Middle Piccadilly – a no frills rustic retreat in the heart of Dorset
The Middle Piccadilly was a little hard to find, but that was partly because it was pitch black when we arrived, also because it is set deep in Dorset’s pretty countryside and the GPS does not seem to know exactly where to take you. As we arrived we were greeted by the sweet coos of owls and a beautiful deer, which ran past us.
As we arrived we were greeted by the sweet coos of owls and a beautiful deer, which ran past us.
The host Dominic came out to meet us as we arrived, it was quite late after the long 4 hour drive from London due to the Friday traffic, but he happily carried our bags and showed us our room. The schedule is well organised with times given for treatments and is great for early birds, as breakfast was served from 8:30 to 9:30. The annex to the house hosts the guest rooms, ours was divided between another bedroom, the treatment room and a shared bathroom. The decor is very rustic, but the design is arguably a bit hit and miss, the sofa looked very 80’s, with an array of mismatching wood furniture around it and some odd choices or artwork. The main house is undeniably beautiful, but sadly the outer guest houses lack the same charm.
The bedroom was designed with an American Indian theme. The bathroom is also very rustic and painted green, but there was a missing tile behind the sink and it looked like it was in dire need of a refurbish. However, the beds were really comfortable and the lovely black out curtains ensure you have an uninterrupted sleep.
The beds were really comfortable and the lovely black out curtains ensure you have an uninterrupted sleep.
The first day when we arrived at breakfast there was no one there, there was a sign on the table saying help yourself to milk and juice in the fridge. In the end we discovered there were eggs on the side which could be boiled, but I think it might have been easier if we had been told before to help ourselves, as it would save some confusion. The kitchen is stunning, a true country kitchen with lovely carved cupboards and green walls. It is quite a nice touch to sit with other guests and chat, many ladies come alone so it is a time that they can be social. Half the guests are on a detox diet and half a vegetarian meal plan.
The kitchen is stunning, a true country kitchen with lovely carved cupboards and green walls.
Breakfast was followed by a nice relaxing massage with a friendly therapist, but it was missing the euphoric feeling I have felt from previous massages. On my travels I have found there is a vast difference in spas, from the luxurious to the basic. Which you choose depends on how much you like being spoilt and of course your budget. If you really want a treat I would spend a little more and go to a spa where treatments are there forte.
The retreat is a very quiet place, if you want to get away from it all to somewhere basic and only hear the sound or nature and your own thoughts, then this place if for you. Lunch was a healthy salad with a selection of cheese and juices for those on a detox. There seemed to be mixed reactions to the retreat, as one lady was disappointed after her 4 day stay and another loved it so much she has been coming for 15 years.
If you want to get away from it all to somewhere basic and only hear the sound or nature and your own thoughts, then this place if for you.
The countryside around the retreat is stunning, there are amazing walks with lots of nature and a lane that is aptly named ‘Peaceful Lane’. If you want to eat healthy, then the retreat could be for you. The air is really fresh and the area peaceful. The very few people we saw were very friendly and even some little piggies seemed pleased to see us as they ran up to the fence to say hello.
The countryside around the retreat is stunning, there are amazing walks with lots of nature and a lane that is aptly named ‘Peaceful Lane’.
The host was friendly and kind enough to change the time of our mud bath treatment to suit us and the pretty spa room was lit by candlelight. During our treatment my guest and I swapped between soaking in a mud bath and sitting in the single person sauna. The spa rooms are actually much more up to date and prettier than the rest of the retreat, but still a little basic as far as spas are concerned.
One thing is for sure the dinner was very tasty, the host says it is his most popular dish and I can see why. He cooked a nut loaf with potatoes, vegetarian gravy, carrots and broccoli. The dish was quite delicious and was followed by a chocolate cake made without flower. I could not help by feel sorry for the ladies drinking a detox juice who had to sit and watch us eat, but it was a great chance for them to talk and be social with the other ladies at the retreat.
Before I left I had the ‘Hand and Heart’ treatment, while it was relaxing I did not feel any benefits from it. But perhaps as the therapist shared I will have more energy in a few days, on the whole the treatments were very disappointing.
One thing is for sure the dinner was very tasty, the host says it is his most popular dish and I can see why.
Whether or not the Middle Piccadilly is for you really depends on what you want. Many ladies come alone to do a detox and being so far away from anything it certainly makes it easier to stick to the programme. There is no internet in most of the retreat and phones signals are not great, so if you really want to get away from all, at Middle Piccadilly you can. They do provide a media room with wireless, so if you have an urgent email to send then you can sneak off there. It was whilst in this room I realised this is probably the perfect place for someone to come to write, much of the time you spend alone (unless you bring a friend) and it would be a great opportunity to write that book you have always dreamed of.
The retreat is a very quiet place, if you want to get away from it all to somewhere basic and only hear the sound of nature and your own thoughts, or stick to a detox, then the Middle Piccadilly is for you. However, if you prefer more of a luxurious environment and excellent treatments maybe you should go somewhere else.
Middle Piccadilly, Holwell, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5LW, Tel: 01963 23468
Heart London 5 * Rating
Cat, Heart London Magazine