I visited Ston Easton Park on a glorious summer’s day in July 2013. The country house hotel is about 30 minutes’ drive from the M4 and due south of Bristol. Whilst just off the A37, the house itself feels a world away with nothing but fields to be seen nearby. The grounds are simply glorious (amongst the best I have seen on any house visit), with a charming stream running through the estate, beautifully trimmed hedges and a real manor house feel. In a corner of the garden there is a quaint three-bedroom cottage which, on a summer’s day, would look picture-perfect on the cover of a children’s book.
The house has warm entertaining rooms on the ground floor (drawing room, lounge and two dining rooms) and, underground, it has an Edwardian feature kitchen and a rustic bar which is popular for shooting party lunches. The staff are very friendly and pay excellent attention to detail, and Ston Easton feels closer to a fully-staffed private country house than a formal hotel. The bedrooms are very comfortable, with televisions but thankfully without the trouser presses that adorn the walls of every mass-produced hotel!
I mentioned last week that The Elvetham was a great mid-way point between the private (‘do it yourself’) country houses and the more formal country house hotels. Well, Ston Easton fits perfectly between The Elvetham and a true ‘do it youself’ venue. The house is small enough (22 bedrooms including the cottage) to retain its charm, has a rural-feel and is somewhere that you could hire exclusively without the risk of rattling around.
The level of service that Ston Easton provides means that it will never be seen as ‘cheap’, but the old adage remains true: you pay for what you get. I much enjoyed my visit and, funds permitting, would very happily hold an event there!