Muddy reviews: Homewood Hotel & Spa, near Bath
Come to eat, drink, party – or just chill – at this rather quirky luxe hotel, restaurant and spa in a village just outside Bath
Just six miles south of Bath, in the beautiful village of Freshford in the Avon Valley, a Cotswold’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty *sigh*. The somewhat grown up exterior of the Homewood Hotel & Spa, a Georgian country mansion sitting in 20 acres of manicured grounds, belies the impish decoration by Ian and Christa Taylor within. There are 31 beautiful rooms, the Olios Mediterranean restaurant with extensive terrace, gardens and dining domes for al fresco scoffing and quaffing, a spa and heated outdoor swimming pool. Read to dive in?
Relaxed, fun and friendly with a holiday vibe. Just like its sister hotel The Bird in Bath, the Homewood is a little eccentric and full of visual surprises. Outside a life-size giraffe and a giant teddy bear covered in fake grass sits on the lawn.
Inside the hotel is decorated in an Art Deco-inspired style. The walls of the bar are covered with floral still lifes and the restaurant boasts a concentration of chandeliers and portraits of local musician Peter Gabriel in Bath in the 1970s.
Outside, the gardens are dotted with seating and fire pits, little private dining domes (where your own personal chef will cook you up a barbie) and a Mediterranean-y terrace with large comfy sofas, Moroccan parasols, chilled out sounds and heater lamps for cooler evenings.
You could almost be in the Med.
Time for a dip in the heated (it’s not actually the Med) outdoor swimming pool.
Day bed or sun lounger? Try both!
SCOFF & QUAFF
The Olio restaurant serves Mediterranean-influenced, British food – seasonal, local, you get the drift – inside or out on the terrace, in the garden in the open air or in one of those cute dining domes.
First off, an ‘Orchard’ cocktail with Mirabeau Rose Gin, apple and ginger and a glass of beer. Down the hatch!
Onto the nosh. We can highly recommend the Somerset bites and sharing platters: spiced tiger prawns with chorizo, the Loch Duart Salmon arancini with chive, lemon & capers – which was particularly delicious – and the Serrano ham with local Wyfe of Bath cheese drizzled with truffle honey.
For mains we had a whole Brixham sea bass with branzino olives & chermoula with samphire, accompanied by a white Leftfield Albarino organic Hawkes Bay from New Zealand.
The super juicy Stokes Marsh Farm rib-eye steak with café de Paris butter and truffle & parmesan fries was an indulgent treat, served with broccoli, edamame beans and mint – a perfect balance of flavours. All washed down with a glass of Rioja Reserva, Ondarre Spain.
Desserts were heavenly: honeycomb ice cream with chocolate sauce and a chocolate cremeux with coconut rum, mango sorbet.
There are 31 gorgeous rooms to choose from, including suites with their own private terrace and hot tubs but we loved our spacious room in the newly built Mallingford Mews (one of 10 rooms separate from the main house).
The luxury marble bathroom comes with a walk-in rain forest shower. Nice.
You’re supplied with your own bath robe, flip flops, homemade brownies and Smeg coffee machine and one of those fancy Dyson hairdryers. Get the munchies in the night? Help yourself to free confectionery in the entrance. Sweet.
Breakfasts are darned good, with homemade compote with yogurt and an array of miniature pastries. The smashed avocado and poached eggs on toast with a side of bacon was excellent.
The Homewood full English was pretty generous.
There’s a hot tub, indoor hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room as well as treatment rooms offering the full gamut of facials and massages to rejuvenate and restore (best to book ahead). You can join the spa as a local member. We didn’t get to sample the treatments this time but we’ll be back!
OUT & ABOUT
If you can drag yourself away from Homewood, stroll around the pretty village of Freshford with its Bath stone houses and stone bridge crossing the river Avon or explore further afield on one of the many walks round about. You’re only 10 minute drive away from the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath, so click on the Muddy Insider Guide to Bath and you’re set to go.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Fun times with your partner, pals, family – come for lunch, dinner, the spa or to stay over. Children-friendly, there’s a children’s dinner menu and most bedrooms can accommodate kids (some have sofa beds); they can use the pool but the spa’s for over 16s only.
Not for: Those looking for a formal dining experience – this place is chill.
The damage: Starters £6-10, mains £14-28, desserts £7-9; farmhouse cheese selection £12-16. Double rooms from £240 depending on season.