The Grosvenor Arms, Shaftesbury, Dorset
THE HOTEL: The Grosvenor Arms is part of the Stay Original Company's four-strong collection of boutique hotels and inns in South West England. This 16-room hotel is its most corporate-focused, with around three-quarters of midweek guests staying at the hotel on business. A fifth hotel, the 30-room King's Arms in Dorchester, is currently being renovated and is due to open in early 2019. "We love interesting buildings and interesting people," states the group's website.
THE CHECK-IN: I arrived around 9pm on a balmy summer's evening and a convivial atmosphere emanated from the bar and open courtyard as I entered the reception. I was quickly checked-in and issued with a complimentary pass to park overnight just down the road in a long-stay car park. I was also asked if I'd like to order anything from the restaurant which was closing imminently.
THE ROOM: I stayed in a junior suite (there are also doubles, premium rooms and a luxury suite) located up a couple of uneven flights of stairs at one end of the Georgian building. The room was uncomfortably hot but a fan on full power and opening the double doors – which opened on to a roof terrace with table and chairs – soon helped remedy this. The room was generously proportioned and included a bathroom with walk-in shower and a separate roll-top bath within the room itself. There was also a desk, sofa, wall-mounted TV, coffee machine and large wardrobe.
THE FACILITIES: The restaurant is headed by Tom Blake (formerly of River Cottage) and is big on locally sourced produce. There's also a nicely furnished bar (with extensive wine list) and a central courtyard area. For meetings and events, there's the first-floor Assembly Room with high ceilings, huge sash windows and space for up to 60 guests for dining or 100 for networking events. The Library (for up to 16 people) is a private room within the restaurant and there's also The Snug for up to 10 people. Wifi access is free throughout.
THE VERDICT: The Grosvenor Arms is a delightful historic hotel in a lovely market town setting. It exudes a homely atmosphere with rustic but stylish decor and its facilities belie its small size.
THE DETAILS: The Grosvenor Arms, The Commons, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8JA. Tel: 01747 850 580. Rates start from £105 per night including breakfast. grosvenorarms.co.uk
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2018)