In the spring issue of Food Magazine, the editorial team reveal their favourite hidden-gem hotels – including more than a few Trencherman’s members. Here’s who made the cut
Edge-of-Dartmoor destination Lewtrenchard Manor (pictured above) features on Trencherman’s ed Jo Rees’ line-up. She says: ‘If I can’t escape to a hidden-gem hotel in an exotic far-off land, I want to escape to a different time. After all, as LP Hartley had it, ‘The past is another country: they do things differently there. So that’s how I’m rationalising the longing to lose myself in the wood-panelled historical architecture and house-party charm of Lewtrenchard Manor on the edge of Dartmoor.’
Little Barwick House also makes an appearance. ‘The same lure of liberation results in a pining to lounge, aperitif in hand, in the garden of Little Barwick House in Somerset. The elegant countryside restaurant with rooms – all crisp linen, sun dappled bedrooms and fireside canapés in the sitting room – is Tim and Emma Ford’s paean to artful classical cooking and gentle hospitality‘.
Kathryn Lewis’ first off-grid reveal is Hotel Endsleigh. She says: ‘Dartmoor isn’t short of enchanting places to stay, but few are as magical as Hotel Endsleigh. The former fishing lodge is tucked away on a peaceful hillside in the Tamar Valley and, as well as unspoilt views of the lush landscape, offers guests a rare slice of serenity‘.
Another Trencherman’s venue on her hidden-gem hotels list is The Ollerod in Beaminster. ‘Most of Dorset’s visitors flock to the coast, yet there’s endless untouched countryside to be explored, plus unique foodie experiences such as this 14th century restaurant with rooms,’ says Kathryn.
‘Nine beautifully decorated bedrooms provide a rustic-chic setting in which to unwind after a day of exploration, but the real highlight of the experience is dinner. Trencherman’s-rated chef patron Chris Staines fuses seasonal British ingredients with Asian influence to create innovative and alluring dishes which major on flavour.’
Rosanna Rothery shares her treasured boltholes for avoiding the crowds, saying: ‘Top of my hideaway list is the Dorset village of Evershot, right in the heart of Thomas Hardy country. Far from the madding crowd, it offers two equally appealing escapes. The first is the charming 16th century village pub, The Acorn Inn, which literally transports you to the pages of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (in which it features) and is a home-from-home for delicious food and country-lane walks,’ she says.
‘The other is its sister hideout just across the road: intimate country house Summer Lodge is ideal when you want to squirrel away in a relaxing spa and four acres of landscaped gardens. Dinner is deliciously crafted around the natural Dorset larder and there’s a superb wine cellar to explore.’
Abi Manning will be seeking a feast for the senses at Glazebrook House Hotel on Dartmoor. ‘This place is the epitome of quirky, eclectic glamour,’ says Abi. ‘Fantastical interiors surprise and delight at every turn (depending on your room you may discover dolls’ houses hanging above the bed, brushed-steel aircraft engine mirrors, or a bed made entirely of sheepskin) while creative cooking is equally as imaginative.’
Rounding off the summer lust list, Selena Young says: ‘For a splash-out spa break, I’d book a suite at Grade II-listed Boringdon Hall which, despite being a 20-minute drive from central Plymouth, feels far removed from the hubbub of the city.
‘The dramatic Elizabethan architecture, stone archways and grand wooden doors may immerse you in the history of the building (it appeared in the Domesday Book), yet the Gaia Spa is dripping in 21st-century luxe thanks to a no-expense-spared extension and refurb. She adds: ‘No stay would be complete without a culinary adventure at restaurant Àclèaf, where head chef Scott Paton crafts impeccable dishes complemented by English-led wine flights.’