Long term SORTED friend and Estate Manager Sophie Simmance booked a weekend away through Battered Black Book to stay at Dorset hideaway 10 Castle Street. She enjoyed the weekend so much, she wanted to share it with you…
Tucked away on the edge of Dorset’s Cranborne Chase, 10 Castle Street (part of the Kasteel Collection) makes an excellent first impression. The immaculate grounds dotted with beautiful sculptures and manicured gardens surrounding the striking red brick of this Grade II listed country mansion.
We step into the entrance and are greeted by eclectic art, a roaring fire and two well-heeled guests who are passing through arm-in-arm, laughing warmly as they say their goodbyes to a member of the hotel staff in the Drawing Room.
Joe, the friendly and welcoming Hotel Director seems to be expecting us and greets us by name. Checking in is a breeze and we’re given a little tour of the many interesting rooms en route to our Junior Suite (Room 8). We pass through many-cushioned sitting rooms, a play room for younger guests, inviting meeting rooms and additional bar areas. It’s a rabbit warren of cosy, social spaces decorated harmoniously in classical country styling with colonial accents and a selection of carefully curated artworks from Mayfair’s Messum’s gallery and Camden’s Cob Gallery – all available for sale.
The largest of nine rooms (35.34 sqm), our room boasts a super king size bed (not two double beds pushed together thank you very much) in a space large enough to also include a comfortable living area with immense windows, allowing in floods of natural light overlooking the extensive rear gardens.
Our bathroom is as big as most standard hotel rooms with similarly gorgeous views to the back of the estate. Deep bathtub and shower with high water pressure – check. Squishy, white bath robes – check. Lovely toiletries and that little sewing kit that nobody uses but whose presence feels oddly reassuring – check. There’s even an option to have room 8 turn into a family suite by adjoining with neighbouring room 9.
After a moment to ourselves we decide to explore the tiny town of Cranborne which is just charming despite the continued drizzle threatening to dampen our spirits. Hoods up, boots on, we traipse past a field of friendly alpacas and go only as far as the nearby nursery, lovingly stocked with beautiful homeware (I deeply inhaled a candle fragrance described as ‘summer greenhouse’ in the manner of someone recently released from prison).
Just meters from the hotel lies The Inn at Cranborne. A 16th century Inn and pub offering comforting meals and refreshments. We decide to have a simple dinner here on our first night. Huddled up close to the fire, we allow any weight of responsibility from ‘real life’ to ebb away and we decide to end the evening at the 10 Castle Street bar for a little digestif.
It’s Tuesday night and the hotel is tranquil. Joe is there to lovingly serve refreshments from the very well stocked bar. Apart from making a mean cocktail, Joe passionately tells us about the history of the hotel, showing us maps of the area, the best local countryside walks and the detailed plans for a spa and fitness area which are already in their second phase of development. The three of us spend the rest of our evening chatting like old friends and learning more about the Kasteel Collection membership which gives you access to all of the lovely facilities at preferential rates.
The next morning after a glorious night of uninterrupted sleep and a lavish breakfast during which we are visited by an adorably snuffly and affable French bulldog belonging to a member, we set out into the countryside armed with a map and failproof directions provided by Joe the night before. We start out at the frightfully impressive Cranborne Manor – a Grade I listed country house, and we follow the walking map past Manor Farm, deftly crossing streams, ascending evergreen slopes past horses and sheep, faultlessly following the path past Cranborne Farm and up to Jack’s Hedge Corner (where we somehow take a wrong turn and end up exploring the reaches of a far less accommodating clay bridleway). We continue our walk for another 45 minutes, the rain caressing our faces, until we reach a charming little village…only to find that we’re magically back where we began! We make our way back to the welcoming arms of 10 Castle Street where hot water bottles and pots of tea are on hand. Our Junior Suite beckons us to listen to Radio 4 and have a long, hot soak in the bath before dinner, which we booked at the hotel restaurant.
As we happen to be visiting in a little period of calm before peak season, we are offered dinner in the supremely comfortable Drawing Room which we have all to ourselves. The table is set and the fireplace is lit for us as we enter, we fall in love with some lamps in the form of giraffes (which we learn are also available for purchase!) and the wallpaper featuring delicate tangles of vines gives us further food for thought on how we could improve our own home décor. The head chef Bill Keera has a reputation for creating delicious seasonal menus with an Asian-inspired background. Local ingredients feature throughout and (spoiler) each dish is plated beautifully and delivers on appearance as well as taste.
It’s only after we peel ourselves off the tastefully upholstered sofas at the very end of the evening that we realise we had been laughing and talking about a wide range of varied topics – none of which had to do with life admin. And maybe that is exactly what 10 Castle Street does to you. In just two days, it neatly launders and attractively folds all the important issues on your mind like Marie Kondo and reveals a variety of things which spark joy in your life. Like making silly top 10 lists of your favourite films, making friends with alpacas and French bulldogs, outdoor adventures and rejuvenating sleep all in utterly delicious surroundings.
And while we have loved the sheer comfort and decadence that 10 Castle Street has offered us over the course of our two night stay in early, drizzly March, we also imagine a visit in summer to be an equally rewarding visit – filled with promise, bottles of rosé and ‘summer greenhouse’ scents in the charming outdoor Logier. Both sheltered from the elements but still open to the beautifully maintained grounds.
On our final morning, we hit breakfast like a pro. Yes to a delicately flaky, buttery croissant; yes to fresh fruit; yes to eggs royale; yes to a large pot of tea. We check out, bidding Joe farewell, so grateful for our faultless babymoon break, and we’re ready to get back on the road – driving back to all of our responsibilities but feeling far more centred than before. And while this experience has ticked the boxes for us, you can easily see how a hotel of this calibre would similarly tick the boxes for HNWIs, corporate functions, intimate get-togethers, young families and people just looking to get away from it all. A truly uplifting experience from beginning to end. Decadent but unpretentious – just what the midwife ordered…
If you too would like to experience the joys of 10 Castle Street, for a weekend away, event or even a business trip, please get in touch with Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org for special BBB rates and perks.