Foxhill Manor, the little sister and near neighbour of boutique hotel Dormy House is a lot like its sibling, but that little bit, well, boutiquier. With just eight bedrooms, the revitalised Arts and Crafts mansion is a contemporary Cotswolds country home with 400 acres to play in, a kitchen at your beck and call, and a sprinkling of rock-star style (check out the comic-book-collage walls of the cinema room). This off-Broadway showstopper is where you come for a champagne-bucketload of privacy, rolling valley views, and one-step-ahead-of-you service.
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A hot-water bottle handmade in the Cotswolds to take home for each guest
Noon. Earliest check-in 3pm. Guests arriving early or staying after check-out can have lunch, but there’s no early or late access to the spa.
Double rooms from £539.00, including tax at 5 per cent.
Rates include use of the Dormy House spa (and transport there and back), a full breakfast spread of breads and pastries, as well as à la carte options, drinks – alcoholic and soft – and snacks from the trolley and the pantry. Oh, and cake.
Inclement weather or just feeling lazy? Book some time in the screening room, plonk yourself on a Fatboy bean bag and indulge in a spot of home cinema action (with complimentary popcorn, naturally). The Manor has a vast stash of DVDs available and the TV is – excuse us for getting technical here – bloomin’ massive.
Dormy House's House Spa is currently open, but there's a limited treatment menu and guests have to book in advance to use the pool. Dining in the Lounge has been replaced with an at-table service too, and instead of taking treats from the pantry you'll find a bottomless goodie box in your room.
At the hotel
Gardens, screening room (with film selection, consoles and games), ballroom, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, tablet computer, iPod dock, Nespresso machine, kettle, Temple Spa bath products. Wellies are available to borrow, and all the facilities of Dormy House and Farncombe Estate (including the spa, swimming pool, tennis courts and gym) are free to use.
Our favourite rooms
If you’re of a four-poster, twin-clawfoot-tubs-by-the-window, cosy-lounge-area-with original-fireplace sort of bent, you should probably secure the keys to the oh-so-romantic Oak Suite on the ground floor. If, however, you like your hotel rooms to resemble a cross between a rockstar afterparty and a Bedouin tent, head on up to the Maple room on the second floor, which has a king-size bed that can be curtained off from the rest of the room, a massive corner sofa and Fatboy bean bag, and a charming writing desk by the window. Our vote for the best views, however, goes to Birch, which looks out over the Vale of Evesham to the Black Mountains of Wales.
The 16m indoor infinity pool at the Dormy House Spa is two minutes’ drive away (Foxhill staff can shuttle you over), as is its outdoor hot tub.
Foxhill guests can cadge a lift over to Dormy’s award-laden House Spa whenever they fancy, and take advantage of the full-on Scandi-style thermal suite (featuring a Finnish sauna, lavender steam room, thalassotherapy room, experience shower and ice bath), the Veuve Cliquot champagne bar-cum-nail-parlour and six sleek treatment rooms, including a ‘couple’s closet’ for pampering pairs. The array of Temple Spa treatments on offer runs the gamut from grooming and beautifying to relaxingly indulgent. Treat your face to diamonds and black truffle, rejuvenate with a rhassoul mud bath or have yourself massaged into serenity before a healthy (or not) lunch on the Greenhouse terrace.
Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten something – Foxhill’s one of those places where staff will work miracles to ensure you have everything you need. There are wellies to borrow and the kitchen can fix you up with a picnic, but if you’re planning on running or rambling around the grounds, bring suitably outdoorsy attire. (And don’t forget your swimming stuff for use over at Dormy House).
You can book all eight bedrooms for exclusive use (if you want to book more than three rooms, you'll have to take over the whole place, and liaise with the events team). The Juniper bedroom is suitable for guests with mobility issues.
Dogs are welcome in all rooms for £30 a night, which gets them a bed and bowl. They even get to sample the chef’s own cooking, with specially prepared dog food from the Foxhill kitchen. There’s a maximum of two dogs in each room. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cotswolds.
Over-12s are welcome at Foxhill Manor (Dormy House is better for younger kids). The Hazel Suite, which has a separate lounge with a sofa bed, is the best bet for families with teens in tow.
The Dining Room’s small enough for it not to matter where you sit, but in summer, ask your host to have a table set up on the lawn and get a glorious eyeful of Cotswolds while you dine.
While you’re staying here, you’re Lord and Lady Smith of Foxhill, so dress with the eccentric swagger of the modern-day aristocrat. Or stick to your civvies – no one’s judging.
Once the Manor’s library, the Dining Room is modern and intimate, with a log fire on one side and a full-service bar on the other. You’re not limited to the dining room, however; Foxhill has a ‘whatever, whenever’ policy when it comes to meals. You’ll sit down with head chef Richard Thorpe to discuss your tastes, and he’ll then recommend a selection of options that fit with you. These can either be tried-and-tested dishes from his black board in the kitchen, or an entirely bespoke creation. At Foxhill you can summon the chef whenever you like and request a picnic or a barbecue on the lawn – if it’s doable, they’ll do it. And of course, Dormy House down the road has two restaurants to choose from, too.
As you’d expect from any manor worth its stemware, there’s a vast and wide-ranging wine cellar for the plundering (with some surprsingly inexpensive options, too), as well as a wide array of spirits and regional Cotswolds ales housed in the Dining Room bar. Warmed by the open fire, the Living Room’s a lovely spot for pre- or post-prandials, or head out onto the terrace for a sundowner.
No such thing.
Anything you fancy can be delivered to your door 24 hours a day.
Foxhill Manor is cosily ensconced within Farncombe Estate – a 400-acre sprawl of scenic woodland just outside the quintessentially Cotswolds-y village of Broadway.
An hour’s drive away, Birmingham Airport is the closest international gateway, although, at 90 minutes by car, Bristol Airport isn’t too far a stretch. London’s headliners, Heathrow and Gatwick, are around 82 and 118 miles away respectively.
Moreton-in-Marsh train station is an easy 15-minute taxi ride from Foxhill – the hotel will arrange for a pick up if you ask. Moreton’s on the First Great Western network’s Cotswold Line, 90 minutes direct from London Paddington, an hour from Reading and 40 minuutes from Oxford.
The Cotswolds is made for pootling around country lanes, and there’s plenty of free parking available at the Manor, so a car can be very handy for exploring your surroundings. Foxhill is reached via Farncombe Estate’s private road, accessed from the A44 (the Fish Hill stretch) about a mile outside Broadway village. From London and the south, take the M40 and A44; from Birmingham and the north, you’ll want the M5 and the A44, bypassing Evesham via the A46.
The Farncombe Estate helipad is at your disposal (and Foxhill can arrange a helicopter for you if you don’t have one to hand). Coordinates are: W150.32.18/ N522.4.12.
Worth getting out of bed for
https://www.thepottingshedpub.comAt Foxhill Manor, you have a 400-acre woodland playground on your doorstep, so grab a pair of wellies/bike/horse and go explore. Staff can arrange any outdoor pursuit you fancy pursuing and pack you a picnic to enjoy while you do it. And if you’re into swinging, Foxhill Manor can make you a member of neighbouring Broadway Golf Club for the day. Make time to have at least one ramble around the estate while you’re here.
The closest of the Cotswolds signature chocolate-box villages is Broadway, just under an hour's ramble away. Dotted with dinky shops and cosy cafés, it’s also home to the Gordon Russell Design Museum, dedicated to the Arts-and-Crafts-inspired 20th-century designer who lived here, and the Broadway Museum and Art Gallery, the village’s outpost of Oxford’s famous Ashmolean Museum. Capability Brown’sBroadway Tower is also close by; the 20-metre turreted folly offers some of the most breath-snatching country views you’ll find in the Cotswolds (and that’s saying something). Chipping Campden– historic centre of the Arts and Crafts Movement – is a short drive from Foxhill and a haven for fans of tearooms and indie boutiques. Almost any of the villages in these parts rewards a visit, but the star attractions are Stow-on-the-Wold(for art and antiques), Winchcombe (for history, thanks to Sudeley Castle and the ruins of Hailes Abbey on its doorstep) and Burford (for an insight into what the world might look like if time had stopped during the Tudor dynasty). Want brighter lights and bigger cities? Horsey Cheltenham, bookish Oxford and bardish Stratford-upon-Avon are all less than an hour away.
Hotel staff can shuttle you back and forth to Dormy House, where you have the choice of hearty gastropub pie-and-pint-style dining in The Potting Shed or inventive dress-up dinners in The Garden Room. Both are helmed by Foxhill’s Jon Ingram, so if you fancy a change of chef, head to the historic Childswickham Inn just outside Broadway for exposed-beam cosiness and hearty country-pub cuisine. For fresh seafood, meander over to next-door-neighbour The Fish Hotel and snag a seat at Hook; start with crusty bread smothered in seaweed butter, warm your cockles with a mélange of poached fish in truffle sauce and tuck into plates of seabass or battered brill.The Seagrave Armsin Chipping Campden is a showcase for Cotswolds-sourced ingredients and ales. The 17th-century Lygon Arms' restaurant, also in Chipping Campden, is set in a vaulted minstrel’s gallery and boasts a cocktail list as enticing as its pie-and-platter-laced dining menu. Close to Moreton-in-Marsh, honey-toned country pub TheHorse and Groom is a consistent high-ranker in the region’s best-of lists.
Of all Broadway’s cutesy-cosy cafés and tea-and-cake pitstops, The Market Pantry ticks Smith’s boxes for atmosphere (Edwardian-style kitchen), top-drawer cream tea and moreish cake.
The Cotswolds is hardly known for its night scene, but if you fancy joining the locals for a lazy ale by the fire, you could do far worse than popping into the Swan Broadway.
We’re sitting by a roaring fire, two bottles of champagne down, chatting with our new friends from Cheshire:
‘The trouble with these Man City players,’ she tells us, ‘is that none of them speaks English.’
‘Well how do they communicate with the manager and the team?’ Mr Smith queries.
‘They all have interpretlatators.’
Her husband corrects her – “It’s ‘interpreter’ darling,” and we all fall about laughing. Their ‘cropped and docked’ Doberman – imported at great expense from Russia – sits by their feet, and we can’t decide who’s wearing a more impressive chain: Nika or her master. Now, clearly Mr Smith and I love a good chat, especially with people as fascinating as these, but it’s been nearly two hours since we arrived at the hotel and we’re yet to check in or be shown to our room. The champagne flows from the complimentary bar in the drawing room, and while we’re having a wonderful time we are starting to wonder if we have wandered into someone’s home, instead of luxury Cotswolds stay Foxhill Manor.
Eventually, I nudge Mr Smith and he goes off to investigate, returning with a man offering yet more champagne. ‘Sorry, your room has been ready since you arrived, but I didn’t like to interrupt, you looked like you were having such a good time’. And so, the tone is set for Foxhill Manor – it’s a hotel, but not as you know it.
Foxhill Manor is set in the Worcestershire hills, just north of Broadway, which is an outrageously pretty village in wonderful yellow Cotswold stone. The manor itself is a beautiful Grade II-listed Arts and Crafts house, set in 400 acres of countryside on the Farncombe Estate, which is also home to Dormy House, its sister hotel. We arrived in January for a couple of nights’ respite from the dog and the baby, and it’s testament to the hotel that all rooms were full, mid-week, some with guests returning for a second or third time – quite a feat for a hotel that’s only been open for two years.
Our room is enormous, with two bath tubs lying side by side in the centre. We sip more champagne while waxing lyrical on the joys of bathing together yet separately. Mr Smith lies on our fabulous four-poster bed and turns on both the televisions in our room, while I play with the ‘press for fresh milk’ button on the in-room iPad – it duly arrives in 30 seconds.
Dressed and ready for dinner, we venture off to discuss our evening meal with the chef. We find him in the open kitchen teaching two fellow guests how to make the pasta they fell in love with the night before. There are no menus here, everything’s either grown on-site or sourced from within three miles, so you eat what’s fresh from the suppliers that morning.
Three courses are suggested, but don’t be afraid to demur, as the kitchen is very flexible; they’ve previously recreated a couple’s first-date meal for an anniversary dinner. The food is exceptional, and the quality never wavers, course after course, meal after meal. It’s without a doubt the best hotel-dining experience Mr Smith and I have ever had.
After breakfast, we decide to go for a walk, and set off out the door, past the line of wellies for guests to borrow. In confident Londoner style, we don’t listen to the directions we’re given and stride off down the drive on the walk to Broadway. The beautifully executed and clearly delineated map (with accompanying directions through woodland and fields and over stiles) lies unfolded in Mr Smith’s pocket. Holding hands, we set off into the snow-covered landscape. Some 20 minutes later we find ourselves walking along a busy A-Road, no longer holding hands and being pelted by slush from passing cars. On our arrival two days earlier we drove along this exact road, and commented on a pair of figures trudging along it. Who on Earth wanted to go for a walk here? We had wondered. The answer was becoming horribly clear: silly Londoners who prefer to ‘follow their nose’. Luckily, we had listened to the part about picking us up if we didn’t fancy the walk back, so we took refuge in a local pub while waiting for our driver.
We sheepishly arrived at breakfast at 11.45am on our last day, after our first lie-in together since our baby was born. We had no need to be embarrassed; the dining room was still full of other lazy guests and a breakfast tray was being delivered to a room at 12.30pm as we left. Beyond the food, location and the house itself, Foxhill’s trump card is its service. The hotel has a motto: ‘what you fancy, when you fancy it’, and it’s no empty corporate line. They approach service so freely, that it’s completely different from anywhere else I’ve stayed. It makes you question the way other hotels are run… Why use a room key when you trust and like the other guests and staff? Why sign for every drink and meal, or even at all? If you want to pretend you’re Anna Wintour for a few days and madly request lobsters at 3am and snow in July, I think the staff here would rise to the challenge and love every minute. They truly want you to be happy, relaxed and have a good time; and –as our minibreak proved – they succeed.