There is something very beguiling for a city dweller about the phrase: hotel in the Cotswolds. It sums up beautifully the idea of escape to bucolic bliss, black and white cows standing in green rolling fields, pretty mellow gold stone houses, plenty of cake, comfy beds and crisp white linens, long walks, fireside sofas, good bottles of wine, and breakfast in bed.
Happily Dormy House, just outside Broadway in Worcestershire on the northern reaches of the Cotswolds delivers on every front. There are indeed fireside sofas, in beautiful sitting rooms, filled with flowers and books, delicious things to eat and drink, and plenty of green fields in sight. And, most importantly for me, it’s a dog-friendly establishment.
Dating back to the 17th century, the original farmhouse was bought in the mid 1940s by Broadway Golf Club next door and given its new name: Dormy House. (Dormy is a term for an unbeatable round of golf.)
Dormy House has been in the same family ownership since 1977, and is part of the Farncombe Estate, 400-acres of land that spans from Broadway to the top of Fish Hill, which is also home to sister venues Foxhill Manor and The Fish Hotel.
Lettice and I spent plenty of time holed up in front of the fire in one of the main house’s sitting rooms, (there is an excellent wifi connection), both during the day, and after dinner, with a glass of wine chatting to the other guests.
Bringing along one’s special furry friend often means a slightly less exciting hotel room – usually ground floor, and away from other guests. Here, whilst our room did indeed meet those two criteria, in an extension to the left of the main building, there was no sense of less exciting about it.
High beamed, and very spacious, with a dinky seating area in the L of the room, a writing desk, and lovely all white en suite bathroom, it had a door that led directly onto the hotel’s courtyard, perfect for letting the hund out for its regular constitutionals.
The hotel provided a huge bed, water bowl and treats for Lettice, who was suitably appreciative – you do need to warn the hotel in advance if you are bringing your dog (s). If you are dog-free, then I would recommend checking out the rooms in the main house, as these are also very, very pretty.
I had a delicious breakfast in bed on my last morning, with perfect eggs and home made hash browns.
On my first night in the hotel I ate in The Potting Shed, the hotel’s more relaxed restaurant, with its large leather-and-oak bar (sadly a dog-free zone – Lettice was deeply unimpressed at having to stay in our room), and I ate well. I’m a sucker for rhubarb in season, and this little cake with its pine nut topping was exemplary.
There is also a very smart Garden Room restaurant, which serves a three course à la carte menu at £45 per person or a 7-course tasting menu at £65 per person, but I didn’t feel like eating in solitary splendour.
Do not on any account miss the very impressive spa, with its really lovely lolling and cafe area (above), which must be even more delightful in the summer when the French windows open onto the terraces.
Downstairs you will find the most spectacular pool room, with its indoor 16m heated infinity pool – , thermal suite and exterior hydrotherapy tub.
The Thermal Suite has a series of rooms to explore: a Lavender Infusion Sauna – sourced from Cotswold lavender fields, the dry heat of the Hot Juniper Finnish cabin, a Salt Steam room, cooling Drench Showers, and an Ice Experience, where one can freeze on demand.
There is also a nail bar masquerading as a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar (very treat-y).
Sadly my spa lunch was a bit wanting, but the staff were consistently charming, and I can’t think of a lovelier place to book a spa day.
I think Princess Lettice sums up my feelings at having to leave this excellent hotel pretty well:
Sasha Wilkins was a guest of Dormy House for bed, breakfast & supper in The Potting Shed for two nights in April 2016.
Dormy House Hotel, Willersey Hill, Broadway, Worcestershire. WR12 7LF
Telephone: 01386 852711.