Bruern Holiday Cottages, OX7 6QA
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Sleeps 2 (not suitable for babies): 1 galleried double, ensuite bathroom, half tester bed, double height, open fire, granite worktops, fridge freezer, microwave, private terrace
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Saratoga Holiday Cottage has always been everyone's favourite honeymoon cottage, whether it be their first honeymoon, their second or their twenty-second - or even if they haven't quite got round to tying the knot yet, in which case Saratoga's unique ambience might just prove the missing ingredient. Now, however, there's even more reason for couples to make Saratoga their secret romantic hideaway: this holiday cottage has been redecorated in a subtle Farrow & Ball off-white throughout, and the kitchen revamped. Out have gone the old kitchen worktops, to be replaced by Carrara marble surfaces, a Belfast sink and a freezer with room for enough food to prevent any couple from having to set foot outside their cottage for a week.
The front door opens into a big open-plan split-level drawing-room/dining-room/kitchen. In the double-height drawing-room half, colours are light, with thick creamy-white cotton damask curtains, and soft pinks, blues and beiges. The sofa, covered in Thomas Dare's blue-and-beige check cotton, stands to the right of the antique carved oak mantelpiece, facing an elegant low Victorian chair upholstered in blue Lelievre velvet. Between the sofa and the chair is a big ottoman covered in a pink kelim, which matches the handmade Moroccan rug upon which it stands. Over the fireplace is a gilt mirror and to the left there's a built-in pine display cabinet whose shelves gleam with pink lustre china. There's also a writing table and telephone.
The pale terracotta-tiled kitchen has wood units, painted off-white to set off the blue-and-white Delft wall tiles. You can either eat in the kitchen or wander through the glazed door to feast outside on the flagged terrace, surrounded by cream and white roses, lilies, ceanothus, honeysuckle and euphorbia. Colours in the garden are cool blue and white with a dash of lime green and orange.
Up the steep white painted stairs - too steep, perhaps, for the very young or the elderly - is the galleried bedroom, with a blue-and-white painted faux bamboo four-poster bed. There are more faux bamboo effects on the blue-and-white bedside tables and the red-and-white antique chest of drawers. Old blue Venetian glass ornaments take pride of place on the white painted dressing table.
In the spacious ensuite bathroom, papered in Osborne and Little blue-and-beige, is a marble-topped washstand with inset basin. As is always the case with our cottages, there's a heated towel-rail and shaving point, and as always, the bathroom is lit with low voltage halogen lights, which give a particularly soft but bright light.
Saratoga's charm, comfort and warmth make it a year-round favourite with everyone - even those who don't have a honeymoon to celebrate, but just want to get away for a restorative interlude of peace and privacy.