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Walnut Tree Hotel (North Petherton)
Member Name: Picasso
Walnut Tree Hotel (North Petherton)
Date: 12/08/08, updated on 04/01/10 (298 review reads)
Advantages: Friendly hotel with character
Disadvantages: Tired looking bathroom
When hubby and I had to travel to Bridgwater in Somerset on a business trip, my first job was to check out hotels. Having googled the area, I came up with The Walnut Tree, a three star Best Western Hotel. Although there were several hotels in the area, this was the only one that met with our criteria of having a car park and somewhere to eat. I rang the hotel and was given the price of £127 for an Executive double room which included breakfast.
From the outside, the hotel resembles a large pub. Freshly painted and adorned with hanging baskets and pretty gardens, first impressions were good. We were checked in by two very pleasant receptionists who gave us there undivided attention. There are no lifts and to get to our room, we had to take a ramp and then a small flight of stairs. Everywhere looked newly carpeted. Our room was a large one with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, ample lighting and appeared to be very clean. The usual tea making facilities (no fresh milk), TV, trouser press and hair dryer were there for our use. Our bed was a large double.
The bathroom was a little tired looking. Although recently tiled, the sky blue bath, basin and loo were all a bit dated. There was also a sign posted at the side of the bath advising guests not to use the "old shower". Although a new shower had been installed, the old box and controls remained of its predecessor? Adequate toiletries including a vanity pack were on display along with a selection of towels. No bathrobes or slippers here.
The hotel has two eateries, a bistro and a restaurant. To get to them, you have to cross a very pretty indoor courtyard containing a number of plants and water features. The walls leading to this display a number of old photographs of the hotel which make interesting viewing. There has been an Inn on this site since 1620, when it was called The King's Arms. In 1924, it was known as The New Inn. Various changes were made and in 1897 it was renamed The Clarence Inn, in honour of Queen Victoria's son, the Duke of Clarence. The photographs are fascinating and add to hotel's character. I hadn't realised at the time of booking just how old this place was. It was a pleasant find. Furthermore, the courtyard was where coaches and horses gained access and were used for funeral corteges by the beautiful church across the road. Walking through the hotel's corridors was like taking a step back in time, the place was steeped in history. After further extensive alterations, the 33 bed roomed inn was renamed the Walnut Tree Hotel in 1980.
We decided to dine at the bistro and were surprised to find that we were one of only two parties. The menu consisted of four choices per course. Excellent fare at an unbeatable price of £11.50 for 2 courses, another £2.50 for three. Wine started at around £12 per bottle and was also available in a couple of glass sizes.
It was only when we returned to our room that I realised there was no air conditioning. On a very humid night, I didn't sleep too well even with the window slightly ajar.
Breakfast was served in the very pleasing restaurant. The starters were self service. The choice consisted of individual packs of cereals, a bowl of fresh fruit salad, bowls of tinned prunes and grapefruit. There was also a bowl of fresh whole fruit, yoghurts and croissants. The main breakfast was cooked to order. The list to choose from was endless and included kippers and smoked salmon. I enjoyed two perfectly cooked poached eggs and hubby said the same of his boiled version. The toast was freshly done and hot. I hate cold toast when it's not meant to be.
Check out was smooth and by the same helpful staff who had check us in.
The AA has awarded this hotel three stars and I'm going to do the same. The hotel was adequate for our needs and judging by its corporate facilities would be good for businesses to use. I doubt that I would stay for leisure purposes because of its location. Although it is set in the semi rural area of North Petherton, there really isn't a lot to see or do either here or in Bridgwater. Taunton is only 8 miles away and with all its amenities, I feel that would be the better option. We were there on Sunday night and apart from a couple of other guests and Nick Knowles and his SOS DIY team, the hotel was very quiet. Maybe Nick could have done something to improve our bathroom too! I have to say though that the staff members were all extremely pleasant from checking in, dining and room servicing. So unless I need to go to Bridgwater on business again, I can't see me returning.
Comparing this to my recent stay in a London hotel, I don't think the room rate was value for money. There were no little extras and nothing special. For a little more in money terms, I got a lot more in a central London hotel.
Other information - the hotel is entirely no smoking. Notices in the rooms state that up to £100 will be added to the bill for anyone caught smoking. This is apparently to cover extra cleaning requirements.
Summary: A Best Western Hotel in Bridgwater
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