Tuesday 24 May 2016

Review: Holbrook House Hotel, Wincanton, Somerset

After my alpaca walking experience, my 'hens' and I went on to the Holbrook House Hotel in Wincanton, Somerset. The rest of the hen weekend consisted of drinking wine, dinner with some games and more wine, then back in the hotel and more wine, and then a well deserved spa day and massage the next day.

I'd had no idea where we were going so was surprised when we crossed into Somerset, but it wasn't actually far from the alpaca place in Dorset. Holbrook House is a Georgian-style country house hotel set in 20 acres of woodlands and was very pretty, as you can see from the picture above.

The rooms were spacious - I shared a double with my sister - and apparently not a bad price either though as the bride I wasn't allowed to pay. The bathroom in our room was also really nice with White Company toiletries.

This was the view from my window:

The spa was excellent, with two treatment rooms - I had an aromatherapy massage - a pool, Jacuzzi and steam room. The only thing I thought was lacking was a seating area near the pool - it would have been nice to have a swim then lounge around with my friends, but this is also a health club where locals come to use the facilities, so it's more of a pool for swimming lengths than lounging around beside. Still, that would have been an added bonus!
As well as the main lobby, which houses a small bar, there is a large sitting room with a couple of sofas and books and board games, which is a nice touch. The only thing that really let this hotel down was the breakfast. For £15.50 (I'm not sure if ours was included in the room price or not) you get:
fruit juice
tea, coffee
fruit salad and stewed fruits
Greek yogurt
croissants - which ran out repeatedly and were really small and a bit disappointing
Plus any hot item from the menu, which included a full English breakfast, porridge, eggs benedict, egg Florentine, or boiled egg and toasted soldiers - or, for an additional £3.95 supplement, you can have smoked salmon and scrambled egg, smoked haddock and poached egg, or egg royal with smoked salmon.
It was disappointing that so many of the cooked options carried a surcharge, and while I know you can eat as much as you like from the continental buffet, if I had paid $£15.50 and just had fruit juice, coffee, a bowl of cereal and boiled egg and soldiers I wouldn't really feel like I'd gotten my money's worth.
Two of my friends ordered the Holbrook Grill, which is basically a full English, but they weren't that keen on it - one said her sausage was undercooked and the other just said she didn't think it was very good. I had the eggs benedict - two English muffins with poached eggs, bacon and hollandaise sauce. I think my expectations of this were a bit unrealistic after the most amazing poached eggs I had at the Dana Hotel in Chicago, while these poached eggs from Armadillo at Gatwick airport of all places were also very good. So it would have been hard for the Holbrook's poached eggs to match up anyway, but as the yolk was partially set, to me these were more like soft boiled eggs.
Unfortunately, they had completely burnt my English muffins to the extent that they were inedible (at least the one I tried was), so when the waitress came over I explained (or thought I had) and asked if they could do me another muffin; the waitress started to leave, saying "you'd like an extra muffin, sure" and luckily my friend realised she'd misunderstood - and as my friend is more assertive than me, she told the waitress my breakfast was burnt and they needed to replace it. So it meant that almost everyone else had finished eating by the time my breakfast came back! It was a shame as otherwise this hotel was really good and I had a lovely hen weekend here.

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