Dormy House Hotel and Spa
This Cotswold farmhouse has been renovated to create a 40-room hotel which aims to be your "home from home", and has a new, modern spa: clean Scandinavian design meets cosy Cotswold stone.
With a 16-metre infinity pool, thermal experiences, a champagne nail parlour, gym, excellent Temple Spa treatments, and dining in the glass-walled spa lounge, this laid-back but luxurious spa offers both elegance and comfort. With packages ranging from spa breaks to short spa "bubbles", where you can pack in a lot of spa in a little time, there's a way for everyone to get dreamy at Dormy.
|Key Brands:||Temple Spa, Butter London|
|Treatment Menu:||View this spa's treatment menu|
Monday to Saturday: Club, studios and thermal: 7am - 9pm; spa treatments: 9am - 8pm
40 en-suite rooms available in five different styles, including six suites.
Dormy is home to two restaurants; The Garden Room and The Potting Shed, the latter of which has more of a pub-like feel (and menu!). There are also rooms available for private dining, for larger parties. Afternoon tea is served in The Potting Shed from Monday to Thursday, and Dormy hampers are available to order from reception, or before arrival.
A 17th-century stone farmhouse, a foodie pub and a trendy country hotel all rolled into one in the Cotswolds.
We visited when the spa had been open for about six weeks: time enough for things to bed in but soon enough for The Good Spa Guide to get the inside edge on a spa worth adding to our wish list.
A light and airy spa finished in soft greys and blues, with stained oak floors and pale cream tiles. At the centre of the lower level is a 16-metre indoor infinity pool which has mood lighting; you can swim down the pool while the water is a soft blue, and back up when it is pale pink. Just sitting on one of the eight large day beds is entertaining as you watch the pool change colour.
A glass-sided Finnish sauna overlooks the pool, and there is also a cooler "lavender sauna", a salt steam room, an ice-rub station, and drench showers. Outside is a sheltered terrace that acts as a sun trap, complete with hydro-pool.
Upstairs is a very elegant nail parlour where you can have your nails done while sipping champagne, and a large glass-sided lounge complete with a circular log fire, and a bar offering drinks and food all day.
There are six treatment rooms, and the couples' treatment room opens into the rasul mud room.
Two gyms: one for hotel guests and one for health-club members.
I had the Temple Spa Champagne and Truffles facial (90 minutes, £115) which was not, as I half-expected, a facial followed by champagne and truffles. Both were used as ingredients in the treatment, along with some silk, diamonds and gold. Well, when a Spa Spy reaches a certain age, she deserves diamonds and champagne and gold.
The treatment began with Sarah, my therapist, telling me to breathe in the oils on her hands, and then relax with a deep breath out. As I did so, she pushed firmly on my shoulders to help me relax. While I enjoyed the warm bed and the lovely aroma of the oils, Sarah washed my feet with warm cloths and then wrapped them up.
The facial proper began with a warm "melting" mask designed to help iron out wrinkles. (I think I need this every morning!) A facial massage followed using a rich cream and "lifting" techniques which aim to reduce baggy areas and strengthen and tone the muscles. Sarah used another, even richer, cream on my neck area.
While the potions performed their magic on my face, Sarah treated my arms and hands with a gentle exfoliating cream, removed it with warm flannels and then massaged in another cream.
She used cool marble stones to brighten and refresh the skin around my eyes, and then applied a generous layer of Temple Spa Skin Truffle. This wonderfully rich cream is a hit with the Spa Spies, so much so that we voted it our winning "Pamper Perfect Product" in our annual awards in 2011. It's still a brilliant product and was a perfect end to this treatment.
My skin felt very soft and plumped up, my jaw was much less jowly and my eye area was brighter. My skin looked great for the next few days and good for over a week.
Next time I would be tempted by the facial called "Skin investment: Need a miracle?" if only because of the name. This facial includes a micro-peel, a super boosting mask and the use of a "skin investment cell communication machine" which is supposed to give a non-invasive face lift. There are plenty of other facials to choose from, including rehydrating and calming ones for sensitive skin.
Dormy House Spa has trained all its therapists in massage expert Beata Alexsandrowicz's "Pure Massage" approach, and it really shows in their massage technique. The "Face Pure" massage tackles stress held in the muscles of the head and neck and claims to help improve headaches, skin texture and sleep patterns. If stress is affecting your sleep patterns, the "Silent Night Lavender Sleep Treatment", the Dormy House signature treatment, combines a body brush, a buff, and a long massage to try to reset your body clock.
You can also try other massages, wraps, scrubs and infusions, and mud-based therapies using the rasul room, as well as beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures and waxing. You can book short spa sessions of two hours, which combine various treatments, or half and full days.
In the Greenhouse spa lounge, the bar serves smoothies, drinks, salads and treats all day. If you are booked in for a spa session, the welcome smoothie sets you up for a day of pampering.
The Potting Shed offers all-day food brasserie style, from fish and chips to proper chicken pie.
The Garden Room is the hotel's slightly grander restaurant which uses local produce with plenty of salmon, duck and lamb on offer.
The laid-back but luxurious atmosphere: everything is comfortable, good quality and spacious, from the soft furnishings to the high standards of finish in the pool and heat area.
The quirky style: the theme is that Dormy House is like your own house -- but better! The hotel and spa are not stiff or formal in any way and staff are friendly and helpful. Rooms are named after the house theme: the spa lounge is the Greenhouse, the restaurants are the Garden Room and The Potting Shed, treatment rooms carry a sign saying "Beware the Therapist". Someone is having fun here and it is just as likely to be the guests.
The clever use of outdoor space: the terrace by the spa is carefully screened on two sides so it acts as a suntrap, the hydro-pool has been positioned outside in a dip to shelter it from wind and, on the other side of the hotel, the terrace that gets the morning sun is where breakfast is served. Even on cold days, the glass-walled Greenhouse lounge with its central log fire makes you feel warm while getting plenty of daylight.
The Mad-Men style nail parlour: you can have your nails done while sipping a glass of Veuve Clicquot (my favourite champagne).
We didn't love the hot glass walls of the sauna which form part of a corridor. Touching the walls as we passed was uncomfortably hot. A warning sign would help.
The downstairs spa area is quite compact and may easily become overcrowded on busy days. There were five people in the changing room when I wanted to change and that felt, well...friendly!
Romantics: The high standards, the informal atmosphere and the elegant spa combine to make Dormy House a perfect hideaway for couples.
Gardeners: There are 30 gardens within 30 miles, including Hidcote and Batsford Arboretum. You can also arrange a private tour of the Japanese garden in the grounds of the Farncombe Estate. (See a PDF of the Japanese garden here.)
Foodies: Of course, given the setting in the Vale of Evesham (which used to be called the breadbasket of London). The hotel uses plenty of local suppliers and makes a point of serving seasonal food.
Anyone who needs a bit of luxury in their life: Don't we all now and again?
We awarded Dormy House a Good Spa Guide bubble rating of 5 bubble luxury.
Dormy House offers luxury, excellent treatments and a well-designed spa space.
Sybaritic Spy visited Dormy House Hotel and Spa in March 2014