Basil’s Brush With ...
Basil’s Review & Critique
Basil’s Brush With ...
‘Snow!’ they said. ‘Watch how you drive!’ they said. I had no idea what any of that meant but taking in the picture postcard scenery of the hills from the cosiness of the comfily cushioned boot of Mum and Dad’s Mini, ‘How apt,’ I thought, ‘that our destination was nicknamed ‘The Great White Way’!’
Now, I’ve heard my HPs talk about Broadway before. How much they loved the theatres and the lights and so on, so when we drew up outside a twinkling archway with majestic flags flapping in the crisp air, I excitedly reaffirmed to myself that we were, indeed, in for some real theatrics at this hotel.
The boot doors swung open. Sniffing the unusual chilliness of it all, I peered out only to be greeted, face-to-face, by Andrew, a welcoming character. ‘Hello Basil,’ he said and promptly offered to help me jump (well, apprehensively slide more like) out of the car. ‘The snow has mostly melted, so you’ve come just at the right time,’ he warmly suggested. Lifting my front paws independently of each other, off the slushy ground to stem the unusually cold and damp feeling seeping up the fur on my legs, I’m sure he was right and our timing was perfect but I was a little unsure of this new ‘nippy’ experience.
What I was sure of though, forgetting my chilly pads just for one moment, was that I could appreciate why Mum and Dad loved Broadway… the lights, they were just everywhere – although, I have an inkling that the village’s love of Christmas may have had a little something to do with it.
The twinkling around the arched doorway encouraged me to look upwards and take in the lovely warm honey colour of the building, famously built out of Cotswold stone –a fact shared by my Mum during our journey.
She also divulged another interesting fact that the name of the place we were going to stay at was called The Lygon Arms but it was, however, pronounced ‘Ligon’. How ‘luvvie’ I thought. How very thespian!
Greeted warmly by front of house, I was, however, in need… Dad sensed the urgency of the situation and I was promptly shown the direction of the dog friendly private gardens. The lady shared that there were ‘3 acres’ so plenty of room for me to run around in.
Crossing through the picturesque courtyard, with even more lights adorning an impressive Chestnut tree, I came to an abrupt halt – legs out stretched as if to thwart any unsolicited momentum. I wondered at it from afar whilst driving here but by crikey it’s now laid out right before me… a blanket of the white stuff! A scenic backdrop beyond compare! I tried to convey both my alarm and inquisitiveness to Dad. Identifying my hesitation, he responded, ‘It’s just snow Basil.’
Gingerly, I sniffed the ground and then for some inexplicable reason, I felt the need for speed; my legs relaxed and involuntarily adopted a prance like shape and I set off like a Roo on a bouncy mission. I loved that ‘snow’. I loved that new experience.
Meanwhile, Mum was busy checking our copious amount of luggage and when I bounced in from having my funny half hour, after settling and a quick wipe of the paws, we were offered to be taken to our bedroom via a show round of the hotel. (Cracking news, I heard Andrew say that ‘our bedroom was situated in the courtyard’ – a hop, skip and ‘bounce’ away from the snow garden.)
Apparently, I could go virtually everywhere on the ground floor and the public areas. I must say that everything looked so beaut. Squishy sofas, comfy chairs, luxurious carpets, lots of dog paraphernalia!
And, if we wanted to take a stroll, there was an array of Hunter wellies in case we had forgotten our own. ‘What a nice touch.’ I thought.
But Mum, as you know, doesn’t travel light and likes to pack for every eventuality including wellie boots complete with, for this particular adventure, a shovel!
Our bedroom was situated at the end of its own little private terraced garden – a garden that incorporated two chairs and a weathered table, complemented by a pile of glistening white flakes sitting resolutely on top.
Andrew explained, as he grimaced but remained professional at all times, deftly handling our copious amount of luggage, ‘Each of the seven suites are named after individuals connected to the hotel. ‘Henry Beauchamp Lygon,’ (pronounced with an ‘i’ not a ‘y’) ‘was a former owner of the property – and was also called the ‘Earl Beauchamp’.’ ‘It’s pronounced “Beecham”,’ Mum relayed to me in hushed tones. I’m just loving all these theatrics!
I could tell my Mum and Dad were very happy because of all the ‘Ooh and Ahh’ noises they were making as they investigated the bedroom. Mum read out the welcoming card whilst Dad popped a handmade delight into his mouth.
The room was lovely and spacious, adorned with horse imagery. (‘No doubt as a nod to the hotel’s staging post past.’ Dad commented.) It was furnished with original antiques and modern touches such as wide screen TV, Nespresso machine and my fav, air conditioning. Dad ventured into the bathroom and, as per usual, I followed. It was ‘huge’ – I personally sniffed out two basins, a walk in shower and a separate bath whilst Mum recounted with glee… ‘Floris toiletries!’
I was also happy as a ‘wombat chewing on a juicy root’ as the nice people at the hotel had provided, especially for me, a cosy bed, new toy, some treats and bowls!
Talking of which, we were all hungry so Dad packed my bag and we ventured back into the hotel and into one of the many lounges that I was allowed to take up pozzy. I was particularly keen to explore the trees – it was rather strange to find them indoors!
They definitely smelt fresh and they were adorned with more lights and shiny baubles that you could shake a stick at. Meanwhile, the supporting cast, dressed in powder blue shirts and smart jeans, took my HPs order and soon after, we settled down for a spot of lunch.
Mum, well she plumped for the Grilled Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Sandwich whilst Dad chose the Beef, Smoked Cheddar and Mustard Relish plus some chips on the side. ‘Washed down nicely,’ (Mum’s thoughts not mine) with a glass of champagne and a bottle of Cotswold Best! Me, I had my kibble and a nibble of… Dad’s beef!
So, full tums, Broadway beckoned – dressed for warmth, we once again strolled back through the decorated archway out onto the pretty as a picture backdrop.
Surprisingly, Mum took great pains to explain to me that we weren’t actually in Broadway as in New York but Broadway as in the Cotswolds! I wasn’t actually aware there was any difference but, hey ho. (Or, should I say, a seasonal ‘ho, ho, ho’.)
Dad really appreciated, ‘How one moment you could enjoy the tranquillity of a remote country house hotel and then in another, you can have all the convenience of a village literally right on your doorstep and… dog welcoming shops to boot!’
When we returned from our stroll, we were all ready for a cuppa.
A really lovely cast member named Bart informed my HPs that they could have a ‘treatment’ in the Spa if they liked. Mum and Dad seemed very happy to be recipients of such star-treatment.
So, back in the room, I settled down on my bed to watch an old classic on TV whilst my HPs left for a place called the ‘Spa’. Mum told me not to worry as she was going to put a sign on the door so that I wouldn’t be disturbed by any strangers.
With what seemed to be just a few minutes later – I may very well have nodded off – Mum and Dad floated back into the room, all ethereal like and smelling of lavender. Whilst ruffling my head, Mum shared that they ‘both had a steam, sauna and swim and would have to come back in the Summer as it has a retractable roof.’ A magical scene-change if ever I’ve heard one.
After a group nap, it was soon time for din-dins, so my HPs spruced themselves up and we made our way to the Small Dining Room. There, waiting for me by our table was a nice big water bowl whilst waiting in the wings for Mum and Dad on the coffee table by the sofa and fireplace was the cocktail menu!
‘G’day Basil.’ Wait a minute, I recognise that accent… Owen the Restaurant Supervisor had greeted us. ‘Does the little guy want a treat?’ ‘Umm, is ‘Cats’ the best Musical of all time!’ ‘Yes please and G’day right back at you Owen.’
Scrolling down the cocktail menu, Mum plumped for the Pear and Vanilla Mojito whilst in commemoration of my human granddad, Dad chose the Barrel aged Singapore Sling! No dramas, I selected the cool water and a couple more gravy bones!
Dad strolled around the room and took his time to read out loud some history. ‘It was once a Tudor coaching inn, originally called The White Hart and subsequently The Hart,’ he went on… ‘Many famous people have stayed here including King Charles 1 before going into battle during the English Civil War, whilst his arch enemy Oliver Cromwell also slept here the night before drawing his sword just two years later.’ I was pleased to hear that in latter days, the likes of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor who were apparently glamorous movie stars also graced the hotel – well, I’d expect nothing less from those visiting Broadway!
Dad continued to share that, ‘The Great Hall, complete with its vaulted ceiling and wood panelling, was built in the 17th century and was now the contemporary informal Bar & Grill.’ I must say, peering through the doorway, it did look rather cracking! Equally fabulous was another tree festooned with, as you may expect, lots of twinkly lights and baubles!
I wanted to go walkabout and sniff the tree myself but the Grill was reserved for humans only… a lot of the guests did, however, come out to say G’day – the Small Dining Room seemed perfectly positioned to me.
Mum and Dad took their seat at our table and chose from the seasonal British menu, apparently all locally sourced and fresh as a daisy or should I say snowdrop!
‘Chewton Glen Cheddar Cheese Souffle with artichokes and chestnut cream followed by the Lemon Sole for me please,’ said Mum. ‘Grilled Octopus fennel salad and the Salt Marsh Lamb Cutlets for me then please,’ followed Dad. They also readily ordered sides of new potatoes, warm creamed leeks and bacon, steamed spinach and glazed honey carrots to share. Kibble for me took centre stage but I had an eye on Dad’s lamb as a little nibble on the side!
Mum and Dad agreed that the food was a true showstopper. I personally liked the lamb cutlets (Dad didn’t disappoint) nearly as much as I liked the snow!
Apparently, The ‘Lygon’ (with an ‘i’ rather than a ‘y’) is famed for its Sticky Date and Toffee Pudding so Dad had to try that recommendation along with some vanilla ice cream whilst Mum licked her lips at the thought of the Seasonal Fruit Crumble and clotted cream ice cream. These desserts also received a hearty thumbs up.
With full tummies once again, we retired to the sofa where I swapped stories with my fellow Aussie friend, Owen. Apparently, his family were one of the ‘Ten Pound Poms’ – I played along as though I knew what he was talking about as I didn’t like to seem rude especially when he was holding treats in his hand. Either way, I enjoyed Owen’s company, heaps.
It was soon time to bid everyone goodnight and to retire to ‘Beecham’ but first, Dad took me to the snow garden for my evening constitutionals – impressed that there was a poo bin close by whilst Mum was very impressed with the complimentary mini-bar and the cosy robe and slippers. ‘I’d had my eye on those slippers!’, No doubt Mum had got her eye on me!
After a restful night’s sleep, I couldn’t wait to go and play with Dad in the snow but hold the stage – ‘Where’s it all gone?’ Not a snowflake, not an icicle in sight, just green grass. On the upside, I guess, I could see that there were plenty of sticks!
A little hang-dog from the initial disappointment of the distinct lack of snow, we picked Mum up en route to breakfast.
Sitting close to where we sat previously last night, another charming lady came by; dressed in her crisp shirt and equally smart jeans from wardrobe and took our order with a smile. ‘Full English for us and a sausage for Basil please!’ Mum requested.
‘Hmmm, the Small Dining Room looks all set up for something or someone special. Hello, what’s that? It’s a camera. And, who’s that? It’s a photographer! There seemed to be a photo shoot happening. Well, I shouldn’t be surprised given that we are on Broadway!’ I looked around to see if I could spot the red carpet and any imminent celebrity arrival.
‘Would Basil mind being in a picture?’ The nice photographer, Adam, enquired. Ruth, the Marketing Director from the hotel, explained that they were doing a photo shoot of the dog welcoming dining area. The snow may have melted but my low spirits quickly heightened. ‘Strewth, you want me?’ I dipped my head, looked up all puppy dog eyes and pleaded as if to say ‘the bright lights of Broadway are calling’ and without hesitation my HPs sounded delighted that I could be of assistance.
Without the need for makeup or a hairdresser (mental note to self not to give my Mum and Dad such a hard time when trying to regularly brush me) I took up pozzy and Adam called ‘Lights, camera and action!’ (Well, he didn’t really but I like to think that he did.)
I felt truly in the spotlight, albeit briefly and although I’m sure that I won’t be winning any Tony Awards, as a reward for all my hard work of sitting down nicely on the carpet as directed, I was given my sausage and we all happily tucked into our well-earned breakfast, spirits high from the excitement of it all.
And so, our visit to the hotel was coming to an end. Like the snow in the private garden and that diminishing from on top of our weathered table, our time was nearly up.
Lygon Arms (with an ‘i’ and not a ‘y’ ) you put on a great show and proved yourself to be a most dog ‘welcoming’ hotel, one that is definitely, ahem, ‘Basil Approved.’ My stay with you was rather bonzer!
A word from Mum…
I know that Basil may have been rather enthusiastic over the whole Broadway comparison (it’s in his character to have a little fun at every opportunity you see) but to play along with our lovely little boy…
In our opinion, Broadway ‘In the Cotswolds’, you upstaged New York.
The theatre land that is The Lygon Arms was delightful. The supporting cast were first rate. The experience was unforgettable. You set the scene, you strutted your stuff, you stole the show. Bravo.
Basil and his Human Parents were guests of The Lygon Arms.
‘A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.’
– Robert Benchley (Humorist and actor, Broadway Melody)
Basil’s review is posted ‘in his opinion’. Although he has been entirely honest about his experience, as ‘toast’, ‘tea’ and ‘sticks’ are high on his ‘happiness’ agenda, please feel free to undertake your own research too – after all he is just a dog, albeit a rather discerning one! - Karen, Basil's Mum
Creature Comfort Critique
As friends of non-pooch owners, we do appreciate that not everyone wishes to share their social space with our four legged friends. (Hard to believe, we know, however, each to their own).
We appreciate, therefore, that hotels, B&Bs and pubs/restaurants with rooms must have a tricky time striving to create the perfect environment for everyone.
Based upon those venues that we feel, as a family, have struck a perfect balance, the experience has been critiqued from a highly-attached pet owner’s perspective (also a seasoned venue find agent), rating the comfort, convenience and inclusivity that we experienced when travelling with Basil.
It’s a bit of fun, based on our own opinions but, hopefully, will be a useful insight to fellow discerning travellers.
|Ample car parking|
|Location of bedroom|
|Accommodation grounds fit for pooch|
|Bits and bobs helpful for caring for pooch|
|Inclusivity (to eat and drink together)|
|Comfort of dining area|
|Surrounding area suitable for pooches|
|Pooch information (ie walks) available|
|Overall pooch welcoming|
|Toasted to perfection (crisper than a crispy thing)|
|A lovely cup of tea (oh yes, especially after my walkabout)|
|Accessibility to sticks (when the snow thawed, perfect)|
- Convenience of a country hotel and a village - set within one of the most beautiful villages in the UK
- Access to a great ‘dog friendly’ private garden
- Comfortable, relaxing and welcoming
The Lygon Arms has three meeting rooms… The Cromwell, Edinburgh and Drawing Room.
Accommodating guests from 8 – 70 guests depending upon set up.
My Visit to The Lygon Arms
With Oxford, Cheltenham and Stratford Upon Avon all within easy reach, The Lygon Arms is perfectly located.
However, we explored no further than the hotel’s own historical village of Broadway. It has a beautiful array of shops, restaurants, bars and places just to sit and watch the world go by.
All you need to know about Broadway is here: http://www.broadway-cotswolds.co.uk
Month Visited: December 2017Back to the Top
'If you'd like to make contact and stay at the venue with your pooch, my Mum has gathered together some details for you.
Upon booking, would you mind mentioning that you read the venue's review on the Travel With Basil site?
I’d be like a dog with two tails if you did!'
The Lygon Arms