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“A secret too good to keep”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of The Luttrell Arms

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The Luttrell Arms
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Dunster
Certificate of Excellence
Tiverton
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A secret too good to keep”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2014

Almost three years ago my wife and I escaped to The Amalfi coast on our honeymoon. We stayed at the most amazing hotel overlooking the rugged Italian coastline and its azure blue seas, and we swore that we’d never tell anyone about it because it was just so good. Since then we’ve broken that promise, but only to a very few select friends.

Recently we escaped to another gem of a hotel, not in Italy this time, but on the edge of Exmoor. It pains me a little to let the hotel’s name slip because it was just so fantastic. However, unlike our secret on the Amalfi Coast, this hotel can be shared because we can take short breaks there, it has 28 rooms (unlike the six of our Amalfi escape), and it’s easy to get to – no flights required.

The name? …The Luttrell Arms Hotel in Dunster.

Why so special? Where to start!

First, I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a bedroom that’s quite so large, quite so grand and quite such good value. I’m not going to say which room it was as I want to keep that a secret, nor am I going to spill the beans on the price in case my wife ever reads this. However, whatever figure you think of, it feels it should be a lot more – don’t tell the hotel.

Why was the room so special? Well, quite simply it brought back wonderful honeymoon memories. The four-poster bed was gorgeous, the period features were fantastic - including a hidden coat of arms - and the furnishings were beautifully finished (so my wife says, and she knows). A carved stone doorway leads through to a separate reading room with exquisite views of the Yarn Market and the quite splendid Dunster Castle. It had a generous seating area for drinks – champagne of course. It also had a lovely bathroom, which I’m told is going to have a complete make-over in time. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but once done we’re certainly going back.

Enough of the room.

The Hotel
What was particularly special for us was the care and attention given to us by the staff - so friendly, so lovely, and so helpful. No, really…nothing was too much trouble. You don’t get this sort of service from a chain of hotels. Yes, it’s privately owned, and yes, they really do care.

For me, being a bit of a country boy, I loved the quiet. I also really appreciated the fact that the mobile phone signal was virtually non-existent. Like many I’m a very busy person, so the thought of being in the UK but uncontactable was rather special.

Before anyone expires frothing at the mouth at the thought that you’re cut off from Twitter and Facebook and email, it does have WiFi and landlines too. So, if you must log on you can, and if you want to let the important few know where you’re staying, you can be called.

For us, for one night and a day, we rather liked the feeling of total escapism. Somehow all the stress of modern life just slipped away. It felt like stepping back in time to a quieter more sedate world with charm, character and time on our hands. What a treat, and that meant we could concentrate on us, and us alone – bliss.

The Hotel itself is really lovely. It’s medieval – goes back to the 13th century apparently and rather unbelievably once had the sea lapping at its doors. Today the sea’s over a mile away. Sceptic that I am I thought this must be one of the tales for the tourists, but it was called the Ship Inn and there are paintings in Dunster Castle showing the sea beneath, so I guess it’s true. Amazing what a few hundred years can do to a place.

So what’s so nice about the main hotel? Wow…Hmm. Ah yes, the bars; great beer. I like my ales and this is chocca-full of locally brewed beers, such as Exmoor Gold and serious ciders. It has open fires, pewter tankards hanging from beams, Stags antlers, intricately moulded ceilings, medieval carvings, a minstrel’s gallery surrounding a sun-trap courtyard and a very grand entrance.

Sure, it may not be to everyone’s taste; it’s not cutting edge, it’s not got glass everywhere or mezzanine levels, but it has been there for hundreds of years, and no matter how hard you look you’ll always find something new and fascinating to discover.

While we were there a local lad played the piano. I like that. The melodies wafted through the air creating a lovely atmosphere as we walked out to the secret garden. Yes, you read right, it has a secret garden. I know!

We sat out and had a glass of very good gin and tonic. We could have eaten al fresco, but it was a little chilly the night we were there, so we had our meal in the very lovely and stylish Psalter’s Restaurant. Try the fish – we had line-caught seabass - sublime. We also had a melody of smoked fish to start with - yum! The puddings were very good too, and the cheese board.

We wife’s a vege and I love game, so I guess we both got a little of what we wanted (the gamefish was smoked Loch Duart Salmon and smoked trout – locally sourced). It also brought back memories of Amalfi, so well-known for its seafood dishes. That said next time, I’m going for the venison.

What else?
Ah yes, Dunster and its shops. If you’ve ever heard of Burnham Market you’ll know what my wife’s talking about. The shops are really lovely. You can buy designer clothes, leatherwork, stylish garden ornaments, swish clocks (not Swiss), original paintings by local artists, fudge (yes fudge!), wedding dresses (I know!), chic furniture and, and well heaps more… It’s certainly enough to keep even the most fervent shopaholic busy. But what’s really nice is the fact that all the shops are housed within medieval buildings – they are welcoming, they are run by people who care, and they are willing to let you browse unpressured. Did I mention the Dolls museum?

Final thing and that’s Dunster Castle and its gardens; seriously lovely. But you can read about that from the National Trust, and frankly, I think I’m done.

So, if you want somewhere really romantic to visit, this is your place. You can even get married here - they have a license and everything...

Room Tip: Go for a four-poster room. The hotel's dog friendly, which I like.
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ewandavy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Becca W, Manager at The Luttrell Arms, responded to this review, October 2, 2014
Thank you for your kind review - We hope to see you again soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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648 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (172)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2014 via mobile

The Luttrell Arms is a great hotel in a great location. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, the staff are friendly and helpful and the restaurant food is extremely good. We've stayed twice now.

The only minor downsides are that the wifi was intermittent in the rooms and not working in the bar, and that finding a parking spot can sometimes be difficult.

Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Jonathan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Becca W, Manager at The Luttrell Arms, responded to this review, October 2, 2014
Thank you for your review and feedback.
We are working hard to improve the WiFi in the hotel, especially in the public areas where recently it has become almost impossible to connect to the internet (there seems to be strong signal but unable to connect and browse). We have now issued each bedroom with an individual router and IP address which has helped our residents, but customers in the bar, lounge and restaurant are still having difficulties. We will continue to address this until we have a solution and Wi-Fi throughout the entire building.
With regard to the parking, it can be tricky during the peak season but generally it doesn't present too many problems, we do have some parking permits available for residents and if you are having problems and let reception know about it we will do our utmost to help you.
I hope that we will see you again soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
344 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2014

Our family has been visiting the area, which is incidentally West Somerset, not North Somerset as previous reviewer states. North Somerset is from Weston super Mare up to Bristol, We should know we live there! We love Dunster and the surrounding area although the A road can be busy. The more commercialised areas, including Minehead, do have the large caravan parks, but once you leave these places there are some lovely, tranquil, unspoilt villages and hamlets with tea gardens etc and some are just working farming villages. Walk up North Hill in Minehead onto Exmoor and you will barely see another soul for miles. We haven`t experienced the "overflow" in Dunster for a long time, in fact the last few times we have visited it has been surprisingly quiet and lacking in tourists, especially the type he describes and we have never heard "moronic" people outside at night the times we have stayed, although there is a locals bar and early weekday mornings can be busy with locals driving to work through the village. The Luttrell Arms has been improved over the last few years by the new owners and is a delighful place to stay or stop for a coffee, lunch, cream tea or just a drink.

Room Tip: Overlooking main street can be noisy with cars early morning.
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank travelfan46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Becca W, Manager at The Luttrell Arms, responded to this review, October 2, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write us such a lovely review. We love this part of the world and the gorgeous countryside that surrounds us, there is always something to see and lovely walks all year round.
I am glad that you can see the improvements that have been made at The Luttrell Arms in the past few years; we are constantly striving to improve on every aspect of the hotel, the facilities and the service - so much so that we are dying to know what we can do to make your next stay perfect and worthy of the all important 5* rating!? Let us know on your return!
kind regards
Becca
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 15, 2014

I can't stand Minehead. I only ever come to North Somerest because my family have inexplicably chosen to make it their home. It should be so enchanting - beautiful rolling scenery, beaches, country pubs serving excellent cider etc. but sadly it is blighted by the invading caravan culture, Butlins, and an influx of people who seem to think that wearing jogging bottoms and ill-fitting T-shirts anytime anywhere is perfectly acceptable. I dread coming. Lord knows how the locals put up with it.

However there is a little oasis called the Luttrell Arms. It is situated in the chocolate box village of Dunster, just outside Minehead. Dunster would be utterly delightful if it was frequented by Swedish or French people or just people that possessed a full length mirror and the ability to buy clothes that fit them or at least covered some of their omnipresent flesh. But even though it is overrun by noisy, thick-necked Minehead tourist over-spill, it still has the most wonderful back drop of the castle. Nowhere is this view more beautiful than in the 'secret garden' behind the Luttrell Arms.

The Luttrell Arms has beautiful rooms, utterly charming and helpful people working there, and really very good food and drink. Once inside their big stone walls, it's as though you have been saved from the invading hoards. It reminds me of that feeling you get when you're in Marrakech and one minute you're in a dirty alley and the next you're entering through an unpromising little door into an enchanting old palace. The decor is old English chintz and starched white table cloths. The bars are big beams, tankards and nooks. Once in, I find it very difficult to find any good reason to leave - unless I am making a break for the county border.

I am convinced that the hotel is actually a charity set up to offer respite to those who have lost the will to live on the A358. I literally couldn't entertain coming here if the Luttrell Arms didn't exist.

Thank you. Thank you.

Room Tip: All charming, decent in size and well appointed. However, despite the beautiful views of the Yarn Ma...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Glen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Becca W, Manager at The Luttrell Arms, responded to this review, October 2, 2014
Thank you for your excellent and entertaining review! I am glad that you enjoy coming to the Luttrell Arms and that our neighbouring town hasn't completely put you off the area.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stow-on-the-Wold, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 15, 2014

A little bit of heaven! We stayed here to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and The lovely Luttrell did us proud. We returned after a few years and knew from the moment we heard the latch of the door and felt the atmosphere that things at this hotel had been brought back up to scratch. We enjoyed a coffee in the wonderful bar and our room was ready well before check in. Sue kindly showed me to our room, which brought a tear to my eye, it was one of the 4 poster rooms this kind gesture absolutely made our celebrations, we felt like royalty for a few days. Nothing was ever true much trouble, even down to the kind chamber person who cleaned out our dog bowl over and above room service. We ate in the bar and the restaurant, both superb. The restaurant is delightful and relaxed but not over powering. A wonderful choice is provided at breakfast with fruit etc., being topped up regularly. All of the staff are very friendly a helpful and a very special thank you to Jake. Even Nigel,the owner, although busy found time for a chat. Cannot wait to return to this very special place.

Room Tip: All rooms very different feature rooms special also some with gardens
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Cornishdreamer2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Becca W, Manager at The Luttrell Arms, responded to this review, October 2, 2014
Thank you so much for your wonderful review.

I am glad that we made your special occasion even more memorable, for all the right reasons!

We hope that we will see you again soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2014

This is a lovely old hotel in a fantastic situation. Parking outside is difficult, but the large public car park is 100 metres away, and you get a free parking ticket. Our room was on the top floor, overlooking the Yarn Market, and was very quiet. Room and bathroom were excellent. The staff were pleasant and friendly - informal, yet efficient. There is a lovely garden at the back, with views up to the castle, and food is served in the garden.
We had a bar meal in the evening, good value for a hotel of this class, and good quality. Breakfast was freshly cooked and well-presented.

Room Tip: Boards in the hotel are very creaky. If this bothers you, go for room on top floor, but no lift!
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank stephogrunt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Becca W, Manager at The Luttrell Arms, responded to this review, October 2, 2014
Thank you for your lovely review. It is always nice to hear when people have enjoyed the hotel and the service.
We are slowly working our way through the hotel and trying to fix the squeaks! It might take us a little while but we will get there!
I hope we will see you again soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 7, 2014

We brought a group of twelve people for a 6 night stay in the hotel. Everybody praise the bedrooms, the food, the history of the building and the beautiful garden. The staff are very friendly and helpful. As the hotel have PUB, restaurant and garden, with different menus, you do not need to leave the hotel except to visit the castle and the little stores of Dunster. We faced unusual hot days there and the rooms whose windows are in the direction of the afternoon sun were hot at night.

Room Tip: If is hot and sunny, avoid the rooms towards the main street, choose those with the garden view.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled on business
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mstrugale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Becca W, Manager at The Luttrell Arms, responded to this review, October 2, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review us on Tripadvisor, we do appreciate it.
I am glad to hear that you and your guests had an enjoyable stay with us here in Dunster, and that you did manage to get out of the hotel and enjoy the rest of the village!
I hope that we will see you again soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Luttrell Arms

Property: The Luttrell Arms
Address: 32-36 High Street, Dunster, Exmoor National Park TA24 6SG, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Exmoor National Park > Dunster
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Dunster
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Luttrell Arms 3*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Luttrell Arms is a 3 star, 28 room hotel. Set in the medieval village of Dunster with its many interesting buildings, under the shadow of the Castle and within the Exmoor National Park. The privately owned 14th century Luttrell Arms is surrounded by beautiful countryside making it the ideal destination for that weekend break or midweek getaway. Stroll around the village, walk the moor, or just sit by a log fire in a building where hospitality has been a way of life for hundreds of years. Heritage "If you could bottle the air in the bar at the Luttrell Arms and sell it you'd clean up" so wrote a local journalist. The smell of logs burning on the fire, a hint of hops from the pints of ale, add to this the smell of something aromatic being cooked in the kitchen, and the most essential element - the smell of history, it oozes out of the walls which have stood for 800 years. There are many outstanding architectural features, the medieval hall with its hammer beam roof (room 17) and twelve light window. History seeps out of the blackened frames, which had their glass rattled loose as Cromwell’s gunners laid siege to Dunster Castle from a defended strong point at the end of the garden. Cromwell’s Commander, Col. Robert Blake walked the corridors of the hotel, it was then called the Ship Inn and was used as his headquarters throughout the siege of the castle. Also of note is some very fine plasterwork on the ceiling of the lounge downstairs, and the plaster over mantle in room 12, showing Actaeon being devoured by hounds. The Arms of Luttrell that we use today carry us back to a Gentleman of 1261, the crest takes us only back to 1621, but the supporters are directly derived from one of the Barons who coerced King John into sealing Magna Carta. A more modern visitor is Hercule Poirot. In "The Cornish Mystery" he confronts the murderer in one of the hotel’s bedrooms. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Luttrell Arms Hotel Dunster
Luttrell Arms Hotel Dunster
Luttrell Arms Dunster
The Luttrell Arms Dunster, Somerset

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