During our recent stay at luxurious country house hotel Burleigh Court in Gloucestershire, we sat down to talk with owner Corinna Rae about her efforts to transform the 200-year-old 18-room Grade II listed manor into a stylish home-away-from-home that boasts hidden gardens and breathtaking Golden Valley views.
Hailing from outside the hospitality industry, Corinna and her husband James left their London life behind and bought boutique hideaway Burleigh Court in spring 2019. Ever since they’ve been busy passionately renovating it into a chic, award-winning, family-run hotel and restaurant. Guests from near and far share rave reviews about this little slice of heaven located amidst the rolling Cotswold hills near Minchinhampton Common.
Corinna, you’ve created an idyllic country escape. Can you tell us about Burleigh Court’s latest developments?
Burleigh Court was inspired as a country house hotel by Japanese noblemen in the 1800’s. Since we purchased the hotel three years ago, we’ve been gradually renovating to bring it up-to-date. Most
recently, we closed our doors throughout January and updated five guest rooms, as well as expanding our 2 AA Rosette Oak Room restaurant to accommodate more guests per service. We want to offer guests a relaxed and welcoming base from which to explore a lesser-known corner of the Cotswolds. We’re in an area of outstanding natural beauty with picturesque villages, plus unique market and spa towns on our doorstep.
Following The Oak Room’s reopening, what can guests dining with you expect?
Led by Head Chef Shaun Jones, The Oak Room’s brand promise is to offer ‘consistently good, locally-sourced food with a view’. The main dining room overlooks the Golden Valley and we put strong emphasis on serving sustainably sourced, uncomplicated, flavoursome, and seasonal ‘Best of British’ food cooked from scratch by local hands. We’re known for our romantic dining and strive to serve great quality food at a fair price. Much of our produce comes from local suppliers within a 35-mile radius, and our Kitchen Gardener, Emanuelle, grows an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and herbs in our grounds, while also foraging supplies from the surrounding country lanes and hedgerows. We’ve recently received a ‘AA Hotel Services – Breakfast Award 2022’ and our Burleigh bees make own-brand honey. Pre-bookable afternoon teas are available from £22. After Easter, we’ll restart our cosy, alfresco fireside dining, serving stone-baked pizzas and Cotswolds Teppanyaki on our back terrace.
Looking ahead, what’s next for The Oak Room?
We’ll incorporate even more seasonal local produce into our menus and we’re targeting 3 AA Rosette status. We want to raise the restaurant’s profile, particularly among the local community, as we offer something that’s quite unique in our area of the Cotswolds. You’ll see us run more regular food and wine tasting events, plus music and dinner nights, while also working to target the ‘special occasion’ market for
anniversaries, birthdays, and family events – all as part of our goal to attract a returning clientele of upscale leisure and business travellers seeking a relaxed country retreat.
In addition to expanding our commitment to serving home-grown and low food mile produce, we’re decreasing our carbon footprint by reducing wine supplies from non-European producers in favour of smaller, boutique producers, to include organic, biodynamic, and vegan wines. Chef Jones is incorporating game into our seasonal menus to serve more sustainable meat, and we also source American crayfish from a Cotswolds fisherman. This invasive species is decimating the indigenous variety – so, by serving its predator, we’re giving the local fish a chance to thrive. We also recycle all vegetable oil used.
You offer foraging experiences. What else are you developing?
Our Wild Foodie Foraging Experience launched last year: priced from £69 per person/ £138 per couple, it incorporates a three-hour foraging walk and two-course lunch. Emanuelle teaches participants how to
safely identify edible species and turn their foraged bounty into scrumptious drinks and meals. Guests will learn about seasonal eating; the nutritional values and medicinal use of plants, species and habitat conservation, and receive guidance on what to take from nature, what to leave, and how to store wild food. It’s a chance to sample local seasonal edibles like lime tree leaves. We’re also going to launch a ‘Learn to Kitchen Garden’ course later this year.
How much does a stay cost, and where can we find out more about Burleigh Court?
We have five room categories (Classic, Cosy, Superior, Noteworthy, and Romantic). A B&B stay is priced from £139 per night. Book a stay with us by calling 01453 883 804, or visit www.burleighcourtcotswolds.co.uk.