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Ston Easton Park, Dinner Bed And Breakfast Review 7th March 2018

Gliding at a stately pace through the imposing wrought iron gates, winding down the gravel drive through the parkland to sweep up to the magnificent house, arrival at Ston Easton is always something of a grand occasion. You may find Oscar, the much-loved chocolate brown cocker spaniel that belongs to the hotel sitting at the front door to welcome you, but if not him a member of the ever-solicitous staff will be at hand to help you with your luggage and attend to your every need.

Ston Easton is so much more than just a hotel, it’s steeped in a wonderful history that luckily has pretty much been preserved since the 18th century; guests are encouraged to explore and find the perfectly preserved servants’ quarters, the library with its original mahogany bookcases, diverse art treasures and furniture all reminders of its great past as a family home. The beautiful parklands were designed by the 18th century landscape architect Humphry Repton and these too are available for your enjoyment to wander at leisure, and if you don’t have your own four-legged friend to hand, Oscar will willingly accompany you on a walk.

We were staying for a short winter break and had booked into The Terrace, a suite at the very top of the house with magnificent views over the parkland, and, somewhat surprisingly its very own hot tub on the terrace. On the way up, my husband’s knees were creaking almost as much as the stairs, something he put down to the heaviness of our overnight bag having too many pairs of my shoes in it. I told him a quick dip in the bubbling hot tub and they would soon be as good as new again. The room is very cosily appointed with a charming split level sitting room at one end, the large bed with tall padded headboard in an alcove in the middle, and a writing desk and walk in wardrobe at the other.

This is the sort of hotel where quirky things happen and after a small search the tea and coffee making facilities emerged from a picnic basket on the windowsill; later despite the sharp breeze and a vestige of snow on the fields beyond we were installed in the hot tub gently steaming. It was great fun, and a most decadent way to relax before dinner.

Finally suited and booted we made our way down to dinner, firstly to take a drink in the drawing room which is a glorious example of how finely the house was restored. The plasterwork ceiling intricate in every detail takes your breath away, and the magnificent ornate fireplace somehow doesn’t dominate due to the room’s perfect proportions, and coupled with the commodious cushioned sofas makes it a place of opulence and comfort. In fact just the sort of place you should take a glass of champagne with some delicious before-dinner nibbles in the shape of delicate prawn wantons and tiny cream cheese and potato puffs topped with caviar which is exactly what we did.

Menus in hand, we discovered there was a seven course tasting menu on offer which seemed to hit the spot by giving you an opportunity to try almost every dish across the board. Fired up by our earlier appreciation of what the kitchen could do with nibbles we lost no time in ordering this, and looking forward to a long evening of culinary discovery. We had heard that Ston Easton is upping its game in the gourmet stakes with a passionate team of chefs who maybe hope to catch a Michelin star or two in the future.

Jacquie Vowles 

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