From its elevated and rural position, The Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa in Taunton, Somerset is an impressive Regency country house hotel, set in four acres of beautiful grounds. This grand dame of a building sits high upon her mount, cradled in between the Quantock and Blackdown Hills, affording guests wonderful views over Taunton Vale in Somerset.
With its high ceilings, sweeping spiral staircase, opulent decor and a feeling of gentle elegance and luxury, The Mount Somerset has all the characteristics of a quintessential English Regency mansion. The hotel comprises of 19 stunning bedrooms each individually designed and two with their own outdoor hot tubs. Each luxurious bedroom is immaculately furnished with a unique mix of traditional Regency features and stylish, boutique decor blended together to create the feeling of a lavish home away from home.
Well established as one of the finest luxury hotels, wedding and conference venues in the South West, The Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa has won a host of awards including four AA stars for the levels of comfort and hospitality, alongside two AA Rosettes for the outstanding cuisine of head chef Mark Potts. The fine-dining restaurant serves delicious seasonal produce proudly sourced from local suppliers. Head Chef Mark Potts is extremely passionate about food and brings culinary skills honed from working at world-class names such as Noma, Le Manoir and Eleven Madison Park. His food ethos is to treat prime ingredients simply in order to extract as much flavour as possible, and let the garnishes enhance the dish.
Elan Spa is an intimate corner of peace and tranquility with wonderful remnants of a traditional Hamman bath house, complete with a hydrotherapy bath, sauna, steam room, foot spas and three beautifully-appointed treatment rooms in addition to experience showers and the invigorating ice-cold ‘kubel dusche’.
The interior of The Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa was beautifully decked out for Christmas and our favourite festive decoration was this beautiful peacock with its dazzling tail and sparkling appearance.
The Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa is part of the Eden Hotel Collection, a privately-owned group of nine luxury hotels across the Midlands, the Cotswolds and the South West. In 2015, Eden were awarded ‘Small Hotel Group of the Year’ category at the AA Hospitality Awards. We were filled with anticipation as we sat down to lunch before heading to the hotel spa.
We spotted another festive touch on our table… this seasonal poinsettia!
To start I had the game terrine with pickled walnuts and cranberry chutney…
My dining companion had the tomato and goats cheese tart with pesto and rocket…
After such beautiful starters our appetites had been whetted for the main course. I had a light lunch main, choosing the pan fried hake with pearl barley and broccoli…
My dining companion had the braised pork belly with choucroute and tenderstem broccoli…
After a beautiful day in the Elan Spa, we felt refreshed, relaxed and ready to continue unwinding with an evening meal. The chef sent out some canapes to start. To the left are sweetcorn and bacon bites and to the right we had a goats cheese creation.
For my starter I went for the roasted Cornish scallops with smoked eel, Granny Smith apple and cauliflower puree. The flavours of this dish worked really well compared to a more traditional scallop dish with pancetta or bacon. The smoked eel added a subtle smoky flavour with the cauliflower adding a creamy texture making this scallop dish one of the best we have tried.
My dining companion had the beetroot and gin cured salmon with passion fruit and coconut.
I savoured the pan-fried Cornish brill served with hazelnut gnocchi, salsify and braised chicken wing.
The most interesting dish on the menu was the Everleigh Farm venison loin with ragout, chestnuts and hay baked carrot. It is interesting to note that the venison is handpicked from a farm near to where Head Chef Potts grew up. This brought a nice spin on “locally sourced” produce. The venison was served medium rare and the flavours oozed out of the beautifully cooked tender meat.
For dessert, I chose the Chocolate and Olive Oil Delice served with baked pineapple and coconut flakes.
My dining companion chose the Brillat-Savarin Cheesecake with Crown Prince Pumpkin accompanied by Pecan and Bay Ice Cream.
As the meal came to its conclusion, Potts then brought out his famous chocolate box for us to try one of his hand made chocolates. It was an old family tradition that the box was brought out each Christmas and each relative was only allowed to have one chocolate. Now the hotel restaurant continues this tradition and presents the chocolate box to guests as an after dinner treat.
Thankfully the one chocolate rule has now been lifted much to the joy of diners. We ended our delicious meal with these beautiful macarons served on pine needles in keeping with the festive theme.
Also worth mentioning is the afternoon tea on offer at The Mount Somerset Hotel, which is a real treat after a busy day spent in a whirl of shopping or to warm up after a walk around the grounds. The cream teas and full afternoon teas are homemade and beautifully presented as a selection of seasonal fancies, sandwiches, cakes and scones. You can add a glass of Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine to really get you in the festive spirit.
The Mount Somerset Afternoon Tea is served in the hotel’s cosy lounge complete with a roaring log fire to banish the winter chill and enjoy with your feet up with friends sharing an indulgent seasonal afternoon tea.
Stay overnight at The Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa from £125 per room (two sharing), including full English breakfast and access to the Elan spa.
The Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa
Lower Henlade, Taunton, Somerset TA3 5NB
01823 442 500