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Our little black book of enchanting places


The Good Hotel Guide awards the very best by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in NEWS By Maggie O' Sullivan

The Good Hotel Guide 2016: Great Britain and Ireland has just been published. What distinguishes this guide from so many others is that hotels cannot pay to be included, with all entries based on visits by inspectors and reports from trustworthy readers. Every year, in conjunction with the guide, the editors also present 10 of the most outstanding properties in various categories with a César award (named after César Ritz). To give you a taster, here are five of this year’s César winners, all – we think – thoroughly deserving.

The Grove, Pembrokeshire 

One of our own favourites, this Arts and Crafts mansion (above) in the Preseli hills is a hotel which, according to one Good Hotel Guide reviewer ‘never disappoints’. It’s owned by Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar who bought it as a wreck in 2007 and lovingly transformed it into 12-room country house hotel. The candlelit restaurant serves modern British cuisine, using locally sourced ingredients, some from The Grove’s own walled garden.Lord Crewe Arms, Country Durham 

We included the Lord Crewe in our Halloween blog last week and regular visitors will know it’s another of our favourite hotels. It’s just such a perfect mix of traditional inn and contemporary luxury hotel. The Good Hotel Guide refers to its ‘unbeatable’ setting in the North Pennine moors. If you want to see more of the area, keep an eye on the forthcoming ITV production of Beowolf, some of which was shot in nearby Derwent Reservoir.Augill Castle, Cumbria

There is something here for everyone,’ said one of the Good Hotel Guide’s reviewers and it’s true that this Gothic castle in the Eden valley is equally perfect for both couples and families. It was built as a Victorian gentleman’s country residence in 1841 and still feels like a home rather than a hotel. There are only 15 rooms (Queen Victoria is said to have stayed in one of the room on her way to Balmoral), and though each is beautifully furnished, it’s the sort of place you can let children run around without fear of them breaking anything.The Pig on the Beach, Dorset 

'A relaxed version of a country house … noticeably enjoyed by guests of all ages,’ said the Good Hotel Guide inspectors of the latest Pig. Overlooking Studland Bay, The Pig on the Beach is the newest in a small chain of ‘Pig’ hotels owned by Robin Hutson (Hutson also owns one of Niamh’s favourite hotels, Lime Wood in the New Forest). The emphasis at all of the Pigs is on cuisine – always top-quality, locally sourced dishes served in informal surroundings. The rooms are not dissimilar to those at Lord Crewe Arms: not huge but cosy and extremely comfortable.Hotel Endsleigh, Devon

On the banks of the River Tamar, the Good Hotel Guide calls this 19th-century hunting and fishing lodge an ‘unpretentious and comfortable family-friendly luxury hotel’. It was built by the sixth Duke of Bedford around 1815; in the Fifties, the 12th Duke died of a gunshot wound in the grounds of the lodge. Olga Polizzi (who also owns Tresanton in Cornwall) bought the lodge in 2005 and she, according to the Guide inspectors, has restored the building ‘with charm and taste’.

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