A few months ago, an invite hit our inbox to review The Beach Hotel, located in the coastal town of Minehead in Somerset.
The hotel intrigued us, not just because of their location and welcoming dog friendly policy, but because five years ago, the hotel was purchased by YMCA Somerset Coast Group, who saw the old hotel as an opportunity to restore the heart of a community and every penny that’s spent staying at the luxury hotel or dining in their restaurant ‘goes back to good stuff’.
We invited dog owner Megan Roberts to review the coastal hotel and report back. Here’s how she got on.
I was delighted when K9 Magazine approached me to spend a weekend away at The Beach Hotel in Somerset last month. My partner and I are parents to a lively one year old, so when given the opportunity for a break, we seized the chance to visit with our two Yorkshire Terriers, Paddy and Boo.
We arrived at The Beach Hotel, welcomed with big smiles from the staff and lots of fuss for the dogs. After a rather lengthy drive from Liverpool to Somerset, the hotel was a welcome relief from the road.
After checking in, we were lead to our room through the cosy halls and stairwells to a very clean room with an extremely comfortable bed as the centrepiece. The dogs didn’t miss out on the comfort either, opposite our bed there was also a dog bed and two dog bowls for Paddy and Boo.
Clean towels for our dogs were also provided alongside dog biscuits, and for us, complimentary shortbread and fresh milk.
After getting our bearings, we decided to wrap up and stretch our legs and take Paddy and Boo out to get a feel for the area.
The brisk Minehead air was a welcome change to the smog-laden city air we’re accustomed to at home.
Getting settled in the hotel after our beach walk, we were invited to dinner in front of a really cosy and quaint fireplace. Our dogs were also invited, which we loved. All too often we have to leave them at home if we want to dine out so it was a nice treat to have them with us.
Paddy and Boo enjoyed relaxing in the hotel's lounging area
The menu catered to many dietary requirements, including vegan, pescetarian, gluten-free and vegetarian.
The hotel did not sacrifice flavour for being inclusive either, every dish we had was simply delicious. All animal produce is locally sourced, so if like me you sometimes have moral hang-ups over meat production, you don’t need to worry.
Crispy fried okra and chillis
Fresh bread and fresh creamy butter
Vegan apple pie
After dinner, we had a chat with the hotel’s staff about places to see in the area and there seemed to be no shortage of dog friendly activities. A nightcap of the local cider, a walk up the local strip with Paddy and Boo and we were ready to call it a night. Baby free. Pure bliss.
After a reinvigorating sleep in the huge bed, we got showered and took Paddy and Boo out before breakfast. I will note that the only thing we could hear in the hotel room was the sounds of snoring. Considering the hotel is so close to the beach with a road in front, you can’t hear a peep from outside.
During the day, Minehead is stunningly reminiscent of the French Riviera. Britain’s answer to Nice, if you will...but with more thatched rooves and fewer frogs legs.
If you’d love to go to a beautiful coastal town but are put off by expensive flights and exchanging euros, I’d definitely advise a trip to Minehead.
After our walk, we headed back to the hotel for breakfast. If dinner the night before was anything to go by, we were really looking forward to this!
We were not disappointed. We tried to sample as many different options on the menu as we could whilst we enjoyed our stay but we both agreed that the full English breakfast was a no-brainer.
Each meal was perfectly sized, not too little so that we were still hungry, and not too much so that we were sluggish. As well as cooked breakfasts, there is also a breakfast bar with assorted fruit, cereals, and croissants with pots of jam.
Full English breakfast
Haddock and poached egg
During our conversation with the hotel’s staff the night before, it was advised that we take a trip to Dunster Castle.
So we wrapped up warm, scarves, hats and all, and put the dogs in the car to begin our trip. I should note that you can only pay with change in the car park for the castle (which we found out too late) so remember to bring change.
The castle grounds are gorgeous, Paddy and Boo relished the opportunity to run off leash amongst the foliage. Though the dogs were not allowed into the castle, the grounds and gardens more than made up for this.
After our legs had enough of walking we decided to take a trip to a local cider farm named ‘Torre Cider’ to purchase some local produce. After all, when in Rome...
We were delighted, as we always are, when we noticed there were sheep, pigs and chickens at the farm. The dogs were maybe not so delighted by this fact but seemed to warm up to their barnyard counterparts in no time at all. We purchased some mead and local cider and decided to head back to the hotel.
Boo meeting chickens at the farm
Before dinner, we tried a local dog friendly pub named ‘The Hairy Dog’. Staff and patrons alike enjoyed a fuss over Paddy and Boo and after a sample of the local life, we headed back to the hotel.
Paddy at The Hairy Dog
Dinner that night was as sterling as we’d come to expect and it seemed we had company as a local fun run must have finished shortly before. Whilst they were in good spirits and enjoying a drink, they remained very respectful of other diners.
Seared roll of beef
Stuffed saddle of rabbit in pancetta
When dinner was done, we headed on up to our room to crash back into that magnet of a bed, as it had been drawing us in all day.
In the morning we knew we had the long trip back to Liverpool to contend with so had a chat with the staff, who couldn’t do enough to help.
We eventually checked out at roughly 10am to make the most of our day and headed up to the top of North Hill overlooking Minehead and the surrounding areas.
The woods at the top are what I imagine whenever I think of Autumn, with a beautiful mix of colours. The walks are suitable for experienced and inexperienced hikers alike, and there are many different paths to venture through. Boo and Paddy, of course, loved this fairytale walk, zooming up and down the paths, playing in the leaves.
Eventually, we had to say goodbye to Somerset and head back home. We made the most of the views on our journey through the quaint, peaceful town on our way out of Minehead.
We will definitely be visiting The Beach Hotel again because we didn’t get a chance to visit all of the local dog friendly places that we could, so there’s lots more to explore. And that big, comfy bed, the delicious food and helpful staff will draw us back like a magnet.
Many thanks to The Beach Hotel for inviting us to stay. Find out more about the Minehead based hotel by telephoning 01643 704765 or visit www.thebeachhotel.org