Dormy House, the Cotswolds

Dormy House, the Cotswolds

country retreat is all well and good if you like everything to
do with, well, the country. That often means muddy boots, horsey
smells and floral wallpaper old enough to have been around the
block twice and become trendy again. But what if there was another
way to escape the city – one that offers log fires, fresh air and
rosy cheeks without going full bumpkin?

Enter Dormy House, a boutique hotel set on
the northwesterly edge of England’s Cotswolds, which offers a fresh
take on the country retreat. The interiors set the tone here.
Dormy’s Danish owners have imbued a 17th-century farmhouse with
touches of Scandinavian style. Think mid-century velvet sofas and
bare-bulb light fixtures; walls splashed in jewel colours with
geometric patterns and botanical prints. It’s not achingly cool
though, with plenty of original wooden beams and flagstone floors
to bring the rural home.

It’s Dormy’s state-of the-art spa that steals the show. There
are two gyms and a thermal suite made up of lavender and junipers
saunas, a salt-infusion therapy room, swimming pool and outdoor hot
tub. Sweat, steam, soak and repeat, before checking in for a
massage or manicure at the Veuve Clicquot nail bar.

The food is mighty good too. The Garden Room’s five-course
tasting menu (£65) offers ingenious flavour combinations like roast
scallops with lemon purée, pork cheek with confit fennel and
rice-pudding soufflé. It all comes served in front of
greener-than-green views over the Farncombe Estate. That’s our kind
of country.


There are 38 of them, and all are individually designed to suit
the building’s higgedly-piggeldy structure. We bedded down in The
Attic, which is tucked away in the eaves. Here oak beams frame a
behemoth of a bed, which is backed by pink wallpaper and a velvet

What’s for breakfast?

Each morning there’s a continental buffet laid out in The Garden
Room, which includes pastries, fruits and cereals. Eggs, pancakes,
and the rest of the works can be ordered à la carte.

How about lunch and dinner?

Chef Sam Browser, who cut his teeth in the kitchens of Raymond
Blanc and Michel Roux Jnr, is at the helm of the upscale Garden
Room restaurant. He makes use of ingredients that have been farmed
and foraged locally to create the restaurant’s signature tasting
five and seven-course menus (as well as a killer Sunday lunch). The
Potting Shed is an altogether more relaxed choice – expect
wholesome dishes like steaks and risottos. Don’t want to leave the
spa? No need. The Greenhouse café offers salads, light lunches and,
importantly, champagne by the glass.

Is there a bar?

Yes, have a drink or two at The Potting Shed which – with
geometric tiles and leather-clad bar – has the feel of a
freshened-up country pub.


The spa is the real show stealer, with its thermal suite,
swimming pool and treatment rooms. Activities like clay-pigeon
shooting and quad biking can be arranged on the Farncombe Estate.
Staff send you off with a bag of refreshments for your journey

Things you should know

Dormy House doesn’t feel that far from civilisation, so those in
want of a real off-grid
might want to go deeper.

The spa gets busy at weekends, so be sure to book treatments
well in advance.

Within a short walk you can find…

Dormy House is on the doorstep of Broadway, a quintessentially
Cotswolds village. Spend the morning wandering through honey-hued
streets (artists John Singer Sargent once lived here) and stop for
tea at The Lygon Arms.

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