Although a night-time fire threatened to destroy the Beckford Arms some years ago now, owners Charlie Luxton and Dan Brod took this event in their stride and used it to create something exceptional. Our series editor Fiona Duncan sees them as two of Britain’s most talented and enterprising small hotel owners, with a very sure touch. Their mini-empire is slowly enlarging, but each of the places they acquire remains entirely individual, true to itself, its building and its atmosphere – just like Dan and Charlie.
She notes that the Beckford is very much a hybrid – traditional country pub, restaurant and charming place to stay all in one. You can eat at the bar, where mulled wine and cider are warmed over an open fire during winter; the elegant private dining room; the laid back conservatory – or even the sitting room, if you like. The food can’t be faulted. The ambience is relaxed but civilised: people feel at home.
After dinner, you can retire to one of their eight small but well-appointed bedrooms, where a range of comforts await you: Siberian goose down duvets; vintage Welsh blankets and woolly hot-water bottles. They hit the spot of stylish good taste without fussiness. We particularly enjoyed the quirky drawings by local artist Zebedee Helm. There are also two spacious and beautifully converted lodges a couple of minutes away by car. Arrive to a fully-stocked fridge and cook yourself breakfast in the morning, or saunter over to The Beckford for their famous Eggs Benedict.
Another minute or so on the same estate road takes you to the recently opened accommodation in the Arch, at the main Beckford Estate entrance. It has stylish accommodation over three floors. A few cars pass under the arch now and then, not serious traffic, but you may experience a little road noise and if your party includes young children, take care. This is a special place, wonderful for a group of friends or a family – Fiona stayed there recently and much enjoyed it.
Outside the Beckford Arms itself the garden rambles towards a professional boules court. There are hammocks; a games area to entertain children; even a dog bath – much needed after a long, muddy walk. On the Fonthill Estate, opposite The Beckford, there are two beautiful private lodges. Arrive to a fully-stocked fridge and cook yourself breakfast in the morning, or saunter over to The Beckford for their famous Eggs Benedict.
They also run the outstanding Talbot Inn, in the charming village of Mells in Somerset, The Lord Poulett Arms in Somerset and The Bath Arms close to Longleat.