The Newt In Somerset is one of those rare establishments that is now firmly on the map, despite the deliberate attempts to keep the hotel off it. Pulling up to the front gates, there is absolutely no sign of any life in this beautiful corner of Somerset; aside from some signage and the tree-lined driveway that winds into the distance there is little to suggest there is much beyond the horizon. That is the real beauty of this former 17th Century manor house; discretion and privacy.
Situated within the grounds of the old Hadspen House, the South African owners of The Newt (Koos Bekker and Karen Roos) have perfectly married plenty of history with a contemporary twist. Old stone is connected under seemingly endless panes of glass and the design definitely sits under the umbrella of bringing the outside in. That’s not to say that this place isn’t cosy; there are plenty of nooks and crannies to chill out in, as well as numerous working fireplaces that make the entire hotel feel so warm.
Service from the friendly staff is prompt on arrival; luggage whisked away from the car into a cosy reception area while you check in. Complimentary Afternoon Tea is served in the downstairs Library and is the perfect first stop should you not want to go straight to your room. There are plenty of board games to keep you entertained should the temptation of freshly baked cakes and scones not be enough.
Our room for the stay was the Hadspen Room in the main house; the main draw being a palatial bathroom that dwarfed (a very large) bedroom. The bedroom was furnished beautifully, with a huge bed being the centrepiece. The overall theme was classic, but subtle luxuries such as the Dyson Hairdryer and locally sourced snacks made The Newt feel anything but dated. The bathroom was incredible; a huge walk in shower, marble fireplace, and a free-standing tub all being highlights.
For both dinner and breakfast, we were booked to eat in the on-site Botanical Rooms. Dinner was a cosy affair; beside the glass-roofed main atrium is an ornately decorated restaurant lit by candlelight and swathed in wood panelling. The menu was all locally sourced, and each dish really hit the spot. As a big fan of red wine, the extensive wine list was welcomed, and I opted to try a large glass of South African Red from the Babylonstoren Estate; handily under the stewardship of the owners. It’s a great relationship to leverage, meaning a plentiful supply of some very good bottles. Breakfast the next morning consisted of locally sourced produce from the on-site garden as well as neighbouring farms. There was plenty to choose from in the buffet, but I highly recommend tucking into a plate of the Eggs Benedict.
The weather hadn’t been ideal during our stay, so we spent the next morning wandering the grounds after check out. The gardens supply The Newt with plenty of produce and the onsite gardening team are on-hand to talk guests through horticulture at the hotel. We also hadn’t had the opportunity to explore the on-site spa and so, after loading up the car, we swapped our clothes for robes and spent a couple of hours alternating between the impressive inside-outside heated pool and various steam rooms and saunas. Beautifully serene and with a glass façade that faces out into the foliage, the spa is worth a visit alone. While we didn’t have the time to book in for any treatments, the venue itself was breath-taking.
The Newt In Somerset is newly opened but, during our one-night stay, we didn’t see any of the teething problems that sometimes need time to iron out. Rather, the hotel was perfectly decorated and the staff impeccable and very friendly. No detail was too small, yet there was a real sense of home within its four walls and beyond. You can find out more about The Newt In Somerset and treat yourself to a staycation here.