Don’t be fooled by the humble name: 10 Castle Street is a grand and sumptuous 18th century Queen Anne house with a phenomenal garden. It was most recently the family home of the Countess of Litchfield before Alex and Gretchen Boon – who used to own the King John Inn in Dorset’s Cranborne Chase – took up the lease and transformed it into a restaurant/bar and private members club.
The concept is novel and we think it has potential. On the ground floor the restaurant, drawing room, terrace and bar are open to all; while the first floor with a billiard room, kids’ playroom and sitting room is reserved for members. The membership (from £550 per year, £750 if joint) gives you access to discounted room rates, special events organised at the hotel and full use of the spa (still in the works). Hotel guests become ‘passing members’ for the time of their stay. This arrangement, and the jovial atmosphere fostered by Alex and Gretchen, allows you to forget that you’re staying at a hotel and almost believe you’re at an old friend’s house.
There are nine comfortable bedrooms furnished with attractive sofas and an eclectic mix of art. The new marble-clad bathrooms are lovely, much as the views from the bedrooms on the huge garden. Enjoy dinner at the restaurant decorated with art from Messum’s gallery in London, in the intimate Blue Room or in the Tasting Room where you can watch your dishes being prepared: each is unique. Head Chef Alex Fullock prepares sophisticated dishes with meat reared on the grounds and handpicked herbs and vegetables.
Temple Spa products can be found in every room and a brand new spa to look forward to in the near future, as well as the varied list of events for members from their Mahiki summer garden party to a foraging weekend with Roger Phillips MBE. There will be plenty to do and I’m sure we will be seeing even more new developments in the future.