“A cosy, cottagey country hotel in rustic Beaminster, 6 miles inland from the Jurassic Coast”
Rooms are divided between the main house and the more modern coach house annexe. If you want sloping floors, character and kingsize beds, go for a Superior room (in the main house) - ours was enormous, with lovely garden views. If you want romance, go for a Four Poster: the best in the house, we think. Room 1 has a lavish French-polished bed and fresh floral wallpaper, while Room 3 has low lighting and rich dark colours.
The less expensive Deluxe rooms are to the rear of the house, with pretty wallpapers and views of the garden or car park. Behind is the cottagey coach house, a former stable block converted in 1995, where there's a clutch of Standard rooms. The line-up includes 2 family suites, one in the main house and one in the coach house.
Bathrooms are fairly standard and a tad dated, with bath/shower combos, but you do get lovely Molton Brown toiletries. There are some exceptions: a small but contemporary Philippe Starck shower, a couple of roll-top tubs and a spa tub that can be lit from underneath.
If you come seeking fine dining in an unstuffy setting, you won’t be disappointed. The menu changes 3 or 4 times a year, and reflects the region’s wealth of seasonal local produce. There are daily specials - usually fresh fish or seafood (Lyme Bay scallops during our visit), grouse when in season - and homemade bread of the day (sun-dried tomato, chilli, olive). We stopped by in early spring and enjoyed a supper of chicken liver parfait with cheese scones, confit pork belly and crème brûlée. Classic flavours, brilliantly executed.
Seat yourselves in the elegant dining room (Georgian panelling, crisp linens, candlelight and an Adam fireplace), or the more contemporary brasserie area (a light indoor-outdoor space that spills out of a garden room into a tent-like pavillion, and onto a patio terrace). In summer, the brasserie majors on alfresco dining, with lots of what Joanna calls 'nibbly foods': platters, pots and dips designed to share with a bottle of wine or chilled Prosecco. In winter, there is a plat du jour lunch special. Traditional afternoon teas complete the picture.
Breakfast includes a continental buffet alongside hot dishes like Eggs Benedict, smoked salmon, a full English and, the Chef’s special, the all-day snail breakfast - egg and bacon topped with locally-sourced snails. Mueslis, breads and preserves are all homemade.
Children are very welcome here, and don't worry about packing everything - the hotel can provide nearly everything you'd need, from potties to special children's menus. It's also dog and pushchair friendly.
Children (4-12 years)
The Standard Family Suite and Superior Family Suite each have a double bedroom and adjoining twin room, the latter being a bit larger. All rooms can hold a rollaway bed or baby cot (extra charge).
Babysitting available - extra charge.
You can borrow their baby monitor which works everywhere in the hotel.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Your children certainly won't go hungry: there's a microwave for heating baby food, an early tea for children, half portions of mains, bottle warming, plus a shop selling babyfood and child-friendly cafés nearby.
There's a chemist, supermarket, toy shop and place to buy beach toys nearby. Both family suites are on the first floor and there are stairs to them (but they aren't particularly steep).