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I recently spent a mostly relaxing night at Homewood Park, which is a luxury hotel situated near to Bath. This hotel is a country house, built in 1832 and has just 19 bedrooms and is part of the Von Essen group of hotels.
Now I haven't stayed at many, or maybe any hotels that have "helipad" as their list of other services in their very thickly embossed brochure, I am normally more of a travel inn or motel kind of girl, I chose to stay here as firstly I needed a bit of a treat and secondly as it was a last minute decision and we picked up a deal on laterooms.com.
Eschewing the helipad option we arrived by car, the hotel easily being found just off the A36, 7 miles from Bath and 10 miles from Longleat which was our reason for visiting the area.
The hotel has 10 acres of parkland and lovingly tended and award winning gardens, we crossed the cattle grid and were in a different world to that I normally inhabit. We parked up a little bit away from the house (you can drop off cases but parking is a stroll down the drive), and walked up to the entrance past the sound of croquet and the vision of Afternoon tea being served on the oh-so pristine lawn. It was a bit like something from a film, the kind Americans like for being oh-so British.
On arrival we stepped into the hall which looked more like a private country house than a hotel, reception being discretely located at the rear of the house. As you would probably expect from a high class hotel all the furnishings were tasteful and lavish, there were three reception rooms for the use of guests - two sitting rooms and bar bedecked with sculptures (discretely labelled for purchase) and lifestyle magazines and the like and offering a comfortable place for relaxation.
Homewood Park offers a choice of rooms from single occupancy to suite. We had a Deluxe room. It was beautifully furnished with the hughest bed you can imagine, the size of two doubles together. The furniture was bespoke and antique I would think - it all looked very interior designer - the little sofa had cushions the accent oh-so-now purple colour that was picked up elsewhere in the room with glass based lamps and what I suppose I would call "objets".
It was comfortable, extremely so, without being too "oh no, what are we going to break?", I say this as I had 2 children with me too, they were provided with Z-beds.
The room had internet connection, and the facilities you would expect of ensuite bathroom, TV and hairdryer. There was also a DVD player, with films available from reception.
As far as the room went it was beautiful, overlooked the garden and a nice place to stay. The only thing that let it down for me, and the reason for my 4 stars and not 5, was next door's extractor fan and the plumbing.
I have a gripe about hotels and noise, whenever I do find them quiet is hard to find - this hotel seemed to tick that box, however I found out the hard way when next door stayed out quite late and left the bathroom fan on, that the sound of their extractor fan sounded a bit like a loud motorbike nearly in the room. Probably I should have phoned down to reception but actually you could hear it every time they went to the toilet and it was loud enough to disturb. The shower plumbing was also a bit erratic, which I wouldn't expect from a hotel like this with Molton Brown shower gel and fluffy towels.
That was a small gripe and I don't know if it is true of all the rooms in the hotel but it was just about as annoying as my children deciding Z-beds weren't for them in the night and decamping to the bed and taking it over - luckily the bed was huge and comfortable.
The breakfast was "the best I have ever had in my life" according to my husband. There was a continental breakfast and then choice of items for hot breakfast. Everything came beautifully cooked and presented from the sauted potatoes to the absolutely delicious sausages artfully placed on the plate.
I would have liked to have dinner at the hotel, the dining room was lovely and ovelooked the gardens, and the chef apparently won best chef of the group. Sadly having children with me we decided 7pm for dinner with other people who were paying for the privelege of eating at a top-notch hotel would not be a relaxing experience. Lunch was priced at 2 Courses (£14.50 per person)
or 3 Courses (£18.00 per person), with dinner being £41 for a menu at the time of our visit, main courses were £23 or so, and I think there was a light supper menu for £29.
Daniel Moon, the chef, and his team could also whip up picnics with homemade bread and doggy treats apparently, I should think if you went to stay here without children and with dinner included it would be lovely.
As mentioned earlier the garden was beautifully tended, and indeed has won awards in "Bath in Bloom" many times. There were little secret corners to the garden accessed through arches in the topiary hedges and down little steps. There was a vegetable patch to supply the kitchen and it was all just stunning and lovely to wander around.
The staff were amazingly welcoming and helpful, and service at breakfast was flawless.
For children there were high chairs available and the hotel was also happy to welcome dogs. I didn't see how access would have been possible upstairs for wheelchairs but there were some rooms downstairs, however it would be worth checking with the hotel on this point.
There is an outdoor swimming pool, but this wasn't available during our visit, there is also a tennis court.
I really enjoyed my stay overall, and would like to go back at some point, preferably without children - not because the hotel was unwelcoming in any way at all, but just as it would be a lovely place to go just with my husband, if ever I have the chance to one day. It was a memorable place to stay and whilst you are there you do feel a bit like a country house resident rather than a guest, if your budget allows it would be nice to go all out and enjoy all the hotel can offer - I like the sound of someone else making me posh sarnies and it would be worth a trip for the breakfast alone!
Current prices can be found at http://www.homewoodpark.co.uk/, rooms start at £180 for single occupancy and £225 including dinner according to the brochure (a suite is an eye watering £455 for dinner). I paid £165 for our room through late deals, and other offers may be available depending on who you book through and also on the hotel's website, which will also show you how beautiful the setting is.
Country house hotel.