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. Steven Titman’s cooking squares up perfectly, and his tasting menu is delightful. 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. Doubles from £215.
Name to Know: Cellar master and twice runner-up in the Best Sommelier in the World competition, Eric Zwiebel, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of wines.
See: Durdle Dor, Golden Cap and the golden cliffs at Burton Bradstock – all part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO world heritage site and the backdrop to the TV series Broadchurch.
Eat: Chef, Steven Titman’s, signature dish, roast loin of local Dorset lamb and braised shoulder ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ served with savoy cabbage and rosemary jus.
Buy: Relax in the spa with a full body deep tissue Darphin massage. It’s a vigorous workout of deep rhythmic pressure focused on relieving specific stress.
Want to find out more? Visit the hotel's website.
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