The English Riviera has long been cherished as one of England’s most delightful holiday destinations. Dramatic views, scrolls of history, golden beaches and for the foodies, arguably the freshest seafood known to man.
Within the heart of this quintessentially English oasis you’ll find Orestone Manor, a delightfully grand English Manor House with stacks of charm and character. Boasting 14 individually designed rooms, the hotel provides a unique boutique and homely feel the moment you step foot. Comfort and ambience is clearly high on the agenda here. We were lucky enough to stay for two nights in mid November, which is perhaps one of my favourite seasons due to the stunning array of coppers and greens on display amidst the landscape, made even better by the cosiness winter brings with it.
This stunning Georgian mansion hotel is owned by husband and wife dream team, Neil and Catherine D’Allen, both bringing excellent creativity to the kitchen as well as other family members welcoming guests front of house. Passion and a strong desire to ensure guests have a highly memorable experience is evident from the entire team, creating an incredibly warm, friendly and relaxing atmosphere. In fact, it’s so pleasant that there is a sense of feeling like you are almost one of the family and in your own home when you stay.
The setting for this hotel is magnificent, with far reaching views out to Lyme Bay and all along the Jurassic Coast on a clear sunny day. There is quick and easy access to coastal paths and walks, which in parts are challenging, but hugely rewarding with extensive wildlife and scenery on display. We were lucky with the weather and therefore opted for a leisurely 3-mile northerly round trip incorporating coastal and inland scenery galore. It’s worth noting that there are a number of walks you can take, some less and some more challenging but all with fantastic views to admire.
With a tasteful burlesque twist, our suite (Room 4) was quirky, sumptuous and very comfortable. We had dramatic sea views and all the little extras you’d expect from a luxury boutique hotel room. The entire hotel has been tastefully decorated, with an eclectic mix of art, souvenirs and furnishings from around the globe. It is also worth mentioning the hotel’s Brunel Bar, which is a nod to the world’s greatest engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who’s brother in law (Sir John Callcot Horsley), designed the world’s first-ever Christmas card in 1843, also once lived at the property. With a fine selection of spirits, wines and local brews, it’s well worth enjoying a relaxing apres-walk or pre-dinner drink here. The Mermaid Gin is definitely a recommendation!
With the two-rosette restaurant for dining, Orestone’s foody experience is nothing short of superb for hotel guests as well as a huge hit with local residents. The menu is packed with spoilt for choice dishes, locally sourced meat and fish and home-grown vegetables and fruit grown within the hotel’s own gardens. The menu changes daily and the a la carte dishes changes seasonally ensuring the finest and freshest ingredients are used to provide variety and outstanding cuisine. A perfect blend of locally sourced seafood, meats as well as vegetarian options are always available.
On our first evening, to start with we opted for the Brixham Crab Martini with Mango Sorbet (an unexpected yet beautiful combination) as well as the fresh scallops, both of which were generous in size and utterly mouth-watering. For the main courses we chose the venison loin and pan fried stone bass, both cooked to perfection and again, substantial in portion size. Finally, we shared the local cheeses, which was a tasty delight and a satisfying end to our fulfilling meal.
With having sampled some gorgeous dishes on our first night we were excited to go back and choose different dishes. We truly enjoyed the starters of Brixham crab and scallops so we swapped our choices and we weren’t disappointed – our absolute favourites that we could quite happily devour every day of the week. Having not had any lunch in preparation for our second feast, for the mains we opted for beef bourguignon and braised pork crackling with cider jus, crackling and Lyonnaise potatoes. To finish we sampled the cheeses including the Cornish Yarg and lemon cheesecake, both provided the perfect end to a fabulous culinary experience. For us, the stand out aspect is the excellent value for such delicious cuisine – two courses are priced at £25 and three courses will set you back around £28.50 per head with a supplement on some dishes, however this is still incredible value in relation to the ingredients on show and quantity of food. With Christmas and New Year on the horizon it’s definitely a place to consider if you’re looking for a special place to host a celebration, you most certainly won’t be disappointed with the hospitality, fine cuisine and overall experience in an unassumingly yet stunning location.
To sum up, Orestone Manor’s offering is entirely unique. We have stayed at many boutique hotels over the past 15 years, but very few can tick as many boxes as this little gem found nestled in possibly our favourite part of the South West of England. This is in part down to the unique owner/chef charm coupled with the sheer passion and determination to ensure every guest leaves happy, satisfied and fulfilled by their experience. When we get half the chance, I can guarantee we will be back!
Rooms, for the best price on the latest deals and stays, please call the hotel directly – 01803 897 511.
Rock House Lane, Maidencombe, Devon TQ1 4SX
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