Your experience begins as soon as you've booked. You are asked if there are special wines/champagnes you would like eg Nyetimber [which I love as it happens!], if you would like a morning newspaper, if you have any allergies, explaining that there are no shops in Bray but there is a Waitrose 10m away and they [Cristina/Alison/Ollie/Denise] will get anything for you to 'make your stay extra special'. I mean, how nice is that and we hadn't even arrived! In my view, that is unusual and is a 'stand-out' compared to other places we have stayed so thank you.
Meet and greet
Was lovely – Ollie, one of the managers, was there to greet us, professional, warm and welcoming. We were instantly blown away by the ambience – great little faux coal fire, sumptuous ‘heavy’ drapes, gorgeous crockery/glass reflecting a ‘bygone’ era. I am a germaphobe so was mightily relieved by the cleanliness – sparkling sinks, bath [huge] and surfaces. Ollie went through the details showing us how to turn the gas fire on/off, the TV remote, using the rail for the staircase which had steps made for people with small feet not my size 9s! I think we can safely communicate we were very clear about all aspects after he departed. He was happy to be contacted if we needed anything at all.
So there’s a larger than life sofa for 2, a small table in the living room and an even smaller one with small glass decanters of gin and whisky, complete with nuts, lemon and lime. One of the corners has glass shelves with crazy dark place mats/coasters/linen napkins and a gorgeous small bottle of sloe gin which was delicious complemented with some Brandy Butter Gourmet popcorn. There was a little guy present with round glasses standing there to hold our keys [very decent of him] and a shag pile rug in front of the fire.
‘My’ area so you can’t imagine how excited I was when I saw the Waitrose white vinegar for poached eggs in the morning – how sad am I! Select provisions included beautiful organic unsmoked back bacon, organic eggs, large tomatoes on the vine, a country loaf of sourdough bread, the fridge was stocked with your breakfast heart’s desire – smoothies, Fever-Tree tonic, ketchup, brown sauce, organic OJ, grapefruits and farm yoghurts. Just to note here, if you wanted mushrooms, black pudding, potatoes or cashew milk etc the quintessential quadlets [Cristina, Alison, Denise or Ollie] will go out of their way, as they say, to make things extra special for you. So make sure you ask beforehand to avoid any disappointment. There’s a Miele dishwasher that’s probably seen better days but then that would only be an issue if you had a ‘big’ party – its v easy just to wash-up for 2 using the sink. A Brabantia bin that isn’t great on opening/closing but does the job and decent pots/pans. I did grilled tomatoes, poached eggs, bacon and organic beans which went down a treat – all served in the living room complete with coffee [beans ground in the grinder and then cafetiere] – great way to set off in the morning.
Tempted to call it a tarts’ boudoir but will refrain *smile. Sumptuous purple décor, fabulous duvet, pillows, cushions, a large rococo/baroque style mirror. My partner did have a little moan that there was no make-up mirror as she couldn’t use the bigger mirrors because she wears contact lenses ….but such a minor gripe in the scheme of things. Clean sheets, iron, hair dryer and so quiet. Key point – comfortable, clean and well-appointed.
I loved the large black tiles, the cutesy taps, and the oversize bath. Decent forest shower, lots of towels, flannels [dark ones for make-up removal] and a towel rail. 2 quilted toilet rolls. No box of tissues which is unusual. There was a large roll of kitchen towel though downstairs should we have needed to sneeze. Great aromatherapy toiletries – not the chintzy little ones either – again, reflecting the generosity of the experience
These proprietors have gone out of their way to ensure you have the best stay possible. They are absolutely ‘out there’ in terms of welcoming diversity, as stated on their website. This allows Bray and its surroundings to be opened up to people who may feel it isn’t for them [possibly] such as ethnically mixed cultures, the LGBT community and small dog lovers. [!!]
This is a huge thumbs up from us – the price, in my view, is worth every penny and probably reflects the big ticket restaurant attractions such as The Fat Duck, The Waterside Inn and the wonderful country hostelries.
Truly a fabulous experience
We were booked into the Far Duck for dinner and wanted somewhere close to stay. This cottage is a 5 minute walk from the restaurant. Absolutely fabulous cottage set over two levels. Bedroom and bathroom (includes super sized bath tub)upstairs. Lounge/dining and kitchen downstairs. Gas fire so its very cozy inside. It’s all of the extras that make this special. Complimentary gin and tonic, whiskey and a gin liquor plus a fridge that is fill of juice, yoghurt, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, bread, milk, coffee and more. Fabulous meet and greet on arrival. We caught the train from London to Maidenhead. It was. 5-6 minute cab ride from the station. There are actually 3 x ‘number 3’s’ in the street. This cottage is Clementis’ is opposite The Waterside Inn. Highly recommended.
We stayed in Bray as part of a package including dinner at the Fat Duck and lunch at Hindshead and were upgraded to Lavender House - very nice as its directly between the two!
What a place to stay - amazing open plan kitchen leading out to a beautiful garden, cosy and very well appointed cinema room and large, comfortable bedrooms. Everything is top quality from the kitchen appliances to the green egg in the garden, its really nice to stay somewhere where quality comes over cost.
We really liked the way everything was provided on arrival - drinks, mixers, breakfast food and snacks as it meant we could settle in immediately, being met and shown around was a really nice touch too.
When we couldnt find an iron we had one of the representatives appear on the doorstep shortly afterwards with her own personal iron, now thats service!
It isnt cheap but you would struggle to better it, we will definitely stay again when we are next in the area.
We enjoyed a lovely short break staying at Dorma Cottage, in the heart of Bray. The cottage is very-well appointed, combining every possible amenity with great style and flair. The Bray Cottages team also go the extra mile, making sure that the fridge and larder are extremely well-stocked with all the ingredients for a super breakfast. The rear garden area is a real bonus, giving the opportunity for a leisurely afternoon tea before stepping out to sample the many gastronomic delights that Bray offers. The bed was very comfortable, and the quiet location, just tucked off the main village road, ensured a very good night's sleep. Because we were visiting several of the super dining locations in Bray, we were carrying with us enough 'smart casual' cloths to last a month, so the dressing room adjacent to the bedroom was a greatly appreciated feature.
So, thank you to Dorma Cottage and the Bray Cottages team for providing an extremely comfortable place to stay, that perfectly complemented our gastronomic weekend.
Make the most of your 4 1/2 hour lunch with Heston at the Fat Duck, go all out and have the matched wines. Why not when you're staying a couple of houses down in Lavender Cottage on the Main Street in Bray. This house is AMAZING. It's managed by Monkey Island Estate who were on the spot with the key and to give us a quick orientation. We stayed here just so we could go to the Fat Duck and we're so glad that the renovations at Monkey Island Estate (the owners of Lavender House) hadn't finished and we couldn't stay there. This house has everything you could want from a holiday stay, but so, so much more. Everything about this house is well appointed from the chefs kitchen, to the comfy bedrooms to the cinema room. Not only is the inside of the house brilliant and close to the Fat Duck, but it's next to The Hinds Head and a short walk to The Crown (both Heston's as well). Couldn't recommend this place more.