The Newt in Somerset review- a new favourite for us

UK Hotels
  • 23 rooms
  • For families, choose the Clock house, or two adjoining Hay lofts or Cozy rooms
  • Breakfast is included in the room rate and offers a selection of healthy as well as indulgent dishes (home made cakes, granola, breads plus local produces)
  • The children can swim in the spa one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon
  • Play croquet with them on the lawn, walk around the gardens, spot the hens and rabbits roaming around
  • The restaurant is not open to children in the evening.
  • The Botanical Rooms offer a menu sourced from the Estate and the very best specialities from the South West
  • Indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool (although I found it a bit cold)
  • Spa
  • Easy journey from London either by train or by car.  Nearest train station is Castle Cary
  • You will require a car if you want to go around and explore Somerset

The Newt in Somerset review in summary

The Newt in Somerset has been covered quite a lot in the past few months in the British press. From being called “the hottest opening of the year” to “the most exciting new hotel” to “the second best hotel in the country”. So we were of course eager to try it.

What we liked

What could be improved

  • Gorgeous bedrooms and even more beautiful bathrooms
  • Very good farm to table restaurant, perfect for vegetarians too
  • Amazing spa treatment
  • The gardens
  • The arrival is not worthy of this beautiful place
  • Kids (even older than 12) are not allowed in the restaurant after 19:00
  • You can hear road noises in the garden
  • No room service

Forget the arrival…

There is a lot to like about the Newt in Somerset but not the arrival. It is really a bit weird: you park your car behind the offices and they come to meet you with  a chariot to carry your luggage.

The hut at the entrance is probably meant to be there to welcome you and have a valet taking your car key and parking it while someone else shows you around. But this was not manned neither on arrival nor departure. At departure we waited for 15 minutes for someone to come and give us our car key and our luggage…

Also, since we arrived at 13:00 they rushed us to the cafe in the public gardens without showing us the rest of the hotel.  It made us feel a little bit unwelcome. We actually never got a tour of the hotel and explored it by ourselves.

Quite a simple thing to fix so hopefully they’ll do that soon.

The bedrooms are drop dead gorgeous

Thankfully, the arrival is more or less the only let down. Everything else is really well done and beautiful, mostly the bedrooms.

We had a Hadspen Garden View bedroom and it was utterly gorgeous. Pale and peaceful green on the walls, many windows opening onto the gardens, a four poster bed and above all a fantastic and massive bathroom.

The room had a very nice complementary larder with some home made sweets and biscuits and everything to make your own tea or coffee.

Families have a choice of rooms more in the outside buildings but all with a special touch. The stables ones look quite fun for kids in particular.

Hot off the press! The Newt is planning another hotel really geared towards families. Make sure to read my full post on it.

Superb spa treatment

The spa is housed in its own building and has a beautiful wooden architecture. I really liked the barn style and it created an immediate atmosphere of intimacy.

There is an indoor pool which extends outside. It’s heated but I’m not sure to which temperature as I personnally found it too cold and didn’t manage to stay in. There are about 10 loungers around the pool, which might prove not enough when there are more people coming in the summer for instance.

The treatments we had were superb. The therapists had a real talent and their touch was magical from the moment you sat down. There were lots of little touches which I’ll let you discover. I really really loved it.

In addition, the therapists have had special training to look after those who had or have cancer. It’s the first time since my breast cancer that I was really made confortable and happy to divulge it.

Delicious food and deserts in particular

The first night, we had the pleasure of being at the chef s table. We were the first to experiment it they told us. It was a very nice evening. The sous-chef (the main chef was off) had a real passion for what he does and gave us lots of explanation about where things come from, how they’ve prepared pickled vegetables months in advance etc..

The food was light and tasty and doing a great job at the concept of farm to table. Heckfield Place had the same concept but it felt more like they had forgotten the journey between the farm and the table and dumped vegetables in front of us. Here vegetables were treated differently and you wanted to try several of them.

The desert is absolutely superb. The pastry chef is clearly a talent. Do try the apple toffee pudding which Mr Big had twice during our stay. I had a chocolate desert which was full of flavours as well.

You can also enjoy the cakes during the complementary afternoon tea.

Breakfast was equally delightful. Home made bread crisp and fresh, a baguette close to the French ones (that says a lot), freshly squeezed juices and a really good selection at the buffet : granola, fresh and poached fruits, smashed avocado and a few home made pastries again. The dippy eggs were scrumptious. 

Other things to know about the Newt in Somerset

The bar could be more glamourous. It has a nice decor and chairs for a summer night but maybe not cosy enough for a cold autumn or winter night.

The lounges have kept many of the original house’s features including of course the fireplaces but mainly the large wooden library. Several collectors’pieces are dotted around. The mix of modern design furniture and heirlooms is well balanced and the sofas are surprisingly confortable. 

They clearly made sure to respect the original architecture throughout the estate. Local yellow stones are everywhere complemented by glass, used in the right way to bring light in and focus your attention on an antique feature.

Obviously, you need to explore the gardens. They are open to the public and you can also have a gardener’s tour and a cider press tour. They are really beautiful and we can’t wait to see them in different seasons. Just a bit of a pity about the road noise on some sides.

A new favourite hotel closed to London?

The Newt reminded us in many ways of our special place in the UK, Hotel Endsleigh. It has beautiful bedrooms, an intimate atmosphere, very good food and gorgeous gardens. It has the benefit of being much closer to London and also having a spa so we booked it again for a restorative break this coming Christmas.

All it needs now is to sort out the arrival and ensure that there is a general manager in charge and it will be even more perfect.

The Newt in Somerset location

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