One of the hottest hotel openings of the year, The Fox at Oddington may be small but Jessica Way discovers its extensive renovation retains its stylishly cute Cotswolds charm – just with a few more foxy notches.
Carole Bamford’s latest project, The Fox at Oddington, was destined to amass attention during its 16-month revamp – and just three weeks after opening, not only had all the most influential travel journalists been there already for the full tour of the Grade-II-listed property, but the locals are now turning out in their droves, visiting night after night – and the atmosphere is electric.
I’m dining in the Saddle Room restaurant feeling decadent with a glass of Rouge de Léoube, about to take another mouthful of succulent Chateaubriand steak sourced from a local Wiltshire farm, Stokes Marsh, when I see a familiar face: Ewan Grant, General Manager from nearby sister hotel The Wild Rabbit in Kingham. He’s lending a hand to the new team and we joke about the food being more than just delicious, agreeing its ‘foxylicious,’ as per the signage sketched into the beams framing the open-plan kitchen.
The owners of Daylesford Organic Farm must have known this six-bedroom 16th-century traditional inn would be oh-so-welcomed into their Cotswolds family – and we all know foxes thrive in the presence of rabbits, but I’m keen to ask Ewan about how the two pubs rub along together.
He explained that The Fox has a more laid-back countrypub vibe, welcoming locals and visitors to drop in anytime, while The Wild Rabbit is fine dining with an à la carte menu. And, with a complimentary chauffeur service offered to hotel guests to take them between venues, I am tempted to book at least one more night here – it’s the weekend, after all. Then I remember I can’t, they are fully booked. We stayed in The Den – a sumptuous dog-friendly suite, where our Spanador knew she had hit the jackpot, making herself at home in the sitting room with floor-to-ceiling windows.
It’s not so bad for us either: a four-poster bed, a roll-top bathtub, Bamford toiletries, a minibar, and a private terrace. We even have private access to the pretty walled garden, complete with converted horsebox serving cocktails. Following dinner we sit there, sipping a ‘Punchy Fox’ or two and playing cards until sundown.
And while the Daylesford team didn’t need to be cunning, they have certainly been crafty – bringing in a team of incredibly skilled locals to apply centuries-old techniques using sustainable materials (from reclaimed timber to sheep’s wool from their own organic farm as the insulation). The gardeners have been creative too – beautiful wildflowers cover the restaurant roof, hedges have been shaped into foxes and a large tree trunk has been sawn into a rustic bike rack. Aesthetics touch on nature, with Hugo Guinness prints hanging on the walls, and on the floor of our suite there is beautifully decorated leaf-inspired painted artwork. Further artistic flair pays tribute to the area’s equestrian heritage, with reclaimed stone water troughs as sinks, stable doors restored as partitions, and grand portraits of thoroughbreds and lines of vintage rosettes hanging in The Tackroom (the more cosy bar area with inglenook fireplace, low beams and antique furniture).
Daylesford Organic Farm, an ultra-trendy wellness hang-out and foodie destination, is just one mile down the road; it’s where guests have access (and a 10% discount) to the cookery school, garden tours and floristry workshops, as well as Bamford Wellness Spa’s treatments and classes. Scan the QR code on the back of the bedroom door – or simply follow the woodland footpath past St Nicholas’s church and over the railway bridge. It’s a match made in heaven as well as Cotswold stone.
Jessica Way was a guest of the Fox at Oddington, which has B&B doubles from £225,
Text by Jessica Way