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Hotel Endsleigh, Devon UK - review

Hotel Endsleigh, Devon UK - review

Old Oct 20, 14, 9:42 am
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Exclamation Hotel Endsleigh, Devon UK - review

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Does Alex Pollizzi’s Hotel Endsleigh deliver effortless countryside bliss with excellent service as she so often looks for in her past series, “The Hotel Inspector” ?. The drive to Hotel Endsleigh through the the magnificent countryside of Devon is a spectacular one. The hotel is unassuming, originally completed in 1816 to be the private residence of John Russell, the 6th Duke of Bedford. Endsleigh started as a summer fishing lodge for the family built on the banks of river Tamer, offering unparalleled views to the south and west.

The exquisite landscaping was designed by Humphrey Rempton and the grounds originally comprised a plantation of 300 acres, including thickly woods sloped down to the river, and gardens of 20 acres. The grounds are still impressive with an exotic garden and wildlife, the beautiful River Tamer in the bottom of the valley and a well maintained croquet lawn off the side of the main building.

A local fishing syndicate took over the house and grounds in 2004 and in 2005 it opened as a country hotel, retaining 108 square meters of ground, owned by the famous Olga Polizzi and led by her capable daughter Alex.

The welcome is warm, in the slightly narrow reception. Being a Grade I listed building modification work is extremely limited, and is something that provides some of the charm of Hotel Endsleigh. With only 16 rooms, including 3 suites, one hopes for an extremely individual service from the alway polite, but sometimes seemingly unsure staff. On out arrival I decide to proceed straight for lunch on the hotels terrace overlooking River Tamer and the wild falcons circling above.

Lunch is simple, yet elegant. Local seasonal produce feature heavily on the lunch menu with a very good wine list accompanying. Service throughout the lunch is business like, perhaps due to the fact the restaurant was full of non-residents enjoying the beautiful setting for lunch or afternoon tea, and no distinction had been made between residents and outside guests.

I proceed to my “suite”, room 2, which has a very peculiar layout on the second floor of the hotel. Up the stairs onto an internal balcony that has been covered with linen drapes from the internal courtyard for privacy. The suite consists of three room, living room, bedroom and finally a very good-sized bathroom. The only problem is that the only way to access each room is via the linen covered hallway, which even with the linens was quite exposed. i certainly could see the cars parked outside in the courtyard. This made it very awkward to use basic washroom facilities unless you were completely covered up or not too modest about your decency! I appreciate the fact that it is a listed building and modification permits must be very difficult to obtain, but the whole set up was rather strange. We I to stay at Endsleigh again I would definitely opt for Suite 1, directly below 2, but everything contained behind one door, and a delightful patio for breakfast and evening drinks. The bedding , towels and other amenities were more than adequate. One other anomaly was that the bathroom window opened up straight to the nature trail, but that was nothing a curtain couldn’t fix.

After a relaxing day exploring the beautiful hotel grounds and the banks of the Tamer, we returned for sundowners which were served with a selection of canapés. I opted to play a game of croquet at this time and without hesitation our drinks and canapés were brought to the croquet lawn. As the weather was getting chilly we dined the atmospheric main dining room with wooden panels and a wooden fire to want us up, overlooking the river. Disappointingly the dinner menu was exactly the same as the lunch menu, and not exactly extensive. As there were only 2 other people in the dining room, unfortunately service was a bit spotty and almost abrupt.

Breakfast the next morning was most disappointing as we arrived late and ate outside, we were surrounded my dirty crockery from previous guests and it seemed to take a while for staff to notice out existence. After that things took an upward turn, and the simple breakfast we had was well executed and served with a warm smile. Check out was swift, with everything as it should have been. The porter loaded out car whilst I took care of formalities and the staff bid us a warm fait well.

All in all an enjoyable stay, beautiful location, but the repetitive menu and odd room layout wouldn’t want me to rush back specifically to stay at Endsleigh, but if I was in the area I wouldn’t hesitate to stay for the night. Still one of the better country house hotels out there.

Hope you enjoyed it! Thanks!
Jetboy is offline  
Old Oct 20, 14, 12:19 pm
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Suite 1 is a bit better, but the bathroom, although very large, is not exactly state of the art - tiny little shower.

I like the pubic areas and the gardens and the food can be very good, but I agree that service can be amateurish at times. It is certainly not one of the UK's best country house hotels - there are much better than this.
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Old Oct 20, 14, 12:25 pm
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Good review; thanks!
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Old Oct 27, 14, 7:00 pm
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We went there in 2011 and again in 2012 and used it as a base to explore Dartmoor, Agatha Christie's house (2 hrs away) and then Cornwall. The rooms are idiosyncratic, but we enjoyed ourselves. The kitchen was always ready to adjust to suit my then 8 year olds taste buds, and we enjoyed tea in the library. We would go back again for the woods/garden and the river, a nice place to catch up on your reading mostly disconnected from the world (cell phone reception was poor).
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Old Sep 3, 16, 3:54 pm
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We had a lovely two night stay at Endsleigh. We took the train from Paddington to Plymouth and picked up a rental car there. The hotel now has 19 rooms. Most rooms are in the main house. There are 3 suites in the stables, immediately across the courtyard/car park from the main entrance. And the final one is the Gatekeepers Lodge, the first building you see as you turn in on the drive to the property. It is roughly a mile from the hotel. We toured the lodge and thought it would be great for people with children or dogs. However, the main hotel had so many comfortable public rooms, it might be frustrating to be isolated from it.

We booked Suite 1. It is the only room on the ground floor of the hotel. It is spacious, with a large bedroom, a sitting room, and a spacious bathroom. Despite a plethora of seating, I didn't find any of it especially comfortable. Better use could have been made of the space, particularly in the sitting room. I was happy to have a walk in shower as well as a tub. With such a large bathroom, it's a shame no consideration was given to making the toilet area more private. We had a door to the outside and a beautiful view over one of the floral areas.

There is an impressive array of comfortable sitting rooms from small to spacious. There are equally as many diverse areas to sit outside. We loved to take breakfast and dinner outside. There is a small area that has an overhang and is shielded from rain and wind. One of those tables became ours. Food was excellent. We didn't take afternoon tea, though it looked exceptional.

Service was remarkable, attentive, low key, constant. For example, when we were shown to the room, a couple windows were marked by the death of an insect. The porter immediately got a ladder and a bucket of water and went to work. He cleaned both inside and outside of the multipaned windows in our two rooms. In the lounge, staff was always aware of us in a very pleasant way, asking if we needed beverages, the door closed when it got cool, a fire started. We chatted with the GM a couple times. He said that space is always kept for residents for tea and dinner. They accept bookings from 12 to 16 non residents for tea. If it is a beautiful day, they will take more because they have extensive outside seating. My husband chatted with the father of the bride who had just hosted a pre wedding dinner. He said that in the last three years, the property has taken a strong turn for the better and is their favorite place to come. The current GM has been there a little over 2 years. I've no idea if there is a correlation.

The pictures are:
House from the garden side
Corner of stables which now houses 3 suites
Garden along length of croquet field
View from one side of our suite
Attached Images     
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Old Sep 4, 16, 2:06 pm
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Beautiful flowers.... I like the British countyside!
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Old Sep 5, 16, 9:20 am
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I gather that Olga Polizzi finally had enough money to complete the renovation of Endsleigh, hence the new suites and the upgrade of Suite 1. It encourages me to return.
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Old Apr 3, 17, 4:09 am
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Last edited by QPRfan; Nov 6, 18 at 11:42 am
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