A few weeks ago, I spent a glorious weekend in the Cotswolds, at The Fish. You come here to relax, to zone out, escape the digital world (though there is excellent wifi if you wish to connect), lie in, explore the countryside, and eat well. Whether you're curling up on a sofa in the lounge with a book or exploring the vast expanse of countryside, it's the perfect place to get your thoughts together. Book a room, jump on a train, and enjoy a lazy weekend out of the city.
The Fish is the newest of the three properties on the Farncombe Estate, a younger sister to the more sumptuous Dormy House and Foxhill Manor. Both of those are £££ with all the extras, The Fish is more simple and stripped back, though still a glorious country-cation. Getting here from London couldn’t be simpler. You hop on the train at Paddington and an hour and a half of countryside later, you jump off at Moreton-in-Marsh station, and take a taxi 15 minutes (£20) to the hotel.
Basic luxury — that’s the vibe of The Fish, prices and all. My Cosy Luxe room, 98, was comfortable, homely, and modest. Scandi-meets-country-chic: a sheepskin rug on a leather basket chair; a statement blue rotary telephone; and a cream vintage radio on the desk set the tone. The bed is huge and comfortable, with a green upholstered headboard, piled up pillows, and a rich wool bedspread. There’s a desk with tea and coffee supplies (a Smeg fridge in the foyer offers more fresh milk), a large mirror, bedside table lamps, and in terms of storage, a chest of drawers and hooks and hangers for clothes. The bathroom is pretty low-key. There’s a bath/shower, toilet and sink, and a basic Bramley toiletries.
Just left of the hotel lobby is the bar-lounge area, and further along is the restaurant, which serves breakfast through to dinner. Breakfast is a standard buffet set up with classic hot options too, including a Cotswolds Full English. I got for dippy eggs with soldiers, and a couple veggie sausages for good measure. Dinner was great too, with a varied menu that crossed continents and had something for everyone. I started with a spicy sea bass ceviche before moving on to the spring green risotto which was mammoth in size and equally big on flavour.
There’s a modest fitness suite and a nice yoga studio, but that’s about it when it comes to the leisure facilities — besides the oodles of acres of countryside to roam upon. If you’re craving a little TLC (and have a little extra in the budget) book in for a spa package at Dormy House (which has one of the most sumptuous spas in the whole of the Cotswolds), though I understand it can be tricky to score availability.
As for other extra curricular activities, there's plenty to get involved in, from archery, to nature trails, and even cross-country segways (yes, that’s a thing). I'll admit, in terms of 'activities', I didn't do much more than tap away on my laptop and lie back and watch TV, but it's good to know those were on offer if I wanted them!
The Fish’s demographic is seemingly broad. Looking around the breakfast room eating my eggs on Saturday morning, there’s everyone from young couples, to elderly lovers, sets of couples making up tables of 6, and families spanning four generations.
Rates at The Fish start at £85/ night.