Its hard to say anything about this hotel which hasn't already been said, but I feel compelled to add yet more accolades. It was just too good...
We stayed for 4 nights in Hollowbrook, which is a beautiful double room overlooking the rectory's 3 acres of landscaped gardens, complete with the brook of the same name. The luxurious room, bathroom, and the communal rooms of the hotel are all spick and span, bone-meltingly comfortable and freshly decorated. However, the rectory also retains a sense of character, with a grapevine growing up through the conservatory and the peaceful corners you would expect from a dwelling with this history. I found myself wondering if Huw and Sam would notice if I just moved in for the summer...
Our hosts were incredibly welcoming and you get the sense that they love it so much that they sometimes can't believe that this is their job ( I'm sure its harder than it looks, by the way). They gave us some great tips on what to see, including a map with some helpful hand-drawn directions, just to make sure we didn't get lost on the South West Coast path, which is just a few yards from the door. In case you are worried that the service was over-attentive, fear not- it was warm and friendly without being fussy. And Edie also deserves a mention for wonderful housekeeping and her perpetually sunny disposition at breakfast!
The food. What can I say that doesn't sound like I am overstuffing my sentences with superlatives? Delicious. Every night the perfectly balanced local menu presented a new dilemma, offering melt-in-the-mouth pasta, perfectly seasoned soups, fresh fish cooked to pearly perfection, and the best frangipane tart you will ever have the pleasure to eat. Whilst we sat in the garden deliberating over the menu, we were furnished with some mouth-watering canapes to complement our pre-dinner gin and tonics and the last rays of evening sun. The breakfasts were also absolutely spot on- I can heartily recommend the Exmoor. The food was so plentiful and so good that we gained a few pounds, despite walking miles of Exmoor every day.
I could go on, but I expect you will have decided to book already. Instead I will suggest a couple of things to do whilst staying here, because did I mention the location? Nestled on the edge of Exmoor, Martinhoe is a haven in which to unwind. It is a place to stop and smell the roses, so if you're looking for excitement and Starbucks, stroll on. However, if you need a place to soothe the mind and replenish the soul, you couldn't choose a better spot.
So, finally, to my advice. Firstly, read the map, and take a sensible route. We arrived via a coastal toll road better suited to horses than a Ford Focus. Turns out, there is a much less scary route, but at least it did serve to reveal the dramatic coastal scenery, albeit a little closer at hand than we expected. Second, walk the stretch of coastal path to Hunters Inn, and back on the higher path overlooking Woody Bay. This has to be one of the most spectacular stretches of coast in England, although the more gentle sandy beaches from Woolacombe to Saunton are just a short drive away. Finally, order the frangipane tart. Honestly, you need to trust me on this one.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Old Rectory Hotel is a very special place. A wonderful mix of a stylish boutique country house coupled with an un stuffy relaxed atmosphere. Nestled on the stunning Exmoor coast in North Devon, The Old Rectory Hotel is a haven in which to unwind - no crowds, no traffic; just birdsong and jaw dropping scenery. This is somewhere magical to stop and smell the roses - so if you need to soothe the mind and replenish the soul, you couldn't choose a better place. At The Old Rectory Hotel you'll find the simple things done well; a warm welcome, thoughtful service, fabulous luxury rooms, fantastic local food from Exmoor and North Devon and, of course, an award winning wine list. If you were running away, this is where you would go! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Old Rectory Hotel
- Old Rectory Martinhoe
- The Old Rectory Hotel Martinhoe, Devon