This bid to revive UK roadside stays – by the Soho House chain – offers a smart take on the classic US motel but with swish rooms and quality food
The words “motel and diner” conjure up many images – US highways, neon, palm trees, Edward Hopper, cherry pie and coffee refills – but rarely rural Oxfordshire. Yet here I am, turning off an A road near the pretty village of Buckland at a big red sign for Mollie’s Motel & Diner.
The location is not the only unusual thing about Mollie’s. It may be next to a BP garage but the reception area’s glass cabinets filled with Hershey’s chocolate and popcorn, shelves of design books, objets d’art and plants, and Scandi-style chairs feel a million miles from a petrol forecourt. If I had booked via the app, as the billboards advise, I could have gone straight to the room using my phone as a key. Instead, I wait at check-in behind families with accents as crisp as their shirts, who look like they’ve just popped over from the nearest Cotswolds village.