The Artists Residence Oxfordshire
We decided on a weekend away to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary and given our anniversary is pretty much exactly a month before Mini Egg is due we thought it would double up quite nicely as a Babymoon too.
We wanted to stay somewhere no further than 2 hours outside of London so that we didn’t lose precious time on the journey and so I didn’t have to sit in the car for too long. We decided the best areas would be Sussex, Kent or Oxfordshire/ the Cotswold's as all are easily accessible and beautiful areas of countryside. What we didn’t factor in (stupidly) is that it is of course wedding season! This narrowed down the number of available hotels considerably, which was a blessing in a way because it made decision making much easier.
I used my go to - Mr & Mrs Smith - to see what was available. I love that website, I trust it much more than a Trip Advisor or booking.com as it’s a little more up market and the ethos of the business is that they wouldn’t recommend somewhere they wouldn’t stay themselves.
After a fair bit of research we settled on The Artist Residence Oxfordshire, aka The Masons Arms. The hotel looked quirky and cute with a great selection of rooms and my sister and her boyfriend stayed when it first opened 2 years ago and had great things to say. We opted for the Stable Room which is in a converted stable building (what a surprise!) and features a lovely seating area, huge double king size bed, an amazing rain shower, a roll top bath and our own outdoor terrace.
The staff were super friendly on arrival and made sure we had a table booked for dinner that evening before showing us to our room where we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and making plans for the Mini Eggs arrival. I made the most of the giant roll top bath using the gorgeous Bramley bath products and spent a good half an hour doing my best basking whale impression.
Dinner at the Masons Arms was ok, not the best meal we’ve ever eaten but the staff were again lovely and it was very reasonable priced so we couldn’t complain.
After dinner we headed back to our room. I’ve not been sleeping well at all at the moment, I think due to a mixture of needing to wee 50 times a night, pelvic pain, achey back and general “oh my god I’m going to be a mum and I have to keep another person alive” anxiety. I’d packed my trusty pregnancy pillow and lavender pillow spray, set myself up in the super comfy bed and prayed I’d get at least 3 hours of solid sleep for the first time in a few weeks. It worked! I actually had one of the best nights sleep I’ve had in a long time. I mean don’t get me wrong I still had to wee 50 million times but at least i managed to get back to sleep between each loo wake up because the bed was so comfortable!
The biggest disappointment had to be breakfast on Sunday morning. We decided as it’s our anniversary we’d treat ourselves to breakfast in bed/ outside on our private terrace. Nick called and put in our order at 7:30 with the food arriving just less than an hour later (breakfast doesn’t start until 8am so fair enough) however I wouldn’t say it was great value. I’d ordered bacon and eggs which arrived with 2 of the smallest pieces of bacon I’ve ever seen and no toast, Mr H ordered smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and it was a pretty tiny portion, especially after he gifted me one of his two slices of toast (happy anniversary to me!)... who cuts the carbs out of a pregnant ladies breakfast?! We’d also ordered an orange juice each which when it arrived was about 200mls each and clearly from a carton for £3 each... it was less of a breakfast feast and more of a quick bite to eat before embarking on your day. Not overly impressive.
We had been booked in for dinner again on Sunday evening but we decided we’d cancel and branch out a bit instead after the breakfast experience.
For breakfast on Monday morning we ventured into the main dining room hoping breakfast would be a little more inspiring, sadly we were wrong. However whilst the food was disappointing the setting was not. We asked if we could sit outside in the garden and it was well worth it. The garden is festooned with strings of lights and features a stunning middle eastern inspired bedouin tent. I think if they put a little more effort into the food this would be a fantastic five star boutique hotel but at the moment with the food as is, I'd say it's a top end four star.
That being said, I would recommend the hotel, the room is gorgeous, the staff are really friendly and they offer bikes for hire, welly boots for those who want to go wandering through the sprawling fields and the attention to detail in the rooms is second to none. From the beautiful Bramley bath products to the quirky tea and coffee mugs, not to mention the best stocked mini bar snack basket I’ve ever seen, no expense has been spared.