Five Best: Hotels for hikes
After a hard day's walking, there's nothing better than a night of luxury
Saturday 19 May 2007
Hotel Endsleigh, Devon
The former shooting lodge of the Dukes of Bedford on the edge of Dartmoor was refurbished in 2005 by Olga Polizzi. It is furnished in country house-goes-boutique chic style with panelling and wallpaper in the original Regency spirit, shutters and white blinds, and stylish pots of orchids. The 16-bedroom house is set in 108 acres by the River Tamar - with one of Britain's wildest national parks beyond.
Hotel Endsleigh, Milton Abbot, Tavistock, Devon (01822 870 000; www.hotelendsleigh.com). Doubles start at £200, including breakfast.
The views of Monmouthshire's hills, woodlands and valleys from Clearvewe are stunning. This luxury B&B opened in June last year and offers three bedrooms and a comfy lounge in a beautifully converted old stone cart house. It is set in the heart of terrific walking country, with the Usk Valley on the doorstep and the Wye Valley within easy reach. What's more, this peaceful, rolling landscape is much overlooked, with most tourists beating a path to the coast and national parks of Wales.
Clearvewe, Ty Wilson Barn, Llangwm, Monmouthshire (01291 671 515; www.clearvewe.com). Doubles start at £70, including breakfast.
Moonfleet Manor, Dorset
The Jurassic Coast path (declared a Unesco world heritage site in 2001 - and at one time more tamely known as the Dorset Coast Path) lies at the end of the garden of this Georgian country house. Just beyond is Chesil Beach and The Fleet nature reserve. As well as offering great hiking opportunities, Moonfleet Manor is a super-sybaritic, family-friendly hotel. Its 36 bedrooms are decorated with a slightly wacky touch of Raj Victoriana. Its restaurant serves modern British/French cuisine.
Moonfleet Manor, Fleet, Near Weymouth, Dorset (01305 786 948; www.moonfleetmanorhotel.co.uk). Doubles start at £160, half board including daily newspaper.
Punch Bowl Inn, Cumbria
The Punch Bowl's position couldn't be prettier. The pastoral outlook is lovely and the opportunities for fell walks plentiful. Sister property to the much-loved Drunken Duck Inn at Ambleside, the olde worlde pub was given a stylish facelift in 2005. Its nine light, bright bedrooms feature exposed beams, flat-screen TVs, Roberts radios and underfloor heating, while downstairs is a restaurant and a buzzy bar. Two quieter, cosy rooms off the bar offer open fires.
The Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite, Lyth Valley, Cumbria (01539 568 237; www.the-punchbowl.co.uk). Doubles start at £110, including breakfast, afternoon tea and daily newspaper.
Ardanaiseig Hotel, Argyll
Three miles down the road from Kilchrenan village, this 16-bedroom baronial manor house sits on the shores of Loch Awe. With wood panelling, log fires and art works, there's the atmosphere of a contemporary chic house. But the real joy is in striding out into the Highlands. Lochside walks start from the drawing room steps, while beyond the 100-acre woodland gardens there are vast hillscapes to roam, with Ben Cruachan - at 3,659ft - dominating. Maps and picnics can be provided.
Ardanaiseig Hotel, Argyll, Scotland (01866 833 333; www.ardanaiseig.com). Doubles start at £110, with breakfast.
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