Tamara Kaye-Honey, founder of Los Angeles interior design studio House of Honey, is our kind of traveller: intrepid and in-the-know. It’s why we tapped her as a Smith Hotel Awards judge, and to share top tips from a recent family escape outside of London.
1 BEST PLACE TO FIND RELIGION | AT THE CHAPEL BAKERY
Take the scenic route southwest from London and head for Somerset: make a beeline for At the Chapel bakery, a charming congregational church-turned-coaching-inn. The interiors – original stained glass windows, a chandelier of cascading glass baubles and walls adorned with contemporary art – are as much of a draw as the just-from-the-oven pastries, soups and hearty sandwiches (roast chicken and rocket greens or a thick burger) served on the house-baked bread. There’s also a wine shop with a smart selection of organic and biodynamic wines from small producers.
2 BEST NON-MUSEUM MUSEUM | HAUSER & WIRTH SOMERSET
Stretch your legs with a 10-minute stroll from At the Chapel to Durslade Farmhouse and Hauser & Wirth Somerset, a multi-purpose arts centre and contemporary gallery. With exhibition spaces in Zurich, London and New York, this is the gallerist duo’s country outpost, and a brilliant setting in which to marvel at a massive Louise Bourgeois bronze spider and the profundity of Jenny Holzer’s solo exhibit Softer Targets (up until 1 November).
3 BEST PUB LUNCH | THE WILD RABBIT
Point the car north and make your way to the Cotswolds. For lunch, pop by the Wild Rabbit, a welcoming 18th-century pub with stone walls, open fireplaces and terrace-facing windows that let the natural light flood in. Pair a pint of artisan ale with a light bite – chilled pea soup, heritage tomato and goat curd salad or Margherita pizza – from the bar menu.
4 BEST OF THE LOCAL BOUNTY | DAYLESFORD ORGANIC FARM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
It’s hard to impress a Californian spoiled by an abundance of just-plucked produce year round, but Tamara would make a strong case for the Daylesford Farmshop and Café opening a location near her Los Angeles home. The shop is stocked with intriguing house wares; wine; herbs, vegetables and fruit picked from the garden just yards away; organic meat thanks to the cows roaming the surrounding pastures; and milk and cheese from the dairy and creamery. If sticking around the area longer, have a peek at the courses offered in their top-notch cookery school.
5 BEST WAY TO UNWIND POST-CAR TRIP | DORMY HOUSE SPA
After a day spent cruising the countryside in a small car with your family, how does one relax, exactly? Well, Tamara settled her husband and their two children into their mid-century modern suite tucked within a 17th-century farmhouse, and she headed off to the spa (it’s easy to see why we like her style). Dormy House’s Scandinavian-styled spa is a palace of pampering with a hot juniper sauna and salt-infusion therapy room, and it took last year’s prize in the Smith Hotel Awards for Best Spa Hotel.
Tempted by contemporary art in the countryside or a destination spa? Just a drive from London (but with that million-miles-away feeling), Somerset and the Cotswolds are perfect weekend-away destinations.