Hotel Review: Kentisbury Grange, Kentisbury in North Devon
The beast of Exmoor may be locked up less than a mile away (in safe hands at Exmoor Zoo) but you can be sure the stately manor house that is Kentisbury Grange will keep you feeling very secure and comfortable.
The grade II listed Victorian hotel, built in 1894, hosts 16 stylish and spacious bedrooms, three intimate event spaces, a comfort-inducing lounge, beautiful and peaceful gardens, and an award-winning restaurant too.
I took a trip to discover the delights of Kentisbury Grange, which, I have to say, mainly involved me sipping on drinks, gorging on delicious food and lounging about in my beautiful room – sounds quite blissful, doesn’t it?
Double Michelin star awarded, Michael Caines lends his name and expertise to The Coach House – a two AA rosette awarded restaurant that serves up well thought out dishes in a beautiful way, making you wish you could dine here for weeks. It is situated in a separate building, which was built in the 17th century as a coaching house and holds The Loft above the restaurant and bar. I had the two nights and left a very satisfied customer – you can read my full restaurant review here.
I did manage to tear myself away from this haven at times to visit the nearby zoo (beast still locked up, phew!), the very picturesque seaside Lynton and Lynmouth and the north coast town of Ilfracombe. Devon does luscious greenery, stunning scenery and pretty market and seaside towns very well and there are a lot of places to test this theory on. Exmoor National Park, which Kentisbury Grange kisses the edge of, runs to the north coast and offers walking, exploring and admiring at every turn.
THE LOFT doubles as a lounge for pre and post dinner drinks or an event space. Resting above The Coach House with stairs at either end, which lead to the long walnut and marble bar or restaurant area, the space can fit 16 for private dining but was frequented by Nick and I for a peruse of the menu and a nice big gin and tonic before dinner.
The open plan space has a mixture of leather or velvet armchairs and sofas in deep shades, while images of people and animals eating and drinking are dotted about the room. I recommend the Plymouth gin, served in a large stemmed glass with plenty of ice, tonic, citrus slices and little flowers too, I had to hold back and just have the one! There are also around 20 whiskies and many cocktails and other drinks to sample but gin is my thing!
THE BARN is ideal for meetings or conferences and can hold up to 20 people. It has its own private walled garden, and with a vaulted ceiling, beams and large windows, what better setting could you wish for to escape and get some work done?
THE LOUNGE sits in the main building and is full of character with wood floors, artisan furniture and antique artwork at every turn. There are plenty of places to sit in the spacious room with soft, chunky armchairs and sofas abound and a fireplace at either end to keep you cosy at cooler times. It would also be the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon tea or a drink before dinner.
We stayed in one of the 16 rooms imagined by interior designer, Karen Gray. The blue themed corner room offered great views of the gorgeous gardens and North Devon scenery from plenty of large windows. My legs immediately took me to the dark blue chaise longue at the foot of the bed, and with a glass of the complimentary Michael Caines branded Champagne in hand that had been waiting on ice, I felt like lady of the manor.
The soft blue material finds its way to the large feature headboard, desk chair and armchair to give the otherwise neutral décor a blue theme along with thick blue and cream curtains. A dark wood desk, wardrobe and coffee table as well as a feature fireplace reminded me that I was in a manor house and lots of luxuries such as handmade cookies from the kitchen (I couldn’t get enough of those chocolate chip delights!), a Nespresso machine, flat screen TV, kettle and fridge offered the extras that any modern traveller 123 years on likes.
The bathroom was light, airy, beautiful and oh so luxurious, and was big enough to swing a cat – or six – in. Honestly, it was huge, and even a sumptuous stand alone Victorian roll-top bath under the large window, a lengthy double sink unit, large walk in shower, loo and shelving unit couldn’t make it look in the least bit full. Underfloor heating added to the luxury of it all and the pale, creamy tiles and images of sea birds in silver frames created a stylish sophistication.
IN A NUTSHELL
For incredible food combinations from menus designed by industry big gun, Michael Caines, and rooms so comfy you don’t actually want to leave, Kentisbury Grange is it. The relaxed Devon way is easy to adopt once you arrive and peaceful surroundings make you wish you don’t have to return to the madness.
Address: Kentisbury, Barnstaple EX31 4NL
Phone: 01271 882295