Stewart & Susan
We purchased the Ffarm from Jeremy Platt in early 2013 having both decided we needed to get out of the rat race and away from the office politics in which we had been immersed for almost 30 years.
Our vision was simple – devote the next twenty years of our working lives to running a B&B that we could really be proud of and where “Excellence in Guest Accommodation” was not our mission statement but our minimum standard. The Ffarm building and its grounds have a natural “WOW” factor and many people say the photos don’t do it justice. We wanted there to be a similar “WOW” factor in everything that we offer our guests – from the quality of the rooms, the breakfasts, our evening meals and every aspect of our service. If we haven’t achieved this for you then please tell us how we can improve.
When Jeremy refurbished the Ffarm in 2006 he adopted a wine theme reflecting the years he and his father had worked in the wine business (Jeremy owns Ffarm Vintners, a member of the Independent Wine Buyers Consortium). The rooms were named after various wine regions and the wine theme was reflected in various of the interior detailing (notice the wine glass motifs on the fireplace in the hall).
We have chosen not to theme the Ffarm based on our working lives (too boring and mundane) but on our passion for two things – mountain walking and SCUBA diving.
The rooms on the second floor naturally reflect the really high altitude walks we’ve done.
The Hemingway Room celebrates our achievement in reaching the summits of Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft) and Mount Kenya (16,355 ft). Although Ernest Hemingway never actually climbed either mountain his books immortalised the region and naming a room after one or other mountain didn’t quite feel right (Mount Kenya is actually by far the more interesting and beautiful mountain).
The Himalaya Room celebrates our first major ascent above 18,000 feet which we did over the New Year 1999-2000 (an incredibly cheap trek at the time because of the fears surrounding the “millennium bug” and its potential effect on computers in general and air traffic control in particular). Our summit was Kala Pattar at 18,514 ft which turned out to be a pretty unremarkable pile of rocks and prayer flags but does afford remarkable views of Everest (which you can’t actually see from Everest base camp).
The Quito Room celebrates some stunning walks that we’ve done in Ecuador but also our only major failure. The summit of Chimborazo has an elevation above sea level of 20,564 ft but because of the planet’s equatorial bulge is actually further from the centre of the earth than the summit of Everest. It proved a little too much for us and we had to turn back at just above 19,000 ft – so close yet so far (but we had just climbed to the top of Cotopaxi which at 19,347 ft is still our personal best altitude wise).
Coming down on to the first floor we drop altitude slightly with the Cusco Room celebrating our adventures in Peru. Our major trek was a circumnavigation of the mountain of Ausangate in the Willkanuta range of the Andes – a spectacular mountain in a region of fantastic natural beauty and isolation with 5 separate passes to scale at around 16,000 ft. Of course whilst we were there we had to “do” Machu Pichu but it was the peaceful wilderness around Ausangate that impressed us most.
The Borneo Room celebrates our 10th wedding anniversary trip to this beautiful island. At 13,435 ft MountKinabalu is a minnow but it was our first taste of high altitude and an addictive one. Overnighting at the Laban Rata rest house at 10,370 ft was awe inspiring – a terrace juts out over the cliffs and you feel like you could step off and walk across the layer of cloud that stretches like a carpet at your feet. This trip also inspired us to take up diving so in a sense was the origin of both our passions.
The Florence Room celebrates both our honeymoon there (1987) and a walk we did from Bologna to Florence in 2005. This obviously wasn’t a high altitude walk but the Tuscan countryside was incredibly varied and walking into Florence after seven days of rambling was an absolute joy. Florence is probably our second favourite city after Venice and has that perfect blend of renaissance architecture and fine Italian food and wine.
The Venice Room is the best room at the Ffarm and celebrates our favourite city. Our first holiday together was here and we have since returned to Venice as often as we can – it never disappoints. Get off the beaten track and there is so much that catches the eye – fascinating little details and marvellous slices of Venetian life.
Descending to the ground floor we only have one room left – the Coral Room. This room celebrates our love of the oceans and diving. We admit we’re only warm water divers and have never dived in the UK but we never tire of the coral reefs teeming with life and have notched up a varied collection of dives in sites in Thailand, the Philippines, the Maldives, Bali, Sulawesi, Madagascar, Kenya, Zanzibar, Belize, Tobago and of course the Red Sea. Reefs are fragile and vulnerable ecosystems but of immense beauty and incredible variety – truly awesome.