Down a winding private road adorned with ancient oaks and pastures green, lies beautiful Berwick Lodge, a quaint Bristolian hotel designed with rest, relaxation and romance in mind. Originally built in 1890 as a lavish dowry gift for the daughter of General and Mrs Sampson Way, Berwick is a secret escape steeped in romantic history. A labour of love for its current owners, Sarah and Fevzi Arikan, the couple fatefully discovered the Victorian abode on Valentine’s Day in 2003 and have since followed an inspiring vision to lovingly restore the property to its former glory.
The luxurious home-away-from-home offers four superior rooms, three deluxe suites, and two comfortable doubles, endearingly named after ancient Anatolian civilisations. A place of rest and recuperation for all, the stunning collection of statement rooms are individually styled in mock-baroque, with “Troya” featuring a staircase to heavenly slumber, forged from a magnificent church pulpit. The summit hosts a unique super king sleigh bed, and coupled with a flat screen television rising from the foot of the bed, the room truly has a character of its own, if not a tincture of irony!
My guest and I stayed in the ornate feminine bridal suite, “Lydia”, which amorously infuses byzantine decadence with sophisticated hues of wedding white, making it ideal for a romantic mini-break. Swathed in the warm glow of soft lighting, the room is complete with original features, a sumptuous king, chaise longue, attractive seating area, and if you’d like one, there’s enough space for an in-room massage, bookable at reception. The opulent space boasts exquisite views of Berwick’s extensive grounds, offering guests a perfect aerial perspective of the sunken formal rose garden as they bathe in the free-standing roll-top bath. Although providing a fabulous night’s rest, wifi access isn’t quite within reach, so checking your work email is out of bounds – although this is possibly a blessing disguise!
A short wander down the ornate chandeliered staircase, and you arrive at the saloon area – a cosy space with pretty furnishings, vintage armchairs and a roaring fire set in its original fireplace. My guest and I cocooned ourselves in and sipped aperitifs before the promise of a sumptuous 6 course feast at the 2 AA restaurant, Hattusa.
Berwick Lodge prides itself on its restaurant, and its range of large and small plates are carefully curated to celebrate the best of British cuisine, with an all-important twist. From traditional country classics like Steak, Beef Burger, and Fish and Chips, to dishes founded upon international principles, there’s a sense that there’s something for everybody – including a variety of options for vegetarians and those with dietary requirements.
My guest and I tucked into a sumptuous 6 course tasting menu which, priced at £65 per head, provides a bargainous array of cornucopian flavours. The vegetarian menu starts with pops of fermented kohlrabi and pickled pear that perfectly accent a smooth sesame-laced tofu miso soup that rolls over the palate. Fresh and cleansing avocado, bulgur wheat, fennel and lemon, issue more subtle tastes that reveal themselves over the course of the dish, and umami flavours that hum from the orient underpin the Buckwheat, Mushrooms, Seaweed and Black Garlic Dashi. Meanwhile, meat eaters can rejoice at the mouth-watering array of melodies that sweep through each plate. From melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi, to Duck Foie Gras, and my favourite, a divine curried Monkfish with Carrots, Chard, and Cashews, the menu is a passionate affair of exotic flavours, at the while keeping it local with produce sourced right on Berwick’s doorstep.
Breakfast follows in its restaurant’s footsteps, and is equally delicious, though somewhat less extensive. After a feast the previous evening, I opted for a small continental brunch which included all the usuals – croissants, fruit, and breakfast charcuterie, as well as a deliciously creamy live bio-yogurt. My guest enjoyed as-you-like-it Free-Range Eggs Benedict and was a great way to get the day started.
All in all, Berwick Lodge is a splendid stay, offering peaceful tranquillity and restful recuperation from a busy week. I thoroughly enjoyed my staycation on this Isle, I only wish it lasted longer.