Whilst many hotels allow canine pals to accompany owners on their stay, from past experience many of them tolerate dogs rather than truly embrace a dog friendly attitude. Thankfully for our doggy weekend away Ston Easton Park Hotel just outside of Bath certainly falls into the latter category. As soon as we pulled up outside the beautiful property we were given a totally tail-wagging welcome – in the form of adorable Oscar, the hotel’s resident Cocker Spaniel – who my two dogs Kipper and Rudi absolutely loved!
Steeped in history, the handsome hotel will have you feeling like you are in your very own episode of Downton Abbey. Packed full of antique furniture, fine art collections and beautifully appointed drawing rooms and snugs to explore and relax in, Ston Easton feels more like you are staying in your very own weekend estate rather than a hotel – and the best part of it is that your canine companions are welcome to enjoy the communal areas with you!
Often the dedicated dog friendly rooms at hotels can be sub-standard compared to the standard rooms, however at Ston Easton Park we were treated to one of the grandest suites I have ever stayed in. We were placed in one of the State rooms – the largest and most well-appointed rooms in the house, with magnificently ornate high ceilings, spacious seating areas and original four-poster Chippendale bed. The room was absolutely stunning and Kipper and Rudi took great delight in playing in peeking out of the window across the ancient parkland to watch Oscar happily ambling around the grounds.
PET FRIENDLY PERKS
Devoted to personally welcoming guests and joining visitors on their walks around the 36 acre parkland, Oscar, the resident Cocker Spaniel, adds the personal canine touch and gives Ston Easton Park a wonderfully relaxed, welcoming dog friendly atmosphere. He even decided to join us on a couple of our evening strolls around the grounds.
Staff are totally clued up on doggy antics, so aren’t remotely phased if they let out the odd bark or decide to tear around the front lawn playing fetch – in fact, they seem to rather enjoy it and made a real fuss of Kipper and Rudi.
Dogs are also allowed everywhere except the formal dining room, so can join you while relaxing with a drink in the library or one of the lounges, which is a real plus for us. Kipper and Rudi were also treated to a lovely doggy dinner each, and were provided with bowls in the room.
WHO SHOULD GO?
Anyone looking for a taste of country style with canines in tow! If you love going on long walks through stunning countryside followed by a spot of afternoon tea in front of a roaring fireplace then Ston Easton Park is for you.
WHAT TO BRING
The hotel supplies bowls and some food, but you will need to bring other doggy essentials such as beds and blankets. However, staff are so welcoming that if you did forget something they would be happy to help.
FOOD & DRINK
We booked into the Sorrel Restaurant for our dinner (a 3-course a la carte dinner comes with the Pet Lovers package) and weren’t disappointed. The exquisite Georgian oak-panelled restaurant is lovely and intimate. Head Chef, Martin Baker creates daily dishes using ingredients grown in the hotel’s Victorian kitchen garden and locally-sourced products. You can tell that Martin has worked with some of Britain’s finest chefs, including Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay – the food was absolutely delicious.
We went for the game terrine, roasted cod and rhubarb cheesecake – topped off with a cheeseboard of Moorish British cheeses. Dogs aren’t allowed in the dining room, however, staff are happy to set up a dining area in one of the other lounges or your room. Guests are also allowed to leave dogs in your room, which Kipper and Rudi were more than happy to do after their three hour walk around the parkland. The dogs weren’t left out either, as they were treated to a lovely doggy-dinner by the hotel as well.
WHY WE LOVE IT
- Such a lovely doggy welcome from Oscar the resident Cocker Spaniel sets the scene for a truly dog-friendly break
- 36 acres of beautiful West Country parkland to romp around in, including fields, woodland, rivers and the hotels own stunning gardens
- Fantastic food from Head Chef Martin Baker who uses locally-sourced ingredients including produce from the hotel’s walled Victorian kitchen gardens. Dogs aren’t allowed in the formal dining room but the staff will happily set you up a dining space in the lounge or in your room if you want to dine with your canine pal.
WHEN TO GO
Anytime! It was bitterly cold when we visited but the choice of cosy lounges with roaring open fires made it a lovely winter break. Though with pretty terraces and beautiful grounds it would be a great summer break too – the hotel will even provide a picnic.
KIPPER & RUDI’S VERDICT
“When we arrived we thought mum had finally bought the country manor we have always dreamed of! We loved rolling around in all the mud, jumping in the river and playing with Oscar in the gardens before sprawling out in the huge bedroom. In fact, if Oscar ever needs a couple of ladies of the manor then we are his girls! When can we go back?”
PRICES & BOOKING
Treat yourself to a guilt-free luxury getaway by bringing your four-legged friend along too and book the Bark in the Park pet package, which includes one night’s accommodation, three course A la Carte dinner, a doggie dinner and Full English breakfast. From £295 per room, per night. Room-only options start at £179 and dogs are allowed in any of the hotel’s 20 rooms. To book visit stoneaston.com.