- Style Relaxed retro country club
- Setting Home from Frome
RUNNER-UP: BEST SMITH HOTEL 2013 – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013
Set in a handsome manor on 18 landscaped acres in Somerset, Babington House hotel brings a little bit of cosmopolitan London cool to the West country. The rural cousin of the exclusive Soho House, it’s the perfect spot for stressed urbanites to unplug and unwind. The staff is hip, friendly and, refreshingly, not in uniform. The Cowshed spa, indoor and outdoor pools, billiard room and on-premise cinema may make you reconsider a return to the city.
Need to know
- Rooms 32 rooms, including 11 in the Main House, three in the Spa, five Family Rooms in the Stable Block, and the Lodge, a three-bedroom cottage at the top of the drive.
- Rates Double rooms from $462.72 (£283), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
- More details Rates exclude breakfast: choose from Continental (£7.50) or Full English (£16).
- Facilities Gardens, Cowshed Spa with indoor and outdoor pools, gym, sauna and steam room, library, pool room (with a stash of cigars), 45-seat cinema, croquet lawn, tennis courts, cricket pitch and DVD selection, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: LCD TV, DVD player, CD player, radio, iPod dock, Playstation 3 console, minibar, bathrobes, slippers, Cowshed bath products, hair straighteners, free bottled water.
- Poolside Babington’s two heated swimming pools are open between 7am and 10pm. The outdoor infinity pool, overlooking the lake, is lined with cushioned, wooden loungers. The indoor pool forms part of the spa complex.
- Check–out 12 noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Children Very welcome in the Stables Block family rooms. There’s the free Little House crèche for kids aged one and up, and there are designated children’s hours at the pool during the week. Babysitting can be arranged, and there’s a menu for wee ones.
- Also There’s a minimum two-night stay on Friday and Saturday nights. Family rooms and the Lodge are normally booked up a year in advance. Weddings are held most Thursdays.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms We loved seductive Room 5, with a freestanding bath by the bed; Room 6, with its tub on a private terrace; and Room 12 for its eight-foot bed and big bathroom with views to the lake.
- Packing tips Don't forget your swimsuit (though there's a shop if you do), goggles, and suitable attire to walk from bedroom to spa.
- Also Wellies provided.
Food and drink at Babington House
- Hotel restaurant There are three dining areas: the airy and elegant Orangery, the adjoining made-for-banquets Log Room, and the casual Deli Bar. All serve a self-assured menu of tasty brasserie fare: at the Orangery, indulge in mains such as organic salmon with samphire, lentils and sorrel sauce, or sate carnivorous urges with a selection of grills, including steak, pork chops and cuts of lamb. Sandwiches, pizzas, Babington burgers and house fish ’n’ chips typify the Deli Bar menu.
- Dress code Barefoot or ballgown.
- Top table By day, sit at the edge of the Orangery overlooking the lawn; at night, ask for a restaurant view.
- Last orders The restaurant closes when last guest leaves. Bar open until 2am, later for residents.
- Room service When only grazing on the sofa will do, order from a menu of sandwiches, salads, pizzas and comfort-food mains such as fish and chips any time between 7am and 11pm.
- Hotel bar On the ground floor, the House Bar is a curvaceous, high-ceilinged, French-windowed picture of country elegance, where guests hunker down on turtle-green Chesterfields and velvety lilac armchairs.
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More details