Glazebrook House Hotel, England
Set in English-rural countryside, the Glazebrook House Hotel is an independent boutique hotel that is inspired by the fantasy world of Alice in Wonderland. Hamish Kilburn reviews..
Upscale boutique hotels are not uncommon in the idyllic country of Devon, England. Surrounded by 200-year-old gardens in Dartmoor National Park, the Glazebrook House Hotel is one of the most exciting and unconventional boutique hotels to have recently opened, and some would argue that its thoughtful interiors is what makes it a cut above the rest.
Challenging appearances, from the outside the hotel looks like a beautiful-untouched country house set amid English gardens and woodland. Step inside however, and one is taken into a fantasy world of surrealism inspired by the adventures of Alice in Wonderland.
To me, Timothy Oulton’s style is somewhat similar to the twisted yet beautiful visions of Tim Burton in the same way he juxtaposes classic with contemporary to bring the space to life. The lounge is a perfect example of this. Guests enter into a warm and welcoming space. The area is both homely yet filled with surprises and intrigue. Oulton’s flair for contrasting the old with the new is brought to life in the hand-softened leather Westminster and Mars chairs, sparkling Odeon chandeliers and military-inspired Airfoil desk. A feast of textures continues with black marble, shiny steel and vintage rugs laud upon rustic-wooden floors.
An open doorway beckons into the friendly fire-lit bar, exuding the air of a quintessential gentlemen’s lounge with its cost tufted leather walls and decadent red-marble bar.
The real focus in the restaurant, aside from the food, is on the walls. Shiny silver platters and blue and white vintage china covers the walls in a whimsical display, while an elaborate Florentine mirror reflects the abundant light from the large windows. Leather Mimi dining chairs are mixed with tufted Chester dining chairs for a classic comfort.
The nine fun but sophisticated guest rooms are named after characters in the much-loved books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, written by English author Lewis Carroll. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865, which is also around the time the original farmhouse was first converted into the grander manor. Huge framed 19th century German playing cards stand watch over a sheepskin bed in the White Rabbit guest room, while in the Mad Hatter room doll’s houses are theatrically mounted above the Curved leather headboard. More creativity and quirky nuances await in the Jabberwocky, Tweedle Deez, Bread and Butterflies, Gryphon, Cheshire Cat and Caterpillar guest rooms. Luxury black and white bathrooms are anchored by mesmerising marble floors, inspired by ancient motifs to give a 3-dimensional illusion.
All of the furniture in the hotel is handmade, and was shipped to the UK from Timothy Oulton’s artisanal workshops. Simon Laws headed up the entire project, which took just six months from conception to completion. He explains; “The company has fantastic resources and the ability to do things that are just not possible elsewhere. We have specialists in wood, stone, furniture making, upholstery, lighting…so many areas that we can pull together in a project like this.”
The hotel is everything a modern English boutique hotel should be; fun, luxurious and relaxing with the element of surprise. Oulton has transformed the country house to create an adventure for guests to explore.