Endsleigh, on the edge of Dartmoor, and sister hotel of Olga Polizzi’s Tresanton in Cornwall, was one of the most talked about new British hotels when it opened eight years ago. Our reporter found it ‘effortlessly elegant and – crucially – unpretentious, unlike many of its try-hard, oh-so-hip rivals.’ It’s down a mile-long private drive in ‘one of the loveliest locations I’ve seen in 20 years of writing about hotels.’ The sixth Duke of Bedford built the 16-bedroom fishing and shooting lodge as a retreat, in the cottage orné style. The gardens are by Humphry Repton.
Olga Polizzi has decorated it in her cool, inimitable style, but the spirit of the old house remains intact – old pull-down maps of Devon in the hall, the family crests in the dining room, the floor made of sheeps’ knuckles on the veranda. Bedrooms are lovely: stylish and unfussy, with original baths and basins and a welcome lack of puzzling technology. You’ll get a TV and DVD player, but you are more likely to spend time pouring over the absorbing collection of books in the library. Apart from that, there’s little to do, other than to fish, walk or picnic in the grounds, a fantasy of dells and grottoes. The food is good, but not quite as good as its sister hotel, though the prices are similar.