An in-the-know local friend has raved to us about At The Chapel, a ‘restaurant with rooms’ in Bruton. From outside, little suggests that there’s more to this restrained building than meets the eye. But as we enter, we see bakers at work and displays of beautiful breads and cakes through a large picture window. Blow the diet – we’ll be trying some of those later!
Double doors open into a dramatic central space – the former chapel – with soaring ceiling and a centre-piece cascading chandelier. We’re warmly greeted and checked in; “Settle into your room and then come on down for cocktail!” we’re told – these are our kind of people.
We’re shown upstairs to Room 2. A massive stained glass window imbues the room with softly diffused light. The bed is super-king size, simply clothed in white. The walls, too, are white; colour comes from a bold modern artwork and coloured panels in the window.
A long wooden counter runs along one wall and we spot a tray with ice, limes and glasses ready for us to make welcome drinks. The stylish seating area with a shaggy rug, sleek modern armchair and lamp that would look at home in any design museum.
We’re shown how to use the touch-screen remote control that operates the TV and sound system; there’s a cordless iPod dock too that impresses music-loving Monsieur 2. The combination of minimal, monastic decor with cool modern furniture and state-of-the-art technology ticks all our boxes.
Time for cocktails al fresco on the terrace. The hand-built flint walls and climbing vines remind us of Tuscany, and there’s a beautiful view over the rooftops of the town.
The cocktail list is replete with classics, and a few bespoke creations. Our dry Martini and Moscow Mule are expertly-made, and huge – we imagine we’re in Sex And The City.
After a leisurely stroll around Bruton, we change and head back downstairs, stopping to admire the impressive sculpture above the bar.
The sun’s still shining outside, and we decide to make the most of it, stepping back out onto the terrace for pre-dinner drinks, Cosmos this time. When we’ve finished we order some Prosecco and a plate of antipasti to go with it; it’s wonderful, especially the smoky roasted peppers which have been cooked in the pizza oven.
We’re shown to our table in the dining room. Now night’s fallen and the lights have gone down, the room is dark, sexy and buzzy – it’s exciting! We take ages to choose from the mouth-watering menu, while nibbling on fantastic sourdough from the bakery.
Main courses are equally accomplished. My Lyme Bay sea bream with tomato salsa, fennel and courgettes is light, fresh and a really beautiful piece of fish. Monsieur 2’s huge rare rib-eye steak is gorgeous and he particularly likes the punchy peppercorn sauce and super-crisp fries. We finish with perfect puddings, a sinfully rich chocolate Nemesis and baked New York-style cheesecake with strawberries.
We drink a bottle of crisp Albarino from At The Chapel’s excellent wine list, and like it so much that we order some to take home with us from their wine shop! Service throughout is spot on – courteous, enthusiastic and attentive. We stumble up to bed happy.
Time to sleep. The bed is so comfy, with massive squashy pillows; we’re out for the count in minutes.
Waking up to sunshine peeking round the curtains, we make a pot of Teapigs tea (with fresh Somerset milk from the fridge) and reach out of the door for the breakfast tray that’s thoughtfully provided – a croissant, baked during the night, with butter and home-made jam. They’re without doubt the best croissants we’ve ever tasted. What a start to the day!
We shower in the huge wet-room – so much space to splash around in! – with the fab REN products provided. There’s a massive bathtub too – this bathroom has definitely been designed with deux messieurs in mind.
We head down to the restaurant for breakfast, Monsieur 2 immediately ordering another of those delicious croissants. The menu’s concise and covers all the bases – cereals, pastries, eggs, bacon sarnies…
Monsieur 2 fancies poached eggs which aren’t on the menu but are rustled up for him – and perfectly. The room’s busy with locals, guests – and a rather famous TV presenter!
After one last cup of great coffee, we decide to head off; we could happily stay here all day but we’re going to visit beautiful Bath, just eleven miles away.
Everything about our stay has been simply perfect, from the stunning room, to those cocktails Carrie would kill for, the delicious food, wonderful service and thrilling atmosphere. The thoughtfulness and generosity that characterise how At The Chapel is run completely redefine what ‘luxury’ is.
Our time here has been a pure quality experience – and that’s something money just can’t buy. Not to mention, we have rather fallen for the owners’ Newfoundland dogs.
Our rating: We’ve given this gay friendly boutique hotel in Somerset, South West England, top marks – a full 5 star rating.
View more on At the Chapel and what to do in the area at deuxmessieurs.com