A country escape that really is a home from home
Words Selma Day
Homewood Bath is not just another country house hotel – it has the kind of feel that only comes with the care and love instilled by those who have made it their mission to create something special, in this case, owners Ian and Christa Taylor, who bought the hotel in 2018 with a vision to offer their guests a relaxed yet luxurious experience.
This Georgian mansion near the pretty village of Freshford in the Avon Valley – only six miles from Bath – is anything but stuffy. From the unexpected yellow submarine that greets you as you enter through the tree-lined drive and giant grass animal sculptures dotted around the lawns to the eclectic artworks throughout the house, Homewood has a large dose of humour attached to it, while managing to retain its charm and elegance.
In the main house, the 21 rooms and suites (with hot tubs) have their own character but all come with top-notch accessories such as Dyson hairdryers and Smeg coffee machines. They also offer fantastic views over the surrounding countryside.
A recent addition is Mallingford Mews, a ‘home from home’ offering 10 new rooms in the private gardens of the estate, a stone’s throw from the main house.
Named Mallingford Mews after the Ealing comedy, The Titfield Thunderbolt, set and filmed in the area, this spirit of playfulness is carried into the interiors. Owner Ian has created unique spaces, hand-sourcing interesting artworks, collections, books, fabrics and lamps with picks from his personal collection to give each room a personality of its own.
The bright and vibrant rooms have wooden floors complete with underfloor heating in the marble bathrooms. Four also feature an outdoor hot tub with private terrace or balcony providing far-reaching views across the Avon Valley.
The work of skilled craftsmen can be seen throughout – from the hand-blocked historic wallpaper designs to the individual door knobs, bathroom glass, key fobs, sculptures in each room, and a lollypop sculpture in the entrance. Unique pieces include a collection of grandfather clock faces welcoming guests in the entrance, to sculpted tribal-inspired masks.
Guests of Mallingford Mews are treated to amenities from Diptyque and they can also help themselves to sweets from the pantry if in need of a sugar rush.
Family or friends can take a family room, a whole floor of the house or all 10 rooms while still enjoying all the delights of the hotel, including the spa (complete with indoor hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room as well as a heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub) and the Olio restaurant where you’ll find British and Mediterranean-influenced dishes made with local produce.
Guests can also dine outdoors on the Olio Terrace, which also serves afternoon tea – and is the perfect spot for a cocktail or a glass of wine. For something a bit different, try the ‘Big Green Egg’ barbecue dining experience on the lawn. You’ll have your own barbecue butler doing all the work while you sit back and enjoy a three-course feast washed down with a glass of fizz. A great way to spend an afternoon with the family and, with access to your own dome, you won’t even have to worry about the unpredictable British weather.
Rooms in the Mallingford Mews start from £285 per night on a B&B basis.
For more information, visit homewoodbath.co.uk