeare’s birthplace, where Charles Dickens and John Keats have paid homage to the playwright. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is also well worth a visit, it’s here that Shakespeare courted his future missus – try some Tudor-style moves on your fellow Smith, with a stroll through the romantic lavender-scented gardens. Alternatively a half-hour southwesterly drive will bring you to Georgian spa town Cheltenham where horse-racing holds sway in March each year, and cultural festivals pop up as often as historic landmarks. If driving of a different kind floats your boat, Broadway Golf Club is on Dormy House’s doorstep. Guests can purchase membership for a day – for nine or 18-hole sessions – and competent golfers are preferred; however, lessons are available for greenhorns if needed.
Childswickham Inn & Brasserie is an ancient eatery with a touch of cosmopolitan chic. Lavender-coloured slatted-wood walls and exposed beams entice you into one of many cosy cubbyholes to gorge on fine pub grub. Smith stablemate, The Lygon Arms, a 10-minute drive from the hotel, has a 17th-century restaurant housed in a vaulted minstrel's gallery. Wolf down seasonal platters and pies, and plenty of game, under exposed beams, before digging into the cocktail menu, which is laced with whisky and soused with spiced rum. Locally sourced ingredients are par for the course in this farm-filled area, but none more so than the Seagrave Arms; bring a map of the Cotswolds along and the chef can point out where everything on your plate comes from. Serving Gloucester Old Spot pork, Dexter beef and Cotswolds’ lamb, diners get a true taste of the region; the bar's ales also hail from bijou breweries, just a cobble's throw away. The Horse and Groom is a honey-hued village pub with a stylish menu of refined rustic fare.
Housed in one of Broadway’s limestone cottages, the Market Pantry's (+44 (0)1386 858318) whitewashed chairs and gingham cloths evoke an Edwardian kitchen. Here tartines, toasties and cream teas are served beside a glass-domed menagerie of cakes and pastries; all portions are generously sized, and it’s just an eight-minute drive from the hotel.
Pubs in this area pretty much have one speed – laid-back country local – but this is no bad thing, especially when they're as good as the Swan Broadway – crumbly stone walls? Check. Roaring fire? Check. A carefully considered menu? Check. This Worcestershire wonder is the kind of stumbled-upon unpretentious pub you came all the way here for.
Driving through Gloucestershire and then Worcestershire’s winding country lanes, we felt the anticipation bubbling. This was a special weekend to celebrate Mr Smith’s birthday and, quietly, I felt pressure, as I wanted everything to be heavenly. In true British style, it rained pretty much the entire journey from London to the Cotswolds, but funnily enough this didn’t dampen spirits in the slightest and only made us more excited for what lay ahead. Once we saw the village of Broadway, we knew that we were close. Fresh air gushed in through the windows along with the promise of a weekend of relaxation. Pulling into the gravelled driveway of Dormy House, we felt shoulders loosening.
If you harbour arriviste ambitions, but are too easy-going to affect Astor-style airs and graces, luxe yet laid-back Dormy House will be right up your tree-lined lane. From the moment you step out of the car, a lovely doorman appears to carry your bags. Everyone who works at Dormy House is smiley and patient – as we discovered when we repeatedly got lost trying to find our room in the main house (not that it was hard, we were just too relaxed to pay attention). There's nothing like feeling like royalty, before you’ve even stepped foot in the hotel.
After check-in, we were given a guided tour on the way to our room. Every space is charming and full of character, with little details that make you feel at home – log fire crackling in reception, and a cute owl hanging heavily off our room key. This 17th-century farmhouse has retained its rustic charm with crumbly limestone walls – in the Cotswolds’ trademark honey hue – and exposed beams, but has been sympathetically updated by Todhunter Earle. They’ve played fast and loose with the past – to great effect – adding bold 1950s-style wallpaper prints and fabrics, and a few well-chosen pieces of mid-century modern furniture.
Jazz music playing softly on the radio welcomed us into our room in the main house. The bed was so comfortable, it’s a wonder we did anything other than sleep. Thankfully a miniature jar of fresh milk in our fridge inspired us to perk up with a cup of tea, while admiring the view from our window over rolling, green fields. We’d barely unpacked before we’d donned our shawl-collared bathrobes from the gleaming ensuite to head down to the oh-so-pretty House Spa.
A beautiful space with a garden-view café and nail bar upstairs, there’s also a world of relaxation below. There’s a bubbly heated hydro pool on an outdoor terrace, and a glowing amethyst-hued indoor infinity pool flanked by huge, supremely soft sand-coloured sofa beds and glossy magazines begging to be lazily flicked through amid the tranquil atmosphere. Pick between the glass-walled lavender-infused pool-view sauna, and a Finnish junipery number; a sea-salty steamy hammam, and the tropical showers are as glamorous as places to sweat or splash can be. We already felt floaty and we hadn’t even had our couples massage yet… Warmly welcomed into a sprawling suite with heated couches, Mr Smith and I agreed this is what heaven must resemble.
After our treatments we glided down to dinner at the Garden Room. The statement on their Modern British menu is to serve the best food around, and after eating there I can confidently say, ‘mission accomplished’. Everything our charming waitress recommended was delicious. Then we planted ourselves on our bed and ordered a movie from the in-room tablet, which even has extra options such as popcorn and ice-cream delivered to your room along with the film. Feeling stuffed and indulged, we drifted off to sleep soundly.
Breakfast the next morning was just as much of a joy: eggs any way you like, freshly squeezed juices, so many cheeses from the surrounding farms. And presented with sweet hand-written tags here and there, in the light-filled dining room. Afternoon tea at the hotel’s own art-directed pub, the Potting Shed, was also a dream. Ingredients felt as though they’d properly travelled straight from field to fork. As loathe as we were to, we did break free from Dormy’s loving clutches to explore Farncombe Estate to admire the perfect country scene, with roaming deer and contented-looking Vale of Evesham lambs. (They obviously have yet to see the Potting Shed menu.)
A cache of chocolate-box villages lie within a half-hour drive of the hotel, and a stroll through the well-tended 400-acre estate offers the kind of Arcadian inspiration that the area’s eminent former residents – which include Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen and JRR Tolkien – must have felt while a wandering. Our aim for the perfect weekend away was well and truly achieved, and I have to thank the people, luxuries and atmosphere of Dormy House earning me huge girlfriend points. Quite honestly, it was rather hard to tear ourselves away at the end of our stay. We were made to feel so at home, it was a little bit like the feeling of fleeing the nest: you know you have to do it but it’s just so warm and cosy. Our consolation is knowing that we’ll be sure to return soon for some real ale in the Potting Shed or a meal of artfully prepared local produce in the Garden Room restaurant – at the very least.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Dormy House’s Guestbook below.
The welcome on arrival and the genuine greeting – the reception staff member was very helpful and informative. I was shown around the property and asked if I needed any more help or information. The spa has outstanding facilities and very professional spa staff who work hard to ensure you enjoy your experience. A swim in the 16-metre infinitely pool is a must and the experiences are incredible. I loved the spa garden, the outdoor tub and the spa restaurant and café. The lavender sauna is a first in the UK and a lovely experience; the salt room very large and comfortable. A five-star spa that is one of the best in the UK. Thank you so much for a relaxing bank holiday weekend.
A lot of families and children as this is an adults hotel. The grounds are small but immaculately kept and very peaceful.
Stayed on 26 Aug 2019
Everything – it was perfect in every way.
Stayed on 12 Jul 2019
This hotel is beautiful – lots of little extra touches to make you feel special. The staff are polite, attentive and friendly. Highly recommend for a quiet weekend away.
Shops, pubs, etc. It's in the middle of Cotswold countryside.
Stayed on 14 Jun 2019
The spa area at Dormy House was brilliant – very relaxing and a perfect treat to chill out.
Anything too lively!
ByAnn Marie, BlackSmith
Stayed on 30 May 2019
The great setting and the friendly staff, who were very good with our dogs. The spa is fantastic.
There aren't enough dedicated bins around for dog owners.
Stayed on 8 May 2019
The whole feel of the hotel is luxurious and soothing from start to finish. We loved the spa and had a couples massage which was excellent. We stayed in an intimate room which we found spotlessly clean and equipped with all the necessary things and much more including an anniversary card for myself and my partner. Dinner at Mo, the exclusive dining experience, was the highlight of the stay and comes highly recommended. Above all, the staff were incredibly polite, accommodating and pleasant. I couldn't recommend this hotel more and we will definitely be returning!
To want to leave!
Stayed on 3 May 2019
Us Smiths are not always easy to please. However, the Dormy changed all that. All the staff we had contact with were courteous, kind and professional. We stayed in Attic 3, a beautiful room with plenty of space and a fabulous shower with (yes) two rain showers. Naughty but ok. The dining in all the restaurants was excellent and finished nicely with dessert by the fire in one of the three lounges. The spa at the Dormy is amongst the finest we've experienced. The massages were heavenly. The hotel manager, Pim, was at front of house so easily contactable and very informative and chatty. Superb.
...anything negative. This is a professionally run business.
Stayed on 22 Apr 2019
It's one of those places we don't really want to tell people about because it was so perfect! It was heavenly, peaceful and beautifully designed. Every member of staff we met was extremely helpful. The food was lovely, from the breakfast to the cream tea to the 'Mo' chefs experience that we treated ourselves to, which was excellent value for money. The spa was gorgeous and the treatment was the best I have ever had. We took a long walk into Broadway - and we were given lots of 'route' options from reception. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the bed- the most comfortable! We loved the home-made biscuits and fruit in the room.
Party central - however if you were with a group it would be a great place to host an occasion. To be disturbed! Even breakfast is served until 11am so you can have a lovely lie in too.
Stayed on 24 Mar 2019
The log fires with burnt continuously. The excellent food. The Attic Room and evening turn down service. The gyms, spa and pool. The helpful staff who can supply maps and details of walks. The thoughtful leaving bag of water and cookies for our journey.
Lively nights but instead relaxed, quiet evenings.
Stayed on 4 Feb 2019
Spa facilities were good.
Stayed on 23 Dec 2018
I have taken my pillows with me all around the world and had the need for them; here however there was no need. The hotel and room was spotless, the staff were polite, courteous and always available. First hotel in I don't know how long that we both had zero 'it could be better moments'. Highly recommend.
Stayed on 19 Dec 2018
The room was lovely and clean! Amazing bed (so comfortable you wont want to get up); excellent advice from reception re walks in the area. Very nice design ! Spa was comfortable (but a bit busy). Breakfast was good.
The spa is extremely busy – even people who were not in robes were using up the beds so it was hard to lounge there. A couple of errors on the bill (both at the restaurant at dinner but also on the final check – someone else's dinner also added on our bill)
Stayed on 18 Nov 2018
The friendly staff, cosy atmosphere, delicious breakfast, beautiful. Spa and many little attentions that make you feel at home and want to come back again soon.
Stayed on 13 Nov 2018
My wife and I picked Dormy House for a cheeky weekend break. The location is amazing! Located in the middle of the countryside on a quiet country road. The hotel itself looks a quaint farm house and parts of the hotel still are, open fires and low ceilings. But the rest is really modern and well decorated. We stayed in room 3 (The Attic), it was a lovely room with all the facilities you would expect. The bathroom was great with a large bath and a massive shower for two! The spa facilities are great and never seemed overly busy for a weekend, especially loved the outdoor plunge pool! The restaurants were great and the food was very tasty. Overall service was good with attentive staff happy to help. Would definitely return, recommended.
The hotel is described as having two restaurants, the Potting Shed and the Garden Room – which it does – but there is no mention that both restaurants offer the same menu. Luckily we overheard someone mention this when we arrived as we had booked into both restaurants over the weekend. We opted for the tasting menu in the Garden Room which was made up of the standard menu, which means we could have eaten a lot of the tasting menu on the first night without realising!
Stayed on 5 Oct 2018
Everything about the hotel, especially the spa. Our room was lush with our four-poster canopy bed (Room 4). Everything was spotless and beautiful and service with a smile.
Stayed on 7 Sep 2018
The food was a complete surprise. It was outstanding. From the fantastic breakfast to the smoked salmon sandwich we had in our room to the excellent five course tasting menu. The quality of food was superb!
Formality! The whole hotel had a very relaxed unstuffy atmosphere. The perfect country retreat.
Stayed on 24 Aug 2018
The rooms were beautiful, very tranquil and relaxing. The breakfasts were fantastic and the location was ideal for the holiday we wanted, rural and peaceful.
We booked our accommodation late and found the staff very unaccommodating when it came to the spa and restaurant. We were unable to use the spa the entire time as it was fully booked (the pool area is also very small with no space to relax) and we could only eat at the restaurant one night, an issue when the place is so remote. We found out at check-out that there was a sister hotel two minutes down the road we could have stayed at.
Stayed on 20 Aug 2018
We liked the spa facilities and the friendliness of the staff. Room was pleasant and spacious.
Stayed on 14 Aug 2018
The welcome and drink as well as a guided tour. Spa never fails to disappoint. Potting shed meal was delicious and room was superb. We will definitely be back!
To do a lot. This is for relaxing.
Stayed on 12 Aug 2018
Dormy House is a very friendly and happy hotel. We were so chilled and relaxed there that we stayed an extra night. Spa facilities were perfect. Hook restaurant at The Fish Hotel, on the same estate, is a lovely place to eat and drink.
It's a peaceful place so don't expect any nightlife.
Stayed on 31 Jul 2018
The service, it was so personable. Everyone was very accomodating and I came back feeling very relaxed.
Stayed on 27 Jan 2018
The quiet ambience of the hotel – a real escape away and total pampering! Also loved the quality of the food, especially for breakfast. Staff were extremely helpful and the spa was really lovely. Was really nice to visit Burford and Chipping Camden, which have lovely local shopping and nice little cafés for lunch and tea.
Lots of night life. It's nice to eat a good meal and then sit in the lounge sipping a digestif!
Stayed on 14 Nov 2017
Everything...from the moment we arrived to the sad time of leaving. Great service, beautiful spa and little touches from the hotel staff made it the most amazing birthday for my mum. Will 100 per cent recommend to all friends and family and will return ASAP. Broadway, Chipping Camden and Stow on the Wold all lovely to visit.