From elegant accommodation options to a serene spa and fine cuisine to an array of country pursuits to undertake, the five-star Bovey Castle Hotel repeatedly proves itself to be the belle of the ball among luxury country retreats across the UK.
Set among 275 acres of those signature Devonshire rolling hills, the Dartmoor National Park-based country escape offers up myriad ways to be entertained, whether you’re visiting for a couple’s retreat, a golfing getaway, an exclusive event, a longer family trip or other.
With each visit made, the impressive hotel always manages to please its guests by promising the same meticulous approach and ensuring all who visit are well looked after and enjoy the best of this estate, while offering up a range of new surprises, whether that’s the little things like different delectable dishes across the restaurant or lodge menus, an updated activities programme to keep everyone busy during their stay or simply a new spot to discover among the sprawling grounds.
Following a recent visit, LLM’s travel editor, Natasha Heard takes a look at seven ways in which Bovey Castle hotel proves itself to be the ultimate country escape for luxury seekers time and time again.
A peaceful location
In the heart of Dartmoor, which sits in the heart of Devon, Bovey Castle takes you away from any stresses and worries and transports you to a blissful place where you can choose exactly how to spend your time – full of activities, relaxing in the spa, golfing, exploring, and the like. Taking you away from everyday life both physically and mentally, there’s no better escape than Dartmoor and the 275-acre estate in which Bovey Castle sits.
If you want to venture out to the beach, to either of Devon’s cities or to explore the local towns and villages then you can do just that, but if you want to stay on the estate and indulge in everything going on there, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
From sumptuous, spacious suites to luxury woodland lodges and elegantly designed rooms fit for two, it’s safe to say that you’ll be able to find an accommodation option to suit your style of stay at Bovey Castle Hotel. 60 rooms and suites sit within the building and offer elegant décor with panoramic views of the sprawling countryside, while 22 lodges can be found within the grounds, in a little wooded village of their own.
For the perfect, peaceful country escape, choose a lodge. They’re ideal for longer stays with family or a group of friends as they hold multiple bedrooms with en-suites, outdoor spaces, a spacious kitchen, a comfortable lounge with statement fireplaces, and they embody the countryside with their granite and wood features. Staying in a lodge is like having your own little piece of the sprawling estate and you may be surprised to have such tranquillity within such a large estate, and that’s what makes it so good.
From the elegant tasting room to the Mediterranean inspired Smith’s and the 3 AA Rosette awarded Great Western Grill to in-lodge dining that will wow, delectable delights are sure to be found at every turn. On my latest visit to the five-star retreat, I enjoyed the best of both worlds with a dinner at Smith’s on one evening and a beautiful beef Wellington dinner served at the lodge on the next.
Expect a comfortable and welcoming ambience wherever you go, but especially at Smith’s with its open plan dining area with plenty of natural light, earthy tones and a central fire to enjoy a drink around. Starters include smoked duck salad with burnt orange and cashew nuts as well as oak smoked salmon and black pepper cream cheese bruschetta, soups and salads, while main courses consist of sharing boards, pasta, pizza and large plates.
The slow braised Bovey Estate venison ragu with pappardelle and parmesan was simple, tasty and filling, while the haddock and chips with crushed peas and tartare sauce proved that crispy chips and batter will always please. Desserts were in good supply and include churros with chocolate sauce, tarte au citron, tiramisu, panna cotta, continental cheeses and more.
If you think that in-lodge dining will somehow be a lesser option for a fine dining meal, then think again. I was pleasantly surprised to find that food this good could be served straight to my door and ready to eat, in fact, I would always go as far as to say that I preferred this meal to the previous night’s, it was that good! A (pre-ordered) perfectly cooked and utterly gorgeous beef Wellington arrived alongside potato fondant, cheesy baked greens and gravy, while our desserts of Eton Mess and a cheeseboard proved to be as equally as delicious.
Every good hotel needs to know how to indulge their guests and a sure-fire way to do this is by providing them with a spa where they can relax and be treated to a selection of indulgent treatments.
Take a dip in the pool, sweat it out in the sauna or steam room and lay back and relax on a lounger as you gaze out through the windows, past the sun terrace and out onto the Dartmoor landscape to find peace. And when you’re ready to relax even more, head to a treatment room and prepare to be spoiled at the hands of an experienced therapist. Using ESPA products to soothe and nourish, the Elan Spa therapists will work their magic to leave you feeling ten times better than when you arrived. What more could you want?
Whether you’re a golfing pro or you’d like to be, the facilities at Bovey Castle go a long way to helping you realise your dreams. Every great country estate needs a good golf course, and this 18-hole championship course designed by J. F. Abercromby in 1926 certainly delivers for it is said to be beautiful but also challenging.
Brush up your skills on the driving range, at the short game practice facility and on the putting green, take a lesson, head to the golf shop to stock up on essentials and head out and enjoy what many more have over the past 90 years.
What more could you want from a country escape than a range of country pursuits to choose from to take part in during your stay? The activity timetable is bursting with options here, so if you like thrills then the off-road driving experiences around the grounds is sure to please. You can hone your target skills with archery, clay pigeon shooting and air rifle shooting, while the deer park tour – to meet and learn all about the estate’s almost 200-strong deer – as well as falconry and fawn feeding will bring you closer to nature.
Welcoming to all members of the family
When searching for a countryside escape, you’ll likely wish to include all members of the family in your holiday plans and knowing that a luxury hotel can successfully cater to younger members of the family will surely reassure. A lodge would be the perfect option here and days can be filled with nature trails on the estate, activities aimed and kids and family-friendly food.
If you have a four-legged member of the family that won’t want to miss out, then Bovey will welcome them too. With dog-friendly rooms, a ‘Fido’s family friendly’ award in the 2020 PetsPyjamas Travel awards to prove its worth, plenty of space to roam, and some public spaces that welcome four-legged friends, it’s safe to say that you can cancel the dog-sitter and bring your pooch with you on your travels.
Bovey Castle offers rooms from £325 per night, based on two adults sharing on a bed and breakfast basis. Lodges are available from £750 per night, based on up to six adults sharing on a self-catering basis. A minimum of two nights is required in the lodges.
Tel: 01647 445000
All imagery provided by Bovey Castle.