The Crème de la Crème of Country House Hotels
It would seem that our journey down to Combe House Hotel in Devon would be strewn with unforeseen obstacles. After a seven hour drive through traffic jams and numerous diversions, myself, Jen and Becks finally reached one of the most inspiring country house hotels in the UK. And may I add, it was definitely worth the wait.
We heaved a great sigh of relief as we approached the driveway leading up to Combe House Hotel, then following the sudden silence that descended upon us, the oohs and ahs began! The three of us made similar sounds to the appreciative noises you might hear on Bonfire Night.
Now I realise it’s a bit of a cliché, but it did feel like we were entering a fairytale land. Dusk was upon us and a warm glow emanated from Combe House while pheasants darted across the drive and Arabian horses grazed on the lawn. Autumn shades of orange, brown and yellow surrounded the house and lush hills seemed to stretch into eternity.
From the moment we arrived at the hotel, a heartfelt beam had spread across my face. A wonderful welcome awaited us at the front door and we were led inside to the Great Hall, where a large fire roared and ancestral portraits adorned the walls. The house’s rich history was immediately evident and the smell of burning logs enhanced the ambience.
As we explored other rooms of Combe House, I fell more and more in love with it. The Georgian kitchen took me back in time, and I felt a real sense of nostalgia in the beautiful Linen Suite with its huge drying frame hanging from ceiling. The signature Tommy Wax Suite has immense dual aspect views across the countryside, making it one of the most popular rooms in the house. As we were running several hours late, there was little time to see the rest of the house before dinner, so we were taken down to Comb Thatch House, which was to be our home for the evening.
This gorgeous four bedroom house is simply stunning and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect place to stay. Each room had its own charm, from the black and white chequered floor in the hall to the rustic bedroom furniture, around every corner another surprise was lurking. There is something very special about Combe Thatch House that makes you feel like you are being hugged from the inside.
After being left to settle in for a couple of hours (believe me I settled in the second I passed through the door), we were met by Jess, who very kindly drove us up to Combe House Hotel in time for dinner. Our incredible experience continued with exceptional hospitality from Ruth and the staff, mouthwatering canapés, champagne and a three course dinner to die for. I can honestly say I’ve never tasted food quite so heavenly. The Beef Shin Raviollo was definitely the star of the show for me, with the Raspberry Cheesecake coming a close second.
Following dinner we returned to Combe Thatch House. After bickering about who was going to stay in which room, we all retired to our beds. The next morning we said goodbye to Combe Thatch House and made our way back up to the hotel for a plentiful breakfast. Later, we were shown around the hotel grounds, where we discovered further surprises, however, I am sworn to secrecy and cannot reveal what treats lay in store; you will have to find those for yourself.
Before we headed over to Sidmouth for a quick guided tour of the charming seaside town, we were introduced to Combe Thatch Cottage, a quaint little house with walled garden, which is ideal for a romantic retreat. Special touches like the copper bath, wood burning fireplace and country style kitchen added to its appeal. As Ruth said: “The devil is in the detail”.
If you like country house hotels you will love Combe House Hotel in Devon. Immersed in heritage and full of beauty, there is nowhere quite as magnificent. But sadly for me, it’s back to reality!
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