Hotel Review: The Horn of Plenty, Tavistock in Devon
Devon is one of the finest counties from which to escape the stresses of daily life. From beautiful beaches to ancient moorland to picturesque village pubs, you will certainly find something to enjoy in this relaxed and serene place.
The Horn of Plenty, near Devon’s west border and close to the traditional market town of Tavistock, promises ‘a special place to relax and escape the humdrum within its 19th century walls.’ With a mix of traditional country house rooms with roaring fires and converted contemporary rooms with all the mod cons and a 3AA Rosette rated restaurant to boot, you are bound to find some solace in the surroundings.
I was invited to visit the 4 star hotel and restaurant one evening in January and couldn’t wait to relax and enjoy some fine dining. My guest, Nick, and I checked in at the earliest opportunity and were shown to our room in The Coach House, which houses 12 rooms – 6 from a converted stable block and 6 additional luxury rooms rooms added in summer 2014 (there are 4 more rooms in the main building). Our room reflected the others in this block in terms of it’s modern décor, stylish and luxurious bathrooms and stunning view of the valley. The view was aided by an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows holding a patio door, which led out onto a private deck, making for a perfect retreat in sunnier months. Light wood flooring and pale walls were lifted with strong cerise and teal Harlequin fabrics. The large room housed a wall of wardrobes containing plenty of storage and a mini bar and tea and coffee making facilities. A dressing table, armchairs, side table, wall mounted television and, of course, a large comfortable Vi-Spring bed, completed the room. The large stylish bathroom housed a walk in Matki shower, black and white rectangular bath and large modern sink and fittings.
After we had made full use of the facilities (quick nap, cup of tea, delightful shower) we got ourselves dressed up to enjoy an evening’s dining.
Head chef Scott Paton uses 90 per cent West Country produce to cook up fine British food with exotic influence that is presented in the most beautiful way. A £65 tasting menu offers highlights such as Exmouth crab salad with curry, mango and cardamom, Vulscombe goats cheese served with beetroot, elderflower and gingerbread and Alphonso mango mousse with passion fruit and coconut sorbet.
We greatly enjoyed a three course meal accompanied by some delicious wine. Read my full restaurant review here.
After a very restful night’s sleep back at our room, we were up and about early, ready to fill up on breakfast to set ourselves up for the day ahead. I enjoyed a delicious Eggs Benedict, served with bacon, as well as some mini Danish pastries and was pleased that I could fully enjoy the view of the valley. The restaurant has a wall consisting almost entirely of windows, which allows you to make the most of the view and adds a feeling of calm and relaxation knowing there is little around to bother you.
The hotel started life in 1866 as a home for James Richards, the Duke of Bedford’s mine captain and became part of the Bedford Estate in 1918. The house was converted into a restaurant in 1967 by Sonia Stevenson – the first British woman to be awarded a Michelin Star – and it became a hotel in 1985 with 10 bedrooms. Charity lunches, celebration dining and themed evenings are all enjoyed here regularly.
The location is fantastic, being tucked neatly with a soaring view of Tamar valley and 25km of Tamar Trail on the hotel’s doorstep among other activities to partake in. Guests with a four legged family member will be pleased to know that they can bring their furry friend with them to enjoy long walks in the 5 acres of grounds and valley beyond. As well as the Tamar Trail, there are plenty of other things to garner your interest within a twenty minute drive including Burrator Reservoir, the waterfalls at Lydford Gorge, National Trust property Buckland Abbey and, of course, 368 square miles of Dartmoor. And after a long day taking in these sights there is a newly refurbished library in which to relax and enjoy some peace and a drink.
During summer months it must be perfect to enjoy an afternoon tea in the garden and I can see why weddings and events are regularly held here. It is full of history, ideally located to get away and relax, and the food is the star of the show.
In a nutshell
A country house hotel with a mix of classic and contemporary rooms offering luxury with a view. The Horn of Plenty offers the perfect escape for those looking to enjoy anything from a relaxing getaway with a book and a view to an active trip with a comfy bed to rest your tired head on. All of which are complemented with friendly service, fine wine and delicious food.
Address: Gulworthy, Tavistock PL19 8JD / 01822 832528