Luxury Hotels


Michael Caines had gained so many Michelin stars working for others he took a deep breath and went solo. With the help of some of the hordes of Caines culinary fans, all with stars in their eyes, he found the former long-time two-floor home of the banking-Baring family. He spent three years metamorphosing it, re-naming it Lympstone Manor after the local village and adding not only additional bedrooms but, away from the madding crowd, half a dozen double-size shepherds’ huts, full every night with excited kids – and their bankrolling parents. The result is a 22-acre estate overlooking the Exe estuary, 20 minutes’ drive from Exeter Airport. Now 11 of the acres are planted with a total of 17,500 vines, a mix of Chardonnay, Meunier and Pinot Noir.

Each of the 11 bedrooms of this Relais & Chateaux hotel  is named for a local bird. Kingfisher, upstairs with strategic views down to the Exe, has three near-lifesize Kingfisher watercolours, one gold-framed in three parts. The bathtub, a crystal chandelier overhead, is by the main windows, better for that view. Think of any detail, say fresh milk for wake-up tea, and it’s there – but they offer to bring a tea tray, anyway.

There are three adjacent dining rooms for more privacy, and art everywhere. Leave it to the pros and you’ll go ‘tasting’ rather than à la carte.

Perhaps Estuary Tasting, seven exquisite courses of regional produce. You may kick off with local Lyme Bay scallop ceviche, tiny bits of avocado, grapefruit, Exmoor caviar and citrus vinaigrette – paired with a Japanese wine, 2022 Kayagatake Koshu, Grace. Later, braised Cornish turbot – see above – comes paired with the estate’s own 2020 Pinot Noir Lympstone Manor Estate Triassic.

Girlahead is dining with Michael Caines’ partner, Pippa, but he continually pops out of the kitchen to join us, albeit momentarily.  WHAT an evening. Michael Caines MBE you are a genius!