“Dormy House: a fresh take on a relaxed country house hotel with superb spa in the heart of the Cotswolds”
Fresh interior designs give a hint of scandic influence from its Danish owners: there are wooden floorboards and whitewashed stone walls but this is tempered with open fireplaces, Jacobean panelling and fabric-cushioned walls. Bedrooms are often colourful, teched-up and comfy. Gardens are landscaped by a Chelsea gold medalist. No tummy rumbles here: 3 restaurants cover all the bases from fine dining to decent pub grub to health spa cuisine. Even if you over-indulge with their Champagne teas, you're already in the perfect place to make amends.
You'll also notice the owl insignia, brought across from the family's original security company. This watchful theme threads throughout their enterprise. Lucky us to know that every detail is being overseen.
- Fabulous spa - one of the best we've seen in the UK
- Relaxed unstuffy atmosphere with some great interior design
- Some quirky and thoughtful touches to suit adults and kids alike: we loved the boys toys in the downstairs loo and our daughter loved her welcome pack of goodies
- Three restaurants with different styles give you more flexibility to savour
- Great base in the Cotswolds with masses to do nearby and only an hour and a half from London
- Some teething problems with our room but they were easily fixed
- Outside spa members and diners could make this place quite busy in peak times
- Surprisingly for somewhere in the heart of the countryside, few of the rooms have standout views and there are limited grounds, but the high standard of interiors more than compensates
- Some might feel it's expensive, but you're paying for the excellent spa facilities
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurants and bar (open daily)
- Children welcome
- Open all year
- Indoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
Rooms and suites are beautifully decorated, fresh, comfortable and homely. All are different. Interior designer, Emily Todhunter, has threaded splashes of colour, well-chosen wallpaper and sometimes a quirky mirror displays throughout. Many of the rooms are located in the annexe buildings: you’ll need to step outside to access them, but you're never more than a minute's walk from the heart of the hotel.
Top of the pile and hidden away upstairs are The Attic (cosy) and The Loft (light and airy) with its statement tin bath. The separate Rose Cottage with its pretty, flowery decor and private courtyard is popular with couples. We saw a lovely Top Notch Room in the main house with an antique four-poster bed and beautiful encaustic-tiled bathroom. If you prefer a more contemporary feel, the JPS Wing's Comfy Rooms have bold colours, retro chairs and white faux fur throws. Of the less expensive rooms, our favourite was a soothing corner Intimate Room room with double aspect views.
All have nice details: a Kilner jar of homemade cookies, Nespresso coffee machine and DAB radio. You also get an in-room tablet which gives loads of info on the hotel and what to do. It even lets you order spa treatments, hampers, DVDs and room service with minimum fuss. Clever. Bathrooms have Temple Spa products, fluffy robes and powerful showers (though not all have bathtubs and some feel small).
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Coffee / tea making
- Complimentary bottled water
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- In room Tablet
- Ipod dock
- Nespresso coffee machine
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
You have options at Dormy: fine dining in the airy Garden Room, hearty grub in the popular Potting Shed or healthy fare in the spa's Greenhouse. All are relaxed, devoid of stuffiness and we enjoyed some pretty good service.
In the evening, The Potting Shed buzzes with locals and guests. Think smart English pub with very good lighting (we lost count of all the light sources), oak and leather cocktail bar, and a menu offering comfort dishes like slow-cooked pork belly, T-bone steak with giant chips and chicken and leek pie. Our beetroot and salmon orzo (pasta) was good enough, but we enjoyed the food in The Garden Room more. The atmosphere was more hushed but we were treated to a fine starter of pigeon breast with parsley mash and lentil jus, a melt-in-the-mouth cod dish and a delicious gooseberry crumble soufflé with vanilla custard.
At breakfast, help yourself to freshly squeezed juices, fruit, granola, yoghurt and pastries, then order something cooked - maybe dippy eggs with soldiers or "The Full Dormy".
For a light lunch we recommend the spa’s Greenhouse menu of special salads, snacks and sandwiches, each one graded as "naughty", "nice" or "nutritious". The Juice Boosters looked good too (apple, mint, kiwi and bee pollen sounded interesting). And, afternoon tea is served in the Garden Room restaurant 6 days a week: freshly baked scones, quiches, sandwiches, cakes and a glass of fizz to wash it all down. For day trips, a range of enticing hampers can be provided.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Room service
- Lose yourself in The House Spa's 6 treatment rooms, thermal suites (with lavender infusion sauna or hot juniper Finnish cabin), mud rooms, outdoor hot tub, nail parlour and indoor pool. As for the Temple Spa treatments, you name it, they've got it. What captured our imagination was the salt steam room followed by ice experience. Wow.
- Pop down the hill to the quintessential honey-hued English village of Broadway, with its little shops and cafes (5-10 minute drive). While you're there, don't miss OKA's flagship store.
- Endless Cotswold walks are at your disposal - for the best views of the Cotswold escarpment visit nearby Broadway Tower. Staff can suggest tailored routes, from exploring the 400-acre Farncombe Estate to taking the 60-mile North Cotswold diamond way (you'll be needing one of their hampers for that one)
- Competent golfers can take day memberships at the adjacent 18-hole Broadway Golf Club
- Hire bikes, there's everything from adult to child tag-along (24hrs notice required) or go horse riding in the neighbouring village of Stanton (with notice)
- Take clay-pigeon shooting lessons with David Gabb's Cotswold company (24hrs notice required or 48hrs for groups of 6) or try course fishing in village of Harvington
- Explore some of the other famous Cotswold villages nearby including: Stow on the Wold (good for antiques), Chipping Campden and the Slaughters
- Work off your excess in the fitness centre, which offers personal training and some very fine machines
- Cheltenham or Shakespeare's Stratford-Upon-Avon are within a 30-minute drive
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Clay pigeon shooting
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
Dormy House welcomes children of all ages. Although there are no specific kids facilities, there are some nice treats for them. Our 7 year old daughter was thrilled with her generous goody bag, discount at the local toy shop and Dormy Passport. Sofabeds are made up with cartoon bedding and there's an afternoon tea designed specially for under 12s. You'll also find plenty for youngsters to do in the surrounding countryside from exploring the estate's woodlands to feeding farm animals and riding on tractors.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
Most Comfy rooms can take either a cot or an extra bed. Some Splendid Rooms have a sofabed within the room which can sleep 2 small children or 1 older child, plus some can also fit a cot. If you prefer to have more privacy, The Den, The Snug, The Hideaway and the Courtyard Suites each have a small separate sitting room with a sofabed. Note that not all rooms have a bathtub, so if this is important to you, please mention it in your request.
Can be arranged for an additional charge.
- Baby bedding
- Children's bathrobes
- In-room DVD player and movies (on request)
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Children are welcome to dine anywhere in the hotel, but you and they might feel more relaxed in the Potting Shed. The thoughtful kids menu offers grilled salmon, chicken stir fry and crepes, as well as old favourites. A special "Sticky Fingers" afternoon tea is also served, including sausage rolls, jam fingers and fruit smoothies. All rooms have a kettle, a few have a fridge and there is 24-hour room service.
Kids Activities on site:
We found a basket of board games in each lounge and a few children's books in the library. The indoor pool is gorgeous but times for kids are restricted.
Kids Activities nearby:
- Explore the 400-acre Farncombe Estate
- Spot rare breeds and ride tractors at the Cotswold Farm Park (short drive)
- All Things Wild Nature Centre (4.5 miles, all weather destination with go-karts)
- Cotswold Falconry Centre (6 miles)
- Cotswolds Riding (6.5 miles)
- Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (8 miles, fun old fashioned steam train)
- Butterfly Farm (14 miles)
- Birdland Park and Gardens (14 miles)
- Mary Arden's Farm (17 miles)
- Cotswold Wildlife Park (22 miles)
- Hatton Adventure Park (25 miles)
Families Should Know:
The Spa pool and Greenhouse has restricted times for children (9-10.30am and 4-5.30pm)