Of all the gin joints in all the world, you won't find one with more varieties of mother's ruin than The Feathers in Woodstock. But there are more reasons to visit this charming country inn than a quest for the ultimate G&T.
It may not be apparent at first glance why Gwyneth Paltrow and Johnny Depp have graced such an unassuming establishment. The tiny reception area is a lot less showy than that of the neighbouring Bear, and with its proximity to Blenheim Palace, Oxford and the Cotswolds, pretty Woodstock is positively spilling over with places to stay.
But get up one of the narrow staircases and the sumptuousness of the Feathers' redesigned rooms and suites becomes apparent. Antique furniture complements the 17th-century architecture, while soft furnishings and wallpaper by the likes of Designers Guild add a contemporary note. Bathrooms are warm and modern, TV screens are flat, DVD players are universal and wi-fi is free - though it only works in some areas of the hotel. Dogs are welcome, but usually accommodated in the smaller ground-floor rooms.
A snug overlooking a tranquil courtyard is a pleasant place to enjoy the 50 varieties of gin and other libations, and new chef Marc Hardiman has created a fine menu that is strong on fresh fish and vegetables. The breakfast buffet is better than many, but cooked-to-order eggs benedict, usually a treat, were spoiled by too much vinegar in the poaching water and not enough butter on the toasted muffin.
RATES: from £165
TEL: 01993 812291