Gidleigh Park, Chagford
Under the new ownership of Andrew and Christina Brownsword and with Michael Caines MBE remaining at the helm of the kitchen, Gidleigh Park has been totally refreshed. The refurbishment programme has taken 11 months to complete and has sensitively retained the original architectural and design influences, transforming this quintessentially English retreat and adding a touch of luxury. The new features include an additional wing of bedrooms with stunning bathrooms. In one of the bathrooms you will discover a sauna, one room has a hot tub on its own private balcony, and the spa suite is lavishly furnished with its own steam room and sauna with private balcony from both the bathroom and bedroom overlooking the valley to the front of the house. The ground floor of the new wing houses a stunning, glass-fronted 'wine wall' which leads you to the dining room and the stone cellars below. The cellars house two new wine rooms with one of the most exceptional wine collections in the country. Here guests are encouraged to select wines to accompany their chosen menu.
The cooking remains some of the best in Britain and innovations are always evident on the 'envelope pushing' menus. There are now two tasting menus available the 'Classic' features signature dishes such as salad of scallops & potato with truffle vinaigrette and sirloin of Dartmoor beef with cream of shallot and horseradish, marrowbone, roasted shallots and red wine sauce. The 'New' tasting menu has Asian influence such as Crab ravioli with ginger and lemon grass and Slow-poached Cornish sea bass with Thai puree, stir-fried shitake mushrooms, mange tout and fresh noodles with a lemon grass foam. Micheal spent an influential three years under his mentor Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxfordshire, before moving to France for a further couple of years. In France, he developed his skills under the guidance of such superstar chefs as the late Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu and Joel Robuchon in Paris, mastering the art of classical and innovative modern French and European cuisine.
Michael Caines MBE
2 courses, £27; 3 courses, £35 (Mon-Thu). 2 courses, £33; 3 courses, £41 (Fri-Sun and holidays. Sample menu. A New Tasting Menu: 7 courses, £80.
Open for lunch every day from 12 noon to 2.30pm.
The A La Carte Dinner Menu, £75. A Tasting Menu: 7 courses, £80. As well as a Dessert Menu
Open for dinner every day from 7pm to 9.45pm.
Sommelier Leif Svendsen is on hand to advise you from the 600-bin cellar that is one of the grandest in the country.
Gidleigh has 24 rooms. Designer Carole Roberts was assigned the task of refurbishing all bedrooms, the restaurants and public areas, under the direction and guidance of Andrew and Christina. The design influences come from the period in which the original building was built by The Arts and Crafts Movement. The hotel has a classic, country house feel and this is achieved by its location and by the use of fine fabrics, papers and furnishings -- plus the personal touches from The Brownswords. Gidleigh Park has retained its original character yet has also been updated with the latest technology, including WiFi, ISDN and HD flat screen TVs all discreetly installed. Room charges include dinner, morning tea or coffee in your room, cooked or continental breakfast and VAT. Depending on the size of the room and its view, the room rates vary from £440 to £1200 daily for double occupancy, and £340 to £500 for single occupancy. The Pavilion is a charming thatched cottage 350 yards from the hotel. It has two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a panelled sitting room and small kitchen with a verandah overlooking the championship standard croquet courts.
From London, you can come via the M4 & M5 to exit 31, or the M3 and A303. Take the A30 west. Fifteen miles west of Exeter, turn left on the A382 and follow signs to Chagford. Do not go to Gidleigh. In Chagford Square, facing Webbers with Lloyds Bank on your right, turn right into the Mill Street. After 150 yards, take the first fork to the right and go downhill to Factory Crossroads. Go straight across into Holy Street and follow the lane 1.5 miles to the end.
Maps guide guests around the gardens and woodland beyond. For the more serious hikers, guided walks can be arranged across the moors, through local villages and through some of the most spectacular countryside.
Gidleigh Park website
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