It had been just over a year since I last visited The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne and I was eager to revisit as there were a few additions to the hotel that I couldn’t wait to try out.
Firstly, my home for a few days would be one of the Victorian garden potting shed suites set within the walled gardens and I also had a treatment booked in the very new and beautifully designed spa with a hobbit hole entrance. The character of the hotel shines through with these new additions and, on top of this, there is also the 2 AA rosette awarded Seasons Restaurant to indulge in.
What I enjoy about The Eastbury is the way you walk in and are cocooned into a comfortable place that is designed to make you relax, and it works. I also love wandering around the streets of Sherborne, popping into the independent shops and cafes and admiring the beauty inside the abbey, it is certainly worth a visit.
Starting life as an 18th century gentlemen’s residence, the Georgian building retains this style within the main building but utilises a more playful side when it comes to the gardens. Step outside and you’ll spot interesting sculptures around the grounds, games to play when the weather is on side, a pod for dining on the lawn, the red brick potting shed suites and the spa among the wooded area, all tucked away.
There is the garden suite inside the main building, ready to host a gathering for up to 80 as well as the library room for a smaller affair for up to 12 guests, while a lounge offers a comfortable place to relax and there’s also a pool table if you wish to challenge your partner to a game.
With a rustic, cosy and earthy feel, the five new Victorian garden potting shed suites are named after herbs and hold eco-friendly moss and sedum roofs with flowers in a peaceful spot.
A selection of fantastic modern touches are designed to make the stay go with ease and include a chunky wood framed mirror, which turns into a TV when switched on as well as an electronic shutter to block the light from the skylight and underfloor heating.
Against a brick feature wall sat the bed with a soft brown headboard and earthy-coloured throw with a hot water bottle for those colder moments. Furniture was a rustic pale blue or green and there were two armchairs next to the bi-fold doors and under the skylight offering a nice spot to sit at. Through the doors was small terrace area, which held two chairs, a fire pit and some decorative additions – ideal for getting some fresh air and privacy on warmer days.
Inside there’s a tea making area with fresh milk, water and a bottle of rose inside a small orange Smeg fridge, with a generous portion of sloe gin on the side to sip on throughout the stay. I was also pleased to see plenty of easy to reach sockets, coat hooks, an umbrella, robes and slippers in the room too.
Our hot water was on leave when we arrived, but the issue was swiftly sorted with a reset of the boiler and all was good. The wet room held a spacious shower area with wood plank effect tiling and White Company toiletries and was nicely laid out but for the mirror in front of the toilet.
Head to the hobbit hole at the bottom of the peaceful garden for a fantastic spa experience. Open for a matter of weeks when I arrived, the enviable, compact building holds a hot tub outside, and inside, a couple’s hydrotherapy pool, sauna, cycling and rowing machine, showers and two treatment rooms. The space can be booked out for couples or small groups to experience an exclusive treat.
I was lucky enough to receive a 55-minute hot stone massage with Rosemary, which was delightfully soothing and super relaxing. I always enjoy a hot stone massage as I find with my lower back pain it really works to have the soft, yet hot, stones targeting the pain. Massage oil is applied to each section of the body before the hot stones are used to massage the muscles and I enjoy the, slightly uncomfortable at first, heat as I always know it will be worth it by the end. The backs of my legs and arms and my back and shoulders were massaged with the heated stones before I turned over so that my feet, fronts of my legs, arms, hands, shoulders and head had a turn. I was also treated to a little head massage, which was a lovely relaxing way to end the treatment.
I was looking forward to returning to Seasons Restaurant for dinner since my previous trip had left me with good memories and, for the second time, I wasn’t disappointed.
I opted for the tasting menu with the accompanying wine flight as it looked so delicious and included many seasonal, main ingredients that I love. For £50 (plus £25 for paired wines) there were five courses with an amuse bouche and pre-dessert too.
The meal started with an amuse bouche of cream of mushroom soup with truffle oil along with some breads and tomato butter – a very tasty way to begin. Next, I sampled the venison tartare with quail yolk, juniper and blackberry and Laverstoke Park black pudding, paired with a Shiraz. The venison and yolk held a delicate meatiness, which was lifted by the fruits, while tiny cubes of black pudding added depth, and this was a pretty looking plate of ingredients too.
Another appetizing looking dish was the whipped goats’ cheese, which was served with a chilled beetroot soup, orange, hazelnuts, golden beetroot, baby chard and a glass of La Serenite Cuvee, L’ame Rose, France. The creamy cheese is a perfect pairing for the deep flavours of beetroot and the textures and variations of tastes made this dish a delightful one.
Devon crab, cucumber & wasabi, a brown crab tuile, green apple, grapefruit and dill with a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was up next and was a winner. All flavours were perfectly balanced meaning every tiny item was tasted and enjoyed, with the classic combination of crab, cucumber and apple being ideally complemented by the wasabi.
The main course was roasted lamb with tandoori spice, cauliflower, cucumber yogurt, black dal and curry leaf with an Argentinian Malbec. The gorgeous scents grabbed my attention when the plate was laid in front of me and I wanted to savour the smell. There were utterly beautiful flavours in the tandoori, the crispy charred cauliflower was scrummy, and the delicate lamb fillet handled the full flavours well.
The pre-dessert was a little offering of pinenut milk, lemon sorbet and limoncello. The cool, zesty sorbet was refreshing and the light limoncello on the side was OK but I’m not a big fan of milk and mainly this was a bowl of nutty milk, so it was my least favourite of the evening,
The main dessert – and final course – was a lovely, decadent Valrhona chocolate cremeux, served with an uplifting passion fruit cream and tasty toasted hazelnut ice cream, with a helping of Elysium black Muscat from California. Overall, it was a delightful meal, with a great variety of flavours and textures on each plate, prettily presented with well-matched wines too.
In a nutshell
Expect character, charm, warmth and great food at The Eastbury Hotel. Reflecting the charming nature of Sherborne itself, the hotel is one I shall always look forward to returning to, for very good reason.
Double rooms start from £195 per night B&B.
Address: Long St, Sherborne DT9 3BY
Phone: +44 1935 813131