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An Interesting Reflection on 2020 so far from Anne Way

An Interesting Reflection on 2020 so far from Anne Way
General

Some mutterings from Anne Way

The fact that this strange lockdown has coincided with the life changing decision that we made and led to us selling our two much loved hotels in South Devon earlier this year, makes life for me now seem even more dramatically different on a day to day basis than I ever  could have imagined!

After 37 years of considering the Royal Castle and the team there  as so personal to us as a family it was a great wrench to let go and an emotional time for us especially  to know that it will never be privately owned again in this very  corporate world that we all now live in.  We moved in and lived there for a while with our 2 children when Tim was 3 years and Becca only 6 months old before we eventually moved into a house in Dartmouth which was a challenging but happy time!   I also have my own very personal  feelings about the Royal Seven Stars at Totnes as it has played a huge part of my our own life – I and my family lived locally and I had worked there in the early 1970s as a teenage receptionist and Nigel and I had been fortunate to own it from 2005.  It had become very sad and neglected  and over the years we had lovingly restored its fortunes and importantly it was our favourite venue for all our major family gatherings – both celebratory and sad – parents and children and other family  birthday parties and anniversaries etc – the ballroom feeling on those occasions felt like our own personal family space!   The sadness of leaving behind life at Dartmouth and Totnes was of course combined with the excitement of being able to look forward and plan on spending more time, energy and resources into developing our fabulous properties and teams in Dunster and Porlock Weir.

However, the eventual timing of this transition was amazing (does Nigel have a direct line to Mystic Meg?)  and the  pain of all this disruption in February has since been overshadowed by a sense of relief that we now suddenly have fewer responsibilities and worries than we would have been faced with.  With this unprecedented crisis of lockdown nobody really has any answers at the moment but it seems that there will be lots of problems that bars and restaurants will still be facing once everything is lifted.  We will all have to think of ways of implementing effective social distancing measures and deal with the ongoing fears of customers and staff even after the government allows reopening.

At The Luttrell Arms and The Porlock Weir I think we are very fortunate to be situated in rural areas where we will be in a much better position to offer people plenty of open spaces and clean air  both inside and out rather than in busy urban town centre locations where there is no expectation of ‘getting away from it all’ – our intention at Porlock Weir has always been to use the remote location as an ideal backdrop for peaceful relaxation and perhaps some introduction to mindfulness and wellbeing practices – walking, yoga, painting classes, canoeing  etc being more important at times than socialising and shopping!

At the Luttrell Arms we are already established as a relatively peaceful location where guests are always encouraged to relax either by a roaring log fire in winter or in the sunny garden in summer or enjoy being indulged with a massage or facial in the luxury of the  health and beauty studio.   Regular long standing customers and friends of the ‘Lutts’ enjoy the quiet rather sleepy  village atmosphere that Dunster enjoys for most of the year and the wild beauty and open spaces of  Exmoor that surround us at Dunster and Porlock.

It is frustrating at the moment not to be able to be getting on with our plans – I can’t remember ever spending so much time at home – I haven’t driven my car for over 4 weeks now which is historic for me as I have spent the last few years regularly on the road between South Devon and West Somerset!  The weather has been really hot some days and the garden at home has never had so much attention.  We are very lucky that Becca and Greg and our 2 year old granddaughter Georgia were already staying with us here when the lockdown was imposed as they were in the midst of moving house and everything suddenly stopped mid move.  We are all together and this makes us feel very privileged when so many of our friends have not seen their families for several weeks now and missed out on Mother’s Day and Easter family gatherings.

Every day tends to feel very much the same and so to try and retain some structure to the week we are having a proper Sunday lunch every and cooking for some neighbours who are alone which makes it more worthwhile –  its takes absolutely ages to prepare the meal and clear up afterwards and so this takes up most of the day – probably because as hoteliers we have always been used to serving customers rather than doing all the background work – Nigel had his first Easter Sunday off for 40 years he tells me!  There are arguments about timings and cooking procedures and results are variable sometimes and no help in the house now I realise how much time consuming work is entailed in cooking a family meal. I realise now why everyone enjoys going out to eat in hotels like ours for major meals like Sunday lunch!  On a Sunday night I find myself looking forward even more to the hotels reopening and getting Barrie and Miguel and their teams back in the hotel kitchens.

What our guests say...

"Hotel Top Of It's Game" - Nocky-1975 - via Tripadvisor.co.uk

Just spent 3 nights here in these difficult times we now live in. Faultless is the word I would use to describe Porlock Weir Hotel from the time you book until the time you leave they can’t do enough to accommodate you. Under the leadership of Michell and Miquel the hotel is run impeccably from front of house to housekeeping nothing less than 10/10 and that’s before you get to dine where...

"Just Like Home" - Justhadtosay via Tripadvisor.co.uk

Fabulous hotel which is hard to fault. As someone there said, you feel like the first person to use the room. Beautiful rooms and bathrooms and we had a view of the sea and bay which was just what we needed.We had a long walk one day which was such a tonic after working at home for so long. In our arrival back it was like getting home with a log fire, friendly welcome and home made cream tea.The staff...

"Exceptional in Every Way!" - MJM48 via Tripadvisor.co.uk

From the moment we walked in we knew we had made the right choice - such a warm, friendly welcome. The hotel was beautifully decorated for Christmas and with the lovely open fires made us feel festive. Our room overlooking the harbour was absolutely lovely, spacious and spotlessly clean. The bed was very comfortable, shower excellent. We had dinner both nights of our stay, good quality ingredients...

"Wonderfully Spoiling, Relaxing Break" - Penny V via Tripadvisor.co.uk

We have been coming to this hotel for many years and have seen it through many reincarnations. We are so happy that the current management has taken this much-loved treasure over and given it such a wonderful new lease of life. We stayed for 3 days with our dog. The staff were absolutely delightful and went out of their way to ensure that we were all safe in a way that was so unobtrusive that we almost...

"A Fantastic Find" - Lorraine via Booking.com

Stylish make-over, good staff, excellent food - breakfast was superb. We stumbled across the hotel by accident, a fantastic accident! Lovely little harbour with amazing views. The hotel was freshly made over, the staff could not have been more pleasant and helpful. Wood fired pizzas freshly made on the patio. Would highly recommend. ...

"Lovely Staycation Find" - Rob A via Tripadvisor.co.uk

Just spent 3 nights here in these difficult times we now live in. Faultless is the word I would use to describe Porlock Weir Hotel from the time you book until the time you leave they can’t do enough to accommodate you. Under the leadership of Michell and Miquel the hotel is run impeccably from front of house to housekeeping nothing less than 10/10 and that’s before you get to dine where...

"Dog Friendly Birthday Break" - Ardel R via Tripadvisor.co.uk

Lovely hotel with wonderful views over Porlock Weir, food was great and staff lovely, friendly and dog fans too. So a perfect break all round. We stayed in October and had a room with views out over the sea. We took our golden retriever with us and the place is very dog friendly with towels to clean their muddy feet if needed....

"A Peaceful Relaxing Place to Chill Out" - Joanna via Booking.com

Stunning, peaceful setting alongside a quaint little harbour and pebble beach. The secluded hamlet down country lanes offered a couple of shops and a good pub next door. The small hotel did not disappoint! Undergoing extensive refurbishment, the overall ambiance was stylish but relaxed with a modern twist on traditional. The completed bedrooms were relaxing and comfortable and our bed provided a ...

"Wonderful Two Nights Stay" - HolidaychicLondon via Tripadvisor.co.uk

We had room 4 looking out to the harbour. The room was spacious and attractively decorated. The breakfast were very nice, a very long wait the first morning though but not the second one - so all good. We had dinner there one evening which was delicious and great service and everything about the hotel is Covid friendly. The staff and guests all wear masks when moving around the hotel, there’...
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The Royal Seven Stars Hotel

The Royal Seven Stars Hotel

Totnes is a vibrant centre for music, arts and natural health situated at the head of the River Dart estuary and in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

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