A weekend away with the family is always lovely, and when you’re actually spending the weekend at a spa hotel in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside it’s twice as nice. And I’m talking no signal on your phone kind of countryside, which is fine until you’re lost and realise you can’t access Google Maps to direct you…
Where would I find it?
Oxford is a lovely city about an hour from London. It’s famous worldwide for one of it’s universities, which ranks 5th in the world at present. The hotel is actually in an area about 30 minutes from Oxford, in a place called Heythorp Park, close to a little village called Chipping Norton. This is one of those hotels you visit for a relaxing break away instead of as a base for a city break away.
So the room was like…?
There were all the basics like a bed, TV and mirror. But the bed was beyond comfy, the TV on the wall surrounded by a frame which is a lovely touch, and one wall of the little hallway was just mirrors. Although the rooms aren’t massive, they’re big enough for what you need and are cleverly styled to make the most of the space available.
Our room had a lovely balcony that looked out over some trees and fields. Inside, there was a desk and a chair, with another lounging chair by the balcony door. The cupboard was very handy, and inside was the safe, hairdryer and tea and coffee facilities with biscuits that were replenished every day (yay!).
I love a good bathroom, and it’s usually one of the first things I check out. And I was not disappointed here with the huge walk-in rain shower and generous selection of shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower caps etc that were restocked daily.
I’d had a really hard week at work, and had worked a half day before making the journey to Oxford. Although it’s only about an hour and a half from London, I was absolutely shattered, so after checking in the first thing I did was check out the bed. As I laid down, the bed moulded around me, and the pillows were like little clouds of comfort around my head. It was a mistake really, as all I wanted to do then was go to sleep.
A girl’s got to eat!
We were staying bed and breakfast, and managed to drag ourselves out of bed to get to the stylish restaurant in time for breakfast. There was plenty of food on offer, with a hot food station for sausages, bacon, beans and some scrummy potato things that were beyond delicious. There was also a chef who would cook eggs freshly for you, however you like. It didn’t stop there though, with toast, cereals, fresh fruit and pastries also on offer. Needless to say we ate well, and had enough to keep us going until dinner.
The restaurant is also used in the evening, and we enjoyed a lovely meal there one of the nights we stayed. The restaurant is very modern, and the menu reflects that. We had a few plates of bread with oil and vinegar, and there were a few different breads for us to try. Come main meals we all had something different, and unfortunately I made a bad decision to go for honey mustard chicken when I don’t really like mustard that much. Rookie error! Everyone else commented on how delicious their meals were, and unlike normal posh places, the dishes weren’t minute.
We also sampled some of the dishes available from the bar menu (not at the same time as dinner!) and they were just as good quality as those we had at dinner and breakfast. We tried the nachos and garlic bread on our first day as my boyfriend and I hadn’t had lunch and couldn’t wait ’til dinner, and even basic food like those dishes were just scrumptious. There is a room service menu, but we didn’t have the need to sample that while we were there.
Tell me there’s a pool?!
A pool isn’t a normal feature in a UK hotel, but this place does actually have a pool! It’s a typical spa pool, in that it’s not huge and you can’t expect to be able to do lots of swimming in it. While there was a swimming lane, all guests of the hotel have free use of the pool and as such there were a few kids splashing about. Children are only allowed until 6pm, and after that it’s definitely got the spa feel, with the wicker loungers lining the pool and sauna and steam room close by.
The hotel itself has loads of bonus bits, like a conference centre and huge golf course. Then there’s the cocktail bar, lounge bar and top-notch restaurant. All of that isn’t taking into account the epic grounds. The hotel is actually connected to an old, grand house where people can enjoy afternoon tea. There’s a piano in there and a grand staircase, so you just know it’s fancy! The views from the buildings are ideal for a wedding photo backdrop, where you can see the countryside for miles and miles. If you don’t fancy taking a day trip into Oxford, you can hire a bike and explore the grounds – the map says there’s even a whale buried there!
Would I recommend this hotel?
Absolutely! It’s a great place to enjoy a chilled weekend away, with everything you need at the hotel. There are cute little villages to explore not too far away, and Oxford itself is about a half hour drive away through the villages. There’s plenty to keep you entertained here, with the golf and spa facilities, afternoon tea in the old house and the massive grounds to explore.
The staff were lovely throughout, and although we had a slight problem with our room the first night, it was quickly resolved and a free upgrade offered if we book again in the next 3 months. We might not be visiting again over that time, but the gesture was appreciated if nothing else.