Ston Easton Park lies about 11 miles south of Bristol and Bath and is a grand country house hotel in the finest tradition.
The rooms are as splendid as you would hope, with four poster beds and superb views over the cascade to the rear or the parkland to the front. A small decanter of whisky on the side in the room is a nice touch – the little things make a difference.
Despite its grandeur, the hotel does manage to achieve a relaxed atmosphere which can be absent from some establishments. Here the guest does dare to breathe.
As the home of former Times editor Lord William Rees-Mogg in the 1960s and the Hippisley family for two centuries before that, the building has a fascinating history. It is now part of the von Essen chain of luxury hotels, which also includes Cliveden and Dalhousie Castle near Edinburgh.
The food is traditional and superb, with the likes of lobster and salmon on the starter menu and rack of lamb on the main courses. A great selection of delicious West Country specialities makes for a special cheese course. All the staff strike the perfect balance of interest in the guests, attention to detail and knowing when to disappear.
Quirkily, they even grow their own loofahs here. I know it sounds like an April fool but it’s bona fide, they grow them in the greenhouse.
Staying here on a shooting trip is certainly appropriate and waking in the morning it feels like it could be 1907 and not 2007. At £175 for a double room, with breakfast and a paper included it is not cheap but it is such a grand experience that it’s well worth it.
Tel. 01761 241631 www.stoneaston.co.uk