Hotel review

Reviews of The Hare & Hounds, Newbury

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The Hare & Hounds is more than just a pub with rooms; instead it looks like a boutique hotel.

Situated in the village of Speen, just off the M4, close to the North Wessex Downs Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty, this former coaching inn reopened earlier this year after months of restoration work and now boasts a pub, a beautiful dining room serving delicious seasonal local cuisine, a covered garden terrace and 30 cozy rooms.

The pub is steeped in history and has strong links to horse racing, with Newbury Racecourse nearby. The equine theme is reflected throughout the hotel; I stayed in the “Bridle suite” at Hunter’s Lodge, and there are also rooms in The Stables and The Paddocks.

Why stay here?

If you are coming to the races in Newbury, The Hare & Hounds is the perfect place to stay. Even if you don’t like racing, this would be a great stopover en route to the West Country, the Cotswolds or the Chilterns. You can guarantee a warm welcome, a comfortable bed, great service and a tasty dinner.

All ground floor rooms are dog friendly and come with a Bramley dog ​​bed, bowl and dog box, so you don’t need to leave your furry friend behind you. Dogs are also welcome in the pub, which has dog beds in front of the wood-burning stove and dog treats behind the bar.

The property

The beautiful 17th century Georgian building has been beautifully restored along with the outbuildings set around the courtyard car park behind it. Think Scottish lodge chic, with tartan wallpaper, tweed banquettes with soft cushions and cozy wood-burning stoves.

The barn dining room is a large, airy space with exposed beams and brickwork and flagstone flooring. There are clever nods to its former use, with an old stable divider used to separate an area. Outside, the covered garden terrace with fairy lights would be a great place for a drink on a warm evening, and there are patio heaters and sheepskin rugs for if the weather gets hot. bit cold.

Bathroom with copper tub

The 30 individually designed rooms are comfortable and cozy with woolen headboards and blankets, velvet armchairs, fluffy bathrobes and powerful showers. Some rooms have a copper tub on wheels in the bedroom for a relaxing bath and luxurious rain showers in the bathroom.

Sleek and chic, rooms are well-equipped with everything from Nespresso machines to Bodum kettles and some have Smeg mini-fridges. There are generously sized Bramley toiletries and a bedside pillow spray to ensure a great night’s sleep. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, a Roberts radio and an en suite shower room.

Eat and drink

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the barn dining room seven days a week and the seasonal à la carte menu features local suppliers and producers.

I started the evening with a rhubarb cocktail at the bar accompanied by delicious crispy lobster arancini with mashed avocado, lime and basil. Dinner in the dining room was equally good; the seared scallops were melt in your mouth, and the spicy monkfish tail with sweet potato dahl was truly memorable. My table mate and I couldn’t finish the grass fed Chateaubriand with chervil Hollandaise, but the helpful staff kindly put the leftovers in a doggy bag for our spaniel.

The barn dining room

The service was impeccable, and with a good balance of original dishes and hearty traditional pub classics, like fish and chips burgers and chicken and ham pot pie, the menu has something for everyone. There is an extensive wine list and oenophiles will appreciate the enomatic wine dispenser which allows you to try different wines by the glass.

There are also two private dining rooms, seating 12 people, ideal for a special celebration or corporate event.

Things to do

Obviously racing in Newbury is a big draw, but there are plenty of other reasons to explore the area around The Hare & Hounds. Downtown fans can visit the real Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle, where the series was filmed, just ten minutes away. History buffs can also enjoy the 14th century Donnington Castle, which is even closer.

Highclere Castle

The historic market town of Hungerford is a short drive away and has many interesting antique shops as well as the Hungerford Gallery on Bridge Street which has a great selection of artwork. The Funghi Club in Hungerford is ideal for a coffee or a light lunch, and the knowledgeable French owner has plenty of tempting treats for sale, including a fantastic selection of porcini mushrooms and French cheeses.

And, if you’ve brought your dog with you, there are plenty of good walks nearby, including Combe Gibbet, from where you can see five counties on a clear day.

The Hare and the Dogs, Bath Road, Speen, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 1QY. Double rooms start from £125 per night

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