Thursday, 20 November 2014

Hotel Endsleigh wins a prestige award...

We are thrilled to say that we received an invitation recently to attend an award ceremony in London with the Boutique Hotel Awards with the knowledge that we had been nominated in the Best Relaxation Retreat category.  As the ceremony progressed the winners for each area were announced and we learnt that we had won, 'Europe's Best Relaxation Retreat', however, at the end of the announcement for each of the different regions of the world, they announced the overall winner, to our delight Hotel Endsleigh won the whole category and Richard Dawson our Assistant General Manager went up to collect the award for, 'The World's Best Relaxation Retreat'. 

Adam Cornish, Gen. Mgr, Robert Wright, Head Chef,
Evelina Conti, Sales & Marketing Mgr, Richard Dawson, Asst. Mgr

As I write this I am filled with pride, I myself have worked at Hotel Endsleigh for 14 years and have always felt it to be a special place, it is a great boost for the team to get this recognition.

So if you would like to share this wonderful place with us we still have late night tickets for New Year's Eve. Why not join us after dinner, with Champagne at midnight and a stunning firework display by Two Tigers with dancing through the night to The Gershwin Gang.  Entry ticket from 10.30pm ,£30pp dress is black tie.

Or if you would like a gentle start to 2015 join us for our New Year's Day brunch! Perfect for 'the morning after the night before' or just some lovely food and a good walk to start the year.  Running from 8am to 2.30pm you can select dishes from the extensive buffet or enjoy a freshly cooked plate. Adults £30pp, children half price (age 11 and under).

To book call 01822 870000.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Autumn Splendour

What comes to mind when you think of Autumn? The changing colours of the trees? the crisp morning air with bright blue skies? Roaring fires with roasting chestnuts? Conker battles and red cheeked be-hatted children?  The list goes on, and here at Endsleigh all these timeless Aumtumnal treasures are embraced.

The Dairy Dell valley
The Dairy Dell is a wonderful valley walk where during the summer months the valley floor is covered in Gunnera eight to ten fee tall, but in the Autumn, before the frosts destroy them, they are cut down opening up an entirely different view where you can take in the natural glory of the man made rocky stream that wends its way down to the Tamar.

Taken by Charles Alluto

Taken by Rebecca Roundhill
There are throughout the gardens, paths that lead you on into stunning walks, hidden valleys, breathtaking views and exceptional plant specimens brought back to Endsleigh by plant hunters commissioned by the Dukes of Bedford from all over the world. The arboretums key features and a 'must see' are the enormous Weeping Beech, Fagus Sylvatica Pendula at 24 meters tall, the Indian Horse Chestnut, Aesculus Indica, and the Giant Sequoias, Sequoiadendron Giganteum, (51 meters), amongst many others.

Endsleigh are running a special lunch deal until the 27th November 2014. You can book a three course a la carte lunch from Mon - Fri for £22.00 pp and enjoy the gardens for free.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

An evening with Alex Polizzi

For those who know and love Endsleigh, Alex Polizzi was the driving force in its new lease of life when her mother, Olga Polizzi,  bought the property in 2004. They had fallen for this stunning corner of West Devon just as Georgina, 6th Duchess of Bedford had some 200 years before. Endsleigh House, as it was known then, was a tired, dilapidated building in much need of an overhaul and it was Alex's energy and expertise that set about renovating, invigorating and transforming the house into the elegant Hotel that is Endsleigh today.

Alex in the gardens at Hotel Endsleigh
These days Alex Polizzi is busier than ever.  Since 2008 she has been filming for Channel 5, The Hotel Inspector, where she visits struggling hotels and offers her expertise and advice. She has also now completed for BBC 2, two series of, Alex Polizzi The Fixer, and, The Fixer Returns, and last Christmas, Alex inspired us with a one off programme called, Alex Polizzi's Christmas Fix.  True to her roots and family background, Alex was recently filmed touring Italy, tasting and visiting the many Italian places that are close to her heart and it is rumoured that shortly, she is to head up a new programme on recruiting Chefs.

Photograph by Dan Burn-Forti
Our exclusive evening with Alex will take place from 6pm on Friday 14 November 2014.  There will be drinks on arrival, followed by Alex regaling us with anecdotes of her filming exploits and the wonderful people she has met along the way, after which we will enjoy a delicious dinner. The event will cost £65 per person and due to limited spaces we encourage you to reserve your place soon. Please call 01822 870000. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Reader Day with Gardens Illustrated

As part of the 200 year celebrations of Humphry Repton's creation of the Endsleigh red book, Hotel Endsleigh has been enjoying a number of events involving key speakers from the gardening world. We are delighted that Gardens Illustrated have organised a Readers Day at Hotel Endsleigh on Sunday 14th September 2014 to continue these fascinating and informative gardening events.

The day will begin with a talk by Anna Pavord, the garden writer and historian. She is the gardening correspondent for The Independent and regular contributor to Gardens Illustrated.

Repton was famous for painting the land surrounding the properties of the well to do, showing before and after pictures of his designs to show off the possibilities of their landscapes.

Anna Pavord will be looking into the legacy left by Repton and discussing the English Country Garden we know and love today.

The long border at Endsleigh designed by Repton measures over 100m and is filled with Herbaceous plants and will look stunning in September.

The day will include a champagne reception and lunch and will include a tour of the whole garden with our very knowledgeable head gardener.

For more details and a chance to book your place please click here.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Wonderful walks...

The River Tamar is where Devon ends and Cornwall begins and is a 50 mile long natural boundary between the two counties. Hotel Endsleigh enjoys a stunning two mile stretch of  this beautiful valley and looking out over the lawns from the house across the Tamar, the vista is completely unspoilt with the horizon empty of any other properties as your eye is drawn towards the monument at Kit Hill.

From the Hotel, walk down to the river and over a small ford, turning left to follow the flow of the water towards Black Rock and revel in the nature to be found there, the Kingfishers, Otters and even the occasional leaping Salmon.

Another walk to admire is the Yew Walk. leaving the hotel on the drive take the first gate on the right in the stone wall and follow the path to the Yew Walk.  Here planted between these dark firs are white lace cap hydrangeas casting pools of light between the yew columns.  Behind the hydrangeas peaking through all the foliage are some lovely dog woods the Cornus kousa alba and miss satomi varieties, which are currently covered in flowers.

Follow this path through the 'Georgies' (see garden map), and walk through a wooded valley filled with extraordinary specimens listed in the Book of Champion Trees of Great Britain and Ireland, until you reach the giant Douglas Fir, follow the steps downward and return towards the hotel on the lower path.  At the end of this you will find the gate to the Shell House.  See the patterns of river stones in the pathway as you pass the tree ferns to the wall of rock. Climb the stone steps to the Rose Walk.

The Rose Walk with its many climbers include such cultivars as Rosa generous gardener and Rosa new dawn, and this time of year fills the warm air with their scent. A photogenic spot, especially for newly married couples, the walk measures 100 metres long, which we think must be some kind of record? We challenge you to find another as long or as beautiful.

The gardens at Endsleigh are open to the public every day, (except for exclusive functions), and costs £5pp (consessions £3), we recommend you call ahead to check the gardens are open. You will need suitable footwear and we would like to remind you that the garden is 200 years old and care should be taken on the many stone steps which can be slippery in certain conditions. Guests with disabilities will have difficulty accessing the gardens.  You will need to allow for a couple of hours to take in all of its glories, of which there are many, and we look forward to sharing them with you soon.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Photographic Competition...

As part of the 200yr Repton celebrations here at Hotel Endsleigh we are thrilled to be hosting a photographic competition to be judged by the great Don McCullin.

Show us your beautiful images of gardens and win a three night stay at Hotel Endseligh, Hotel Tresanton or a combination of both.  The photos will be judged by the great Don McCullin and finalists will be invited to a special lunch at Hotel Endsleigh in the autumn.  The winner will also be commissioned to photograph the beautiful gardens at Endsleigh.  Images selected will be posted here on our gardeners blog, The Endsleigh Gardener.  Please see below the competition entry terms:

1/ Subject: any Garden
2/ Maximum number of photographs: 4
3/ Photographs to be sent via email in .jpeg format to:
4/ size of files: no more than 4MGB per photograph
5/ E-mail to include full contact details
6/ Closing date:  31 August 2014

7/ Hotel Endsleigh reserves the right to publish the images.

Here are a couple of wonderful pictures sent to us by Michael Dugdale which capture very different moods found here at Hotel Endsleigh.

(c) Michael Dugdale 2014

(c) Michael Dugdale 2014
We look forward to seeing your photographs. 

Gold at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

As the florist to Endsleigh I get the most wonderful job of filling the hotel with foliage and flowers from the gardens each week.  This year however, I decided that I would enter the heats for RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  There were nine heats around the country where 1st and 2nd place contestants were offered a highly prized place at Chelsea.

The British Florist Association the flora culture industries trade association organises these competitions together with the RHS to promote British florists and this is one of those events that every florist hopes to win some day.

The South West Heat took place in January and I was thrilled when my name was announced.  It didn't take long to realise just how hard the actual competition would be and I waited anxiously for the schedule and brief to come through.  It finally came 6 weeks before the show, it was:  Design and create a fantasy floral dress for a crystal themed ball.

For two weeks I drew design after design, researching the word fantasy, the definition being:

Fantasy the faculty or activity of imagining impossible or improbable things.
"his researches had moved into the realms of fantasy"

I finally decided the fantasy element of my dress would be to create a giant flower.  We were given the dimensions of the design.  The size had to be within 1.5m in length and no wider than 1m.  I also ordered a mannequin identical to the show's to work on.  Having the dimensions meant that the flower could not be too long or wide and so I decided that the Fuschia would be ideal.  Here is my first drawing for the design.

Once I decided upon the design the next decisions were on how to construct the frame on which the flowers would be attached.  This process took three weeks of  planning and research and experimenting with different mediums.  I finally created the bodice and sepals of the flower from a cotton dishcloth! I clingfilmed the bodice and soaked the tubular dishcloth in a fabric stiffener used by sculptors called 'Paverpol', I then pulled this over the bodice using fencing wire to highlight the edges, cutting away the excess.  I let this dry for three days.  I then spray painted the base with a floral spray paint in 'Deep Wine' and neatened the edges with lace to give a lovely finish.

The skirt took longer but I had a Eureka moment in the bathroom when a loofah I had split.  The skirt is made up of finely sliced loofah (a plant that is part of the cucumber family),  and secured together with clear electrical cable ties.  Three weeks later I had a finished base on which to place the flowers and I was ready for Chelsea.

As I was to be in London for the whole week I arranged to work at New Covent Garden Flower Market in Vauxhall and for three days I worked from 6am until 11pm attaching the flowers I had chosen for the design. I covered the bodice and sepals in a button Chrysanthemum called 'Masai' and created an overlay of crystal fabric leaves with Orchids, Aechnea, Craspedia, Stachys and Sempervivums, following the judging criteria I also researched as to how many floristry techniques I could use within the design i.e. rolling, banding, winding, glueing, wrapping, knotting, lacing, terracing, basing, shadowing and sheltering etc.

On the Wednesday night of the 20th May, we were given three hours to install the dresses in the Great Pavillion, from 10pm until 1am.  It was the most exciting and frightening thing I have ever done.  The other designs were gorgeous and I was conscious that my style was very different from the others.  It goes without saying that I could not sleep that night.  Between 6am and 8am before the visitors to the show arrived the dresses were judged, at 1.30pm the same day we were given the judges awards and feedback.

It was the most thrilling event of my life to discover as I approached the stand that I had achieved a gold medal.  I scored 90%, the second highest score in the competition.  It is safe to say that I am still smiling like the Cheshire Cat and enormously proud that I had the chance to take part in this extraordinary experience.  I am back at work and the gardens at Endsleigh are brimming with scented roses, foxgloves and ferns, my favourite.

Amanda Randell is a British Master Florist and runs workshops at Hotel Endsleigh periodically.  The next event takes place on Sunday 15th June 2014.  Please keep an eye on our web site for more floral events or call the Reception team for more information.