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Homewood is a beautiful country-house hotel with some very modern twists, located near Bath in Somerset. Helena Lang checks in for country walks, delicious food and a dip in the hotel pool
Situated a few miles outside Bath near the idyllic Somerset village of Freshford and the picture-perfect Iford Manor.
From the outside, Homewood looks like any other golden stone country-house hotel, with its gravel drive, extensive grounds planted with luscious shrubs and outdoor seating and dining area. But get closer and you start to spot the quirky details –from the large horse sculpture, giant white pom pom poodle and yellow submarine in the gardens, to the welcoming chimp at the door to reception and the help-yourself sweetie bar in the foyer.
Overall, the décor is modern, stylish and bold –think clashing prints on the walls, sumptuous velvet furnishings, big squishy beds and divine Diptyque toiletries in the bathrooms. There’s a small, perfectly formed spa area with heated outdoor pool, jacuzzi, hydrotherapy bath, sauna and steam room – perfect to occupy a few hours on a rainy afternoon–plus plenty of outdoor seating, including stylish geodesic domes for cocktails, barbecues and afternoon tea.
The menu at the hotel’s Olio restaurant has a Mediterranean vibe and is modern and informal. We kicked off with starters of grilled halloumi with coriander, lime and pomegranate and asparagus with wild garlic, white bean and hazelnuts followed by spiced Cornish cod with rapeseed, lemon and spinach and some fantastic lamb cutlets with caponata, feta and salsa verde. The heaped and excellent breadbasket had proved really tempting and unfortunately there was no room for pudding, but we did manage to sample some excellent Romanian wines on the eclectic wine list.
Make sure you bring your walking boots, as in every room there’s a beautifully produced booklet on an amazing walk you can do straight from the hotel. It took us about three hours, with plenty of dawdling, and we took in house-gawping in Freshford, exploring the fascinating hamlet of Friary, posing for pictures outside Iford Manor and hunting for kingfishers and dragonflies (successfully!) along the River Frome before heading back for sustenance
A swimsuit, your walking gear and smart casual clothes for the evening. There’s an understated glamour about the place, so jeans, heels and a sparkly top are perfect.
Spotting the glistening turquoise of a kingfisher darting amongst the reeds on the river.
Book a hot-tub suite for the ultimate luxury and chill out on your own terrace until the wee small hours...
Rooms start at £275 per night including breakfast. Hot tub suites start at £500 per night. Visit homewoodbath.co.uk or call 01225 580439.