Burgh Island Hotel

More than sixty years have passed since the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson escaped the attention of the world and fled to this Art Deco retreat on its own 26-acre private island off the southern coastof Devon. Renovated with panache by new owners who mercifully left a whiff of its Deco decadence intact, Burgh Island is still the place to renounce life’s pressing matters and revel in the island aura that inspired Agatha Christie (who was born in Devon) to pen And Then There Were None and Evil under the Sun during a visit in the early 1930s. It is not hard to conjure up the moment when Jazz Age Brits Hocked here and Noel Coward sipped gin cocktails at this then-exclusive retreat built in 1929 by millionaire Archibald Nettlefold to host his world-weary friends. Reached by a kind of giant sea tractor during high tide, or by foot across the sands at low tide, it is an easy
return to terra firma to visit some of the highlights of Devon’s beautiful coastline (such as Dartmouth or Plymouth, both within forty minutes). But the whole idea is to enjoy the life of a privileged castaway: afternoon cream tea (this is, after all, Devon, where the tradition is sacrosanct) is served in the hotel’s Palm Court.
WlIAT: hotel. Where: 200 miles/322 km southwest of London. Depart from Bigbury-on-Sea, closest village on mainland. Cost: doubles from $165, includes breakfast and dinner. Dinner $60. Best times: Apr-Sept.