It’s hard to imagine what to expect from a hotel with just 39 bedrooms and suites yet located in a vast 127 acres of gardens and parkland! To our surprise, Highbullen Hotel felt very boutique like and at the same time, we were staying in what could look like an entire village on a map.
Upon opening the bedroom door two things stood out; the large four poster bed and the stunning views. The Chinoiserie on the first floor is a large room with dual windows, overlooking the lawns, the Mole Valley and Exmoor. This room includes beautiful antique furniture and a lounge area filled with vintage novels. The entire bedroom and bathroom were bigger than my London one-bedroom flat! The Loft Suite nearby comes with its own steam room and infrared sauna.
Before dinner we decided to explore Highbullen Hotel and found a Billiard Room adjoining the bar, with full size snooker table, luxurious sofas and other games. It was the perfect place to start the evening with local gins from the bar. This was followed by dinner in the 2 AA Rosette Devon View Restaurant.
The modern British cuisine was matched with wines from around the world. Main courses included fillets of Cornish mackerel with blue cheese creamed gnocchi, courgette and sea spaghetti – simply delicious. A selection of local and British cheeses came with an interesting list of ports including a 1980 Wares vintage.
Leisure facilities indoors include a 20-metre swimming pool with sauna, steam-room and jacuzzi along with a gym. If the sun is shining then three outdoor sport options are a 7 all-weather tennis courts, a 9-hole USGA specification golf course set in wooded parkland and an outdoor swimming pool. Elemis provide a variety of spa treatments in a boutique treatment room area. You could spend a full weekend alone enjoying all these facilities.
One of the unique things at Highbullen Hotel is the newly launched Laura Ashley tearoom. Designed in the distinctive Laura Ashley style, it has unrivalled views bringing together the quintessence of England: the timelessness of afternoon tea and elegant country living.
We ended the afternoon in the Drawing Room with its open fireplace. The only thing left to do was a take in some clean country air before driving back to London. The actual village is Chittlehamholt which is tiny, picturesque and ideal for a stroll.
To discover more and book, visit: www.highbullen.co.uk
By Peter Sousa