There’s a gate by the lawn of The Newt in Somerset with a sign: “Hotel Guests Only”. Day visitors to the expansive, bucolic gardens next door can go no further. “Is that to keep us riff-raff out?” asks one old gent with a twinkle in his eye as I pass through. “Well it didn’t work with me,” I respond en route to a waiting geranium and rose-infused G&T in the Croquet Room. English country-house hotels present something of a dilemma for Londoners. The truth is, with advance planning, an easyJet ticket to Italy with a couple of nights in a charming, family-run place often costs no more than a weekend here. Not to mention, with things the way they are on a Friday night on the M25, about the same time to reach. But The Newt, near Castle Cary, is a game-changer. Opened in August, it’s from the same stable as Babylonstoren outside Cape Town, and South African owners, Karen Roos and Koos Bekker have put an equal amount of love, care and detail into this new property as into their wildly successful southern hemisphere estate. So, do you come for the country-house design aesthetic, the food, the spa or… Read full this story
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