Welcome to the Hunstrete House

by Carolan Nathan
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hunstrete.jpgWhere a certain quality of light illumines the lush foliage and warms the honey coloured brick of this fascinating country house hotel. It dapples the grey and pinkish white hides of the does as they playfully flirt and then shyly turn away from the piercing eyes of the antlered deer. It ripples across the quietly moving waters of the trout stream and turns the shining leaves of the great towering trees to gold.

Hunstrete is an 18th century Georgian house set in ninety-two acres of deer park at the edge of the Mendip Hills between Bath and Bristol, dating as far back as 963 AD when Houndstreet Estate was owned by the Abbots of Glastonbury. In 1621 "Hownstret" passed to the Popham family of Littlecote whose home it became for the next three hundred years. It is definitely one of my favourite places to visit not only because of its historical background, but for the superb service headed up by general manager, Bertrand de Halgouet whose peerless French ability to charm guests makes your visit unforgettable. 

Such is the background for those who enjoy the mystique of staying in a country house hotel that affords the visitor all the enjoyment of a well-endowed private home. The library and drawing room are beautifully furnished with antiques, original paintings and collections of fine porcelain. Log fires burn throughout the winter and add warmth and a homelike comfort.

hunstretegarden.jpgThe old walled kitchen garden gives up an abundance of fruit, vegetables and herbs to enhance the cuisine for which Hunstrete is well known both far and near. The rectangular garden with its paths and borders, greenhouses and orchard is a wondrous place to wander and mull over beds of baby carrots and leeks, shallots and garlic, varied purple and green lettuces, rocket and every variety of herb. Lavender hedges encircle nursery beds and during the summer the vibrant borders are massed with lupins, blue and mauve geraniums, poppies, sweet peas and roses which are picked to make colourful displays in the house. Fruit cages are filled with raspberries, gooseberries, red currants, loganberries, boysenberries and kiwi fruit that the chef cleverly bakes into pies and compotes and uses to enhance ice creams.

Each bedroom or suite has a different ambiance and many returning guests have their favourites, just as I always love Dove, a four poster suite with two bathrooms. Spacious and delightfully furnished it is hard to leave even when the bright morning light filters through the large windows and the gardens call for you to wander amongst the quiet greenery. The softness of Dove well suits its ambiance with finely pleated silk and country garden furnishings. Every bedroom is named after a different bird and each somehow reflects its quality, some more masculine, some very feminine.

large_john_dory.jpgCuisine at Hunstrete House is a delightful experience, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. In the masterful hands of the Executive Chef, Daniel Moon, together with his young and most excellent sous chef, Thomas Bally, and kitchen brigade, each dish is well-designed and based on fresh local produce, fish and meat of which there is an abundant supply. The distinct cooking style can be observed in the skilful preparation of sauces, soups and other menu items whilst the wine menu encompasses many fine wines from Italy and France.

The accolades that have fallen on this Manor House hint at the richness of history which every guest can share. Throughout its long history, Hunstrete House has preserved its ancient and premier setting and presents a rare opportunity for guests to relive a fast-vanishing tradition aided by the friendly and thoughtful staff concerned with their guests relaxation and comfort.

 

Hunstrete House
Pensford
Nr. Bath, Somerset BS39 4NS, United Kingdom
01761 490 490

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