I first came across Hambleton Hall in 1982 when I was looking for somewhere different to spend the first night after my wedding and an hotel where we could arrive by helicopter. There were precious few decent country house hotels in those days, but someone suggested I look at Hambleton Hall, and so I drove up there with my best man whose opinion I trusted in such matters. We had lunch on the terrace on a beautiful summer’s day, and were smitten by the view of Rutland Water and to further my conviction that this was the perfect hotel in which to start my honeymoon, there was a perfect spot to land a helicopter.
Hotels & Places to Stay
A trip to Cornwall would not be complete without a visit to St. Mawes and the exemplary Tresanton Hotel. This is in no small part due to its owner, Olga Polizzi who was destined from birth to create beautiful places for people to stay, being the daughter of Lord Charles Forte. Thankfully for all of us who have been fortunate to stay at Tresanton or Hotel Endsleigh (her country hotel at Milton Abbot near Tavistock), she is very good at it.
In the past year, the Rick Stein story has been turned up a notch as this well-known ‘Brand’ has been developed and promoted throughout the UK, as one new restaurant after another has sprung up in every affluent town.
Our first encounter was at Sandbanks, notoriously known as having some of the most expensive real estate in the world, and then at what was ‘The Depot’ a well-loved riverside restaurant in Barnes, where it is now ‘bedding down’ nicely as a new Rick Stein.
Bearing in mind the extraordinary success of the Rick Stein brand, we thought we would go to where this empire was launched, the internationally recognised Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall.
The Audi S5 Cabriolet driving through the grounds of Hotel Endsleigh at the height of Spring
If you are seeking the peace and tranquillity of nature, shaped by the hand of man, and a temporary escape from the stresses and strains of the 21st century, then I can highly recommend a few days at Hotel Endsleigh, situated on a stunning stretch of the Tamar valley on the edge of Dartmoor.
The house and surrounding gardens and landscape, have all been substantially restored since Olga Polizzi first saw and fell in love with this special place, and bought it in 2004.
It first opened its doors to hotel guests in 2006, and has now established itself as highly desirable hotel surrounded by some of the most beautiful gardens and impressive scenery in Britain.
On first sight Ockenden Manor tucked away in the well-heeled commuter town of Cuckfield in Sussex, might appear to be just another traditional Country House Hotel. It is all these things but it has a delightful surprise in its ultra modern box-like Spa complex that shouldn’t work architecturally, but just does. It makes a startling contrast to the Elizabethan manor but provides all that one could want in the way of a Spa.
Luton Hoo is yet another example of a once powerful and influential family losing their wealth and being forced to sell the ‘family jewels’. Luton Hoo was one of England’s grandest stately homes, and its sale marked the final episode in the sad story of the Phillips family, who inherited the Grade I listed mansion in 1977.
When staying there one is surrounded by the history of Luton Hoo which plays a major part of the whole guest experience. So it is worth learning a little of the background story to this home and to those who had once lived and loved here.
The Gore hotel in Kensington is the hotel of choice for a stay in London for many reasons, not least that The Gore is so conveniently placed for the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Palace, London’s Hyde Park and the Natural History, Victoria & Albert, and Science Museums, and is a stone’s throw for some serious retail therapy at Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
This is a story about The Palace Hotel, and the family who have owned and run it for over 150 years, the Badrutts, who were also instrumental in promoting Winter Sports, and helping develop downhill skiing as we know it today.
Should you find yourself heading to Countable Country to immerse yourself in the stunning Suffolk/ Essex countryside that so inspired one of our greatest artists, The Vintage Magazine can thoroughly recommend staying at Maison Talbooth as a ‘base’ to explore the Dedham area.