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Customers judge Westcountry hotels among the best in the country

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 15, 2013

  • The Old Rectory Hotel, Exmoor, honoured in the small hotel and service categories

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Hotels in the Westcountry have been handed awards in the industry's Oscars after winning accolades from visitors from all over the globe.

Five hotels have been named in the top ten of the Travellers' Choice awards compiled by the website TripAdvisor.

The Old Rectory Hotel, Martinhoe, on Exmoor, picked up two honours: sixth best small hotel in the UK and fifth best service.

In the latter category, the Trelaske Hotel and Restaurant, in Looe, Cornwall, won second place.

Meanwhile further west, the Boskerris Hotel in St Ives was named sixth in the best service group and second best small hotel in the UK.

For Anna Bray and Simon Talbot, who own No1 in St Ives, named second best B&B in the UK, the award represented the vindication of a major and sometimes rocky lifestyle change.

"It's really good news," said Ms Bray.

"It's been a lot of hard work, but it has been worth it."

The couple turned their backs on high flying careers in the West Midlands to buy and run a post office in the picturesque resort back in 2006.

However, two years later it was earmarked for closure under a Government shake-up.

As they were unable to sell, they decided instead to embark on what was initially planned as a three-month renovation project.

"Our backs were against the wall at one point and we had to beg, borrow and steal to finish.

"It took ten months in the end and the building became a B&B," said Ms Bray. "It came good though and it's great to see that our hard work has paid off."

Valerie and Tim Penny, of Pollaughan Farm, at Portscatho on the Roseland Peninsula, were delighted though surprised to be named the seventh best bargain hotel in the UK.

"It's brilliant news, but we are not an hotel," said Mrs Penny.

The couple run luxury self-catering cottages at their farm, although they do offer home-cooked breakfasts and evening meals delivered direct to visitors' tables.

"I do good old, wholesome food.

"It's what's in season and what I can source locally, usually from the farm and it's all cooked on the Aga."

Hugh Rees and Sam Prosser, who took over the Old Rectory Hotel on Exmoor five years ago, said they were over the moon to be named in the Travellers' Choice Awards.

"We are delighted obviously," said Mr Rees. "It's wonderful for us and it's wonderful for the staff. This is probably the best accolade because it's not coming from inspectors but straight from the people who really matter, our customers."

Now in their 11th year, the Traveller's Choice awards are based on millions of reviews and opinions posted online at the TripAdvisor website, covering more than 650,000 hotels visited in a single year by travellers around the world.

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