Martinhoe Exmoor National Park Devon EX31 4QT 01598 763 368
There are a lot of small hotels in England, so you have to have done something pretty special to win 'best small hotel' of the year from Visit England – as the folks at the Old Rectory did in 2014. Boutique hotels are two-a-penny these days, but Huw Rees and Sam Prosser got it right when they found this place back in 2008 – not only is its location second-to-none, but the thoughtfulness with which they went about the whole project is impressive. The result is ten very comfortable rooms furnished in a contemporary style, decked out with fresh flowers, large bathrooms, WiFi and everything else you could possibly need. Beyond the rooms the hotel fosters the atmosphere of a convivial country house party (it's a child-free zone), with afternoon tea in the comfy downstairs sitting room, early evening canapes and an excellent dinner served in the dining room. Outside the location couldn't be more peaceful, and there are lovely gardens in which to enjoy it; for the more energetic the steep wooded valleys and high hills and cliffs of the Exmoor national parks are on your doorstep – you're just 500 metres from the coastal path. Beyond lie the spectacular coastal villages of Lynton and Lynmouth, while in the other direction Ilfracombe and the gorgeous beaches of North Devon – Woolacombe, Croyde, Saunton – are just a short drive away.
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Double rooms: bed and Breakfast from £160 a night, dinner bed and breakfast from £230 – less if you stay longer.
- DVD Players
- Gardens & Grounds
- TVs with Freeview
Open March–early November.