One of the first things that you will no doubt notice stepping in to Glazebrook House is the stuffed flamingo and an emu skeleton that stare serenely at each other across the richly decorated lobby. You will also spot a glass-topped boat propellor as a table, an ornate birdcage and a chrome bulldog as you check in at the spitfire wing reception desk.
If this sounds a lot, there’s lots more! Still in the lobby there is a huge velvet red, blue and black ‘Union Jack’ across a wall, giant chandeliers, a big leather chesterfield with bright cushions, a giant (French) map of Europe and a faded Persian rug.
If all this sounds rather over-the-top, it is, but in a good way. It all works remarkably well – genuine antiques are mixed in with period reproductions and bold modern statements. Pieter is also proud of the collections – the library for example is themed as that of a Victorian butterfly collector.
It turns out that this is the first hotel wholly designed by trendy English designer Timothy Oulton, commissioned by the hotel’s new owners Pieter and Fran Hamman from South Africa and San Francisco respectively. The couple were tired of the long international commute and decided to split the journey and set up a base in the U.K.
Searching for the perfect property they happened upon Glazebrook House in 2013, a tired and old fashioned hotel tucked in to the hills close to the southern end of Dartmoor. It was also handily placed for the ‘English Riviera” of Paignton and Torquay and near the main routes to and from Cornwall. The pretty towns of Totnes, Buckfastleigh and Dartington are all close by.
Our room was called Bread and Butterflies and featured the same eclectic design. The huge, and hugely comfortable, bed was in white padded leather, old battered suitcases adorned the wall along with prints of moths and there was a re-imagined Victorian trunk as a desk.
The Nespresso machine has a generous supply of pods and all the minibar contents, including chocolates, Luscombe juices and small bottles of wine, are complimentary. There is also a big TV, free wifi and an iPad that comes on a portable speaker.
There is an atmospheric bar, outside tables for fine weather and a high-end restaurant for high-end dining either from several spectacular looking tasting menus or varied a la carte. Breakfast is served in the same dining room beneath ornate chandeliers and walls covered in either blue china plates or silver serving trays.
We love the result. A country house hotel unlike any other – quirky, stylish, surprising and fun in equal measures. It is a place that works for a fun weekend break, a handy stopover or a long stay to explore the beautiful area as well as for weddings and events – take your pick!
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of Glazebrook House
For more information visit www.glazebrookhouse.com