Built by the Duke of Bedford in 1811, Endsleigh house on the banks of the Tamar River has lived many lifetimes in its 203-year history. A picturesque hunting lodge, a quiet country guesthouse, the nerve centre of the Endsleigh Fishing Club and, since 2005, one of south-west England’s most spellbinding boutique hotels. Bought by renowned hotelier Olga Polizzi, and lovingly restored to its Regency-era splendour, the Endsleigh Hotel has 16 suites – each with a unique layout and character – and many boasting exquisite original features like antique fireplaces and ornate hand-painted Chinoiserie wallpaper.
From the moment guests step into the dimly-lit oak-panelled reception, with its heavy marble busts and the comforting hiss and cackle from the open fire, they are transported back to an older England, a place that runs at a different pace to London – a four-hour journey and half a world away. The drawing room and the well-stocked library, with its heaving bookshelves, overlook the gardens and offer guests the perfect place to enjoy an indulgent afternoon tea, with sandwiches, cakes and scones.
Dinner is a rather grander affair, with hearty British ingredients – venison, pigeon, salmon – presented in a distinctly French style. The cellar at the Endsleigh is incredibly thoughtfully stocked, with old and new-world wines, including an excellent collection of white burgundies and a delicious selection of dessert wines. Breakfast is more assuredly British, and features stalwarts like a locally-sourced full English and deliciously buttery smoked kippers, which on sunny mornings, are ideally eaten al fresco, on the light-drenched terrace overlooking the lawns.