This hotel exceeded first impressions with the premium quality 'Court Room', but needs to ensure the quirkiness only enhances does not detract from the experience.
Visitors will have little trouble finding the place itself, being right on the 'town square', (triangle?), but identifying the car-park is a little more subtle. (It's an alleyway to the left, marked by a 'Post Office' sign).
Entering the bar, the "character" hits you between the eyes, fortunately not literally. - This is not an ersatz corporate fit-out, but a living local pub. Put it that way.
The young lady behind the bar was exceedingly friendly and helpful, disappearing off to get the paperwork and even coming out into the street to show us to the car park. She then led us up passageways to the courtyard and our room with profuse apologies that the Jacuzzi wasn't working on the bath because "the plumber hasn't turned-up". Once we saw our room, we decided we could cope with that glitch! It was huge, spotlessly clean and furnished in a most appropriate manner, with three piece suite, plasma and two grand king-size beds. No air-con, by the way. Not so sure about soccer, as another reviewer has suggested, but room aplenty for cat swinging or a variety of other ball games.
Despite a broken blind, the bathroom is the crowning touch, with dimmers, side-lit mirror, thermostatic power shower and a bath, though sans-fizz, that could accommodate a decently mature whale.
As has been noted by other reviewers, the plumbing is somewhat cantankerous, and initially produced as much air as it did cold water, but somehow managed to pass muster when we eventually demanded a luxuriating swim. The consumables were of decent quality, by the way, so the management have obviously taken note of previous criticism, and they didn't stint on them or indeed the tea, coffee and biscuits. (Fairtrade, too).
We didn't eat or drink in, but at the Bangkok Kitchen, eccentrically housed in the old Post Office nearby, and returned to the daunting serenade of an 80's covers band in another pub across the courtyard, (and naff fountain), led by a vocalist that could sour milk at 40 paces. Fortunately, our through-the-wall entertainment courtesy of the wedding party shut up shop about eleven, and the town square remained peaceful until the blazing morning roused the village idiot about six thirty.
Weekend breakfast is from eight-thirty til ten, and was the most unremarkable aspect of our stay: The coffee was from a standard help-yourself Bravilor filter/hotplate and a bit stewed, the juice and cereal choice limited and the "full English" passable as we admired the view, ringing church bells and delightfully amateurish interior design, complete with odd "Redcoat" soldier mannequin looking down from the balcony.
Next time we stay, we'll sample the real ales of the bar, and see if the evening atmosphere lives up to promise, but this time will content ourselves with a very memorable stay. This is not a venue for lovers of chain hotel standardisation, but rewarding to those open to a little eccentricity.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 16th century coaching inn arranged around a cobbled courtyard. Rustic bar at the front of the property with open fire and real ales. Courtyard lounge serves breakfast and coffee each morning. Carvery every Sunday lunch time ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Old Crown Coaching Hotel Faringdon
- Old Crown Coaching Inn Faringdon, England - Oxfordshire