Orestone Manor is a luxury, family-run, country house hotel, set in landscaped gardens overlooking Lyme Bay, which claims to offer some of the most sumptuous accommodation and fine dining in South Devon.
The Georgian manor house hotel, described as an award-winning ‘hidden gem’, is run by husband and wife chefs, Neil and Catherine D’Allen, son Craig and his wife Laura, and it is situated above the pretty South Devon coastal village of Maidencombe, just off the coast road between Teignmouth and Torquay.
With spectacular sea views, this hotel is steeped in history. Orestone Manor was the scene of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s National Portrait Gallery painting, created by his brother-in-law, Sir John Calcott Horsley on the Orestone Manor lawn.
In the 1850′s, Orestone played host to many Brunel/Horsley family gatherings that took place at the venue, candlelit dinners, music in the parlour, children’s games and perhaps croquet on the lawn.
Orestone Manor was also the birthplace of the Christmas card, with Sir Horsley designing the card in 1843. Nowadays under 20 are in existence, one is in the V&A Museum, another is owned by the Royal Mail. The cards fetch £20,000-plus at auction.
The fascinating connection with the past continues with neighbours being equally famous. Rudyard Kipling, during Sir Horsley’s tenure, lived in the property nearest.
Recently, the hotel has won accolades from Condé Nast Johansens, double AA Rosettes for fine dining, as well as old-wins in the Taste of the West awards. It is also a constant winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and listed in their Hall of Fame.
Each of Orestone Manor’s 14 bedrooms are unique in character, varying in size, shape and style. Complimentary fluffy robes and slippers, Sky TV including Sky Sports, telephone, en-suite bathrooms and hospitality trays are included. All, apart from two classic rooms, have stunning sea views.
Three simmering private hot-tubs are available and a feature is a 16th-century Italian fireplace.
You can enjoy cosy sofas, a Devon Cream tea and seal-spotting on the beach nearby or you can stretch your legs on the coast path that sits on the doorstep.
The Brunel Bar & Lounge is an excellent place to enjoy a tipple. Try the champagne cocktail of the week.
Owners source the finest fresh ingredients and including the best from meats such as South Devon beef, Exmoor lamb, local estate wild game and and array of vegetables.
Sea food choices include Brixham Crab, hand-dived Torbay scallops and lobsters, Teign River Mussels and all the dayboat fish guests could want from the watery larder that sits on the doorstep.
Seasonal dishes include, Brixham crab martini with avocado, mango ice and poppy seed straw; salmon cured in gin and beetroot with fennel salad, lobster sauce and toasted rosemary focaccia; seared Torbay scallops with crispy bacon, caramelised pearl onions and pea cream; pan-fried Dover slip sole with caper beurre noisette; as well as a warm salad of sautéed duck livers, black pudding, quails egg and charred baby gem lettuce.
There are also main courses such as noisette of lamb in a herb crust with navet puree, cavolo nero, pomme fondant, wild garlic, nasturtium and rosemary jus, while other locally-sourced meat dishes are also available.
A selection from the menu includes pan-fried pave of wild turbot, roasted queen scallops, saffron cocottes, serano crisp, fine beans and lobster bisque, half a Torbay lobster cooked in either garlic butter or thermidor sauce, served with a salad of roasted romero peppers, radish, white anchovies as well as Monkfish tail, garlic and shrimp butter, crevette, sugar snap peas and fine herbs.