Ahh - you know what it’s like when you discover a brilliant beach and it stretches for miles, there’s no-one else on it, your heart skips a beat and you stand looking out to sea whilst simply breathing it all in? Well, that happened to us the very first time we set foot on Dunster Beach. We fell in love with the place and have been back to these Somerset sands a fair few times since, for some blissful walks with our hounds.
We’ve got to thank Brett and Susan, owners of the gorgeous, dog friendly, boutique beach hut, 'Salad Days', for introducing us to this little piece of Somerset heaven.
We first stayed at their very cool, (now multi award-winning) Dunster Beach hut retreat back in February 2017 with our dog, Petal, and I don’t think we’ve stopped raving about it since...
...but guess what? After months and months of their hard work, there’s a new kid on the beach in 2019 (see what I did there! ;)). If you love colour, quirks, fresh beach hut style and having every detail taken care of when you choose a place for you and your dogs to rest your heads, you won’t want to miss checking out Salad Days sister hut – Holi Moli. Yep... Holi Moli has most definitely arrived and she is most definitely a head turner!
We couldn't wait to check out everything this little hut has to offer, so this time it was a three-night stay complete with three hounds! Yep... Petal now has some sisters of her own, Flower and little Hope, and she couldn't wait to show them what a holiday on the beach should really be all about!
To be honest, whether you're hound or human, as soon as you walk up to this awesome beach hut hideaway, you can’t help but smile! It simply shines from the outside in and when you open the door, the blend of colours makes you feel more positive about... well, everything really!
Smiles are exactly what Brett and Susan want everyone's stay at their vibrant beach hut to be full of. As Susan tells me:
"We named Holi Moli after the Holi Festival of colour and happiness, which celebrates the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and the end of winter... a chance to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive and to just leave your troubles behind and have fun. That’s the spirit we wanted to capture here”.
Well, they’ve absolutely done that by the bucket and spade full... from the reclaimed lights the guys restored and spray painted orange, purple and teal, to the bright yellow Land Rover grill that's now a unique way to tell the time. There's the divider screen Susan crafted from repurposed bottle tops and other beach finds, and don't forget the sign asking you to 'mind your p's and loos'! This little luxury hut definitely has a big personality!
As with Salad Days, the attention to detail is second to none and I've got to admit when I first arrive, I run around like a child that's eaten too many of the jelly beans you can buy here - for a small donation to charity! I can't stop myself from excitedly pointing at everything I love... from these quirky dog towel hangers and the tide-telling clock the guys have also made, to the loo-twinning idea in the shower room. That gets yet more smiles from us ;).
The thing that really catches my eye though, is this vibrant dog 'pop art' that has pride of place above the foldaway dining table (the use of space in the hut is amazing again, by the way).
Is it a piece picked up from a funky gallery, perhaps? Well, it was actually made by Brett and Susan's nephew, Oliver, many years ago when he was just 12! They discovered it when they were having a clear out and knew exactly where it needed to be on show.
When it comes to your own furry friends, Brett, Susan and their beautiful collie Maverick have thought of everything. Not only are there welcome treats for humans and hounds, there's also a perfectly-packed 'dog box' outside in the front garden, with everything you'll need for your dogs stay away - towels, blankets, bowls and dog tags with the beach hut address on, just in case.
It's Hope's first holiday and I think you can probably tell by the look on her little face that she's pretty pleased with it all!
And of course, how can you go wrong with a nature reserve outside the back of the hut and the beautiful beach out front? We take some stunning seafront walks, as day turns to night, and hundreds of evening primroses open up to put on an unrivalled floral show for our audience of five. Wow!
And although the rain makes a brief appearance, nothing spoils a stay at Holi Moli because there's something to smile about whatever the weather... and there's colour in unexpected places too!
Of course, the beach hut itself wasn't always this awesome. When the guys bought it, with some money Susan's mum left them when she passed away, it needed a complete overhaul from foundations to roof top! When you stay, you can look back over the story of the renovation, in this colour-filled little book.
Most of us would've probably run right on to the sands and kept on going faced with that overhaul... but not Brett and Susan. Their determination and the skill involved in doing all this themselves is incredible and as a reminder, the last piece of the old hut sits on one of the walls in Holi Moli. It's a connection between history and colourful reincarnation and it completes the story of the place beautifully.
That's what gives me goosebumps about this little hideaway on Dunster Beach. Everything in it tells a story, beginning with Brett's boyhood holidays here and his subsequent lifelong dream to own one of the beach huts. That story eventually led Brett and Susan back to Dunster and when the desire to create something special runs so deep, and you pour your heart, soul and dreams into a place, something magical happens. For us, that's definitely why Holi Moli and Salad Days are both such special places to come and spend time.
Susan and Brett have created a huge slice of beach side happiness in Holi Moli - and we'll raise a mug of tea (after a beautiful beach walk) to that!
All of us just can't wait to come back for more!
Salad Days and Holi Moli are available for bookings right here and you can follow the guys on Twitter and Instagram too. Maverick also writes a 'dog blog' so if you or your hounds fancy checking that out, here's where you need to be. If you'd like to read our blog about Salad Days, so you can compare the two huts, that's right here as well.