Short stay: Dittisham Hideaway, Dittisham, Devon, UK

Dittisham Hideaway is the latest venture from hotelier and entrepreneur, Peter de Savary and his wife Lana, and consists of a luxury collection of treenhouses, shepherds huts and an iconic 1950s American Airsteam. Offering dog-friendly accommodation with plenty of outdoor space and wood-fired hot tubs, this unique venture is hidden away in a private, sun-dappled wooded valley and wildflower meadow, just one mile from the beautiful River Dart in South Devon.

The welcome

We received a call from Alice ahead of our stay, asking what our likely time of arrival would be, and whether we would like the hot tub heated in advance of our arrival. Directions were easy to follow and we had been emailed a code for a security box making access seamless. Electric wheelbarrows – that could be set on ‘tortoise’ or ‘hare’ mode – are assigned for each hut shepherds and can be used to transfer luggage from the parking area (where there are also charging points for electric cars).

The room

We stayed in Willow, a luxury shepherd’s hut for two people, finished to a high standard throughout and, as the ‘end hut’ of five, enjoying the best view down the wooded valley. Unlike some shepherds huts which can be quite small to live in, this came with ample room (234 sq. ft.), full of character and charm, whilst still being a practical living space too.

The huts have been lovingly hand-crafted to Dittisham Hideaway’s high specifications by West Country Artisans. At one end lay a king size double bed looking out over the meadow with a very comfortable bed with Egyptian cotton linen and a duvet that is 100% natural, 100% responsibly sourced and 100% sustainable, locally sourced from Devon Duvets and made from 100 % authentic, fully-traceable British wool from carefully-selected farms in Devon and the south-west.

One corner of the central living area is occupied by a fully-equipped kitchen, complete with baby Belfast sink, fridge, microwave and two-ring hob, Dualit kettle and toaster, and Nespresso coffee machine. Pans, plates, utensils and a knife block are all present, too.

There is also a traditional wood-burning stove that ensures the hut holds a year-round appeal, a relaxation area with coffee table, and a breakfast bar with foldaway stools, making maximum use of space.

Every amenity has been thought of from the designer fabrics and made-to-measure furnishings to a small collection of books (on British birds, butterflies and bees) and a games compendium (backgammon, chess, dominos and cards). There’s also free WiFi, an information folder with emergency details, practical information about the hut, a woodland walk and map, local information and things to do.

The bathroom

At the opposite end of the hut to the sleeping area lies a generous bathroom with a walk-in power shower, basin and WC. Soft, fluffy towels are provided and there are Basic Earth toiletries, a Fragrance Society diffuser and Hyacinth and White Birch room spray.

The facilities

Outside lies the hut’s own private terrace with a wood-fired hot tub, barbecue, Adirondack loungers with detatchable foot rests, a teak dining table and parasol with seating for up to four people.


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Guests can also enjoy a woodland walk within the grounds, and there’s outdoor table football and an outdoor chess board.

Location

Whilst the location feels quite secluded and remote, Dittisham Hideaway is just one mile from the pretty waterside village of Dittisham and a 10-minute drive to the historical port of Dartmouth, 20 minutes from the market town of Totnes, and 30 and 40 minutes from the seaside towns of Paignton and Torquay respectively.

There’s a Sainsbury’s just 3 miles away and a number of pubs close by that serve food. Try The Red Lion at Dittisham. Advance booking is recommended for the Angel in Dartmouth, which is listed in the Michelin Guide, holds 2 AA Rosettes and is led by Head Chef Elly Wentworth. For younger families visiting, Woodlands Family Theme Park, with a theme park, play center and falconry, is only 5 minutes away by car.

Other nice touches

Inside our hut we found complimentary sloe gin, a bottle of wine, a jar of marshmallows and a welcome hamper with all manner of goodies that included a farmhouse loaf, cereal and a variety of snacks. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate were provided and, inside the fridge, an initial supply of milk, butter and orange juice could also be found.

Cost

The shepherds huts start from £195 per night, based on a minimum 2-night stay.

The best bit

What I really liked about our shepherd’s hut was the tranquillity, and the ability to open the doors and windows to the fresh air and sound of birdsong. The accommnodation is well-spaced and there is plenty of outdoor space assigned to each hut, perfect for soaking up the peace and solitude of the Devon countryside, and for being at one with nature.

The final verdict

Dittisham Hideaway offers something very different to the traditional self-catering break, providing all the ingredients for a unique UK staycation, in understated luxury away from some of the more touristy parts of the West Country.

Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Dittisham Hideaway.

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