Michael Caines’ contemporary country house hotel may well offer Devon’s most luxe gourmet getaway …
From the moment you step through the portico, Lympstone’s confident interior decor – which sashays the line between elegant, contemporary and luxe – communicates that this edge-of-Exmouth experience is a decidedly fresh take on the traditional country house hotel.
Michael Caines only launched Lympstone in spring of 2017, yet the glamorous south Devon retreat continues to evolve at pace. The 11-acre vineyard (planted in 2018) is maturing nicely and plans are afoot to make wine from the grapes when ready; five luxury shepherd huts have recently been installed near woodlands in the 28 acre grounds; a tennis courts has just been built; and the sculpture garden (created to mark Lympstone’s second birthday) is establishing itself as the greenery grows and develops around it.
When the chef proprietor announced his plans to realise his vision of a luxury country house hotel fit for the 21st century, he promised future visitors ‘Cindarella moments’. And boy, has he delivered: Lympstone offers a stylishly luxe experience set in a beautiful natural playground with incredible cooking at its core.
As a result of gutting the old manor house and starting from scratch, Michael was able to design the roomy kitchen and dining rooms to most perfectly deliver his creative vision of an astonishing dining experience. His two-decade long Michelin-star run has continued unbroken and Lympstone got its star within six months of opening.
Three elegant dining rooms provide a choice of atmosphere and aesthetics, while a worldclass wine cellar makes finding the perfect match for each course a breeze.
Visit for a taste of the high life. Let the golf buggy take you to the door, imbibe a cocktail on the terrace and revel in exquisite cooking from the state-of-the-art kitchen, now home to some of the best young chefs who have worked with Michael at Gidleigh and elsewhere.
Don’t visit for culinary gimmicks. The elegant dishes are thoroughly rooted in the classics, and executed with precision and thrilling skill while eschewing cheffy nonsense of the smoking dome and popping candy variety. With cooking this good, tricks aren’t required.
We liked the smart but friendly service; the luxe booths for an intimate dinner with friends; Caines’ killer bread; and beautifully crafted drinks at the copper bar. This is somewhere to relax and have a good time without pretension.
Insider’s tip this kind of experience doesn’t come cheap but it’s possible to visit for lunch which, at £65 for four exceptional courses – plus the chance to enjoy the grounds and the terrace, is fabulous value. However, if you’re feeling flush, stay the night and luxuriate in an outdoor marble soak tub, fire pit and personal gin tray.
What we ate (dinner)
Starter Langoustine cannelloni, braised fennel, sauce vierge, fennel puree, langoustine bisque
Main Cornish duckling, savoy cabbage, braised turnips, spiced duck jus
Dessert Raspberry soufflé, raspberry sorbet
3 course dinner from £140
B&B from £340