Luxury retreats with a personal touch

You do not necessarily have to travel across the globe to find tranquillity, comfort and scenery to help you relax and unwind – sometimes an inviting haven is a short drive away.
This is the ethos behind Barefoot Retreats, a luxury holiday cottage rental agency based in Thornham, Norfolk. Proprietor Emma Tagg was employed for twenty years, firstly as general manager and for eight years as managing director, at The Hoste Arms, Burnham Market working with its late owner Paul Whittome and his wife Jeanne as they established the inn as one of the UK’s most successful boutique hotels.

Emma has taken her love and knowledge of the beautiful and wild north Norfolk coast and its distinctive heritage properties to establish a portfolio of individual and unique holiday homes for discerning visitors to the area.

“I thought there was a niche in the market to offer both visitors and holiday home owners a higher and more locally based level of luxury with a rural lifestyle,” said Emma. “By managing all aspects of the holiday rental experience I knew we could offer an outstanding level of service, both for the holiday maker and for the property owner.”

For the home owner, Barefoot Retreats manage all aspects of the property management, cleaning and maintenance; even an interior design service and styling recommendations to create the perfect holiday haven.

Office manager Chris Bensley also gained his hospitality experience as one of the team at The Hoste Arms. “For our guests, Barefoot Retreats offers many of the personal touches which you would expect to find at an exclusive hotel,” he said. “They will find a welcome pack of locally sourced foods and treats on arrival. The best quality linens, fluffy slippers, robes and towels are provided in bathrooms stocked with L’Occitane en Provence body and bathing products.

“Our concierge service helps guests make the most of their stay. We can recommend and make restaurant reservations, book a babysitting service or arrange for a private dining chef to cater in your accommodation. Guests may have their own requests but for memorable treats there are spa days, helicopter rides, water sports activities, hot tub hire and much more.”

The hand-picked properties, which are available for a minimum of one week in peak times or for out of season short breaks, range from cosy couples love nests to large family boltholes with a mix of contemporary and period styles.
Most of the retreats are located on the coast between Snettisham and Blakeney, with some rural gems in villages slightly further inland.

You can find plenty of information about the properties and availability on the Barefoot Retreats website ( and Emma and Chris are always on hand to help you identify your perfect property, or talk to you about using their management service. Call them on 01485 512245.

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