Words by Sarah Kelleher
Foxhill Manor sits in the Farncombe Estate, cradled by the undulating Cotswold hills just above the village of Broadway. On the sunniest of spring days, Hannah (a member of the friendly, close-knit team) picked my green-and-pleasant-land seeking travel companion and I up from Moreton-in-Marsh station and drove us along winding roads to our destination, where the wings of this honey-hued Arts and Crafts manor house embrace a shaded courtyard, and the guests arriving at this picturesque hotel.
The concept of Foxhill Manor is simple. Visitors are encouraged to think of the hotel as home for the night, or indeed several nights - and once experienced, you may never want to leave. The atmosphere is relaxed yet luxurious, with Champagne available throughout the day at the drinks station in the hotel’s living room, which features warm, umber-coloured furniture, mullioned windows and a roaring fire.
The feeling of stepping back in time whilst retaining all the comforts of the present continues throughout the manor, especially with regards to the hotel’s kitchen. Here, we were introduced to the chefs who craft the hotel’s culinary offerings, and to the hotel’s unique dining style, where guests can request foot at any time of day, and create their own dinner menu from the range of seasonal ingredients on offer. If you fancy a wine-tasting, potter down to the hotel’s wine cellar, which boasts enough wines to make any sommelier weep with envy.
The day was so beautiful that a walk through the surrounding countryside was most definitely in order. Assisted by handy printed guides, we hopped over stiles and meandered across fields to the village of Willersey, pausing to admire St Peter’s Church, a postcard-worthy mish-mash of architectural features dating back to the Norman period. Upon our return we honed in on another delightful feature of Foxhill – a pantry for the guests located on the first floor of the hotel, which can be raided at any time of the night or day, and is kept regularly stocked with all manner of snacks, including creamy salmon pate, delicious terrine and sweet treats.
A post-walk snooze gave us the opportunity to enjoy our room, named Juniper – a lovely open space decorated in soothing creams, blues and greys with the kind of comfortable double bed that is almost impossible to leave, a dressing room area, and an enormous bathroom, featuring a freestanding bathtub perfect for lounging around in true ‘lady of the manor’ style.
Restored by our rest, we enjoyed a pre-dinner cocktail in front of the living room fire – I particularly enjoyed the effervescent Plum Thyme Spritz, a sprightly mix of plum, thyme, crème de prune and Champagne. In keeping with the ‘at-home’ atmosphere, guests can choose where they eat their meals, whether in the living room, in an upstairs alcove or in the hotel’s bar-cum-dining room. We plumped for the latter – plump being the operative word, as the choices we’d made earlier that day in the hotel’s kitchen materialised one after the other. I happily devoured my harissa prawn starter, and succulent Moroccan-inspired lamb shank and pearl barley main, whilst my dining companion assured me that her oysters, followed by perfectly pink sea trout, was equally delicious. Limited only by the capacity of our stomachs we opted to share a pillowy pistachio and chocolate soufflé and a cheese board accompanied by an Eradus Sticky Micky dessert wine.
The next day dawned bright and clear, illuminating the stunning Cotswold countryside views beyond the windows of the living room, where we returned to enjoy breakfast, complete with croissants, homemade granola, fruit and yoghurt and a peanut and banana smoothie laid out on a sharing board. A cappuccino and eggs royale drenched in buttery hollandaise, all served on Danish ceramics in a nod to the owners’ Scandinavian heritage, was just the ticket to set us up for the day.
Foxhill (and Foxhill’s kitchen) is hard to bid farewell to, but with one last amble around the nature trails criss-crossing the estate, one final pilfer of the pantry and one more memorable drink, we were back on the train to London, the memory of deep baths, sparkling Champagne and Cotswold hills etched in our brain. That is until next time …
To learn more or book a Foxhill room, click here.