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“Heavenly”
Review of Bruern Cottages

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Bruern Cottages
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Chipping Norton
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Heavenly”
Reviewed 7 October 2012

We spent a blissful week in the Shipton cottage with our little boy. It is the most fantastic place for children, a fabulous central play area with wonderful toys, as well as a private playground in our enclosed garden. Amazing for adults too with the super hot indoor pool and spa treatment rooms. There is everything you could ever need here and the location is just incredible - a real sanctuary. The cottage itself was beautifully decorated and all the little touches really do make a difference. We absolutely loved our week, it was heavenly.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank Londonlabrador
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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77 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Taos, New Mexico
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 May 2012

This is the second, and not the last, time we have stayed at Bruern and love it. We will return for our 50th anniversary. This time we had Cope Cottage for a week. Everything was there that we wanted and needed -- peaceful country, quiet setting, friendly helpful people, lovely walks in the woods, joy to find such an outstanding facility. The ability to do what you want whenever is fabulous. Love Burford village.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Rebecca C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cheshire
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2012

We have just returned from 4 nights at Bruern cottages. We stayed in a cottage called The Cheltenham which was a charming little 2 bedroom cottage. You got into the cottage via a flight of stairs which didn't pose a problem for us as it meant that you had the most lovely view over the garden and beyond which extended to the kids play area and play houses. This worked brilliantly as it meant the children could go and wonder of wherever they wanted and we could have a cup of tea whilst being able to catch a glimpse of them at any one time. Upon arrival we were greeted with so many goodies which were above and beyond our expectations and requirements. Every single thing was considered from crackers, home made jams, eggs and fruit loaf to orange juice, Champagne and chocolates. In self catering i always dread the cooker but i had no need to worry like the rest of the property it was pristine as were all pots and pans etc, in fact there was not a dust spec in sight. The cottage itself was so pretty, with lots of almost naff little ornaments, lots of lovely books on an old book shelf, a dresser with what looked like your grannies cups and saucers adorned all over it. There was a beautiful real fire and an endless amount of firewood and fire lighters to hand. The linens were all the white company and there were towels provided for home and the onsite pool. I loved all the old style fabrics and I particularly adored the children's room with its canopy style bed. Looking around the cottage some may have said it needed a little sprucing, it wasn't perfectly decorated, the kitchen was a little tired maybe, but for us it all added to its charm and it made it even more homely and authentic, it was in my view exactly what you want from a Cotswold cottage and we found it heart warming. Its very small imperfections such as its slanted kitchen table just added to its overwhelming charm, even the canary yellow walls were effortlessly stylish in their own sunny, merry little way. Outside the cottage the onsite pool was clean and bright and we had it to ourselves almost the whole time of our visit. The kids toys and playhouses were a great welcome addition and we picked up a couple of bikes from the bike store which we used to simply potter around with the kids. All in all we loved our 4 days we felt Bruern was charming, it allowed us to have a relaxed welcome break, just enjoying the setting and keeping an non intrusive watchful eye on the kids who had 4 days of making friends and enjoying totally freedom in the garden and play houses just for them. Bruern is one of those places that as soon as your home your on the internet to book again. I can honestly say that we found it faultless, and the whole family loved every minute. Thanks to the team.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank claireyflairey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maidenhead, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2012

We stayed at Bruern Cottages for 4 nights during the week before Xmas. We had such a wonderful stay that myself and 4 year old daughter did not want to go home!!

We stayed in Wychwood cottage and was amazed to find what was provided. Everything and I mean everything you need is there. From tea bags, coffee, crackers, cereal, cake, butter, milk, champagne to good quality cleaning products, Ecover, are provided. Infact, the information provided on their website is definitely accurate and covers pretty much everything.

My daughter absolutely loved the indoor pool and we pretty much had it to ourselves most of the time. The two play rooms were a hit too!

Both my husband and I also had spa treatments - very relaxing.

Overall, I would not hesitate in recommending Bruern Cottages. It is a perfect place to stay with friends and/or family in the Cotswolds. I was a little concerned after reading the negative reviews on Tripadvisor. Please do not let these put you off; in my opinion those reviews are harsh and untrue.

I have yet to stay in a place which is absolutely perfect with no recommendations for improvements, hence here are my suggestions:

- touch up on the paint work in certain areas: kitchen skirting boards, walls which have been marked by stair gates, bathrooms.
- as bathrobes are provide, it could be (incorrectly) assumed that slippers will be as well. Perhaps this could be mentioned on the website.
- unfortunately, guests staying next door to us were extremely noisy late at night - playing loud music in the early hours. A few hard bangs on the wall were needed each night for them to stop. Suggest some "guest etiquette" could be included in the welcome pack.

Finally, I would say that the rates are extremely expensive during peak season and perhaps guests paying these rates would expect perfection and hence the negative reviews.....
If you can travel off peak then Bruern Cottages is a must!

Room Tip: Try to travel off peak to get the best rate.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank MW F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheshire
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 December 2011

Stayed here 2 weeks ago for my mums surprise 70th. We had stayed about 5 years previously and had an excellent stay and always promised to return. We have Wier House again and Shipton Cottage (for disabled access).
Many thanks to Fran and her team, we could not fault a thing. Truely amazing and like a home from home. There were 16 of us for dinner one night and a local caterer came in called Peter Kilby - fanstatic food cooked and served fresh in our kitchen. Peter came back 3 nights later to cook another meal!!!!
Could not recommend this place any more than I already have.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Chap1830
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2011

We have just spent a weekend in Wychwood Cottage and would have no hesitation in recommending Bruern! We were a little concerned about some of the reports we had read but I can honesty say that none of them could apply to Wychwood cottage. We collected the key from reception and were left to discover the cottage ourselves (which is exactly what we wanted). From the moment we walked into the beautiful kitchen we smiled and began a perfect relaxing weekend. I can't think of anything that was missing and we genuinely did not want to give the key back when we left. The most wonderful thing about Bruen is that it does not feel like a holiday rental cottage, more like someone's lovingly cared for and tastefully decorated country home. T & J will be back!

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TW4JM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 September 2011

We have just spent a week at Bruern Holiday cottages and sadly feel very let down by the poor service and overall lack of attention to detail.

Unfortunately we had only been at Bruern a couple of hours before we realised a number of things weren’t up to the standards that we had been told to expect. When you are paying high end/luxury prices of between £3,000 - £4,000 for a week in a self-catering cottage I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect excellent levels of cleanliness and service.

Baby items turned up that we didn’t order, items that we did order didn’t work properly. Kitchen knives were blunt, scissors and kettle were broken on arrival and the baby seat arrived filthy with crumbs and dried guck. Lightbulbs had blown in the bathroom and sitting room, food never arrived that we had ordered and one daily newspaper arrived . . .but the other one failed to appear. Cobwebs could be found around some of the sitting room lamps and finally the office printer was unable to print out our boarding cards on our departure even though we had emailed it through to the office the day before . . . . I could go on.

Before I go on to the more annoying/dangerous areas of sloppy service it must be noted that the location and the spa are terrific.

Overall the cottage was very nicely decorated and the setting was idyllic. In the beautiful Cotswolds with a gorgeous croquet lawn to the front door and a terrace and communal walled garden to the other. A very relaxing setting.

And even more relaxing are the wonderful spa treatments provided by the independent onsite spa Phoenix Rose. All the different treatments I enjoyed were done with real professionalism and the bonus is that they are reasonably priced. I highly recommend giving them a try.

So, onto the more annoying/dangerous areas of poor service at Bruern . . .

We pre-reserved two safety bed rails to stop our toddler rolling out of bed. Unfortunately, these didn’t fit the bed properly and so she fell out of bed the first night. By this time we had already encountered a number of other problems and couldn’t face complaining about every little thing and so we dragged the mattress off the bed and she slept on the floor for the week!!

The most disappointing area for me was the cleanliness and general housekeeping of the pool area. The pool had been one of the reasons we booked these luxury cottages. . .but oh dear, this area was not looked after at all. The first couple of times we visited there were dead flys in the pool and dead flys around the side of the pool. The pool toys/floats were in very bad condition and simply just old and tatty and the loungers with cushions had all seen better days.

But the most worrying element of the pool management was the ventilation and the lack of concern for safety. The smell of chlorine was intense and there was a sign placed on an external door asking that the emergency door be kept closed but that all other doors could be opened for ventilation purposes. This was simply not possible. The doors were locked on every one of our visits and so we were forced to open the emergency exit as the stench of chlorine was intoxicating. With the doors open I agreed with my husband that our toddler could use it but I only went in it once as I am pregnant and was worried about the effects of the intense chlorine smell. If no one was going in to remove the dead flys it did worry me that no one was monitoring the pool’s chlorine levels.

Finally, Bruern has a special external safety door for the pool area to stop children walking the several short steps from the play area to the pool. However, the door was broken and couldn’t close, even more worryingly it was wedged wide open on occasions. Surely out of all of the broken items we came across this was the most serious of all and should have been dealt with immediately. It certainly wasn’t fixed the week that we were there staying with lots of children around.

All in all, Bruern let us down. It would take very little to ensure that light bulbs work, knives are sharp and items are clean during change over day but there is clearly no standard process of checks in place.

Where Bruern really excels is with their marketing. The website is very impressive and they are very clever at using journalists’ quotes as great endorsement but Bruern is getting old and even basic levels of service that you would expect are not present.

Upon handing back the keys I also explained that some food and newspapers hadn’t arrived (I couldn’t face going into the other list of many other problems as I had already highlighted some during the week – such as the broken dvd player, dirty high chair, broken kettle and broken pool door). Absolutely bizarre approach to guest services from any lodging never mind somewhere supposedly of high calibre and reputation.

Bruern need to get the very basics right that you would expect from a two star before getting so over excited about the fancy extras. Personally, I can do without a cheap bottle of champagne and would rather have a clean and safe pool to enjoy.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
20 Thank MrsMac2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bruern Cottages

Property: Bruern Cottages
Address: Bruern Stable Cottages, Chipping Norton OX7 6QA, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Chipping Norton
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Chipping Norton
Hotel Class:5 star — Bruern Cottages 5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the heart of the Cotswolds, between Chipping Norton, Stow-on-the-Wold and Burford, Bruern Holiday Cottages are one of the few holiday rentals to welcome guests just as a hotel does - for a single night or for eight weeks, both during the week and at the weekend. Even though Bruern is self-catering, you are not expected to entirely provide for yourself on your first night, so when you arrive, there are essentials like milk, butter, eggs and sausages waiting for you, along with a few little luxuries like champagne, homemade cakes and local artisan cheese with biscuits. Twice National Winners of VisitBritain’s England for Excellence Award, and current holders of EnjoyEngland’s Gold Award for quality, Bruern Holiday Cottages set a new benchmark for self-catering when Judy Astor first started converting the properties in 1992, at one time comprising eight of the properties holding VisitBritain’s top grade awards, has compared with only 132 for the whole of the rest of Great Britain. Bruern offers the comfort and attention to detail of a good hotel, combined with the privacy, independence and space of home, amidst the civilised ease and style of English Country House living. However, there are four things that really set Bruern apart from other self-catering holiday rentals. Firstly, it is a paradise for children, with three playgrounds, a play cabin, a wendy house, who, toy cars and bicycles for every child and in every size - and above all other children. Lastly, there’s a games room with, pool, table tennis and table football, for older teens (and maybe older-than-teens), for whom the above are a little too babyish. Secondly, there is the decor, which eschews the monotonous orthodoxies of minimalism, being unashamedly English Country House style – the atmosphere is elegant yet comfortable, and all the properties have log fires, and canopied or four poster beds. Thirdly, the gardens, which are a blend of formal and informal elements, feature topiary, cutting gardens with box hedges, gazebos, little orchards, statuary, a wisteria tunnel, and a vast hundred yard herbaceous border. There is barely a square foot of the entire estate that has not been planned out with a passion for landscape and an eye for detail. In 1999 Bruern’s gardens were even awarded a marking of 100 out of 100 by VisitBritain that neither we nor anyone else has ever bettered; and nor will it ever be bettered, unless the laws of arithmetic change. Finally, there is the indoor swimming pool, gym and spa, which looks out on to a separate Italianate garden and terrace, with a classical portico to sit beneath in the shade. Cited by Tatler in 2009 as one of the “101 best spas in the world”, here you can book reflexology, massages, pedicures, manicures and facials. All in all, Bruern is a place that is simply unique – over eighty percent of our business comes from returning guests, and of new guests the majority come from personal word-of-mouth recommendations. We haven’t had a review score on TripAdvisor of less than 5/5 (Excellent) in 3 years – if you read the reviews, you’ll see why. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bruern Holiday Cottages Hotel Chipping Norton
Bruern Holiday Hotel
Bruern Cottages Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

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