Did you know in golf ‘Dormy’ or ‘Dormie’ refers to a player being in the lead by as many holes as are still to be played i.e. 2 shots up with two holes to play? Even with my limited golf knowledge (disclaimer: I am more a tipsy mini golfer than fully fledged Tiger Woods) I can acknowledge that that’s winning, leading the field if you will.
Dormy House therefore is a very apt name for the much loved 38-room boutique spa hotel, set on the privately owned 400 acre Farncombe estate in the Cotswolds. Its as quintessentially English as high tea, with lavish quirky design highlights (look out for the pineapple wallpaper of dreams) that ensure it never oversteps into the twee. The original building dates back to the 17th century and was used as a farmhouse, the original aspects of which have been lovingly embraced and enhanced with all the 21st century luxuries you could hope for. Unsurprisingly given its name, the estate is situated next to the Broadway Golf club and you can expect spectacular views of the Cotswolds countryside and picturesque rambling routes year round.
Already home to a well known and multi-award winning spa, this is a siren call far and wide for all foodies – to put it simply, you need to know about Dormy House. With locality, sustainability and seasonality at at the heart of every menu throughout its 3 restaurant offerings, seasonal produce, estate grown veggies and trusted local suppliers take centre stage of Michelin-starred chef Martin Burges menus.
For something fancy book into MO – Dormy’s brand new offering, which gives you the opportunity to take a front row seat to see the drama unfold in the open kitchen as chefs prepare the 7 course tasting menu in front before your very eyes. Ever dedicated to their creating the ultimate culinary experience, the menu changes daily to utilise ingredients in their prime and not a moment before or after. It’s worth noting that MO is closed Monday and Tuesday and due to its intimate nature only has space for 12 guests, so it’s well worth booking in advance due to avoid disappointment. A perfect treat for a foodie fan.
For the rest of the week you have two other dining options. First up, The Back Garden, aptly named as it overlooks Dormy’s abundant kitchen gardens. You will want to nab a window seat for the novelty of spotting staff run out into the garden with their wicker basket a couple of minutes after you have ordered to select your herbs or veg. My courgette flower starter went from garden to plate in 10 minutes. You can’t question the freshness! The Back Garden offers an example of the best of English dining, quality ingredients without pomp and ceremony, inventive but complimentary combinations exquisitely presented. A special shout out goes to Jonny’s fish of the day, the ever-changing showcase that never failed to disappoint.
Or, should you be on the hunt for homely pub grub, head to the Potting Shed, Dormy’s on-site pub, and find the classics done right in for a delightfully welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. With local ales and even a locally distilled gin, the drinks selection is not to be sniffed at. Its ideal for long lunches in the winter, children and dogs more than welcome, you are encouraged to rummage through their games box for a classic and settle in for the afternoon.
In between all this eating, there is no doubt you will need a lie down which leads us perfectly to the award-winning spa. The thermal suite comprises of a hot juniper sauna, mild Cotswold lavender sauna (less you forget where you are), experience shower and salt-infusion therapy room. A brisk swim in the infinity pool or hitting the gym would also be recommended so you are ready to dine again.
The outdoor terrace is home to a hydrotherapy hot tub where warm water jets massage away stresses and strains. I was lucky enough to visit during one of those rarest of occurrences, a hot English summer day, and relished sunbathing on the decking. But to truly enjoy a hot tub you need a frosty day, to experience the mad the dash from the warmth of the spa before gratefully submerging into its warm waters, basking in the additional heat from the adjacent log fire. Now isn’t that the perfect picture? I will have to book a secondary trip for Christmas just to check, for journalistic integrity of course and maybe just a touch of self-indulgence.
With its beautiful surroundings, inspired menus and top spa, when it comes to leading British boutiques, Dormy House leaves the rest in the ‘rough’, with ‘above par’ service and amenities to die ‘fore’? My golf knowledge truly is limited, but when the going is this good, I will happily stick to the Dormy’s foodie delights and indulgent spa going forward.
Lucy Coghlan stayed as a guest at Dormy House, where double rooms start from £269 per room on a B&B basis. (+44 (0) 1386 852711; www.dormyhouse.co.uk)