Bovey Castle, North Bovey
Pack your Jimmy Choos and your Barbour, baby! The jewel in Dartmoor's hotel crown combines family-friendly rural relaxation with a top-notch menu, a knock-out spa and laidback country house grandeur.
If your idea of a weekend escape is gliding through bracken-lined country lines (or in the ‘copter) and arriving to valet parking, attentive staff, grand fireplaces and a lounge bar brimful of local quaffs and toffs, then this 5* star jewel in Dartmoor’s hotel crown is the perfect stay for you. Posh but laidback, unpretentious and very Devon, this Eden Collection hotel is good for a special occasion, a romantic stay or, thanks to the baby-sitting service and crèche, a breather should you have the kids in tow.
Play lady of the manor while de-frazzling in the fabulous Elan spa (currently closed due to COVID) or have a snifter on the terrace while soaking up those breath-taking Dartmoor views. Take your pick from 60 individually-decorated rooms, including swanky suites with bucolic views and interconnecting family rooms, as well as 22 private estate lodges where you can stay with friends and family yet still enjoy all the benefits, including all the outdoorsy country pursuits the hotel has to offer. Pop on the gauntlets for a spot of falconry, try clay pigeon shooting and archery, or slip on the jodhpurs and take a hack or a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. As you’d expect for such a rural setting, you’re welcome to bring the pooch too (although there are restrictions about where Fido can go inside).
But back to that glorious Elan spa.The pool is impressively large, and the location glamorous with plenty of loungers for elegant chilling, plus there’s a sauna, steam room, and treatment rooms where you can treat yourself from an extensive menu of ESPA pampering. And when that gets just toooo relaxing, there’s a small gym and tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, as well as 275 acres of estate and the atmospheric granite tors of Dartmoor to explore, and the cathedral city of Exeter just a 45-minute drive away. *phew*
During Covid, the fine-dining in the Great Western restaurant is off the menu, but you won’t be disappointed with the Smiths’ Brasserie, where you can tuck into quality pub classics, from Brixham fish pie, estate venison, or braised beef flavoured with honey from Bovey’s own bees, plus there’s a good veggie range and kids’ menu. And Bovey’s traditional afternoon tea, preferably with lashings of Veuve Cliquot, is legendary.
Planning a Big Day? Here would be an unforgettable place to get married and everybody should do Christmas here at least once in their life. Want to check it out for yourself? Take a virtual tour here.
North Bovey, Dartmoor National Park, Moretonhampstead, TQ13 8RE
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