Situated on the border between Devon and Cornwall in the Tamar Valley, this fairy-tale hotel is the country cousin of the seaside Tresanton in Cornwall and The Star (soon to debut) in Alfriston.
There is always an exuberant vase of garden flowers in the hall to greet guests as they arrive. As you move through the hotel to take in the views, it’s not a surprise to learn that, when the Duke of Bedford selected this spot, he had a third of Devon to choose from.
There is no traffic or aircraft noise, no light pollution, just the sound of the Tamar river and the sight of groups of champion trees in the Repton garden, also Grade I-listed.
The Scottish flavour comes from Georgina, Duchess of Bedford, second wife of the Duke. She came from Highland nobility and fell in love with the valley. Artisans and tradesman were imported to create a faux Scottish landscape, a cosy retreat to remind Georgy of her childhood. Two centuries on, the Grade I listed building is surrounded by vast swathes of forestry in which to get lost among fairy dells, caves and waterfalls.
The hotel’s head gardener is on hand to show you around.
There are two homely drawing rooms with roaring fires, ottomans, botanical paintings and plump sofas.
Designed 200 years ago this was one of Humphry Repton’s last commissions and brings together a multitude of landscaping elements for which Repton was renowned.
The house has dozens of comfortable little nooks for reading and, The library is stunningly well-equipped with everything from Zadie Smith to a complete PG Wodehouse.
At 3.30pm each afternoon the library table groans under the weight of just-baked scones, quenelles of clotted cream and strawberry jam, cakes and finger sandwiches. When the comforting whiff of wood smoke lures you back to the house – it’s the highlight of everyday.