A bucolic 19th-century countryside inn with six bedrooms in the heart of Gloucestershire, The Fox at Oddington contains many and varied delights that belie its modest size.
This newly-opened retreat is the latest addition to Daylesford Organic founder Carole Bamford’s impressive hospitality and wellness offering, and her second pub opening after the Wild Rabbit in Kingham in 2013.
WHAT TO PACK
During an extensive renovation project, the building’s architectural heritage was preserved while its interior design was brought right up to present day. As a result, inside its honey-hued exterior, The Fox exudes an atmosphere of old-world charm meets contemporary chic. Sustainability is top of the agenda and where possible, all materials have been locally sourced, including insulation made from discarded sheep’s wool from the Daylesford Organic farm nearby and paint containing natural pigments. Characterful flooring is made from reclaimed timber and the leather seats are from the farm’s hides, treated by a local tannery with vegetable dyes.
The ground floor rooms are a collection of atmospheric nooks and crannies, including the homey Tack Room with its large inglenook fireplace, forest-green tongue and grove walls, chocolate-brown armchairs and brightly coloured riding rosettes hanging from a ceiling beams. Bifold doors line one wall of the dining room, ready to swing open onto a leafy terrace once the warmer weather is here. Upstairs, some bedrooms overlook a living roof, planted with a broad mix of British wildflowers, perennial herbs and succulents, all designed to attract pollinators. The whole building is powered by 100% renewable energy thanks to a mix of solar, wind, hydro and biomass.
The six stylish bedrooms are all individually decorated in elegant, understated tones – think warm creams and biscuit browns – with plenty of textured fabrics to add interest and keep things toasty. Reclaimed wooden benches and tree stumps act as bedside tables and the windows are draped in flowing curtains held back with antler-shaped hooks.
It doesn’t get much cosier than The Master’s suite, where you can fall asleep in a handmade curtained bed under the exposed wooden beams in the eaves of the building. In The Den, you’ll find a free-standing bathtub between the working fireplace and the four-poster bed, plus your own private patio. Other favourite rooms are The Meadow, which is draped with beautiful blue fabrics and includes floral prints by Hugo Guinness, and Hedgerow, with décor inspired by local Cotswolds flora and fauna.
All the lush fabrics are from Nila, a non-profit founded by Lady Bamford dedicated to honouring and preserving the natural dye and handloom traditions of rural India. Unsurprisingly, all the delicious-smelling toiletries that line the bathroom surfaces are Bamford too, made from natural and organic ingredients and packaged in fully recyclable plastic bottles.
The Little Extras
No trip to The Fox is complete without a visit to Daylesford Organic farm shop and the Bamford Wellness Spa, found some 20 minutes’ walk away along a pretty bridle path. Hotel guests even benefit from a 10 per cent discount on Cookery school courses, most floristry workshops, spa treatments and fitness classes, including yoga. Try the Ultimate Signature Treatment, a dreamy blend of Japanese, Swedish and Indian massage that will leave you floating on air.
If you enjoy a hike, don’t forget a pair of wellies or sturdy walking boots as there are plenty of picturesque spots to visit nearby, including the quaint villages of Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh, which are great for antique hunting. Alternatively, rent one of the hotel’s ten electric Daylesford green bikes to explore further afield.
The Food + Drink
The beautifully restored pub serves traditional British cuisine in generously-sized portions, with a you’ll-want-everything-on-it menu by the head chef Alan Gleeson that celebrates seasonal ingredients from Daylesford Organic and the Wootton Estate. Keep it casual in the buzzy bar area and tuck into hearty snacks like ‘nduja scotch eggs and honey, buttermilk fried chicken and delicious wood-fired pizzas, or book a spot in the smarter Saddle Room restaurant where some tables are partitioned by reclaimed stable doors and you can watch the chefs hard at work in the open kitchen.
Make sure to arrive with an appetite so you can enjoy three courses of classic comfort food cooked to perfection, plus more adventurous dishes such as a tasty beetroot orzo with baby leeks and hazelnuts. Other highlights include starters of violet artichokes with salsa verde, burrata, broad beans, peas, mint and dill, and mains of chargrilled chateaubriand of dry-aged Hereford beef and whole Cornish turbot with Jersey royals and seaweed butter. Breakfast is an equally lavish affair with freshly-baked pastries, eggs boasting deep orange yolks and mains including an indulgent cinnamon-baked French toast topped with apricots and crème fraîche. If you’re staying on a Sunday, you’ll be lucky enough to sample The Fox’s legendary roasts.
Drinks-wise, there’s a line of pumps at the bar serving local beer and an excellent cocktail list – try the refreshing gin, honey, lavender and bee pollen mix, playfully named Bees Knees. For wine-lovers, the Château Leoubé (the Bamford’s own-brand rosé from their French vineyard) is particularly popular, while the family’s wellness leanings can be seen in the extensive mocktail and alcohol-free offering, from NOgronis to CoNOpolitans.