Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon is an elegant Tudor style hotel set right on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and is part of Brownsword Hotels, arguably one of the finest collections of privately owned hotels in the UK. If you`re looking for that special and much deserved country getaway then this is definitely the place for you!
We really don`t need to give you an excuse to visit Gidleigh Park but if excellent food and fine wines in beautiful country surroundings is what you like to indulge in then you`ll love every moment. As soon as you step inside the imposing wooden doors you`ll feel warmth, character, a superb attention to detail and service that is truly demonstrated at the highest standards.
We were delighted with our Master room, Huccaby. It was located at one end of this spectacular country manor house with stunning views of the gardens, valley and meandering river. It felt incredibly private, spacious, light and airy, and was furnished in a contemporary style with elegant features. However, possibly the most striking feature was the open plan bathroom with an impressive roll top bath and huge wet room finished to an incredibly high standard. Other highlights within the room were the iconic luxury L`Occitane toiletries, fluffy white bathrobes and slippers, seasonal fresh fruit selection, mineral water and decanter of Madeira, which my husband eagerly tasted whilst watching the England Scotland rugby game!
Rooms don`t have tea and coffee making facilities, however there is a Pantry situated on the first floor where you can make these refreshments for yourself, on demand – some would argue this is in fact a better solution.
For those who are absolute dog lovers, Gidleigh Park also has dog friendly rooms and kennels on site to house well behaved four legged friends. The hotel can also accommodate well for babies too with listening devices in the rooms so that parents can enjoy a civilized evening meal in the multi award-winning restaurant headed up by Executive Head Chef Michael Caines MBE, although, please bear in mind there is a restriction on children being at least 8 years old to dine in the restaurant. Please note that children can dine before dinner in other parts of the hotel i.e. The Pavilion.
Gidleigh Park has three dining rooms serving breakfast (for hotel guests), lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. Since 1994, critically acclaimed Executive Head Chef Michael Caines MBE has been at the helm of the kitchen at Gidleigh Park where he and his dedicated team strive to create the dishes, which have earned him his two Michelin stars. Serving distinctive modern European cuisine using the finest local and regional produce as well as products from the hotel`s recently developed herb garden, the restaurant is renowned for being one of the finest in the UK, in fact people come from around the world purely and simply to experience the food.
The menus offer a broad selection of choice catering for individual preference if required. We opted for the five course tasting menu and as I`m 6 months pregnant it was tailored accordingly still with delicious quality dishes and if that wasn`t enough even then the menu could have been customized further if an ingredient didn`t agree. Each dish was exquisitely designed and carefully arranged to show off each significant ingredient on the plate – colour, texture and flavour formed an upbeat tempo of delicious dishes – it was almost like a painting appearing in front of you and almost seemed a shame to consume it. My favourite dishes from my menu was the Devon Quail, wild mushroom risotto and a light quail jus and the Brixham sea bass roasted with anise spice, langoustine and bouillabaisse sauce – utterly delightful and gorgeous!
If an indulgent evening meal is out of the question then Gidleigh Park offer a two or three course lunch menu, as well as a special winter lunch up until 31st March when the new menu comes into play. An a la carte three courses lunch and the signature menu including eight courses and petit four is also available. For dinner there is a similar choice including the three course a la carte menu, five course tasting menu or the eight course signature menu, which all include coffee and petit four – the tasting & signature menus can be accompanied by a wine tasting menu also. Afternoon tea is served daily from 3.30pm until 5.00pm and it`s advisable to book well in advance, as spaces are limited.
In terms of leisure activities, Gidleigh is a little like a home from home with a truly relaxing atmosphere, accessibility to the tennis courts, 18 hole putting green (open from Spring until Autumn), water garden, bowls lawn, board games and a selection of movies to choose from. However, we`d suggest adorning your hiking boots and partaking on a hike around some of the hotel`s 107 acres or well beyond!
The service form every single member of staff is consistently exceptional and it`s clear that they have one thing on their mind… your experience. Gidleigh really is an institution when it comes to luxury accommodation here in the UK and long may it reign!
So to sum up, out of the 70 or so luxury UK country hotels we have been lucky enough to stay at and review, we would have to say that Gidleigh is an easy joint first.
Rates start from £345.00 per room, based on two people sharing. Daily rates include morning tea and coffee, a newspapers and cooked or continental breakfast.
More Information and booking: www.gidleigh.com
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