In 1812, the Duchess of Bedford commissioned architect Sir Jeffrey Wyattville to erect a rustic fishing lodge in a Devonshire valley above the river Tamar. (At the time, her family owned a third of Devon.) Fashioned in the cottage orné style—rough oak columns, Gothic gingerbread, shell grotto—this stone manor was recently acquired by another connoisseur of the good life. Designer Olga Polizzi, proprietor of the Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall, has turned the estate into the handsomely restrained, 16-room Hotel Endsleigh. Cream-hued guest rooms overlook a mossy bend in the trout-laden stream, fires crackle in the paneled library, mosaic tables from Milan perk up the floral-wallpapered bar. Chef Nick Shopland deftly revamps the traditional country-house menu—his tender Dartmoor lamb with butternut-squash fritters and Devon beef with a wild-mushroom raviolo are fit for a duchess. Milton Abbot, Tavistock, Devon; 44-1822/ 870-000; www.hotelendsleigh.com; doubles from $415, including breakfast.—SHANE MITCHELL
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