An Inspector calls… at the family-run Combe House Hotel in Somerset, which has warm, cosy rooms and dazzling country views
- Combe House Hotel is a 17-room property in Somerset’s Quantock Hills
- The hotel is inside an old mill and the 26ft-diameter waterwheel is still in place
- The Inspector was impressed with his £89 room and the bacon at breakfast
Arriving after the sun’s gone down doesn’t always do justice to a hotel — but, in some cases, it can also hide a multitude of sins.
Not here. Having perused Combe House Hotel’s website and already aware of the beauty of Somerset’s Quantock Hills (England’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), it was frustrating arriving in the dark, albeit entirely my fault.
This family-run hotel is an old mill (the 26ft-diameter waterwheel is still in place) and sits in a valley at the bottom of a narrow lane outside the hamlet of Holford.
Combe House Hotel, a 17-room property that is located in Somerset’s Quantock Hills
It’s in a spectacular setting, softly lit at night. On stepping out of the car I can hear a tinkling stream and hooting owl.
Hotels all have their stories to tell. The owner of this one took it on just before the recession of 2008 and now has to contend with this latest crisis. Thankfully, this is just the place we all longed for during our forced hibernation — and, as a result, folk are flocking in.
There are 17 rooms — simple, clean and with a touch of Laura Ashley circa 1985 about them. Mine is a single and I’m paying £89 in high season. What it lacks in swish style is made up for by warmth and comfort, especially at this price.
I was warned in advance that there’s no mobile phone reception, but the person who took the booking explained that a brand new Wi-fi network has been installed and would I mind paying an extra £2.50 to use it.
One of the rooms at Combe House Hotel. The Inspector described his room as ‘simple, clean and with a touch of Laura Ahsley circa 1985
Nicely put — although not many establishments charge for internet access.
There’s a big emphasis on local produce at dinner in the modestly furnished dining room. It’s a long time since I’ve seen ‘trio of seasonal melon’ on a menu but here it is, along with classic British staples such as pork loin, venison — or an 8oz sirloin for £22.50.
But it’s the feast of country views that’s the main treat. I open the shutters in the morning and see a giant monkey puzzle tree, with the valley opposite swathed in purple heather.
We’ll just have to get used to the idea of booking a specific time for breakfast. It’s not ideal but is completely understandable — and any frustration is assuaged by the best bacon I’ve tasted in months.
Combe House Hotel, Holford, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA5 1RZ. Contact 01278 741382 or visit combehouse.co.uk. Doubles from £109 B&B.