07 Mar SOHO FARMHOUSE OXFORDSHIRE
I chose a weekend at Soho Farmhouse at the end of January on a recommendation from a friend who works in the creative industry.
I started the application process online, filling in details of where I work and the nature of my visit. Shortly afterwards I received a personalised link to the visits that were available to me, a link that expired after 24 hours adding to the urgency and exclusivity of the experience from the start.
Once booked and paid for the customer service level really ramped up. I was asked for me and my guests height and shoe size so that they could have cow print wellies and a customised Foffa Dutch fixie bike ready for us when we are arrived, naturally.
I thought I kind of knew what sort of weekend I was in store for by this point but when I actually arrived it was even better than I imagined. You pull into reception and leave your car with a member of staff, luggage and all. You are given a bottle of water to rehydrate after your journey and you jump in a 1950’s milk float to be transported down to the farm. Straight away we went and got some lunch, the whole scene makes you feel very at home. You lounge around at the bar being waited on by very trendy but casual members of staff for whom nothing is too much. ‘’Does the salmon come with any dressing?’’, ‘’it comes however you ask for it to come’’.
Everyone in sight is beautiful, and somewhat recognisable. Probably because the list of guests include the very familiar faces of the Jagger sisters, Dave and Sam Cam, Suki and Immy Waterhouse and the Eugenie/ Beatrice combo. That’s not to say everyone is welcome, this is a creatives only area with a banker ban in place, corporates need not apply. Dress code: there is no dress code except you must look casual and artistic, no pressure but a slight amount of pressure if you get what I mean? They claim to have no rules, except for the major rule of NO PHOTOS OR SOCIAL MEDIA. This is to respect the privacy of their members and whilst all you want to do is Instagram the whole place, it makes sense not to be on your phone and it’s not like there’s a lack of things to do. ***
We go and relax by the bar for an hour or so, the bar that doesn’t close until the last person leaves. The rumoured record for the latest it has stayed open is allegedly held by Prince Harry, on more than one ocassion. If you choose to sit outside there are blankets and cushions to snuggle up on leather sofas with a log burning fire. It’s the small details!
After deciding to go to our cabin, the ‘farmhand’ comes to collect us from the courtyard in a four wheel drive BMW and drives us down to our cabin on the lake where we find all our luggage ready in the ‘living area’ of the space. The bikes and wellies are outside the cabin, all of which are a perfect fit thanks to their forward thinking. Once you go into the cabin you see where creator Nick Jones has levelled up again. To say they have thought of everything is an understatement. We have our own bathrobes in their staple beige hue, flip flops and slippers along with 23 large bottles of Cow Shed products for our stay albeit only for the weekend. In the drawer there are straighteners and hair dryer which should come as standard in my opinion but this is Soho Farmhouse so there is a cashmere hot water bottle / eye mask laid next to them.
The room itself is absolutely stuffed to the brim with ‘’essentials’’, there’s branded mouthwash/ toothbrush/toothpaste, condoms, floss, manicure kits, razors, lip balm, cleanser/toner/moisturiser/shaving cream… more towels than two people could use for a week let alone a night. If you think to check for something they may have provided, before you’ve had the chance to look it will be in arms reach. The kitchen is stocked with fresh bread, a large chunk of cheddar, every
single condiment known to the developed world, three cupboards of pre mixed cocktails/ spirits/ lagers/ champagne and wine. If these don’t satisfy your cravings there is the mobile bar that will visit the cabin to make your drinks there and then for you toyour exact standard or if in the morning you out partied the famous faces then there is the greasy spoon that drives up to the door and makes your eggs however you take them.
I do understand that you get what you pay for but at Soho Farmhouse you can’t really put a price on the experience they give their guests. The delivery of everything has been perfected and they have ruled out even the other visitors letting them down by vetting them too. Nothing is left to chance at Soho Farmhouse, everything has a process and nothing you ask for is out of scope.
I think businesses across the board could take a leaf out of their book, why shouldn’t your company offer your clients everything they could ever want? Yes, it comes with a price tag but everything can be calculated to a monetary value for the right customer service level.
*** Activities include but are not limited to: 3 Restaurants/ bars, gym, yoga studio, boating lake, crazy golf, spa, cookery school, indoor/ outdoor pool, hot tub, electric cinema, deli, wine cellar, salon, boating lake, football pitch, ping pong tables, tennis courts, horses/ stables, cycling, sunbathing.