Inside Devon’s luxury hotel offering family-friendly activities
7:34 PM July 26, 2022
7:37 PM July 26, 2022
A beautiful country hotel in the heart of the Devon countryside offers ANDY COOPER all the relaxation and activity he needs
What do you do when you find out your longtime partner may have all the attributes necessary to become a hitman? Head to the nearest bar ASAP and order a cocktail, I would suggest.
Luckily, when this rather surprising news came in the form of my darling partner’s skills with an air rifle, there was a bar immediately at hand serving said cocktails. And a luxury restaurant. And a leisure club. And a golf course.
And that’s because when ‘Target’ Tanya showed off her previously untold prowess on the range, we were in the beautiful realm of Bovey Castleenjoying a first class relaxing and luxurious break.
I’m joking of course. I don’t think she’s going to use her deadly accuracy with an air rifle on me. Well, not this week, anyway. And if she did, I would probably only have myself to blame. That or the lovely and friendly instructors in the range who imparted their skills and guidance to us so easily and helpfully.
Bovey Castle is like that. Everyone is about service and standards. Both are spotless at this majestic hotel and leisure resort set in 275 acres of beautiful countryside and rolling valleys in Dartmoor National Park.
Originally built by the WH Smith dynasty in 1907 and first opened as a hotel in 1930 by the Great Western Railway, Bovey Castle is made up of 60 rooms and suites and 22 free-standing country lodges scattered around in the estate’s magnificent park.
We had a stunning room overlooking the stunning stretch of hills of Dartmoor which sweeps away from the estate with the fabulous golf course directly opposite. It is a testament, I am sure, to the popularity of the course which we have consistently seen played by a number of golfers during our stay.
As well as the 18-hole championship golf course, there is a plethora of activities and countryside activities to choose from when staying at Chateau de Bovey. Experiences such as cider and sloe making, skeet shooting, archery, fly fishing and off-road driving can be arranged around the estate. Children will enjoy a visit to the deer park, a horse-drawn carriage ride and an encounter with the chickens and ferrets, among other interesting activities.
Elan Spa uses ESPA products in treatments that relax, revive and restore mind, body and spirit. The Gentlemen’s Quarter is an exclusive retreat for discerning men, offering traditional treatments. I may be a little skeptical about treatments and filling out the necessary form before attending, but on this occasion when I mentioned a small problem in my knee area, my massage therapist diagnosed the problem and treated it expertly, letting me walk much better than I did. had on arrival. Me skeptical, no more…
The 60 individually designed bedrooms are set in the original manor house and private lanes and most have stunning views over the forest, valley, gardens or Dartmoor. With the largest room at 93 m², these spacious and well-appointed rooms are ideal for escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Each of the three-storey pavilions at Chateau de Bovey has three en-suite bedrooms, sleeping up to six adults and eight people in total. They are ideal for weekends away with friends or family, with a full kitchen, open-plan living and dining area, which open onto a balcony with views of the pitch. Having enjoyed our stay as a couple, we were already planning a return trip with more family members to stay at one of the lodges while we walked the grounds.
The hotel has two award-winning restaurants, the AA Rosette-awarded Smith’s Brasserie, offering all-day dining and a Mediterranean-inspired menu. And newly opened this year is the Great Western Grill, paying homage to the hotel’s history, with roots planted in classic cuisine, recalling the glamor of the restaurant’s Art Deco origins and echoes of a bygone era.
Both restaurants take advantage of the fresh local produce available and include it on the menu wherever possible, from local game and lamb to aged Dartmoor Farmers beef and South West Coast fish. Certainly our two dinners the nights we stayed were memorable and impeccably served, particularly the tasting menu which we enjoyed on the first night.
The offer of outdoor activities is certainly something essential in such an incredible environment and that is how we found ourselves learning to fly with an expert tutor in the morning, before the aforementioned shooting lesson the afternoon. Certainly the calm and relaxed manner of our instructors for both activities made it an enjoyable learning experience. Next to the shooting range, the cheers of a family learning archery made it a tempting option as well. Fun is definitely on the menu when it comes to the great outdoors in Bovey.
But if you’re not the active type, what could be better than curling up on a sofa in front of the fireplace in the hallowed halls of Bovey, reading a book and relaxing? The choice is yours on how to drink this true Devon delight. Just be sure to pay a visit.
- Bovey Castle has rooms from £325 per night, based on two adults sharing a B&B plan. Lodges are available from £750 per night, based on up to six adults sharing self-contained accommodation. A minimum of two nights is required in the lodges.