Combe House Hotel & Restaurant Review in Honiton, Devon

Combe House Hotel is one of those beautiful country retreats that you have to get to stay in at least once in your lifetime. The minute you step inside the heavy oak door into grand Elizabethan entrance hall and welcomed by the real log fire you know its time to revel in luxury and start living like a Lady of the Manor, or Lord for that matter.

Nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Otter Valley and just a short drive from Honiton, famous for its lace making, ensures Combe House`s hidden location is a superb spot to indulge and relax in.

Combe House Hotel Exterior

The feeling when you enter this elegant house is like stepping back in time into a cosy familiarity in such a way that instantly soothes the mind and soul. At the reception the laid back friendly staff welcomed us and we liked the fact there was nothing pretentious about this establishment at all. After a hairy drive down from Surrey in horrendous weather conditions we were all set to unwind in Boswell, our sizeable master bedroom for the night. It was situated at the front of the house and overlooked the vast well-kept grounds, which we looked forward to exploring the next day.

Boswell Master Bedroom

That evening we drank our pre dinner drinks and enjoyed our canapé by another real log fire in the more casual lounge area where we perused the table d`hote menu and chose our selections for our evening meal. We were seated in the pink restaurant in the best position right by the main window to take in the views. To start with I opted for the seared scallops with cauliflower cheese panna cotta, golden raisin and crisp pancetta and my guest had foie gras ballotine. I have to say my starter was incredible and I had eaten this combination before so savoured every mouthful, as it`s one of my favourite dishes. Our main courses of pork and brill were also deliciously wholesome and one of the highlights for me was knowing that all the food served was locally sourced from ethical suppliers, some within just a 5 mile radius of Combe House. Behind the scenes working hard in the kitchen are two very passionate master chefs Hadleigh Barrett and Stuart Brown who have built up the restaurant`s excellent reputation that bring back eager diners to sample their culinary delights. Unfortunately for us we didn`t have enough room to taste even one dessert from the menu but we left feeling satisfied nonetheless.

The Pink Restaurant & View

In the morning after breakfast we were lucky enough to get a comprehensive show around of the house. There are 16 ensuite bedrooms altogether that all have a completely different feel, some are adorned with their original features, others have a more modern and contemporary feel but ALL are bursting with their own character. The most impressive, for me, is the new Linen Suite, its cool and contemporary feel exudes luxurious living to the highest standard. The best feature includes a stunning bathroom with an amazing 6ft diameter copper washtub!

Linen Suite

Another room definitely worth having a look around is the Georgian kitchen, which is most commonly used for intimate private dining affairs. You can imagine in the evening when this room is lit by candlelight it creates an amazing ambience.

It really became apparent whilst taking the tour, owners Ken and Ruth have lovingly restored every part of this house, they have poured their hearts and souls into this life long project. More recently it proves their hard work paid off on the 9th November 2009 when they won the most coveted Condé Nast Johansens Award for `Most Excellent Innovation In Sustainable Hospitality`, which they are both incredibly proud of and understandably so! It strikes me that Ken and Ruth really do have an incredible passion for what they do as well as a huge wealth of experience, and if you`re ever lucky enough to hear all about their trials and tribulations it makes you realise what an inspirational couple they really are.

For 2009 prices start from £175 B&B per double/twin room per night. Well-behaved dogs and owners are also most welcome in some rooms (dogs £8 per night). A three-course dinner with canapés is £45 per person; Sunday lunch £35 and midweek lunch with canapés is £25 for two courses and £29 for three courses. Telephone Combe House on 01404 540400 for a brochure and more details or visit, email is {encode=”” title=””}.

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