The Eastbury Hotel is a gorgeous 17th Century Georgian townhouse hotel of great character in the centre of Sherborne, Dorset. A mishmash of The Hobbit, 1950s English children's stories with a secret walled garden, a bijou spa, a Beardsmore classic taxi and a superb piano player.
Our welcome was personable and friendly, something the de Savary hotels do extremely well. After leaving the Bentley GTC in the free parking at the rear of the hotel, we were shown to the Rosemary Suite (all rooms are named after herbs they grow), a private bungalow at the bottom of the walled garden. The room was utterly delightful, an ivy-covered Victorian Garden Potting Shed, down a lovely path, just a stone’s throw from the spa. These dog-friendly suites are immensely comfortable, offering complete independence, you can come and go as you please, plus an en suite wet room bathroom and a private enclosed terrace.
The decor is bright, colourful, modern and luxurious. There is an impressive wooden framed mirror on the wall that transforms into a television. A nice touch for those that prefer not to see plastic electronics that ruin the interior ambience. Cute metal lights hang from the ceiling, reminiscent of ship portholes, but in a Victorian steampunk style. The king-size bed is firm and extremely comfortable with fresh fluffy pillows. An orange Smeg fridge looms in the corner, below a shelf with tea, water, wine and biscuits. Immaculate wooden floor tiles, cupboards and comfy chairs in different hues create a light, clean, airy atmosphere.
A glass carafe of complimentary Sloe gin sits temptingly on a chest of drawers. I can resist anything but temptation and it's delicious.
The walled garden is delightful, harking back to the vintage English children’s classic “The Secret Garden” by France Hodgson Burnett. Trails meander around the sheds, leading to new areas to relax and play. You can dine al fresco on the terrace, swing a badminton racquet or go full Alice in Wonderland with croquet on the lawn. Delicate multicoloured butterflies flutter through the hazel, lavender, roses, acers, honeysuckle, magnolia and bluebells. A futuristic glass pod sits anachronistically in one corner where you can dine at night and enjoy the sun setting through the treetops, over the ivy-covered walls.
After a relaxing read and a glass of the welcome Champagne, we pottered over to the main building and cocktail bar. Peter de Savary's 50's pinup posters line the chunky stone walls for a more personal touch. We relax with an excellent bottle of Sherborne Castle Brut which has a lovely hint of oak, a clean chalky citrus flavour and lasting fruity bubbles.
Settled into the leather lounge chairs we order from the menu before our waitress escorts us over to our table in The Season Restaurant (under refurbishment until March 2023). Our dinner is excellent, accompanied by a supremely talented pianist who at only 25 years of age has been playing at the Eastbury for four years. He plays familiar tunes at a slow tempo with an impressively unique style and fluidity.
Ships lamps, arched bay windows, plush red velvet chairs, colourful prints and widely spaced tables overlook the garden and vegetable patch creating an informal, convivial atmosphere inducive to chatting and enjoying the live music. My starter of chalk stream trout was soft, flavoursome and creamy while the cod and mash main course was divine, rich and buttery, perfect for a cold wintery evening.
We slept well that evening, there is no sound of traffic or anything at all to disturb your rest, cocooned in the protective garden. The next morning we took breakfast and then ambled over to the dinky, cosy spa strongly reminiscent of the Hobbit village, Hobbiton. I had the full-body hot stone massage with Gaia balance oils. Molly relaxed me so much that I staggered blearily out to the nearest chase long in the garden to wake up. The spa includes an indoor hydrotherapy tub, sauna & jacuzzi shower, two serene treatment rooms and a couple’s therapy room. The indoor mini-gym has a Body Power upright cycle, free weights, skipping ropes with bench press and mat space as well as yoga mats.
They also have the self-catering Eastbury Cottage, a three-bedroom with en-suite bathrooms and twin bunk beds for the kids set over three floors. A self-sufficient home in Sherborne with a wood-fired hot tub, kitchen, dining room and living room. Take breakfast at the restaurant, then head out and explore.
The Eastbury is the ideal base from which to discover Dorset, you are in town so close to all the amenities, restaurants and local shops. And you can venture further afield to visit the beaches and historic sites.
Nearby you have West Bay where they filmed the successful drama series Broadchurch with David Tennant. You can experience ballooning over the amazing Dorset countryside, try fly fishing or spend the day at Wincanton Races. Other spots that are well worth a visit are; the Abbotsbury Swannery, Brownsea Island, Salisbury Cathedral, Chesil Beach, Durdle Door, Lyme Regis and the legendary Stonehenge. Within walking distance, you can discover Sherborne Old Castle, Sherborne Abbey and shop on quaint historic Cheap Street. The Eastbury is partnered with nearby Sherborne Golf Club too, so perfect for a golfing weekend.
The hotel is easy to find as there is a gorgeous Beardmore classic car permanently parked outside, used in summer to pick up guests from the station. The Eastbury has a unique eccentric character as if pulled from a 1950s English children's fairytale. The de Savoury family decorated with sublime taste, selecting the furniture and artworks from their own personal collection amassed over the years. You are more a guest of the family than staying in a corporate hotel. The staff are warm, attentive, the sort where nothing is too much trouble and knowledgeable about the local area. A delightful hotel that presents excellent cuisine, relaxed surroundings, spa pampering and unusual suites in a quintessential British secret garden style.