The Newt in Somerset, the luxury hotel and spa that is being developed with a focus on locality and sustainability at Hadspen House near Bruton, is to open on 29 August.
The 23-bedroom hotel will be located in the Grade II*-listed, 17th-century house located in the centre of a working country estate, which features formal and productive gardens designed and retouched by Patrice Taravella, as well as woodlands, orchards, a cider cellar, restaurants and farm shops. Members of the public have been able to visit the gardens since May.
While the main house and 3,000 sq m Parabola walled garden are original, other buildings, such as the threshing barn, are based on traditional agricultural structures, and the glass-walled Garden Café is a contemporary building that has been designed to fit organically within the landscape.
Director of horticulture is Iain Davies, previously at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, who oversees a team of 18. More than 250 vegetable and salad varieties are being grown in the kitchen garden, alongside 267 varieties of eating apples and 70 varieties of cider apples within 60 acres of orchards. The Newt ciders are being made with no added sugar or water.
The food and beverage team at the Newt is headed by Ben Bulger as food and beverage manager, who was previously at River Cottage, and executive chef Ben Abercrombie, who joined the hotel from the Apex City of Bath. Former private chef Alan Stewart is head chef of the Garden Café.
The Cyder Bar offers light snacks baked at the on-site bakery, which also supplies the farm shop.
The Newt is owned by South African businessman Koos Bekker and his wife Karen Roos, who bought the Grade I-Iisted, 17th-century house set on the Emily Estate from the Hobhouse family in 2013.
Together they own Babylonstoren, a preserved Cape Dutch farm estate in the Drakenstein valley, South Africa, with a hotel, spa, restaurant, winery and renowned gardens.
Roos, a former magazine editor, is the creative director of the Somerset estate.
Operating the estate on a daily basis is general manager Paul Rawson, while the hotel and spa will be headed by Andrew Foulkes, former manager of the Abbey hotel in Bath and 2017 Cateys Manager of the Year.
The name of the hotel stems from the population of newts, including the great crested variety, that live in the grounds.
The ethos of the Newt is said to stem from "a deep respect for the land, its animals, and its environment, as well as a passion for horticulture and agriculture".
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