An Inspector Calls… A review of Homewood hotel in Freshford near Bath


An Inspector Calls… at the ‘overtly wacky’ Homewood hotel in Bath, which has violins hanging from the ceiling and a life-sized giraffe covered in grass in the garden

  • Homewood opened just last year and is located 15 minutes south of Bath 
  • Owner Ian Taylor has ploughed vast sums of money into creating his new hotel 
  • Decor is either ‘a mish-mash of incongruousness’ or ‘an eclectic new frontier’
  • He found the service to be ‘tip-top’ and said there was ‘no faulting’ his dinner 

The new owner of Homewood opened the doors of his ‘Hotel and Good Life’ (as he bills it) six months before you-know-what. Unfortunate timing, but Irish-born Ian Taylor seems like a shrewd fellow.

‘In business you’ve got to know when the best time to sell is,’ he said last October after off-loading No.15 Great Pulteney, in Bath, Somerset, which he created after buying and merging three Georgian town houses in 2016.

He acquired Homewood, 15 minutes south of Bath, from Longleat Estate, and has ploughed vast sums into creating something that’s either a mish-mash of incongruousness or a brave eclectic new frontier.

One of the rooms at Homewood, a hotel just 15 minutes south of Bath that opened last year

The main part of the building is 13th century, which makes the overt wackiness all the more startling.

Behind the reception is a wall of clocks; one section of the dining room is covered in blue plates, another in floral cut-outs. There’s a cluster of ten chandeliers here, 20 framed Picture Post front covers there. ‘Our owner is a bit of a collector,’ says the friendly receptionist. Really?

She escorts me to my standard top floor room, except it’s anything but standard. Eight violins are glued to the ceiling, and bagpipes hang above a stand-up piano. Four terracotta fish with their mouths open stare up from a flat roof below.

Most hotels are operating a strict timetable for meals post-lockdown. I’ve opted for an 8pm dinner, which gives me time to explore the garden, where I find a yellow submarine and introduce myself to a life-size giraffe and teddy bear covered in fake grass.

Owner Ian Taylor has ploughed vast sums of money into the hotel. The Inspector describes him as a 'shrewd fellow'. Pictured is the hotel's garden and terrace

Owner Ian Taylor has ploughed vast sums of money into the hotel. The Inspector describes him as a ‘shrewd fellow’. Pictured is the hotel’s garden and terrace 

It’s too chilly to eat on the terrace, which has a monster pizza oven and outdoor kitchen, with tables and chairs of all different shapes, sizes and colours.

The decor doesn’t do much for me, but I get talking to a young couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary — and they’re having a blast. We agree the service is tip-top, and there’s no faulting my salt and pepper squid starter and ribeye main with a side of samphire.

You’re meant to fill out a breakfast form before retiring, but I forget to do so and apologise the next morning. A dapper young man offers an apology of his own — for the absence of a buffet.

But then he arrives with my personal one on a big chopping board: a jar of muesli, fruit, cheese, a muffin and a mini croissant.

Hotels have been closed for nearly four months. This one, like many others, seems determined to make up for lost time — and that should be applauded.

TRAVEL FACTS

Homewood, Abbey Lane, Freshford, Bath, BA2 7TB. Contact 01225 723731 or visit homewoodbath.co.uk. B&B doubles from £170. 

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