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“We had a fabulous time and want to go back soon!”
Review of Summer Lodge

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Summer Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Evershot
Certificate of Excellence
Hertfordshire
1 review
“We had a fabulous time and want to go back soon!”
Reviewed 12 October 2008

We recently stayed for 3 nights, having decided to hold our wedding and a birthday celebration at Summer Lodge. We have previously had fabulous lunches and dinner on occasions when visiting Dorset so knew how wonderful the grounds, public areas, restaurant and staff are but never the less our expectations were surpassed by our stay. The attention to detail and thoughtful touches set this place apart, a rich seam of quality and skill can be found nestling in this beautiful dorset village.
Our suite and the spa were delightful, the massages that we and our guests had were the best we have ever had.
On our 'special day' everything was beautifully organised and arranged for us and whilst I appreciate how special our day was made to be, we will return when we can, secure in the knowledge that Summer Lodge seems to provide a wonderful experience for it's guests whatever the reason for their visit, a meal, or to stay, I wish I lived closer!

  • Liked — Dog friendly yet high standards, spacious & luxurious
  • Disliked — Nothing comes to mind
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled on business
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Taylorandball
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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889 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Wellington
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2008

We stayed in one of the hotel's cottages for three nights during England’s rainy August. We were surprised that the cottage opened onto one of Evershot's side roads, but it was quiet and cosy inside. Ours was up a small flight of narrow steps, not great for big suitcases. The cottage was decorated in an English slightly-over-the-top sumptious style that put us in mind of a Charlotte Bronte novel. Or should that be Thomas Hardy? According to the staff, Thomas Hardy designed a few of the main house's rooms before throwing in architecture for writing. Our daughter loved her tiny room; the hotel's very child friendly. The master bedroom invited a lie-in with those high thread count cotton sheets people bang on about.

In the five star stratosphere it's the details that matter, and mostly the hotel met the expectations it sells itself on. We had only three niggles. The first was the dinner, which, given the expectations occasioned by its price, was on the bland side to our antipodean taste, despite the gourmet prose-work on the menu. However the sommelier was a character, and successfully upsold me to a fifty quid half-bottle. The posh pub in Evershot, the Acorn Inn, which is less than five minutes walk, was less stuffy and the food more spritely. Curiously, the hotel’s room service, which we ordered the first night after arriving late, was in contrast excellent, although the ordered wine didn't arrive until well after the meals. There’s a Jeeve's Bertie Worster formality to the place -- jackets to dinner, by Jove -- you're either into that or you're not, I guess. Perhaps it's something to do with the Land Rovers and Jags in the car park; the Porches and Aston Martins felt a bit racy for the hotel. It didn't quite work for us, but then we’re from The Colonies. The third niggle was the high tea, which was nothing to write home about because the scones were stale two days running.

On the [big] plus side the staff were friendly, competent and cosmopolitan; they made the place, really. My two companions, particularly the one aged four and half, really liked the lovely gardens - the gardeners said they change the plants four times a year. There's a good walk in a nearby estate, a little gym, and a warm and shallow pool and spa in a conservatory set amongst the restaurant's garden. The spa’s wraparound shower is an enervating experience. The breakfasts are excellent; fresh ingredients; cooked to order. Lots of home-made marmalade amidst starched white napkins and tablecloths.

Helpful?
3 Thank BubbaNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 2008

I have just returned from a 5 day stay at Summer Lodge and disagree with the previous review. We had a lovely stay. Our room was on the first floor of the coach house. The room was fabulous - I really couldnt fault it. Nice large comfortable bed with a choice of sheets and blankets or duvet and unusually masses of hanging space and draws with plenty of hangers. There was a lovely sofa in the room and a couple of chairs - its was very comfortable. I loved the big well fitted bathroom not because the fittings were so glam, they were very nice but nothing special but again unusually, masses of large fluffy white towels that were constantly changed and also instead of silly little bottles of shampoo etc. huge big bottles of Penhaligon bubble bath, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and body moisturiser. The housekeeping was excellent. The only thing I could slightly nit pick about is that the room was quite dark because of the trees outside, but who cares the views of the garden and country side were gorgeous. In fairness to the previous reviewer the coach house was redone a couple of years ago and this shows. We stayed with family who had rooms on the ground floor and they were also lovely. One of them was a suite which had a lovely conservatory.
The gardens are fabulous and very well looked after, we had good weather so enjoyed sittting outside.
The food is terrific, we had some wonderful meals - the dinner is exceptional and you have to have their cream tea! I thought the decor in the dining room was very pretty and totally in keeping with the charm of the lodge.
My only very small grumbles about this hotel is that the lounge is not big enough for the size of the hotel and infact on our first two days we were unable to use it as it was booked out for meetings. We wanted to have tea in the lounge so found the manager to discuss this problem, as I felt that the lounge being out of use was unacceptable. He agreed and very quickly made up a table in the restaurant for us to have tea.
And a very small gripe is that the gardens are lovely and its a shame that they dont ban cars from parking in front of the hotel (there is plenty of space at the back) as it spoils the outlook.
This is a great place for a break, the hotel is fabulous and the staff were truly attentive making us feel very comfortable and relaxed.

  • Liked — clean comfortable and excellent eye to detail
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank secret_two
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
165 reviews
165 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 657 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 August 2008

After writing some 50-odd hotel reviews for TripAdvisor, most of them for luxury hotels, I have learned that negative reviews are not appreciated as much as positive reviews - if I write a bad review, people often tick the “unhelpful” box. I can’t understand why this should be: surely a well-argued, researched and detailed criticism is more helpful than a brief ‘this was the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in” sort of comment that many people seem to find “helpful.”
So here we are at Summer Lodge in deepest Dorset - our third stay but not for many years, and not since Red Carnation Hotels took over the property from the Corbetts. This is clearly a favourite hotel for many, including ourselves, and it has gathered some glowing reviews. So if you are of a nervous disposition and only want to read good news, I suggest you look away now.
First impressions are wonderful - you swing into the drive, past immaculate hydrangeas, a glimpse of the lawn, people in deck chairs drinking tea, the white dower house glowing in the summer sunshine. We were given Superior Room 11 in the main house. It was the only room available as we had booked - as is our custom - less than a week in advance. I am certain there are better rooms than No.11 - but that is not the point.
We had read that the new owners had invested much money here, but the decor in our room and throughout the hotel was terribly old-fashioned, dark and oppressive, an 1980s time warp. That is a matter of taste. What is not a matter of taste was the state of our bathroom - cheap, old tiling with grubby grouting that was literally falling on the floor (see my photograph). The shower was in the narrow bath and even if you succeeded in squeezing up against the wall and didn’t turn round, the water had only two settings, scalding and searing hot. If this was a £50 a night B&B you might have condoned it. But Summer Lodge charges top dollar, Chewton Glen prices, and for around £300 a night this was totally unacceptable. We showed the duty manager the bathroom and he acknowledged we had a point and on our return home the general manager, Mr Charles Lotter, e-mailed us to apologise and to say he had refunded us the accommodation costs of our two-night stay. We appreciate his gesture and urge him to refurbish the room, update the decor to something more contemporary, get rid of the bath and instal a proper walk-in shower.
I’m afraid we hated the decor in the restaurant - an unbelievable car crash of fabrics, colours and patterns. There is an inviting conservatory but we were told they only serve dinner there when they are really busy - and on this wonderfully warm Sunday evening in July they weren’t. We had the degustation menu for £65 each. Here again is the issue of price. I don’t mind paying £65 a head or more, plus wines with incredibly greedy mark-ups, if the quality is exceptional. But this just wasn’t good enough. The food was quite ordinary, apart from dessert which was inedible. In fact, we had a far tastier meal the second night at the Acorn Inn, across the road and owned by the same company.
We swam in the pool - a pleasant experience, despite the dozens of dead flies and grubby tiles. This is not a five-star spa and pool experience, but a bit of a design mess, which obliges you to step across someone’s sun lounger to gain access to the pool area. We are also members of Relais &Chateaux’s 5C Club which usually gets you a bag of goodies - like being in First Class on a plane. Summer Lodge failed to give us anything and we were told that their special service for 5C members was a handshake from the manager. Not good enough.
The only aspects of the hotel we had no issues with were the lovely gardens - transformed since the old days - and the young staff whose unstuffy charm seemed completely at odds with the decorative style.
We were terribly disappointed with Summer Lodge on this occasion. Shortly before we stayed at Beech House in Clipsham, Rutland, and I urge you to read my review before pressing the “unhelpful” button. That place is attuned to modern taste, with smart decor, lovely food, and it’s a third of the price of Summer Lodge. And in case you think I’m just moaning because of the price, read my review of the Chateau de Bagnols in France which is twice as expensive as Summer Lodge but represents superb value because you get a unique hotel experience. Summer Lodge has a lot going for it, but it really needs to get its act together and smarten up a bit if it wants to compete with the likes of Chewton Glen and justify its prices. In these days of credit crunch, virtual recession and other economic woes, value for money is terribly important and in that respect Summer Lodge scores zero.

  • Liked — The staff, the gardens, the location
  • Disliked — Dated decor, disgraceful bathroom, lousy value for money
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
67 Thank Pausanias
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cardiff
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2008

I have just returned from a business meeting in this fantastic hotel.We were a group of 16 and used the business rooms as well as the rest of the hotel.From checkin to checkout the service was exceptional nothing was too much trouble.The food was fab and they catered for our large group well with military precision.I travel troughout the world with work and this is the only hotel I have no complaints about!

  • Stayed June 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank kiwicardiff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Holmfirth, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
45 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 175 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2008

We stayed at the Summer Lodge for a week in the half term holiday. If you want to feel at home, comfortable and peaceful in what feels like your very own country retreat then this is the place to go in Dorset. The House retains its original character and the staff are very attentive yet unobtrusive. The staff are so well trained that they all remember your name and make a point of using it when greeting you. The Burj al Arab in Dubai is the only other hotel we have ever stayed at where staff have all managed such personal service (a few others have tried but failed!). If the Burj classes itself a 7 star I guess that makes the Summer Lodge 6 star?!

The rooms are all different and a total change to the modern box like designer hotels that exist in so many places. Some of the rooms are in the main building plus there are a number of out buildings in the grounds containing rooms and suites. We stayed on the first floor in one of the Cottages, room 25, with our daughter and this area is very pretty, being a thatched cottage with beamed rooms approached through a walled garden and a small apple orchard. The cottage had "wellies" and umbrellas provided in the unlikely event it rained in England. There were two bedrooms, a sort of lounge landing area and a large marble bathroom with lovely walk in shower and Victorian footed bath. The bath tray had a nice array of toiletries. The bedrooms (1 double and 1 single) were full of Victorian charm yet with modern comforts, if a little “snug”. Each room plus the gallery sitting area had a LCD TV and DVD player and there was a great selection of DVDs free of charge available in the hotel. This particular room would not be suitable for young kids as the stairs are quite steep however our daughter felt like ‘Anne of Green Gables’ in her little room, with its tiny window looking over the thatch! It felt a bit like an old ships cabin with the wood panelled walls. In the rest of the rooms the walls are decorated in unusual padded fabric and an old tapestry. The rooms have lots of lovely old books and pictures in them, tea & coffee making facilities are provided and fresh home made shortbread and fruit. Comfy beds and smooth cool linen complete the picture. The cottage is opposite the village school, which does mean some noise in the morning if you are staying here during a school week, however it is happy ‘childish’ capers.

The gardens are beautiful and not too manicured. Apples were falling and there was a gorgeous Halloween display at the door. At night the trees have twinkling fairy lights and there is a pond, fountains and swing with outdoor games which children will enjoy. The sizable pool and spa is accommodated in a large glass conservatory set privately in the walled herb garden. The pool is quite large and usually quiet with well appointed changing rooms.

There is a small ‘snug’ bar with an open fire and a larger lounge bar which is very comfortable and very homely with games and newspapers available here along with a large whisky trolley that is just left unattended in a very trusting manner! The bar staff are very efficient and helpful, when ordering a Gin & Tonic the French barman asked if I’d like it with French gin. I didn’t even know they made gin! It was different and it was a much appreciated, simple, suggestion. You can also get very tasty bar food here if you don’t want to have the more formal dinners in the restaurant. The restaurant was beautiful and set partly in the conservatory. It can get quite hot in this area if the sun shines on you. The food was excellent. We had the 7 course chef’s taster and found most of it well prepared and original. The sommelier has a big reputation, fully justified, and you really feel you should be taking the opportunity of picking his brains (or palate) to come up with something a little different but good. Breakfasts are lavish and you can order things which are not on the menu. They were happy to make chocolate pancakes for our daughter.

A few minutes walk from the hotel is the village pub, which is incidentally owned by the hotel group. This made a lovely change to a more informal meal with friendly staff. It can get busy so get the hotel receptionist to book for you in advance.

All in all you will not be disappointed staying at the Summer Lodge. There is not much you could say that is negative about this hotel, parking is a little cramped maybe but that’s what parking sensors are made for and we always got in! It is a family friendly, comfy, quiet retreat and makes a great base for exploring and fossil hunting in Dorset.

  • Liked — Staff
  • Disliked — Narrow lanes
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank pophammy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, DC
Level 6 Contributor
178 reviews
114 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2008

Amazing from beginning to end. Summer Lodge is a truly exceptional experience. The service is unmatched in terms of dedication to you as their guest. The dining is stellar – should be starred - food, service, wine all mesh together flawlessly. The cheese cart is all local. Our room was huge, comfortable and quiet. From the minute you enter and are greeted by reception to the time you leave, it seems the staff are there just for you. There are lots of activities they can help you with from the deer park walk to getting to the coast and hiking, to any of the myriad of natural and historical attractions in the area. Yes, it is price expensive as the other reviews have stated – but – the level of service, care, attention and 5C’s make it worth the price. Simply – this one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in.

  • Liked — everything that was there
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Ralff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Summer Lodge

Property: Summer Lodge
Address: 9 Fore Street, Evershot DT2 0JR, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Dorset > Evershot
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Evershot
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Summer Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 24
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Also Known As:
Summer Hotel Evershot
Summer Hotel Dorchester
Summer Lodge Evershot, Dorset

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