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A traditional pub - and countryside sanctuary

PUBLISHED: 14:34 15 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:29 07 September 2010

A TRADITIONAL English pub with a modern twist, combined with a soothing ambience and top-quality food, makes a stay at the Lambert Arms, in Oxfordshire, an ideal weekend break. Originally a coaching inn, the Arms has been carefully restored while maintain

A TRADITIONAL English pub with a modern twist, combined with a soothing ambience and top-quality food, makes a stay at the Lambert Arms, in Oxfordshire, an ideal weekend break.

Originally a coaching inn, the Arms has been carefully restored while maintaining its traditional look. In November an extended building was opened, offering 35 new bedrooms.

The pub building has nine more traditional rooms while the new extension offers a more modern option with air-conditioned, larger rooms.

The rooms are bright and airy with basic furniture and decoration, large plasma televisions and WiFi access while the bathrooms are modern, clean and stylish with premium king bedrooms offering a luxurious bathtub and walk-in shower.

Due to the location of the second building, some of the rooms have an unfortunate view of the car park surrounding the hotel and the rooms are not quite sound proof but are mostly pleasant and well maintained.

Popular with conferences and meetings during the week, the hotel is filled on weekends with couples looking for romantic breaks, tourists exploring nearby towns and guests for parties and weddings.

The cosy restaurant with an open fireplace and dripping wax candles, boasts a near perfect menu with traditional gastro pub food at Michelin star quality and fairly reasonable prices.

The restaurant's head chef works under double Michelin starred group executive chef, Rob Clayton, to produce a selection of filling dinner dishes, tasty snack menu and delicious sweets.

Each dish is presented flawlessly with a combination of bright colours and complimentary tastes.

Starters include a trio of melons presented in twisted floret shapes and drizzled in ginger syrup and poppy seeds, a tangy creamy tomato soup and a variety of tasty salads.

Mains can be chosen from the restaurant or bar menu with a variety of fish, meat, pies and sandwiches. Highlights include the breaded fish with chunky chips, grilled lemon sole and cottage pie with buttered new potatoes.

But it is the desserts that really shine. The homemade ice creams, which include strawberry jam, caramel and chocolate chip, are rich and gooey with creamy flavours.

And the large slab of sticky toffee pudding served with banana ice cream is not to be missed.

The continental breakfast is included in the room rate and with a wide range of fresh, crusty breads, cereals, cold meats and cheeses, most guests can fill themselves up on the fresh dishes. For those with a larger morning appetite, guests can pay extra for full English breakfast dishes including smoked salmon or haddock.

The location of the Arms is both a blessing and a curse. The pub is just 500 yards from junction six of the M40, ideal for those planning day trips to Oxford and Henley but less so for those who are trying to get away from it all.

But the Arms does do as much as it can to help its guests escape from the chaos of the motorway, with comfy rooms, a warm bar area, gym and a small spa.

Treatments at the new spa include a variety of facials, massages, pedicures and manicures, all with Ella Bache products.

The two small treatment rooms are warm and cosy, with dimmed lights and soothing music. But the treatments themselves could offer something a bit more special and remain quite basic.

Business is picking up in the newly formed spa and with a bit more of a lift from the treatments, which are quite affordable, the experience has the potential to become a real indulgence.

For any visitors to Oxford or the Chiltern Hills, the Lambert Arms provides a relaxing sanctuary away from other overly-expensive hotels and if you're looking for a quiet, top-quality meal, don't miss the great restaurant.

Double rooms start from £59 with special offers including three nights from £95 per person.

For more information, call 01844 351 496 or visit www.lambertarms.com

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