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The best boutique hotels in Devon for a staycation with style

Please note our writers visited Devon prior to the coronavirus pandemic

Devon’s boutique hotels are geared towards design devotees who want a beautiful rural setting, but don’t want to abandon urban standards. Contemporary decor, first-class dining and exceptional service is the norm, with added luxuries that include cocktail bars, spas and private cinemas. Most are strung along Devon’s wealthy south coast, dotted around the wilds of Dartmoor and near Exeter. From Georgian manor houses and shooting lodges, to seaside retreats and hip hideaways, here’s our selection of Devon’s best boutique boltholes, in locations including Exeter, Salcombe, Tavistock and Dartmoor.

Britain’s most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm, and extraordinary food. Michael has worked marvels with this vanilla ice cream-hued Georgian mansion, dramatically bringing the colours of the estuary inside: champagne-fabric sofas, powder-blue walls, wispy sage green linen drapes and quicksand-soft carpets woven from grey-silver thread. All rooms are different, with a colour palette inspired by local birds. Beds are handmade by Devon craftsmen, brushed with gold and cut with the shapes of shells and waves. The house’s Hawthorne-garnished grounds slope right down to Devon’s Exe estuary.


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£
350

whitehouse

Devon, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

This Georgian family home has been converted into a contemporary comfort zone, decorated with chunky furniture, pop art, statement lights and well-worn vintage items. There’s a put-your-feet up, do-as-you-please atmosphere: it’s not unheard of for guests to dine in their pyjamas. The six rooms have handmade wooden beds, metallic wallpaper and retro lights and a bespoke wooden mini-bar ice-box. The hotel is run by three charming, down-to-earth friends and a small team of attentive staff. Thoughtful touches include jars of marshmallows for toasting over the fire. Dogs dozing by the crackling log fire complete the domestic picture.


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£
170
Rural chic hotel Combe House is sexy and fun as well as romantic. Interiors, cleverly combine original features, including panelled walls, stucco ceilings and family portraits, with their own distinctive look, incorporating trompe l’oeil, vintage finds, comfy shabby-chic furniture, velvet and gently patterned fabrics, mismatched plates and glasses, plants in terracotta pots and so on. The 27 rooms are are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. At the heart of the hotel is the panelled Great Hall, where a glamorous bar stretches along one wall.


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£
179
This New England-style hotel, near the yachtie town of Salcombe in South Devon, offers stylish, clean-cut waterside R&R in sublime surroundings. It’s one of the few hotels in the UK that sits directly on a beach, and is just a pebble’s skim from the gently lapping waves of South Sands beach. Inside, the look is clean-cut and breezy, with wood floors, a restrained grey-and-white colour scheme and nautical accents. On sunny days, the decked terrace is the place to hang out and gaze across beautiful views of sailing-boat studded waters. The restaurant offers casual, bistro-style vibe, serving quick-to-prepare dishes for those keen to get back to the beach. Menus concentrate on West Country coastal classics: plump River Fowey mussels with a sauce verde, cooked-to-perfection roasted scallops, and locally caught fish and chips.


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£
99
Overlooking pebbly Babbacombe beach and the English Riviera, the setting is nothing short of spectacular, even if its approach, via an alarmingly steep single track road, is not for the faint-hearted – but then you don’t get special places without a special effort to reach them. The hotel’s laidback seaside charm enchanted Queen Victoria, when she regularly rowed ashore with Prince Albert from the Royal Yacht, and today it has lost nothing of its appeal. Spread over several levels, at its core is a stone inn decorated with vintage nautical finds, including huge brass search lights and a ship’s compass. There’s a spa, excellent pub-style food, a cosy bar with log-burning stove, and eight beachfront rooms – all with sea views. Spanning out from it are modern beach huts and suites. Look out for the resident seal and dolphin pods.


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£
144
Theatrical and witty, Glazebrook is crammed with 900 vintage pieces displayed on brooding dark-grey walls; you can easily lose a day here examining regimental bugles, silver trays, cigars, displays of butterflies, ostrich eggs and emu skeletons. The theme – 19th-century collectors’ home meets Alice in Wonderland – is as wacky as it sounds, yet it works. There’s a dedicated whisky and wine room where regular tasting sessions are held, a glamorous cocktail bar with padded white leather walls, and a restaurant with an imaginative menu that gives its more expensive counterparts a run for their money. The terrace in the gardens is a scenic spot for sipping sundowners. The vintage style continues in the hotel’s nine bedrooms, each of which house their own quirky finds.


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£
199
With considerably more character than any purpose-built hotel could ever aspire to, Southernhay is a luxurious city sanctuary. First built to entertain in 1805, this Grade II listed Georgian townhouse stays true to its roots, with a fabulous cocktail bar, restaurant and indulgent home comforts. Captain William Kirkpatrick, the first owner of Southernhay House, was an officer of the East India Company, and décor reflects this with photos of sultans, rich textured fabrics and rooms named after trade routes (Sugar, Cotton and Silk). The 11 rooms are all unique, with high ceilings, huge windows and quirky one-offs like original fireplaces or intricate Chinese artwork. Guests are welcomed with a Devon hamper including Exeter gin, locally made raw chocolate and other gourmet treats.


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£
113

Weeke Barton

Dunsford, Dartmoor, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

This guesthouse, in a medieval longhouse on the eastern edge of Dartmoor, melds urban cool with rustic comfort. The owners, formerly from Hackney, have revamped the building with an East London-style makeover, retaining the building’s wonderful period features – wonky, wood-beamed walls, hefty oak doors, parquet floors, arched doorways and inglenook fireplaces – and mixing them with rustic-cool décor. This feel continues into the five bedrooms, each of which have pretty views of the grounds through latched windows. The atmosphere is relaxed, cool and homely, with a chilled soundtrack of Balearic beats, reggae or soul creating a clubby feel.


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£
144
A wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi. The house was built in 1812 as the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell’s holiday home and is steeped in royal history. Rooms are purposefully low-tech and don’t have televisions, Wi-Fi or minibars. Decorated in Regency pastiche, Room five is the winner, with original hand-painted wallpaper, poetry-inspiring views of the River Tamar and a chaise longue that’s made for swooning. Room four wins points for quirkiness: the en-suite bathroom, accessible down steep stairs, was the Duke’s chapel. The cream teas here are worth the journey alone.


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£
190
In a land of nautically-themed hotels and restaurants, Salcombe Harbour stands out with its understated design that manages to steer clear of coastal kitsch, yet still exudes a fresh, seaside-chic that invites the mojito-drinking, oyster shucking and panama-hat wearing. The interior is made even more inviting by deep armchairs, huge marble fireplaces and collections of designer coffee-table books. The decadence continues throughout the hotel, with an indoor pool which has private cabanas, a sauna, hot tub, spa and private cinema complete with a vintage popcorn machine. Estuary-facing rooms come with balcony boxes containing binoculars, pashminas and blankets for alfresco lounging on the private terrace.


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From


£
141

Contributions by Fiona Duncan, Sherelle Jacobs & Anna Turns

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