A home from home luxury stay...

2016 threw more hurdles in my path then I could ever have imagined - I could barely envision brighter days.  I found myself taking comfort in the simpler things in life, from tea with good friends and long country walks with my beloved cockerpoo to luxe beauty rituals and wearing that long-lusted after purchase. Travel also, has always given me the escapism and inspiration that I have needed in my life. A new year has begun and I feel that am slowly coming back to me.

As a writer and editor, for the past fifteen years, one of the great privileges to my job is the wonderful travel features I get to write, with magazine editors sending me far and wide, as well as close to home, to review and write about some of the most beautiful and sought after places in the world.

The first weekend of January saw my four-legged companion and I escape to the dramatically restored Tidwell Farm, now ANRAN House, providing luxury boutique accommodation in the heart of the rolling Devon Hills. 

Truly, if a home-from-home luxury stay is what you’re after, this is it!

Enjoying the space in my barn conversion. 

Enjoying the space in my barn conversion. 

There is something hugely satisfying about escaping to the country on your own. The days are yours to explore and indulge any way you choose. That said, with a dog in tow, you’re never really alone, happily lazing together, sharing freshly prepared foods or exploring the land, Partridge and I have settled into a symbiotic relationship. A little crazy about each other, I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather hang out with. Though whilst I’m happy to split my bacon over breakfast, the soaking tub for two wasn’t going to be shared.

Survival guide for a lone trip in the country

1 – A dog you’re crazy about (see above)

2 – Fabulous food

3 – Pamper products to indulge in

4 – Cosiest clothing, made for lounging

5 – A good book

6 – Always fizz

Inside my beautiful barn conversion at ANRAN.

Inside my beautiful barn conversion at ANRAN.

Designed for comfort..

Turning into the picturesque village of Landscove, I was unaware of the peaceful paradise that awaited me. I had been warned about falling hook, line and sinker for the near-inevitable charms of ANRAN and can place the moment this happens; walking into my barn conversion for the night, shutting out the dark skies and drizzle, I am greeted by the warm and woody scent of camphor. A beautiful four-poster bed, made up with crisp cotton linen lies beyond a glass and wrought iron stable door where to the side is a large soaking tub, contrasted against the original stone wall, prepped with exquisite toiletries. Above is a vast space where exposed beams are angular and skylights are perfectly positioned. Under floor heating has been installed throughout and the paired-back stone wall extends to an open plan lounge and kitchen area, where a striking welsh dresser stands tall, adorned with fruit and breakfast cereals and the perfect lounging sofa awaits. The space is both dramatic and welcoming, cleverly combining past and present, not so much built for comfort, as sheer luxury.

ANRAN, formerly a derelict farm house and barn, has been fully restored and its once dank and musty interiors are now fresh and inviting with a touch of the exotic. With the clean scents permeating the rooms, bath time and relaxation have been designed as a sensory indulgence not to be missed. 

I packed my favourite Laura Mercier Fresh Fig scrub, Eve Lom Rescue Mask, and Keil’s Crème de Corps body lotion for bath time bliss.

A N R A N – a home and a retreat

Mike and Edwin, the British-Singporean owners of ANRAN (known to their loved ones as ‘the poofs from Paris), spent two years travelling extensively, their beloved Labrador Kaya in tow, looking for the perfect place to lay down their roots. Finding the right abode was always far more about the building and surrounding space than the location and after discovering Tidwell Farm, they knew they had stumbled across somewhere with the potential to be turned into an extraordinary home.  I felt so inspired by their incredible journey and the fact that they were so open-minded to the possibilities of settling anywhere in the world.

To transform Tidwell into a ‘home’ in which they could live, alongside a retreat for people to stay, was the definitive plan. It was the couple’s creative vision that allowed them to see past the crumbling walls of the rundown property and after three years of painstakingly renovating the house and its adjacent buildings, it now stands, with dramatic structural impact and refreshing visionary interior design. 

With a love for food and entertaining, combined with their hospitality and design backgrounds, it was always of importance to the couple, that ANRAN should remain their home and very much a place to enliven, bringing large families and parties together to celebrate special occasions and reconnect. 

The stunning views, seen from the top of 'Kaya's Meadow'.

The stunning views, seen from the top of 'Kaya's Meadow'.

Stillness is to be celebrated

Although I wasn’t celebrating an occasion, I did celebrate the stillness and sense of peace found, allowing myself to decompress a little and mentally prep for the week ahead.  Tidwell, originally a dairy farm, was closed for many years before it was given a new lease of life as ANRAN, a retreat that will be sure to leave a visual imprint on my memory. The sense of absolute stillness and peace is something that I came to appreciate after the few days I spent in this haven – the name ANRAN means just that – a place of peace and tranquility in Mandarin.

The property boasts an abundance of picturesque spaces ranging from the serene lake, the former piggery hut, masterfully turned into a snug, equipped with a fire pit to the dramatic chandelier adorned ‘Hut’, the beautiful glass house, built into the walled garden and the contemporary terrace of the heated swimming pool. The most stunning views, however, are best seen from ‘Kaya’s Meadow,’ the resting place of the o wners devoted Labrador. It is here at the top of the hill, where I began to appreciate the true meaning of ‘an ran’. 

The pottery studio at ANRAN. 

The pottery studio at ANRAN. 

Nature, always nature

This year, ANRAN will see a major investment into the land, creating habitats for different wildlife and plants, along with putting in proper walkways, styles and follies. The duo are emphatically passionate about taking care of nature and realise the importance of bringing back a healthy balance to an area that was neglected for so long.

ANRAN embodies the couple’s own personal style of decoration within a relaxed environment, a place to be enjoyed. The versatility of the buildings pull on my desires to go back for a party, so I make a mental note to myself to recommend to a friend, who is looking for the perfect venue to celebrate her 40th later this year.

Why do we have to remind ourselves to take time out?

My escape to ANRAN couldn’t have come at a more welcoming time, being there, ensconced on the sofa, with my vetiver Diptique candle burning in the corner and my pooch curled up on my toes, reminded me of the importance to take time out for yourself and to slow down in these ever chaotic days.

Whatever your reason for an escape, should there need to be one, step over the threshold into this Devon paradise and I guarantee it will linger on your mind long after you leave, willing you to return for the kind of relaxed routine lusted after in everyday life. 

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