Looking for romance in Devon? Lewtrenchard Manor ticks all the boxes
YOU DON’T GET a room key when you check into Lewtrenchard Manor in Devon. Something to do with making you feel at home. Such a shame my real home doesn’t come with helicopters in the garden, chilled champagne in every room and mini eggs by my pillow (Easter weekends only we suspect, although I hold out hope they’re as generous with the chocolate decorations at Christmas and ice creams in the summer).
Set on the outskirts of Dartmoor, Lewtrenchard is one of the few country house hotels in the South West befitting that oft-misused status. A pebble driveway crunches as Bentleys, Mercs and Audis rumble in, afternoon tea is served overlooking the rose gardens and the linen upstairs is as floral as it should be. Chintzy? A little. But Frette linen and Philip Stark HD TVs would jar in such rambling, utopian surroundings.
And then there’s the food… G&Ts and glasses of champagne are served on high-backed sofas in one of the manor’s sitting rooms, along with handmade canapés, before couples make their way into any one of the other downstairs rooms for lavish dinners. So you might find yourself tucking into locally-sourced Cornish beef in the library, or brioche and apricot butter pudding looking out over the ivy-wound courtyard. All sound a little too perfect? The diet you’ll be forced to embark upon the second you leave should bring you back down to Earth with a thud.
Details: Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 4PN (01566-783222, www.lewtrenchard.co.uk). Double rooms cost from £155 per night based on two sharing, in low season, including breakfast*. Check the website for special dinner, bed and breakfast seasonal breaks. (*Prices correct as of April 2007)