Augill Castle may be unlike anywhere you have ever stayed before. Why? It is, as one guest wrote, perfectly imperfect. The castle has been our family home for twenty years and we seek to recreate a slice of our life here for you. We aren’t trying to be a luxury hotel which strives to create order out of chaos (the inevitable result of which is blandification), rather to celebrate with like-minded people the fact that life is chaotic and we’re all in it together.
When we bought the castle in 1997 we started with three bedrooms, our guests sharing our family home with us, eating together, sharing the same space and enjoying a shared genuine country house experience – guests have shared our downs as well as ups as we have theirs. We were passionate about breathing new life into this once sad and neglected place and we attracted guests who understood that passion and were looking for that shared experience.
The place is far from perfect. 148 windows and an acre of roof take some upkeep. But some of our renovation decisions have led to us retaining original features rather than replacing them with new because we want the history of the building to sing – even if it is slightly off-key sometimes.
Nearly twenty years on we have many more bedrooms – all on a rolling redecoration programme – but the ethos hasn’t changed. We have worked hard to retain the essence of a shared country house experience. In many ways the easier option would have been boutique, beige and bland – but nearly everyone else is doing that already.
We seek to share the simple joys of country life with our guests – other places can offer contrived luxury and simpering service much better than we ever could or would wish to – and simple joys have to be kept simple to stay real.
That experience is borne of genuine hospitality made of genuine interactions. What makes us different are not our facilities (there’s only so much you can do with a good bed, a deep bath and a hearty breakfast) but the relationships you will have while you are here – between you and us, you and our staff (whose friendliness we value far more than efficiency) and, most importantly, you and your fellow guests which we hope create longer lasting memories than a loose corner of wallpaper, a chip in the paintwork or a missing jam pot at breakfast. We want you to feel you belong here as much as we do.
We have broken down the artificial barriers of a hotel – there is no reception desk to get in the way of our welcome, there is no barrier between you and the kitchen (if you need something and we can do it, we will. If you ask for something we are unable to provide, we will suggest an alternative), the bar is yours to explore and get creative behind.
If that all excites you, Augill may be just the place you have been searching for.
If you are looking for an anonymous place to stay where everything is perfect, the facilities are more important than the people you will meet, where whispering to your partner is more appealing than meeting other people and making new friends, where everything runs to a timetable and every choice is from a menu and timed to the minute, where quantity of choice is preferable to quality and where the staff are trained to respond with automatic uniformity rather than spontaneous generosity, Augill won’t be for you.
We hope you do choose to visit and we look forward to welcoming you to our happy family home and for those who do make Augill their second home, there are always the books to complete the story!
Simon, Wendy, Oliver & Emily (that’s us looking gorgeous at the top of the page)