Postcard from Devon: unwinding at Weeke Barton

Set on pony-roamed Dartmoor, Weeke Barton is an historic 500-year-old West Country guesthouse – the ideal country retreat for a romantic weekend. Seeking stately homes and scenic rambles, Keith Oswin…

Gourmet Getaways #2: Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa

The first in our series of Gourmet Getaways visited the restaurant at Oxfordshire's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, to sample Raymond Blanc's French fine dining. Now dignified country pile Lucknam…

And a partridge in Guinness sauce… Chewton Glen’s alternative Christmas recipe

Chewton Glen alternative Christmas recipeWhile most of the world gobbles down turkey like there’s no tomorrow (or indeed Boxing Day), some prefer not to eat turkey at all – given a choice of festive fowl, I’d never pick turkey. Never. It could sit plumply on the supermarket subs’ bench till kingdom come for all I care, forever in the shadow of gamey alternatives, goose, grouse or partridge in Guinness sauce.

Thankfully, Chewton Glen – a New Forest family-friendly favourite officially dubbed by this very blog as ‘Hampshire’s Most Splendiferous Spa-Enhanced Country-House Hotel‘ – has saved the day with a mouthwatering recipe from its recently revamped restaurant, Vetiver.

Of course, some of you might prefer to spend less time in the kitchen, and more time drinking sherry/unwrapping presents/recovering from Christmas Eve. In which case, the sane way to avoid manual labour completely is to check into Chewton Glen, bed down in one of its classic-luxe suites and let talented head chef Andrew Du Bourg do all the hard work for you…

Roast partridge | Truffle and butternut squash puree | Guinness sauce

Alternative Christmas recipe – partridge – Chewton GlenINGREDIENTS: Serves four
4 partridges
250g duck/goose fat

For the sauce
Olive oil
2 banana shallots
½ head of garlic
1 can of Guinness
1 litre partridge stock
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
100g butter

Hotel of the week: The Olde Bell Inn

Welcome to week three of our celebration of the greatest, goodest and gorgeousest of the Smith boutique-hotel collection. (In case you’ve missed our first fortnight, we’ve already covered a fabulous Portuguese farmhouse in Alentejo and a superb self-catering cottage in Norfolk). This week, we’ve been wondering, ‘if we fled the Smith offices in London, and ran away to the countryside for a few days, where could we get to a) quickly and b) with a guarantee of glorious surroundings, fantastic British food, and a chic-yet-informal atmosphere?’ There’s only one answer – let’s hear it for…

Lisbon launches and Welsh wonders – Smith’s latest boutique hotels

I confess I’ve been out of the office for most of this month, sampling some of Smith’s spectacular honeymoon hotels in Thailand and Bali (but more on that later – I’ll just say for now that Amandari in jungly Ubud may have just become my favourite place in the world, and that the spikily pungent durian fruit is still a taste I have yet to acquire).ME Barcelona hotel, Spain

However, while I was gallivanting in the tropics, the less workshy members of the Smith editorial team were hard at work introducing the latest crop of pizazzy pads and boutique boudoirs to our online hotel collection. June’s holiday wish list has a distinctly Iberian theme, and we’re currently tossing an old peseta coin to try to decide whether to head south for a slinky slice of offbeat cool at ME Barcelona, (pictured above) or one of our gorgeous new additions in Portugal’s Lisbon. With three boutique hotels in the city to choose from – Chiado 16, a sophisticated, hilltop 17th-century bed and breakfast, the laid-back, powder-blue townhouse Heritage Av Liberdade and an ultra-chic art deco paradise at Heritage Hotel Britania – we could be throwing that coin up for some time…

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