I have stayed in many hotels over the last forty years, some considerably more expensive than Wroxton House, but this was the best experience that I have ever had.
I had business in Oxford last weekend. My regular Oxford hotels were booked up, so I decided to stay near Banbury, travelling in and out of Oxford by train.
I was greeted as soon as I walked through the door. Check-in was simple and fast. I was taken to my room, which was spotlessly clean, spacious, and comfortable.
The room was well-serviced throughout my stay.
I had dinner both nights. The total dining experience at this hotel is relaxing, welcoming, comfortable, and quite extraordinarily well thought through. The hotel proprietors are very much in evidence and have long, successful experience in catering. It shows. The attention to detail in the lounge and lounge bar, where orders for dinner are taken, is deeply impressive. It is rather like being in the cherished family home of a host and hostess who are caring, thoughtful, but unfussy. Crisps and olives are at every table in the lounge, and they are regularly topped up. Pre-prandial drinks are brought to you. The bar is intelligently stocked, with a good range of beers and spirits.
The dining areas are in the older part of the building, and have lovely views across fields. The tables are well spaced out. As in the lounge, everything is spotlessly clean. Glasses and cutlery shine and show no tell-tale signs of dishwasher smear. Iced tap-water is served to every table, as is a selection of breads with butter and dipping oil. The napkins are beautifully laundered, cotton, and white.
The menu looked interesting, that first night. The food that arrived was simply out of this world, in presentation, visual effect, and taste. Wonder of wonders, portion sizes were sensible - never over-facing, but never diminutive. I have never tasted food so good, and food so consistently good across all meals.
The staff of this hotel are mainly well under the age of thirty. Somebody has trained them with consummate skill, even though some of them really are quite young. There's also been some very skilled recruitment. These young people are either high flyers from catering courses, or they are being trained in an impressive way by the hotel. I really liked the way that staff worked together as a team, and the way in which they interacted with one another. I don't know whether or not they are a happy team, but they certainly gave that impression. It felt like they'd been chosen at least partly because of their personalities. They weren't boring people: they were interesting, amusing, people, who knew how to talk to guests. They were so attentive that they could very easily have been over-the-top attentive - but they never crossed that line. At no point did I have to wait to secure attention from waiting staff, but there was no sense of being rushed through the meal. I heard two other guests saying that they had been to the hotel twice and found it just so relaxing. I agree.
The wine list was very well-judged. Being on my own, I didn't want to drink a whole bottle of wine, but the quality of the wine by the glass made that no problem. The small glass of Piesporter was good quality. I took a risk, partly out of interest, and ordered a large glass of the Romanian Pinot Noir. That was unusually good.
I recommend the cheese board. It contained five, very interesting cheeses.
Breakfast, also, was excellent.
I was actually a bit surprised that the hotel was not in the Guide Michelin. I've known less impressive food in Michelin-commended restaurants.
I think that the food at this hotel was remarkable value for money. You don't find food that unusual and good, and service that exceptional very often at those prices.
The dedication and utter professionalism of the owners of this hotel deserve the highest commendation. They were also very nice people.
I would like to thank the young waiter who told me, after my superb venison, that there were five breeds of deer in England. If he chooses, he will go far in whatever he does. I thought he was exceptional.
I had a great time at Wroxton House. It is said that the English love to grumble. My only grumble about Wroxton House is that they gave me nothing to grumble about.
Thank you, the owners, the chefs, and the staff at Wroxton House. Out of this world, outstanding! less