Ilsington Country House Hotel

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Impressive culinary action, a smart spa, country glamour and the wild playground of Dartmoor on the doorstep: Ilsington Country House Hotel ticks all the boxes for a relaxing rural retreat

Visit for a sophisticated weekend with the girls, a romantic break; what the heck, to celebrate the fact it’s Tuesday … any excuse to spend a little time in this country hotel’s gorgeous spa and to feast on head chef Mike O’Donnell’s accomplished cooking.

Mike raids the Devon larder to create menus that take diners on a culinary stomp across Dartmoor and out to sea.  Sample the most beautiful examples of produce in dishes such as pavé of hake with slow cooked octopus, squid ink gnocchi, creamed leeks and celeriac and sweetcorn puree.

Good cooking is essential after a day tramping over the vast expanse of Dartmoor, while the rolling countryside outside the door enables guilt-free pudding ordering: simply work it off by making another energetic foray into the wilds the next day.

However frantic your daytime activities, the hotel’s smart and comfortable furnishings, beds bedecked in crisp linen, and  luxe new spa facility deliver relaxation in style.

Don’t visit if you’ve got an unbreakable bond with your phone. Nestled between the national park’s towering tors, don’t expect any phone signal or 3G connection in this neck of the woods. Leave your laptop at home and reconnect with your nearest and dearest in this idyllic pocket of the Devon countryside.

We liked losing ourselves in a sea of bubbles in the sumptuous tub and sweating it out in the sauna before sliding into one of the new-age deck chairs with a magazine in the country house’s sleek new spa and indoor pool.

Another pleasing addition to the Ilsington experience is the  informal, bistro style dining to be found at the onsite Blue Tiger Inn. It’s a low-key alternative to the smart restaurant and deals in proper pub grub such as smoky pork terrine with chunky chutney and olive-spiked melba.

Insider’s tip Order a smoothie – or a glass of fizz – poolside.



may, 2024


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