It’s no secret that we love hotels. In fact, more often than not, we’ll end up planning entire vacations around a single hotel property, so writing this post is something we look forward to doing each year. To see more highlights from years past, check out our ‘Best of’ tag.
You’ll be seeing a good deal of The Idle Rocks on this year’s list. Its light, seaside look, accented by bright art is exactly what Meredith’s hotel dreams are made of.
The cottage at Manoir Hovey, during our early fall escape with Orvis, was the perfect space to relax and unwind, while the lake easily proved to be Orvis’s favorite part of the property. In Vermont, we still spend time every August with Orvis at Topnotch Resort, eating outside at the restaurants and taking advantage of the local trails and rivers. New to the list this year was 250 Main, where Orvis seemed to be able to go just about everywhere a human could – we had breakfast with him downstairs, enjoyed the evening sunset from the rooftop deck, and even killed time begging for scratches from the friendly staff in the lobby.
Watching a lightning storm creep across the campus at The Study at Yale proved to be an unexpected highlight of the summer, but waking up to the site of the fog receding from St. Mawes at The Idle Rocks, as fishing boats hummed out of the harbor, will always be one of my favorite memories from any trip.
A plate of pancakes, bacon, and eggs, with a side of Orvis begging will probably keep Topnotch on this list for the foreseeable future. While back at The Idle Rocks, Meredith seems to have committed the entire breakfast menu to memory, in hopes of recreating it… sadly, the view can’t be whipped up in our kitchen.
We almost made an entire trip to the UK without a proper tea, but fortunately when we did decide to try it, it was from the comfort of the guest-only Drawing Room at London’s Covent Garden Hotel. Warm wood paneling, comfy seating, and essentially the entire space to ourselves, had we stayed any longer, I’m sure we would’ve made it a daily tradition. Also in England, Meredith took full advantage of the gorgeous pools at Babington House, while I took full advantage of a warm afternoon sun and those giant poolside daybeds.
It’s another British sweep in this category – tucked away beside a traditional English pub, the restaurant at The Talbot Inn was a far cry from traditional pub fare. Our meal there proved to be one of two favorites from the year… the other being a few days earlier at The Idle Rocks, where our deliciously creative dinner had Meredith begging that we stay an additional night.
I’m starting to think that I might as well give in to Meredith’s demands and move across the pond. Three categories in a row of all-English excellence – from drawing rooms right down to the loos. The enormous clawfoot tub in the center of our even more spacious Playroom suite, accompanied by a selection of Cowshed and Neville grooming products were the very definition of luxe living at Babington House.
Art is one of the many draws to 250 Main. Each floor is considered its own gallery, featuring works on display from several of Rockland’s esteemed galleries. We thought it very fortuitous that the painting just outside our door was by our very favorite Maine artist, Henry Isaacs, on loan from the Caldbeck Gallery.
So many of the hotels we visited in 2017 have memorable interiors, worthy of the highest of accolades, hence the creation of yesterday’s post. Two particular rooms, however, do stand out among the others – the rich, maple-lined wood paneled drawing room at the Covent Garden Hotel and the chic, art-infused restaurant at the seaside Idle Rocks Hotel. Though the two rooms couldn’t be more different in design, they both inspire an appreciation for mixing patterns and bright colors to create a relaxed and comforting atmosphere.
It’s hard not to be drawn to the rich yellow exteriors of the Regency country house and cottages that make up The Pig on the Beach, but the list of reasons to love the exterior of this charming inn in Dorset goes well beyond a building’s color and style. The 23-room manor house, perched above Studland Bay, features a picture perfect view of Old Harry Rocks, the eastern most point of England’s Jurassic Coast from the strategically placed adirondack chairs, as well as from many of the rooms inside. The onsite walled garden, home to an impressive selection of vegetables and herbs used in the hotel restaurant, is almost a destination in and of itself. Further wandering around the property will eventually lead to an encounter with some of the hotel’s livestock – pigs, chickens, and sheep!
Overall Hotel Experience
Every part of the exclusive Babington House seemed to be carefully planned and executed – from the meticulously well-groomed paths and grounds, to the spa set far away from any hustle and bustle, or the gorgeous main house and its rooms. However the equally well-designed Idle Rocks, might have been the perfect match for the two of us on our UK vacation – a gorgeous hotel set inside a picturesque, English seaside village is pretty hard to beat. But as is often the case with Meredith and myself, a trip with Orvis will always make our list of “best overall experience”, and this year’s visit to Rockland’s 250 Main easily wins where our furry buddy is concerned.
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.