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Dormy House in a nutshell
Despite the grandeur, this 17th-century Cotswolds farmhouse, transformed into a foodie spa hotel, is as welcoming as it is luxurious.
Doormen dressed in blue checked shirts and chinos look more like guests than porters – a deliberate attempt to make visitors feel at home. Inside, mellow teal and green tones compliment the honey-hued stone building, while plush velvet sofas and vintage chandeliers add country glamour.
Sip pre-dinner cocktails in one of three luxurious lounges (you’re still allowed to wear wellies, despite the posh furniture), where punchy negronis come with a side of salt and vinegar popcorn. Or unwind in the serene spa, complete with three saunas – calming lavender, invigorating sea salt, and juniper-laced Finnish cabin – and an indoor infinity pool. There’s also an outdoor hydropool, where an electric fire adds a cosy blast of heat during the winter months.
Which room should I book at Dormy House?
There are 39 bedrooms spread across the main house and farmhouse outbuildings. Two Hot Tub Suites, in individual cottages with their own private patios, are decorated with delicate floral-printed wallpaper, upcycled furniture and Kilner jars filled with ginger biscuits. A quaint feel overall, although there are modern additions: tablets instead of books, for example.
Regular bedrooms, which range from Intimate to Top-Notch, are similarly decorated; the more you spend, the bigger the room (Top-Notch rooms come with vaulted ceilings and four-poster beds). Two of the Cosy Rooms, plus the Courtyard Suite, are dog friendly – expect a dog bed, towel, water bowl and treat on arrival.
The latest addition to the hotel is a Scandi-chic suite named The Studio. In contrast to the more countrified style of other bedrooms, this large space features a natural colour scheme throughout its separate living, sleeping and bathing areas. As well as more standard luxuries (think free-standing baths and double rainfall showers), there’s a fun music den complete with old-school turntables, vinyls and a modern sound system.
The food and drink
The Potting Shed serves hearty pub-style food (think spiced cauliflower pie and double-patty burgers) in a low-key setting, while The Back Garden celebrates homegrown produce with simple, seasonal dishes. At the latter, you’ll eat at sleek marble tables, usually with a view of Dormy House’s vegetable plots.
Dishes are compact and elegantly presented. You might try marinated heirloom tomato with cool ricotta, poached chicken with buttery tubes of hand rolled macaroni, or blushing-pink new season lamb with a zingy parsley purée. Desserts balance sweet and savoury flavours perfectly – molten hot chocolate fondants come with a quenelle of tangy thyme sorbet, and lemon meringue is paired with fragrant basil.
MO, Dormy House’s most recent restaurant, is an intimate chef’s table experience (there are only 12 seats) featuring an eight-course tasting menu. It’s tucked away behind The Back Garden, so you have to be in the know (and book ahead) to get in. Each course focuses on a pair or trio of ingredients: scrambled duck egg, truffle and pea, for example, or konro lobster, grilled lemon curd and lobster bisque.
The make-your-own bloody mary station (with homemade tomato juice) is irresistible. As is the central buffet table, piled high with pots of plum jam, banana bread and bircher museli studded with cranberries. You can also order fluffy hotcakes and hearty Full Dormys (these come with good-quality bacon, sausages, black pudding and posh hash browns) from the hot menu.
What else can foodies do?
Stroll around the kitchen garden and check out what’s growing (everything from pak choi to Chantenay carrots on our visit), or pull on a pair of wellies and do the scenic four-mile walk to Broadway. It’s a quintessential Cotswolds village with an impressive independent deli, where you can buy locally grown fruit, jars of chutney and Creighton’s chocolate bars, handcrafted by an all-female team. If you want to dine al fresco, order a pre-made Dormy House hamper stocked with smoked salmon and capers, goat’s cheese salads, a ploughman’s platter and a cake of the day.
Is it family friendly?
It might have a luxurious feel, but Dormy House welcomes children (and dogs) with open arms. There are dedicated swimming times for tots, as well as special menus (although we’d head to the more informal Potting Shed for meals, rather than MO). Lounges are equipped with books and board games, and there’s a dedicated grassy play area for dogs.
If you’re dining at The Back Garden, ask if you can keep hold of the pretty menus. Made from wood pulp and seeds, you can plant them in compost and wait for them to bloom.
Words by Ellie Edwards