Tucked away amongst the trees at the bottom of the garden a wonderful surprise awaits me. As I walk along the path, I discover what appears to be a hobbit hole. I’m a huge fan of all things Tolkien and while I’m slightly disappointed not to bump into Bilbo, the quirky, yet luxurious spa at The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne was not a bad second best by any means. Nearby, our ‘Potting Shed’ Suite is equally enchanting. If you are looking for a romantic break in Dorset with a twist, The Eastbury in the medieval town of Sherborne, ticks all the boxes.
Disclosure: My stay at The Eastbury, my spa visit and dinner were complimentary for review purposes. As always I am free to write whatever I wish and these are my honest opinions.
above: The Eastbury Hotel and Spa – Winner “Best Value Hotel” for the Condenast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2023
The Eastbury – one of the best luxury hotels in Dorset
In the heart of the historic town of Sherborne, The Eastbury is an elegant red brick townhouse hotel just a short walk for the town centre. And Sherborne is a wonderful location for a short break in Dorset with its ancient, cobbled streets, independent boutiques, and antique shops clustered around a spectacular abbey. Plus, just a short drive away, you’ll find not one but two castles to explore.
The Eastbury offers a range of accommodation suitable for solo travellers, couples, friends or families with most of the rooms located in the main hotel building including a couple of beautiful suites with four poster beds, and some self-catering suites. There is also a charming 3-bedroom, 17th-century cottage (pictured above to the left of the hotel) adjacent to the hotel which is perfect for a luxurious family holiday. Lastly, there are five, rather quirky Victorian Garden Potting Shed Suites hidden away in the hotel gardens.
above: Four Poster Garden View Suite
Our quirky, luxury stay at The Eastbury in The Victorian Potting Shed Suites
We arrived on a windy and wet October afternoon and settled into our cosy Potting Shed Suite, a wonderful combination of comfort and luxury with touches of rustic charm and uniquely, an eco-friendly moss and sedum roof.
Thanks to the typically English changeable weather, it wasn’t long before the sun came out and we opened the full-length wall-to-wall tri-fold patio doors that led to our very own mini-walled terrace. With a firepit, table and chairs, it’s a lovely, sheltered, little alfresco area that is completely private.
Inside we had everything we needed from a fire lighting kit to a Nespresso machine, not to mention some complementary sloe gin and a delicious bottle of wine. Robes, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, and toiletries were all to hand. And inside our mini Smeg fridge, we found a bottle of fresh milk. Perfect!
With the doors wide open to let in the sunshine and fresh air, we sipped a mug of hot chocolate, but we couldn’t linger long as we were booked into the hotel’s spa for some serious pampering.
The mirror above the blue chest of drawers, it’s actually a TV!
The Eastbury Spa Review
Tucked away at the bottom of the garden, is the Eastbury Spa, a delightful hideaway that at first glance with its round door and planted roof, resembles a hobbit hole.
Step inside, however, and you are whisked away to a wonderful bijou spa complete with two treatment rooms, a mini gym and hydrotherapy tub, sauna & Jacuzzi shower. While outside amongst the trees, there’s a lovely hot tub.
All this was exclusively ours for an hour, giving is plenty of time to enjoy the indoor and outdoor tubs and the sauna. I confess I didn’t make use of the gym equipment. Feeling thoroughly chilled, I then relaxed even further with a sublime 45-minute Indian Head Massage by the lovely Molly, The Eastbury’s head therapist.
The spa area is beautifully designed to make the most of the relatively small space. It certainly didn’t feel the least bit cramped. Quite the opposite. I particularly loved the skylight above the hydrotherapy pool letting the light shine in and giving us a view of autumn leaves backed by a clear blue sky. My only tiny complaint would be how slippery the floor got inside the door as we were dripping with water from the outdoor hot tub as made our way back inside. The non-slip mat around the indoor therapy pool needs to be extended to the door.
Seasons 2 AA Rosette Restaurant at the Eastbury Hotel
Another bonus with staying at the Eastbury is its wonderful restaurant. During the day, you can enjoy a lovely view of the garden through the large windows that surround it and on warmer days sit outside on the terrace.
Each morning we enjoyed a cooked breakfast while watching the birds at the bird feeder. The service is excellent and my friend, who is vegan, was equally well looked after. The hotel staff checked which type of milk she preferred when we had arrived at the hotel and both vegan butter and milk were brought automatically to our table.
We also enjoyed an evening meal here and again the staff and service were excellent. We started with some warm rolls and a very tasty (and unexpected) amuse-bouche. A great way to start the meal, taking the edge off our hunger so we could fully enjoy the main event. I loved my Balsamic Braised Shoulder of Lamb served with charred hispi cabbage, crispy new potatoes, and an anchovy emulsion. The lamb was superb as was the Sticky Toffee Pudding that followed. I was glad I’d skipped a starter.
Dog-friendly accommodation in Dorset
All of the Potting Shed Suites, as well as several of the main hotel rooms, have direct access to the garden and together with the Cottage are dog friendly. Dogs are also welcome in a section of the restaurant. And with so many wonderful walks in the area, your pooch is sure to enjoy a stay at the Eastbury as much as you do.
Things to do in and around Sherborne
The town centre is lovely and oozing with historic medieval charm. It’s compact too so easy to explore in a few hours on foot. All the main attractions including the Abbey, the Alms Houses and the shops, pubs and restaurants are within a ten-minute walk of The Eastbury Hotel.
above: Sherborne Abbey
Sherborne Castle and its landscape gardens are a twenty-minute walk or a 5-minute drive away. While the ruins of Sherborne Old Castle are even nearer.
For further days out, the lovely towns of Glastonbury, Frome and Dorchester as well as many picturesque villages including Shaftesbury, are all between 30 to 45 minutes’ drive away.
I’ll be writing a post about things to do in Sherborne and the surrounding area soon and will add in a link to it here as soon as it is published.
Parking at The Eastbury Hotel
There is parking around the back of the hotel. The entrance is rather hidden so do make sure you have these instructions with you.
From the town centre: Drive along the B3145 from the town centre and rather than following the sign that says ‘All through traffic’ continue straight passing The Eastbury on your right. Turn right into East Mill Lane. Take the first right as if going to the Sherborne Business Centre.
From the east: If you are coming from the east towards the town centre, as you come out of Long Street’s one-way system, turn left by the Kingston Veterinary Group into East Mill Lane and then immediately right as if going to the Sherborne Business Centre.
Where to park: There are spaces for hotel parking opposite the business centre but ideally follow the road around to the right, down a gravel drive to some garages and if there is space park here.
You’ll find two electric charging points by the archway into the hotel gardens with a path that leads to the hotel reception. If you are staying in the Potting Sheds, they are just the other side of the wall through the archway. If you have parked near the archway, I would recommend leaving your luggage in the car while you check in at reception before picking it up once you have your key.
An award-winning hotel…
We found the staff, accommodation, restaurant and spa at the Eastbury, to be excellent, living up to its reputation as a first-class hotel. And having recently won the Condénast Johansens Award for Excellence (UK & Ireland, Europe & The Mediterranean) for the ‘Best Value Hotel’ for the second year running, we’re obviously not the only ones who think so. Congratulations to everyone at the Eastbury, for this well-deserved accolade.
To find out more visit their website: TheEastburyHotel.co.uk
At The Eastbury in Sherborne, Dorset, there may not be fairies at the bottom of the garden but don’t be surprised to find a hobbit hole and some very comfortable and cosy potting sheds.
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