Summer Lodge stands in Hardy country; indeed, Thomas Hardy himself, as a local architect, enlarged the 18th-century manor for the Earl of Ilchester in 1893. Today, the gracious house is filled with beautiful fabrics and a generous profusion of patterns and objects: never has a country hotel felt more like an elegant lady, coiffed and perfumed, about to go to the ball. As for the bedrooms – oh, the comfort – they lack for nothing: there are even fleece-covered hot water bottles to warm your bed. For connoisseurs of drink, it’s hard to beat. Sommelier Eric Zwiebel’s cellar, noted for its energetic eclecticism, is stocked with well over 400 whiskies, armagnacs and cognacs, plus 1,500 wine bins, while Steven Titman’s cooking squares up perfectly, with delightful tasting menus, and theirs is a working partnership that has lasted for a splendid 15 years. There are many reasons to choose Summer Lodge, but if you are planning a celebration, from four people to 70, then look no further: they orchestrate such occasions quite beautifully.
Explore Durdle Door, Dorset’s most iconic landmark, and Lulworth Cove, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – both just over half an hour from Summer Lodge
The Restaurant’s tasting menu is exceptional: a journey of discovery with the finest produce sourced from the local area and the hotel’s kitchen gardens, accompanied by an award-winning wine selection
Created with the whey leftover from cheese making, Black Cow Vodka is the invention of a West Coast dairy farmer and is used to make delicious espresso martinis