The Fish Hotel – Cotswolds
Why Stay? Because it’s a surprisingly affordable country hideaway in a handy spot for snooping around the historic and handsome village of Broadway in the northern Cotswolds.
Why Now? For brisk walks – willies provided – and nightcaps by a cosy log fire, either at the bar or in the comfort of your own room.
What is It? The third hotel to open on the 400-acre Farncombe estate, owned by the Danish Philip-Sørensen family, it joins smart Dormy House and swanky Foxhill Manor, the former down the hill and the latter up above, with plenty of green space in between. The Fish is a collection of honey-coloured stone buildings set on Fish Hill, where medieval monks are said to have stored their catch, with panoramic views over the valley below. There are 67 stylish bedrooms, a separate farmhouse sleeping 13, and The Lodge with a light-filled restaurant, huge bar and games room (billiards, darts, table football, kids’ play area). You can also have a go at clay-pigeon shooting, archery and riding a Segway.
Behind the Scenes. The team works hard to make everyone feel at home: wake up to the Sunday papers on your doorstep; help yourself to milk from the kitchen fridge for tea. Cheery staff are on hand to help with anything from mapping out hiking trails to ferrying guests around the estate in Land Rovers. London-based interior designer Hannah Lohan is behind the contemporary- farmhouse look, mixing urban edge with sweet-as-pie country charm: industrial light fittings, reclaimed wood and scaffold-pole shelving units, and squishy armchairs trimmed with plaid. There’s a hint of Scandi-styling too, with tall pillar candles in lanterns dotted throughout and walls painted a cool mix of greys and blues.
Sleep. Rooms here may cost a lot less than at Dormy House, but you’d never think so. They are the kind of spaces to hole up in, especially the Spacious room with its log-burning stove, faux-fur throws, Ercol-style chairs and geometric-patterned blankets on hip-high beds. Bathrooms have artfully mismatched tiles with underfloor heating.
Eat. Chef Jon Ingram, who started work aged 15 at his grandparents’ pub and eventually moved on to Cliveden House and beyond, oversees the food at all three hotels. The dinner menu in the conservatory here is a mix of adventurous dishes (tender scallops with smoked duck bacon, charred cauliflower and almonds) and retro surf ‘n’ turf plates (juicy rib-eye steak served with crispy calamari). Tables are piled with cookbooks and novels to keep you entertained between courses. There’s comfort food for lunch (ham- and-cheese sandwiches; home-made pork scratchings), which can go into a hamper for jaunts across the estate.
Who Comes Here? Townies seeking peace; Cotswolds-obsessed Japanese couples; young families with small children in tow; in short, everyone (even pooches are welcome). With so many different rooms in such a ridiculously pretty area, it‘s no wonder.
We Like. Exploring the vast grounds on a quad bike, whizzing though wooded areas, ducking under tree branches, pelting across grassy meadows.
We Don’t Like. The DIY toast at breakfast is a sweet idea, but can be chaotic with queues and a nearconstant smell of burning bread.