16-20 Market Street, Woodstock, United Kingdom, OX201SX
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Foodies, Mature travellers, Travellers with pets, People watching, Romance, Shopping, Trendiness
Expert review of The Feathers
The Feathers consists of five old Woodstock townhouses dating from the 18th century and earlier. Different parts of this architectural maze have in their time been a sanatorium, literary institute, private home, several shops and a free public library. In the 1960s all five buildings were merged into one to create The Dorchester Hotel, which was later sold to the hotelier Gordon Campbell-Grey. His love of displaying stuffed birds resulted in the hotel becoming known as The Feathers.
Early in 2010 the Feathers undertook a refurbishment by Trevillion Interiors who brought in fuschia, lime, turquoise and purple, dark headboards, comfy sofas and white, white sheets. The process was recently completed with a lot of contemporary art and a large pink banquette being added to the dining room. However while the designer’s palette is very much of the 2010s, the layout of the hotel will remain an archaic hodgepodge. Personally I don’t mind not knowing where I’ll be coming out when I start off downstairs, but you should to resolve to have fun when you arrive at the Feathers -- and whatever you do don’t carry up your own luggage.
The town of Woodstock lies either side of Oxford Street - the main road between Oxford and Stratford upon Avon. Market Street is one of two roads that lead from the main road in the direction of Blenheim Palace and converge in front of the Macdonald Bear Hotel . Most of the old town is grouped around this triangle and the approach road to the public entrance of Blenheim. Shops and cafés and other smaller hotels surround The Feathers, both on Market Street and on Oxford Street itself. This is a good place to buy expensive kitchen items, boutique clothes, antiques, gourmet food and wine. Woodstock without money in your pocket just isn't fun!
There are 16 bedrooms and five suites at the top of the hotel’s several staircases. No two are the same. Luc Morel, the general manager, describes the décor as “funky with boutique twists, lush fabrics and free-standing stone basins”. His summary misses out the original antiques in each room and his own personal touch, a small decanter of jelly beans for each guest. All designs are by Trevillion Interiors and toiletries by Molton Brown.
All the suites have their own lounge with a sofa-bed. The Falcon Suite is the largest and it contains its own dining table for entertaining up to six guests for room service in style. There is free WiFi throughout the hotel.
The dining room is made up of three rooms linked together. In fact, it was once four small 18th-century cottages. There is also a Gin Bar containing 70 different makes of gin and eight different kinds of tonic. The bar’s log fire is kept lit from 1 October until spring. Next to the reception the “Study” retains the lofty lines of a panelled parlour straight out Jane Austen. This is the venue for gin-tastings every Friday night at 6pm led by Lubos, the Croatian bar manager.
There is an attractive courtyard garden beyond the bar.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken in the restaurant, which is about to be refurbished. There is a fine tasting-menu for £55 (£99 with wines). The Gin Bar serves some imaginative and substantial snacks – omelette Arnold Bennett, terrine of ham hock, pork and apple sausage and mash. Where possible the hotel aims to source its ingredients locally. Beef comes from the Blenheim estate, as does the bottled water in the restaurant. The hotel will provide two-person hampers (£35) if you’re tempted to go off for a picnic.
This summer the hotel aims to be offering "The Best Afternoon Tea Outside London". Ring ahead to see if it's up and running.
None however the grounds of Blenheim are good for a brisk walk. Ask at reception about the door that locals use to get in free.
Friendly. The tone of the hotel is set by GM Luc Morel, the man who put jelly beans in every room. Luc makes sure the place runs efficiently but remains fun.
Pets are allowed if arranged in advance.
Some business people who have worked out that they can travel in comfort around this part of Oxfordshire, a lot of tourists and wedding guests (Woodstock seems to host a lot of weddings). Gin enthusiasts.
Rooms are priced in five categories – “Woodstock” being the smallest and cheapest double, next comes “Cotswold”. There are also Townhouse doubles, suites and deluxe suites, although the Master Suite is the only example of deluxe. Go for this and order room service. Bookings have to be for a minimum of two nights at weekends. Single occupancy is sometimes available Sunday to Thursday and knocks about £50 off the double rate. All prices include breakfast.
Free parking does exist, but may mean moving your car’s position on the street from time to time. There is also a big free car park the other side of Oxford Street but everyone prefers to take their luck on the street.
More information on The Feathers:
- 16-20 Market Street, Woodstock, United Kingdom, OX201SX
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Cocktail Bar, Gin-Tasting
- High-Speed Internet, Pets Allowed, Restaurant, Room Service
- oxford countryside