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Concierge.com

Devon + Cornwall Hotels

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Abode Exeter
Cathedral Yard
Exeter , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1392 319 955
reservationsexeter@abodehotels.co.uk
www.abodehotels.co.uk/exeter/

Be sure to request a front-facing room at the Abode for views of the cathedral in Exeter's historical center. Originally the city's Assembly Rooms, it first opened as a hotel in 1769. A nearly $6-million refurb, completed in 2005, updated the hotel without rubbing out its 18th-century charm: Some of the 53 rooms and suites have original wooden beams, cornicing, and claw-foot tubs, but there are still LCD TVs, DVD players, and complimentary broadband. Three impressive split-level suites with wooden-beamed ceilings and spectacular views on the top floor were also unveiled. Co-owner and Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines (the man behind swanky Gidleigh Park) has brought modern fine-dining French cuisine—such as braised rainbow chard in truffle sauce—here too.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Boskerris Hotel
Boskerris Road
Carbis Bay , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1736 795 295
reservations@boskerrishotel.co.uk
www.boskerrishotel.co.uk

The bustling seaside town of St. Ives, with its large artistic community and great beaches, is one of Cornwall's big attractions. But in high season, that popularity makes it a less-appealing prospect; its winding streets are crammed, and parking can be a real headache. Come evening, it's best to escape to neighboring, less-frenetic Carbis Bay. The friendly, family-run Boskerris Hotel is set on one-and-a-half seaside acres; the view stretches from the harbor to the Godrevy Lighthouse. In 2004, new owners embarked on a complete refurb of this 1931 hotel and injected a contemporary, airy feel into its 15 rooms. They vary in shape and size, but they're all roomy and painted white, with splashes of color. A hip white lounge and bar are bathed in light from floor-to-ceiling windows, and a large terrace out front makes the most of the hotel's ocean outlook; on a balmy evening it feels more Mediterranean than British.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Bovey Castle
North Bovey
Dartmoor National Park , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1647 445 016
Fax: 44 1647 445 020
www.boveycastle.com

Longtime hotel maestro Peter de Savary, who used to own Skibo Castle (remember Madonna's wedding?), opened a superdeluxe lodging in this Edwardian-gothic mansion in summer 2004, only to sell it in 2006. The place looks like some ancient Sassenach relation of Skibo—but in fact it was completed in 1907, then established as a hotel in the 1920s by the owners of the very Scottish Turnberry and Gleneagles. Its golf course was modeled on those famous ones, then updated in 2004, but that's just one of the many sporting pursuits—there are facilities on the ample grounds for horse riding, clay pigeon shooting, croquet, tennis, fishing, and archery, and the hotel also owns a classic Riva launch for picnic trips down the River Dart, as well as a cider press and a falconry. Oh—and a spa, of course. This is not one of those "country house hotels made modern" you've been reading about; no, the 65 rooms remain resolutely trad in plaids, velvets, stripes, and toiles. Summer 2005 saw the first of several residential lodges opening on the grounds, most of which are reserved for members only.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Browns Hotel
27–29 Victoria Road
Dartmouth , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1803 832 572
www.brownshoteldartmouth.co.uk

This former coaching inn newly made mod (though still affordable) by owners Clare and James Brown is a top address for Londoners. A hair behind Dartmouth's harbor, the ten rooms are small but funky, with a zebra-print headboard here and leather curtains there, lime and plum walls, vintage lampshades, and Mission-style oak furniture. Downstairs is one of the town's coolest bars, serving tapaslike snacks and local seafood, tea, and homemade scones and cakes. A big Devon breakfast is included each morning.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Burgh Island Hotel
Burgh Island
Bigbury-on-Sea , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1548 810 514
reception@burghisland.com
www.burghisland.com

This Art Deco hotel sits in splendid isolation on a 26-acre island just off the south Devon coast. When the tide rises, a sea tractor—an old-fashioned beast of a machine with wheels on stilt-like legs—ferries guests over the waves. A careful restoration of the hotel's original fixtures and fittings recaptured its 1930s glamour. The 24 rooms are all individual and outfitted with Art Deco furniture. Residents dress for formal dinner in the ballroom, a complicated affair where grilled deep-sea bass, green-tea noodles, enoki mushrooms, lobster, pak choi, and hondashi broth might be combined into one dish. For a low-key evening, head to the island's Pilchard Inn, where low beams, an open fire, and a stuffed parrot called Captain George ensure a low-key vibe. Thirties-style dances are held in the ballroom twice weekly. The incurably plugged-in should consider that there are no TVs or Internet connections (except in the library), but this hotel is so utterly eccentric that it's worth a night or two just to tell the tale.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Headland
Fistral Beach
Newquay , Cornwall
England TR7 1EW
Tel: 44 1637 872 211
www.headlandhotel.co.uk

Perched on a bluff in Newquay, the historic Headland Hotel commands an impressive view of the sea and Fistral Beach, one of the best and most popular surfing beaches in Cornwall. Since this Victorian grande dame's main building opened in 1900, it's seen its share of stylish Gatsby-era parties, wartime struggle, and visits from movie stars and royalty. The 104 rooms in the main building, freshly updated with elegant linens and furnishings, are a pleasant surprise in such an antique setting (you were expecting hot water bottles and chintz wallpaper, perhaps?). The Armstrong family, which owns and manages the hotel, oversaw a multi-year face-lift, completed in 2007, that also added 40 one-, two-, and three-bedroom cottages with kitchens, fireplaces, ocean views, and an assortment of eco-conscious amenities such as self-closing taps, low-flow plumbing, power-saving appliances and light bulbs, and biodegradable cleaning supplies. The surrounding college town of Newquay doesn't have much to recommend it, but the dramatic South West Coast Path runs around Newquay and through the Headland's property; the summer months bring a series of surfing events (and a good-looking surfer crowd) to Fistral Beach.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay
On the Beach
Watergate Bay , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1637 860 543
life@watergatebay.co.uk
www.watergatebayhotel.co.uk

Outside it looks like a typical seaside hotel from the early 1900s, but after a two-year refurb completed in spring 2007, it's a contemporary space fronting a two-mile beach of powdery sand and surfable Atlantic waves that attracts droves of young Londoners on the weekends. Bedrooms are unfussy, with white wooden floors, clean-lined furniture, fluffy white duvets, flat-screen TVs, DVDs, and CD players. Handmade Cornish bath products, made nine miles away, add a local touch to the simple, white-tiled bathrooms. Definitely pay a few dollars extra for a sea view. Dining options on the inlet include Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall and the hotel's Brasserie, which serves a contemporary Cornish menu (pan-fried sea bass with buttered cabbage, smoked bacon velouté, and gnocchi, for example). Guests also chow down in bare feet and bikinis at the sometimes chaotic waterfront Beach Hut. Activities partner Extreme Academy offers everything from surfing to kite-buggying (a wind-powered, three-wheeled buggy).

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Endsleigh
Milton Abbot
Tavistock , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1822 870 000
mail@hotelendsleigh.com
www.hotelendsleigh.com

Designer and hotelier Olga Polizzi has weaved her magic once again in this 1812 Gothic hunting lodge, sister to the Hotel Tresanton in neighboring Cornwall. Run by Olga's daughter, Alex, it sits in 108 acres of perfectly coiffed gardens and parkland that run down to the River Tamar (the hotel can arrange a spot of sea trout and salmon fishing, including equipment and a packed lunch, if you're so inclined). It's well placed on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, and for those in need of a bit more bustle, it's only five minutes from the pretty market town of Tavistock. Hotel Endsleigh's interiors combine Regency paneling, grand traditional bathrooms, and period decor with contemporary art, and beautiful hand-painted wallpapers. Lunch and dinner (organic salmon served with crushed potatoes, cauliflower purée, baby squid, and saffron dressing) are as traditional as the wood-paneled dining room they're served in, which proudly displays the original owner's family crest.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Tresanton
St. Mawes , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1326 270 055
info@tresanton.com
www.tresanton.com

There is some evidence that Olga Polizzi, star designer of the gorgeous hotels belonging to her brother, Rocco Forte, keeps her heart here. She opened this labor of love in 1998, and it has been the number-one Cornwall address ever since—it put the quaint (it's really the only word) fishing village of St. Mawes on the map. Here the Polizzi style has lost its urban edge and expanded its sense of fun. Bathrooms have aquatic mosaic tiles or wainscoting, and sand-colored bedrooms are appointed with wood floors, maquettes of lighthouses, and giant fossilized nautilus shells in lieu of oil paintings. All over the place are niches and terraces for catching the Cornish rays—the 29 rooms are spread over a collection of houses that once formed a yachting club so the layout is not straight up-and-down. The contemporary British-Mediterranean restaurant is prime (try the calamari with basil mayonnaise, lemon and rocket); the semitropical gardens lush. If you like her style, check out her work at the Hotel Endsleigh in Devon.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Lugger Hotel
Portloe , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1872 501 322
office@luggerhotel.com
www.luggerhotel.com

A 17th-century smuggler's inn—very Daphne du Maurier—has been translated into a cool retreat for urban escapees. Its 21 bedrooms are cozy, with low ceilings (basketball players should avoid) and whitewashed beams, wooden slatted shades, limed-wood furniture, crisp linens, piles of down pillows, big soaking tubs, essential-oil bathroom products, and showers that are unusually drenching for England. Also unusual for such a small hotel is an ultraclassy spa (in-room and alfresco full-moon treatments on a private terrace are available). There's a top restaurant too, and dramatic views over the cove. It's pricey, but small and perfect.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Old Quay House Hotel
28 Fore Street
Fowey , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1726 833 302
info@theoldquayhouse.com
www.theoldquayhouse.com

Typical of many Londoners suffering from urban ennui, the owners of this 11-room waterfront hotel escaped to the countryside. In the idyllic seaport of Fowey (pronounced "foy"), they bought an 1859 former seaman's hostel and gave it a boutique makeover. While they've retained its quaint exterior, the bedrooms have been modernized and "dressed" slightly differently—a Moroccan mirror or table in one room, basket chairs and tables in another—but all follow a cream and white color palate. Only Room Three strays into dramatic territory with deep-red velvet throws and cushions. Book one of the eight rooms with patios and views of the estuary, otherwise you might end up overlooking a pretty but occasionally noisy street. On the ground floor, there's a lounge and a restaurant with a lovely terrace facing the water. The food is, as expected, mainly fish (Cornish sea bass, Cornish crab, Cornish plaice), with a Mediterranean twist. The hotel is well placed for visiting the Eden Project and driving or yachting around the gentler coastline of South Cornwall.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Scarlet
Tredragon Road
Mawgan Porth , Cornwall
England TR8 4DQ
Tel: 44 1637 861800
stay@scarlethotel.co.uk
scarlethotel.co.uk

This cliffside property tucked away on Cornwall's north shore eschews rustic seaside themes for a more urbane design and quirky Ayurvedic spa. The hotel has strong eco credentials, employing solar panels, biomass boilers, rainwater-harvesting, and gray water recycling—and a delightful ten-percent discount for guests arriving by foot, bike, or public transport. The all-natural philosophy takes center stage in the popular spa with its "get messy" local mud treatments and seaweed wraps; other spa highlights are the cliffside hot tubs and a natural swimming pool cleaned by reed beds instead of chemicals. The 37 guest rooms are contained in the striking architecture of glass, angles, and clean lines, but interiors are less successful: a mishmash of Nordic-style materials, decadent baroque flourishes, and local art with a prevalent nature motif occasionally lead to over-design, like the curvaceous terrace chairs that wobble unsteadily and collect rainwater in the seat. Despite the hotel's design quirks the attentive staff are professional without acting overtrained.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Moritz Hotel
Trebetherick
Wadebridge , Cornwall
England PL27 6SD
Tel: 44 1208 862242
www.stmoritzhotel.co.uk

On a bluff between the fashionable resort towns of Polzeath and Rock is the rebuilt St. Moritz, reincarnating a beloved postwar forebear. Chef Elliot Ketley, previously of Soho House in New York, gets raves for the cooking; the staff are well trained; and the new premises are, for the most part, thoughtfully designed. The 42 rooms are spare and airy, with pale blue- and sand-colored pillows and throws, and bedside lamps that cast pools of sea-green light. The cramped bathroom and skimpy amenities are a disappointment, but other ablutionary opportunities include indoor and outdoor pools, a steam room, a Jacuzzi, and a Cowshed Spa, not to mention the briny opportunities beyond.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.