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Old Park Hall hotel: the country pad we’re crushing on
Desperate for a weekend away? Head to Dorset's hip Old Park Hall hotel for a slice of the good life and some damn fine gin, writes Nicola Moyne
Contemporary country piles don’t come much cooler than Old Park Hall hotel. Nestled among the rolling hills of Devon and a stone’s throw from coastal hotspot Lyme Regis, this imposing Scottish Baronial manor house has all the usual trappings of a chic boutique bolthole – think Nespresso machines in every room, huge monsoon power showers, coma-inducing emperor beds and enough USB sockets to power up a small smart-tech army. But all that pales in comparison to the sheer sexiness of the place. It’s like stumbling upon the West Country’s hip new member’s club, sans the stuffiness or extortionate fees.
Why not? Straddling the Devon and Dorset borders, this fashion-forward pad is a magnet for stressed-out city dwellers desperate for a slice of the good life. River Cottage, with its wealth of cookery courses and summer dining events, is a five-minute drive away, or you can hole yourself up at Old Park Hall hotel and enjoy the honesty bar’s warm hospitality in the luxe lounge. Plus, you get to hang out with Winnie and Wednesday – the venue’s resident pot-bellied pigs who love a post-lunch belly rub.
Palatial proportions come as standard at Old Park Hall hotel, so while the décor is Scottish Baronial castle meets New York loft, the floor plan is decidedly more generous. If ‘Lady of the Manor’ is your vibe, snap up the Oriel room – a stylish blend of charming antiques and original features (Narnia-style antique wardrobes, a gorgeous marble-topped dresser andGame of Thrones-worthy bay window) with contemporary, artisan touches (hello, brass and glass accents, White Company sheets and industrial driftwood sink). All about the views? Check out the Principal suite instead, which is arguably a view with a room thanks to the stunning valley vistas below.
Served up on a huge rustic trestle table overlooking Old Park Hall’s pretty enclosed herb gardens, breakfast is an informal affair big on taste thanks to owner Daisy’s kitchen prowess and kickass laugh. Choose from healthy plates of smoked salmon and avo, homemade granola, and eggs-anyway-you-like, or hit the hangover head-on with a delicious full English. Daisy also offers a dinner service on demand if you fancy staying put in the decadent velvet-sofa clad lounge for another glass of Pinot Grigio Blush come sundown. Hip jazz soundtrack, obligatory.
Stripped wooden flooring, neon artwork, a grand sweeping staircase and lashings of cool curios define Old Park Hall’s Soho House-esque interiors. But it’s Daisy and James – the dynamic duo that own and renovated the house back in 2015 – who deliver its signature cool-crowd ambience. The savvy (and seriously extensive) honesty bar seems to embody what Daisy (a former wedding planner) and James (a digital comms manager) have created here: a laid-back, super stylish hangout for professionals aching to get away from it all. Whether you’re sunning yourself on a hammock in the vintage daybed-dressed garden, wandering the paddock beyond to say hello to the pigs and chickens or shaking yourself an Old Fashioned in a sunken leather armchair in the grand hallway, Old Park Hall’s chilled-out vibes won’t fail to feed the soul. In fact, with whole-house hire available (Old Park Hall hotel comfortably sleeps 12), booking a country-house hideaway with friends for the week has never been more covetable. You can even bring the dogs along.
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