Up until now, British service stations have been grim places to pull into for a greasy fry up and a can of Red Bull but Nick Jones’s Soho House & Co has turned its attention to redefining the concept, with the launch of Mollie’s, an American-style motel, diner and drive-thru in Buckland, Oxfordshire. Jenny Southan reports
The first in a series of openings from the brand coming to the roadside and city centres across the country, Mollie’s is a serious improvement on last century’s Little Chefs, Travelodges and Happy Eaters. In fact, it’s amazing it’s taken so long for someone to upgrade the experience for people on the road.With it’s red neon sign glowing invitingly, Mollie’s motel has 79 stylish rooms (some with bunks) with timber floors, Scandi wood panelling, dusty pink velvet armchairs, globe lighting, king-size beds with fresh white Egyptian cotton sheets, rainshowers and Soho House’s Cowshed bathing products.A dedicated app will enable guests to check in and out, and unlock doors without a conventional room key, as well as book a meal in the diner and even order a takeaway. Stays cost from £75 a night.The diner, with its open kitchen and sea green leather booths, serves avocado on toast, waffles, grain bowls, mac and cheese, free-range rotisserie chicken, nachos and burgers by London’s Dirty Burger (there is also a vegan Filthy burger with a beetroot bun). House Press juices, shakes, sodas and classic cocktails are also on the menu. Mollie’s diner is open from 7am to 10pm.The General Store has tea and filter coffee on the house, co-working space with super-fast wifi and charging points, and a range of everyday essentials, from phone chargers to condoms, Calpol to contact lens solution available to buy.Founder Nick Jones says: “It’s been a long-standing passion project of mine to have a go at reinventing the British roadside experience. From opening Cafe Boheme in 1992, to Babington and Soho Farmhouse, I like looking at how we can change the way things are done and improve them for the customer, my aim with the first Mollie’s Motel and Diner is to offer affordable style for everyone to eat, drink and sleep over.
“I want this to be the blueprint for the future of Soho House; using technology to create an even more streamlined experience, from the moment you book right through to closing your door for the night.”
Mollie’s Motel & Diner: Shrivenham Road, A420, Faringdon, SN7 8QU