Launched by adopted national treasure Raymond Blanc in 1984, Le Manoir is a spellbinding vision of pure escapism guaranteed to transport world-weary souls back to la belle vie. Much depends on the seductive appeal of the hotel’s ravishing organic gardens, so it’s no surprise that the food is all about seasonality and what Blanc calls ‘sustainable harmony’. Almost everything is infused with the essence of intelligent French cuisine – from an exquisitely pretty plate of smoked salmon ‘mi-cuit’ with horseradish and cucumber to roast loin of venison with Grand Veneur sauce or squab baked in a salt crust with mushrooms and Madeira jus. There’s also room for gasp-inducing extras, divine patisserie and high-art desserts, while everyone feels cherished as staff go about their business with impeccable poise. Of course, you will pay handsomely for the velvety escape of a lifetime, but Le Manoir remains the ultimate dream ticket for out-of-town indulgence and a worthy recipient of the BMW Square Meal Award for the Best UK Restaurant 2013.