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With the end of lockdown and more people searching for countryside getaways, we thought we'd do a little post on our favourite design country hotels. As well as Heckfield Place and Thyme, which we have already featured on the blog, these hotels make our shortlist for their luxury offerings and design sensibilities. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, some aspects of the hotels may be restricted.
First up is The Newt in Somerset, a country estate in Bruton with magnificent woodland and gardens. Hadspen House, built around 1690, then extensively remodelled in Georgian times, is a Georgian country home which has been updated and filled with modern design pieces. The estate is 300 years old and boasts beautiful gardens, orchards, lakes and woodlands. There are 13 guest rooms (plus more rooms in the converted stables) with luxurious bathrooms, access to the gardens and grounds, a spa and cider tasting.
Next up is The Wild Rabbit in Kingham, Oxfordshire in the heart of the Cotswolds. Here's what they say about their intensive renovation, "The Wild Rabbit is part of the Daylesford estate – one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK. The principles that have guided our farm for 40 years are also at the heart of everything that we do at The Wild Rabbit – from the locally sourced, organic ingredients in our kitchens, to the handmade horsehair mattresses in our bedrooms. Our restoration of The Wild Rabbit combined locally sourced natural materials with centuries old techniques, creating a long lasting environment with minimum impact to our surroundings.
Through thoughtful design choices, we have been able to remodel much of the building from reclaimed and recycled materials: oak boards were revealed and re appropriated; wattle and daub panelling was restored and re-rendered; original beams and joists were exposed and celebrated. Our walls are plastered with natural lime and new surfaces have been created using reclaimed wood from trees fallen on the Daylesford estate. We are lucky to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscape in the country and we encourage our guests to explore the Daylesford estate and see first-hand the rich hedgerows, diverse wildlife and wild flower meadows that are the hallmarks of sustainable organic farming. Walking maps are available from reception and we have bikes for those looking to explore the local roads." Truly the epitome of city-escapism.
Now for something a little different, and a little further away. A true home away from home is the gorgeous Killiehuntly Farmhouse set in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. The main farmhouse, separate cottage and private hayloft were carefully restored by Groves Raines Architects and interior designed by Anne Storm Pedersen (one of the owners) and Ruth Kramer (both Scandinavian) who created a Scandi-Scot blend of architecture, colours and materials. Wherever possible, handmade products were sourced, carefully chosen Farrow & Ball colours were applied and the hotel opened to a well-deserving fanfare of press in early 2016.
For those of you not wanting to fly at the moment (and who can blame you), then look no further than Hotel Tresanton in St Mawes, Cornwall. I mean, look at those sea views and tell us that you wouldn't think you're in the Med? Formerly a yacht club, the hotel offers 30 rooms and suites over 5 houses, all rooms with sea views and many with terraces. In addition to the 30 luxurious rooms the hotel has a restaurant, bar, sitting room, 50-seat cinema, playroom, children’s garden and a private yacht. It was bought in 1997 by Olga Polizzi bought and spent two years completely redesigning and restoring it.
The Pig Hotels are everywhere (New Forest, Devon, Dorset, Southampton, Kent, Bath and Cornwall), so there is no excuse to not visit to these independently owned and designed boutique hotels. But we'll let them tell their own story, "That dilapidated and overgrown walled kitchen garden, tucked away in the grounds of a tired country house hotel in the New Forest has a lot to answer for…! The very first seed sown in the ground in 2011 has led the way to inform everything we do at THE PIG. Now with six PIGs in the litter, and by putting the emphasis firmly on the food with a very simple and honest philosophy to only use produce that we can grow ourselves in the kitchen garden or source from within 25-miles, our restaurants with rooms are home-grown in every way. Each PIG has its own identity, each evolved rather than too designed, but each putting the kitchen garden at the very heart of the operation.
You will not just find that the kitchen garden influences your choices at lunch; its fresh zesty-ness will fill your morning mint tea, its gentle aromas will send you into a trance in our Potting Shed Treatment Huts, its wild flavours will infuse your new favourite G&T and its earthy colours will engulf you at the end of the evening as you fall into that snuggle-in sofa. Our local suppliers are some of the most exciting and inspiring artisan producers out there, and with the distinctive character of each of THE PIG’s locations, with their unique combinations of ancient woodland, agricultural farmland, some within casting distance of the sea, means we have access to some of the freshest local fish, hand-picked fruits, amazing meats, award-winning cheeses and English wines in the country."
Last, but by no means least, neighbouring the Cotswolds villages of Chipping Norton and Great Tew, the ultimate country retreat Soho Farmhouse is spread across 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside. There are a variety of luxury rooms on offer, from the two-person Piglet rooms, to the lakeside cabin, a farmhouse and a four-bedroom farm cottage. There's a lot to keep you busy outdoors - clay pigeon shooting, tennis on grass courts, boating on the lake, and horse and pony riding - and a lot to keep you busy indoors - with 4 restaurants, cinema, a gym with personal trainers and classes, a spa and an indoor/outdoor pool. So, what are you waiting for - get booking at any of these wonderful hotels and leave your cares behind you.
All images via Google and individual hotel/booking sites