“Restored chapel in pretty Bruton with classy comforts, great food and a relaxed vibe”
On our first visit, we were lucky enough to stay in the fabulous Attic Suite. An enormous space with eaved ceilings, weathered wood beams and lots of light, it felt like an apartment, with a bedroom, bathroom and living area. The kingsize bed was superbly comfortable, piled high with pillows, and you could lie in bed and look out to the National Trust’s Dovecote building on the opposite hill. Then you could wallow in the double-ended bathtub and try all the Ren toiletries (there’s a walk-in shower, too). And then you could wrap up in a White Company robe and pad out to the living area, where a long leather sofa and vast TV await. Should you want to escape the world, you could order up pizza and watch one of the hard-drive movies. Each room features an artist, with a couple of their works and a coffee-table book to read about them. Ours was Louise Bourgeois and it was amazing to be surrounded by her renowned works.
Room 2 was our next favourite (a Medium); high-ceilinged with a stunning 17th-century Lancet window and a vast bathroom with a tub and walk-in shower. Room 3 (a Medium) had glorious views over the 12th-century Saxon town rooftops. Room 4 (a Small) was a cosy retreat with eaved ceilings, a mullioned window, and all the contemporary comforts of the larger rooms, so it’s great value. We didn't get to see Room 1 (a Medium), but have no doubt it's beautiful.
On our 2015 visit, we saw the 3 newest rooms, all of which have showers and baths. Room 6 has an enormous bathroom window with south-facing views of the 12th-century church; Room 7 has ground-floor access (so is suitable for those with mobility issues) and can be made up as a twin (both Mediums). We stayed in Room 8 (a Large) on the lowest level, with a cool moss-green chaise longue, big calfskin rug, and a private garden terrace. It was a total treat.
A café/restaurant before it was a hotel, At the Chapel’s food is excellent, down to earth and reasonably priced. Most of it is locally reared and sourced (fish from Lyme Bay, salad leaves from Charles Dowding’s biodynamic farm) or made on-site in the bakery, which features an enormous wood-fired oven made from restored cellar bricks.
For lunch we chose salads: juicy figs with creamy mozzarella and rocket, and flavoursome beetroot, goat’s cheese and walnuts. Served with homemade bread and accompanied by delicious chilled rosé, they were perfect for a summer’s day. For dinner, we couldn't resist pizzas from the wood-fired oven, accompanied by fragrant Charles Dowding leaves and a rich Rioja.
On our 2015 visit, we were genuinely wowed by salt hake brandade with a poached egg for starters, and Castlemead chargrilled chicken with roasted butternut squash and fennel for main. Our chocolate and beetroot cake was a bit bland but the lemon and mint sorbet was excellent.
Breakfast is giant croissants from the on-site bakery, which are left in a bag outside your bedroom; homemade strawberry jam and Somerset butter await in your fridge. Check out isn't until 12pm, so they make for a perfect lie-in and lazy morning. If you’re left hungry (we weren't), head downstairs and order Somerset ham with fried eggs or a Sandridge Farm bacon sandwich on sourdough.
This is a welcoming place for families, although it's probably best suited to couples. There's a children's menu on Sundays, plus the à la carte menu has options kids will like, including pizza and ice cream. There are colouring books and board games in the café/restaurant, and it has a buzzy, informal atmosphere. Alternatively, you can sit older kids in front of a movie in your room, order them up a pizza, and pop downstairs for an adult meal! Baby monitors will reach.
All rooms can fit a baby cot. The Attic Suite is best for larger families as it is massive with a double sofabed in the living area plus space for a baby cot. It has a bath and a walk-in shower
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking