My partner and I booked a single evening as a bank holiday break. The house is a stunning venue from the outside, with a very traditional feel. We were booked into the hotel in less than 10 minutes, and soon found ourselves in a room at the top of the stairs - room 8, to be exact.
The first thing I noticed was a spider roughly the size of a golf ball, perched in a cobweb in one of the ceiling corners. After I'd regained my colour, put down the brandished chair and unravelled myself from the shower curtain, my partner disposed of the damned thing.
The room itself was quite cramped. Not uncomfortably so, though the addition of a chez longue to the room drastically reduces the floorspace, and frankly, being positioned roughly 2 feet from the television, renders it practically useless. The decor of the room was very pleasant - with a well appointed bathroom and very very comfortable bed. But in more than one place, the wallpaper looked creased with age, and appeared to be coming away from the wall. It's only a little thing - but when your room costs £195 per night, the little things matter.
We made full use of a very well maintained spa. The outdoor pool is heated to a comfortable 28 degrees, which in the winter air was very refreshing. The indoor aquatherapy pool was great - as were the sauna and steam room, though everything seemed to be chlorinated to within a hair's breadth of rendering the patrons blind. Towels were in abundance, as was complimentary iced water to be drunk from plastic cups.
We dined at the hotel during the evening. A young Polish (I think) Chap was keen to practise his cocktail-mixing skills on us, so we enjoyed one each before dinner. We were offered water and bread - accepting both, though having to remind waitresses twice to bring them. We considered wine for the brief amount of time it took for me to realise that the list here is massively overpriced. Robert Mondavi at £70 per bottle? Good God, no. This annoyed the hell out of me.
"Never return food", my grandfather would say, "... the Chef's don't like it." He was right. So, I didn't. But I should have. I ordered pigeon to start, followed by shoulder of lamb - the other half ordering scallops and something unmemorable. The pigeon was rare, served on a pearl-barley risotto which was rather bland. The lamb was served on a thin slab of slate, with cones of carrots, blobs of purees and tiny potatoes dotted around like a painting by Kandinsky. Why, oh why do restaurants do this? It's not appetising! And frankly, scraping a knife blade or prong of a fork accidentally across slate is not a pleasant sensation. Indeed, it's part of the reason that glazed ceramics such as modern dinner plates were invented. Hey-ho! This course was served cold - not deliberately, I hasten to add. Frankly, it was very disappointing. We chose not to risk a dessert and returned to the cocktail bar, which continued to impress us. The young chap mixed, poured and crushed his way to a tip, that frankly saved our evening from being bloody awful. All in, we spent £145 on a meal for two, though £80 of that was due to some wonderful cocktails.
Breakfast, the next morning was an uninspiring affair, served brusquely by a man who'd obviously been to the Joseph Stalin school for the Maitre d'. Nevertheless, we ate a standard full English breakfast whilst enjoying the beautiful view from the bay windows, enjoyed another hour or two in the spa and left.
All things considered, £340 for a visit to a spa, dinner and a single night in a bed is quite expensive. But I wouldn't mind paying it, if the place was perfect, if the room was wonderful, if the food was to die for. None of this was the case, sadly. The only thing I'd recommend, if you visit this place, is to try that young man's cocktails. You can't miss him. Tall, dark haired, heavy dark framed glasses, and great cocktails. And hopefully, with enough of them, you'll forget all about the rest of the stay.
- Also Known As:
- Homewood Park Hotel And Spa
- Homewood Park Hotel Hinton Charterhouse
- Homewood Park Hotel
- Homewood Park Somerset
- Homewood Park Hotel & Spa Bath/Hinton Charterhouse
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Victorian House dating from 1837, opened as a hotel in 1981. ... more less
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