I had the pleasure of a day in The Cotswolds last week courtesy of the lovely team at GP Associates. The Cotswolds are often disregarded as too far for corporate retreats, not conforming with the magic 'within an hour of Central London', however, the direct train from London Paddington to Moreton in Marsh took just 1 hour & 31 minutes and was a dream. Much less stressful than battling with the M40/A40.
A taxi was waiting to take us the 5 minutes from the station to the beautiful Farncombe Estate. The Estate is situated just outside the picturesque village of Broadway and has been in private ownership for over 40 years however, in the last few years millions of pounds have been invested to create 3, unique and stylish, award winning hotels; Dormy House Hotel & Spa, Foxhill Manor & The Fish.
We arrived at Dormy House Hotel & Spa and from the moment you enter it's hard not to fall in love with the place. The smell of wood fires greet you & informal lounges, large comfy sofas, deep cushions and piles of magazines tempt you to sit down with a large glass of wine & forget about the world outside.
The hotel is relaxed, informal and beautifully furnished throughout with 38 individually styled bedrooms nicely categorised into Intimate, Comfy, Splendid & Top Notch. For groups there are a couple of nice private and semi private dining areas as well as the addition in April of a new boardroom, tucked away in the eves of the hotel perfect for meetings of up to 14 guests. It is the perfect informal corporate retreat.
For those who want full relaxation a trip to House Spa is a must. Superb treatments, a 16m pool and a Champagne Nail Bar,it's clear to see why it has won so many awards.
We then jumped into one of the Estate’s 4x4s for the 2 minute journey to the truly stunning Foxhill Manor. I have to admit Foxhill Manor is one of the most beautiful & luxurious boutique hotels I have seen in the UK. Think the house of your dreams and you are only a quarter of the way there! On arrival we were greeted by the lovely staff with a glass of Champagne for the tour of the 8 luxury bedrooms, beautiful lounges and dining rooms, media room & gardens.
Since it's opening Foxhill Manor has quickly become a favourite with pop stars, private individuals, corporates or those just wanting the ultimate exclusive hideaway. Everything is tailored to your individual needs & nothing is too much trouble.
You can book individual rooms but, in my opinion, the house works best when taken exclusively for a senior board meeting, corporate celebration or private house party.
Last but not least is The Fish Hotel. Part boutique hotel, part holiday village & part outdoor discovery centre. It is very much value driven and perfect for larger training & team building events.
The hotel has 67 simple, yet beautifully furnished contemporary country bedrooms of a level that is extremely hard to find at a similar price. Meeting rooms are dotted around the hotel & have an abundance of natural daylight, are well designed & provide all of the AV you require. Some of the bedrooms that I viewed were simply stunning & rates would be at least double the price if situated within that '1 hour from London' distance that so many companies request.
For those wanting to offer staff team building activities or simply the great outdoors, the Estate offers 400 acres of stunning Cotswold countryside and the on site activity centre can cater for just about every activity; from traditional archery, clay pigeon shooting, Segway safaris to treasure hunts, movie making, bake-offs and even a Jungle Experience!
All in all I have to say I have found a new favourite hotel. or should I say three new favourite hotels! The Estate has something to offer everyone and caters for a range of budgets & styles whilst never compromising on quality, style or service. I can’t wait to return.