With no cameras allowed in public places and a slightly inaccessible website… Soho Farmhouse remains a mystery to many people. In fact my video inside Soho Farmhouse is one of my most viewed – proof to me that people are interested to know more. I’ve actually written about staying at Soho Farmhouse three times before and I’ve stayed five times at the English country resort-cum-private members club. To take a fresh perspective, I thought I’d tell you what it’s like staying in the biggest possible accommodation offered at Farmhouse – the three bed room cabin. If you want to know more about staying at the resort in general, refer to this post about our first stay or this one about the top ten things to do at Soho Farmhouse.
Let’s start from the beginning. I visited Soho Farmhouse last year with my parents, now in all honesty it’s not 100% their cup of tea as my mum prefers modern hotels and Soho Farmhouse takes the ‘farm’ theme to the extreme and the cabins are very rustic. Honestly, I love it there but I will say I know it’s not for everyone. My parents also felt like they were the oldest people there as the average age of guests is probably 25 – 45 so being in their 60s they felt a little random. However, my mum decided that they wanted to go again because there were many things that they did like, eg the size of the cabins, the proximity to their Buckinghamshire home, food that is tasty and simple and overall good value for money.
A question I always get asked is how have I always been able to book a room. I’m a member of Soho House and there are rooms reserved for members only, I’ve tried to book for friends and family but they only allow non-members during the week. During my recent stay we were told that this was set to change to members only though friends and family can stay with a member in the group.
Before now, I’ve always stayed at the weekend and I secured bookings only by doing so around six months in advance. Rates vary as to whether you’re a member or non-member or whether you have booked a friends and family rate. To give you some example of the difference, a studio cabin (the entry level cabin) is £295 for a member and £355 for friends and family. We paid £805 per night for the three bedroom cabin – I know that’s a lot but when you think it can fit six people in and they’d being paying £135 each, it’s really not that bad considering the size of the room that you get. On this occasion we booked mid-week as my parents are retired and my sister and I have flexible schedules. I booked our October stay in July which is still quite far in advance even for a mid-week stay.
My parents drove to Soho Farmhouse but as I don’t have a car (Mr S usually drives but he didn’t come this time) I got the train to Charlbury and Soho Farmhouse arranged a taxi for me. My sister came the next day by train too. When you arrive at Soho Farmhouse there’s a gate house where they’ll take your name and booking details. Members of Soho House members can also come for the day and sign in guests but space at the restaurants is subject to availability and guests can’t use the pool etc. Once you’ve checked in, a repurposed milk float with drive you to the cabin.
With three bedrooms, our cabin was of course huge! I mentioned it’s the biggest cabin available, but there is also the farm cottage which sleeps eight, it’s not included in the cabin category and two of the rooms are bunk rooms rather than full size bedrooms.
Every guest is provided with a bike to get around the farm (though we never used ours!) and you’re asked your shoe size so that they can give you wellie boots. Are you ready to go inside?
So the first thing to see is a porch type area where you can hang up you coat and leave you shoes. There’s also a picnic basket and blanket, books and a few bits and pieces should you want to clean the room. Under that curtain is a full size washing machine and tumble dryer – not something you see often in a luxury fully catered hotel.
From the porch you enter into a cosy living area with a huge comfy sofa and two arm chairs. There was only four of us staying but it’s worth noting that though this is a six person cabin, there’s not enough space for everyone to sit in the living room on sofas. There’s a big screen TV, a fire place, books to read, and a double balcony. The cupboards and drawers are packed full of drinks and snacks and games – snacks aren’t included in the price of the room but there is a fresh loaf of bread and cheese on arrival plus a pint of milk delivered every day. There’s also a dining table in the room with six chairs but for some reason I didn’t take a photo of it.
One reason my mum likes coming to Soho Farmhouse is that the cabins have full kitchens – not that she wants to cook but she just likes having it there! The kitchen has everything including the kitchen sink so there’s an aga and hob, dish washer, toasters, kettle, Nespresso machine and in the cupboards and drawers you’ll find glassware, cutlery and crockery. There’s a cute farm shop at the house so you can pop there and pick up some food if you do fancy preparing it yourself. If you don’t fancy going to breakfast, there’s also granola in the room which you can have with your daily milk. There’s also a float which prepares breakfast to order right outside your room!
There’s a huge American-style fridge, stocked to accommodate six people, aka full of wine and champagne… there’s even pre-made cocktails should that take you fancy.
And then there’s some cute retro touches in keeping with the style of the house such as a Robert radio, record player and dial phone. One thing I will say is that I don’t think the living area is as the equivalent in size to the one bed room cabin, which is odd as one is for six people and the other only for two.
Here’s a picture so you can see what I mean.
Downstairs there are two bedrooms which are pretty much mirror images of each other so I’ll just show one. They’re very spacious and the bed and pillows are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever had – on this occasion it was only me in the bed but there was space for five.
There’s a large screen TV and in the downstairs bedrooms, the bath is in the room and there are small balconies that over look the lake.
Every bedroom has a full size bathroom with double sinks and an absolutely huge shower… one thing I love about staying here is you don’t really need to bring that much with you so it’s perfect if you’re coming straight from working in London. There are loads of amenities included, more than I usually see in a hotel such as facial cleanser and moisturiser, razor, mouth wash, tooth-brush and tooth paste. They have all the usual things you’d expect in a five-star hotel such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel but they come in full size bottles in all different fragrances.
All products are Cowshed, the Soho House-owned spa brand and the fragrances have quirky names such as Grumpy Cow, Knackered Cow and Lazy Cow so you can pick depending on you mood. They also provide the snuggliest of robes, slippers and flip flops too. You leave your styling tools at home because as well as the usual hair dryer, there are straightening irons in the room. There’s also plenty of chargers, converters and USB cables should you need those.
My room was located up the stairs and was a slightly different configuration to the other rooms. The room itself is slightly smaller but it had a longer balcony with a beautiful view of the river. As I mentioned, this very rustic style with the unvarnished wood and retro details isn’t for everyone but I really love it.
The bathroom had the double sinks, huge shower and all the other amenities that there were downstairs but the bath was in the bathroom rather than the bedroom.
We found, perhaps because of the location of the room, there were a lot of flies and it was even worse in my upstairs room. They sprayed the flies but there just ended up being lot of dead ones around which house keeping didn’t clean up, they were very apologetic on check out though and ended up comping one of our meals as an apology.
We rarely go away as a family especially without Mr S so it was really lovely to have this getaway and all be able to stay under one roof but with the privacy of individual bedrooms and bathrooms.
I do want to tell you a little about what goes on behind the ‘gram as we do know that life isn’t always Insta-perfect. The day before we were set to stay at Soho Farmhouse my dad had an accident at a round about and fell off his bike. You can read more about it on his blog. Anyway, the paramedics signed him off and we thought he was ok but he was in a lot of pain during our two day stay and ended up skipping dinner and breakfast. A big bruise came up on his back but he was complaining of pains in his chest which were growing worse. We decided to leave earlier than planned and take him to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. It turned out he had three broken ribs as well as that nasty bruise and there were further complications as he’s on blood thinning medication. We ended up in A & E for ten hours and he had to stay over night for observation.
I’m happy to say though that he’s well on the way to recovery, though there’s not much you can do for broken ribs, he’s on pain medication and his blood stabilised over night. We stayed in the three bedroom cabin a few weeks ago and last week Mr S and I returned to stay in a one bedroom for my birthday.
We left early on Sunday to go to another hotel to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday! We had a very special lunch at The Grove Hotel in Watford (another family favourite) with about 50 friends and relatives. With about four weeks passing, his ribs were feeling much better and he had a great time especially spending time with his grandchildren, Jackson and Charlie.
There’s nowhere quite like Soho Farmhouse, in my opinion and staying in the three bedroom cabin was a great experience. I loved spending the time with my family and I’m sure we will all be going back again when my dad is 100% better.