Good Hotel Guide Review
Change is afoot at this former dower house, which opened as a hotel in 1996 under Barbara Garnsworthy, in an estate village of thatched limestone cottages amid the rolling chalk downs of Cranborne Chase. She has now handed over to Niki and Jez Barfoot, who own The Tickled Pig in Wimborne Minster and share the cherished values of the Castleman, where staff are ‘efficient, helpful and friendly and the food is excellent’. An 18th-century staircase sweeps up to bedrooms graded simply ‘standard’ and ‘large’, one with a four-poster. They have had a revamp, but not at a cost to the eccentricity that is so much a part of the charm. All are supplied with Bramley toiletries in refillable dispensers. Enlarged over the centuries, the building has two 19th-century drawing rooms, one with a Jacobean fireplace and ornate carved woodwork, the other with Regency plasterwork. In the kitchen, Richard Morris and Jez Barfoot cook a seasonal menu of such locally sourced rustic dishes as venison stew braised in sixpenny ale with juniper, or veggie hotpot with garden greens. It is early days, but we are optimistic.
8. 1 family room.
all year, except 25/26 Dec, 31 Dec/1 Jan, lunch on Sun only.
2 drawing rooms, bar, restaurant, in-room TV (Freeview), 2-acre grounds (stables for visiting horses), riding, fishing, shooting, cycling nearby, public rooms wheelchair accessible.
none ‘except for the occasional piano-playing chef’.
all ages welcomed.
allowed in 1 bedroom (£20 a night), not in public areas.
per room B&B single £90, double £115–£130, D,B&B (Sun–Thurs) double £145–£165. À la carte £35, supper Mon–Wed from £20.