Having read the previous review of this unique hotel by travel writer Geoff Moore, I decided that it was just the place to take my wife for one of her special ‘0’ birthdays – and being a lover of all things Art Deco, she was absolutely blown away by the whole experience.
I don’t want to repeat all the factual information given by Geoff, but thought I’d add some personal thoughts about our stay. We were firstly impressed by the efficient system for arriving on the island, being unable to take the sea tractor in December owing to the weather and tidal conditions, and being met by a driver in the 4-wheel drive car. The pre-arrival communications, car parking in Bigbury, and meeting arrangements ran like a well-oiled machine. The welcome glass of champagne in the Palm Court lounge also made for an excellent start!
Entering the hotel, we were instantly transported into the 1930s, immersed in an Art Deco world that was unlike anywhere we’d been before. Being fans of Agatha Christie, we could easily imagine ourselves treading in the footsteps of Poirot, Hastings and Miss Lemon! I’m sure each of the rooms and suites maintain the same style. Ours was the Sir Malcolm Campbell suite, unique in its furnishings and also perhaps because of the bathroom being an integral part of the bedroom! (Fortunately, the toilet was separate!)
We’d decided in advance that, if we were going to ‘do’ this experience properly, we ought to go all-out for the black tie, cocktails, and 7-course tasting menu dinner. The evening was as excellent as we had hoped, if not exceeding our expectations. With personal service throughout, we felt as if we were in a different world, and the quality of the food and drink was of the highest standard. As I’m writing this, I can still hear the piano music and remember the various delicious dishes we tasted. Delightful!
Our planned walk the next morning had to be curtailed owing to some strong winds and rain – not the time to visit Pixie Beach, the scene of the crime solved by Poirot! However, nothing could spoil our stay and we will certainly be back there when we can also enjoy the island more, and the hotel’s outside facilities.
A final comment on accessibility. Being an island, you might imagine access to be difficult, but the arrival process makes things very easy and the lounge and restaurants are all on the ground floor. There is a lift to higher floors in the hotel. It’s harder to comment on value for money, as it’s not the kind of place to visit if you’re worried about prices! Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, everything costs more than you’d normally pay. However, from our point of view we might only do this whole experience once, so didn’t want to spare any expense. It was a special occasion – and a real treat to celebrate!