BOVEY CASTLE | Dartmoor National Park | Devon
Image: The Piano Bar – Photography Dex Jones
Review: Dex Jones
Located a short drive into the North Eastern side of Dartmoor, Bovey Castle was built in 1907 for the second Viscount Hambleden, son and heir to Mr W.H Smith (the stationary tycoon), as a family estate. This Grade ll listed, Neo-Jacobean building has been extended over the years. For a time in 1930 this property was owned by Great Western Railways and since then has changed ownership several times where finally in 2003 it was renamed Bovey Castle. Now part of the Eden Group hotel collection, this grand hotel is an absolute gem in the heart of the West Country.
Driving up to the hotel along the edge of the golf course where age old trees lining the roadway, was like a journey back in time, Bovey Castle’s moody, grey stone exterior and classic leaded windows gives the appearance of a much older building, and one that could quite have easily featured in the novel ‘The Hounds of the Baskervilles’, set on Dartmoor.
Image: Bovey Castle Pool – Photography Dex Jones
We were met at the front entrance by the concierge team who assisted us with our luggage. The sheer scale of the building is staggering and the management of the space is well and truly maximised. We were a little early and so took full advantage of a light lunch in the Smiths Brasserie.
The ground floor level is a great testament to the design of this beautifully renovated building, there is a swimming pool and sauna with steam room and ‘in-pool’ Jacuzzi at one end, and the golf pro shop and changing rooms at the other end.
Smiths Brassiere is a relaxed dining experience. Circular, comfortable leather seating and dining tables are dotted around the room to cater for couples and groups alike. There is an open kitchen and a central bar.
Image: Bovey Castle, The Piano Bar – Photography Dex Jones
The Piano Bar has one of the grandest carved wooden fire surrounds in the hotel, matching the oak panelling on the walls and corridors around the building. Luxurious soft furnishings, ambient lighting and the redolence of burnt oak created a warm and dreamy atmosphere.
Our room, (number 20) on the first floor was quite simply beautiful. Housing a large king-size bed, dressed in crisp linen. Either side of the bed were period cabinets with beautifully styled porcelain lamps and hanging in the centre of the ceiling, an ornate brass chandelier with candle bulbs and sparkling crystal droplets. Large classical window frames set in sandstone mullions, looked out over the terraced frontage, across the grounds up to the deer park, with the river Bovey meandering though the golf course.
Image: Bovey Castle – Photography Dex Jones
Also in the room was a sofa and two comfortable period armchairs co-ordinated with the colour scheme of the room which was royal blue and cream. The room also had an original ornate open fireplace with green ceramic back tiles, although the fire was not used it was still a grand addition to the room. A flat screen TV was the only ultra-modern addition to the classical bedroom. In the bathroom there was a walk-in rainwater shower and a large bath along with a double legged wall mounted ceramic sink with gold Victorian fittings, a large wall mirror and ESPA toiletries.
Bovey Castle Great Western Restaurant
The 3AA award winning Great Western restaurant was our choice of dining for the evening. Head chef Mark Budd and his team use locally sourced products to create their culinary delights, which are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palette.
Image: Bovey Castle – Photography Dex Jones
We chose a subtle wine, Marques de Zearra; a 2012 Rioja –a light red, with coffee aromas and a creamy chocolate flavours. The amuse bouche was amazing a starter of duck liver with fennel & pineapple salad and roasted brioche followed. For main course I had Roast Fillet of Dartmoor Beef; tender medallions of beef cheek, boulangere. Grelot onions and celeriac. The staff were all very professional and attentive, and overall it was a delightful experience which was topped off with a wonderful hazelnut and chocolate soufflé with praline ice cream.
The hotel is pet friendly and wellies, umbrellas and doggie towels are freely available in the lobby. There is an extensive program of activities available including the golf course, Land Rover off-roading on Dartmoor, a deer park experience, plus many more. We had to try the Cider And Sloe Gin Making And Tasting Class, which was brilliant. The class was held in the ‘Long Shed’ building which was rustic, candle-lit and heated with cast iron wood burner. This romantic timber building has a unique atmosphere which has been a popular setting for many a marriage proposal over the years.
Bovey Castle – The Long Shed
Following a quality cooked breakfast we had to check out a face a long journey home in the knowledge that we had just experienced the grandeur and opulence of the early 20th century in the breath-taking land of Dartmoor.
Image: Bovey Castle, Cider And Sloe Gin Making And Tasting Class – Photography Dex Jones
Bovey Castle, part of the Eden Hotel Collection – a privately-owned portfolio of nine beautiful properties in the UK. Situated in the spectacular Dartmoor National Park, the luxurious hotel has 60 bedrooms, 22 lodges, two restaurants, an 18-hole golf course and an Elan Spa. An overnight stay with breakfast is priced from £219 per room (two sharing), including access to the Elan Spa. Call Bovey Castle on 01647 445 007 (www.boveycastle.com).