What We Love
- A five-star stay packed with historic splendour – includes breakfast, a spa discount and more The extraordinary variety of outdoor pursuits to try your hand at
- Country views, roaring fires and hearty British food at Smith's Brasserie
- Fancy facilities following an exciting, no-expense-spared restaurant and spa refurbishment
What To Know
- Outdoor activities include archery, clay pigeon shooting, fly fishing and hot airballooning
- Set in the heart of Dartmoor National Park
- There are two elegant restaurants to choose from
In a scenic valley on the edge of Dartmoor, Bovey Castle is a fantastic monument to turn of the century grandeur. The design is executed in Elizabethan style and offers an insight into the bygone lifestyle of English Lords and Ladies. Gazing out over the great, rugged bracken-covered wilderness of Dartmoor beyond there’s a sense of immense scale. High ornate ceilings and vast panoramic windows provide the setting for taking in the landscape views, perhaps over a spot of similarly expansive Bovey Castle afternoon tea.
The AA five-star Bovey Castle boasts a tranquil spa with a wide array of individually tailored treatments to perfectly complement the peace of the area. A gym and stunning Art Deco swimming pool also boast lovely views out over the terrace and River Bovey. The list of outdoor activities available is almost endless and includes archery, clay pigeon shooting, hot air ballooning, mountain biking and fly fishing. Attend a sloe gin-making (and drinking!) session or try your hand at Crolf, the Bovey Castle’s very own eccentric new sport. There’s also a championship 18-hole golf course and a 4×4 off-road track.
How to Get There
Im generally an apologetic type traveler who can appreciate any level of accommodation as long as it is safe, cleanly, and an enjoyable experience.
The Bovey Castle is beatiful in its attention to detail in the various public spaces but unfortunately that was all it offered. Its such a shame.
First, this was NOT an English castle experience. We literally did not meet any staff from England working at the castle while we were there. I appreciate all cultures but when visiting England part of what we enjoyed most was soaking up the rich information and experiences from the local staff at each hotel we stayed. We felt like we made mini friendships at every place we stayed EXCEPT Bovey castle. Thats a shame.
Let me give a couple examples if each very minor things that i think youll see all add up in the end to give a very sterile and a very impersonal experience.
First arriving at check in i advised them i was fine with bags and finding the cottage house. Thats totally fine but you would expect at 5 star this would be unacceptable to just hand you a key and send you on your way with no introduction to the vast grounds.
At reception i specifically asked where we could dine informally. I was told smiths restaurant was informal and served late til 8pm.
At 5:45pm our family arrived to eat where we were stopped at the front counter and asked when our reservation was for. We told them we had not been told we needed a reservation for this side and the man became nervous telling us, "Yes but this is a 200 room place and if everyone ate at the same time we couldn't accommodate everyone...maybe we could fit you in for 8pm."
Now mind you i am not exaggerating to say there was literally not a single person seated yet in the restaurant to eat. I stood there and waited for the maitre de to tell us when we could eat and he ends up telling us they will let us dine now. So now ibsit having a meal with my wife and son feeling as if we are inconveniencing the staff and theyre worried about ordering desert etc so as not to inconvenience the staff. Im sitting there wondering why i spent a grand on the room and a couple hundred on dinner to feel like im the jerk inconveniencing the staff that work there.
So the meal. I order a filet mignon which for 40 bucks comes with french fries and a "wedge" salad. I use quotation marks because it was a piece of lettuce with oil and vinegar on it not a wedge salad. That aside i mentioned to the waitress it would be great if i could instead do a small ceaser and maybe some mash potatoes since they are both on the menu anyway and id of course be happy to pay for any differences. She responded in a thick accent that this is not what the menu says it comes with and begins pointing at the menu so i can very clearly see the error in my ways.... ok...i get it. This apparently isnt MacDonalds where its your way right away although they sure do only serve the fries with their 40 dollar steak. See the photo for pictures of a medium filet. It wasn't but honestly i had enough so i didn't even mention it. Just signed for the bill. Oh and my wife asked if the bread for the table could be warmed. The response in the thick accent... "It is not warm because we serve our bread cold here. This is the way we serve it." .... right... got it... message received.
The spa... no proper hot tub. Its an indoor pool. Its fine but unfortunately the least spectacular spa facility of any of the five hotels we stayed and this was supposed to be the 5 star best.
Want your child to have the experience of feeding some animals on the grounds? This should be a fun, organic, experience right? Maybe even spontaneous walking the grounds. Nope. Sign up sheet is at the front entrance. 40 bucks per person to feed their animals and the sign up sheet was already filled up with a total of only 6 slots. Im not making this up.
All in all there was absolutely nothing friendy, genuine, organic, or even English about this visit to this English castle. Im so disappointed i left this to be our last stop before flying out hoping to save the best for last but so thankful to have met and stayed at the other fantastic places in London, North Yorkshire, the lake district, and north wales.
We had a wonderful 2 night weekend stay last week on a Travelzoo deal. The weather was inclement but the hotel was warm and inviting and the spa facilities made up for the inability to do much outdoors.
All the staff we met were friendly and helpful. Checkin was simple , our room was spacious and warm (despite some draught from the old windows). The bed was huge and, although two singles together, we had no issues with the join.The shower was wonderful and the Espa toiletries were a treat.
Breakfast were hot, plentiful and varied. Waiting staff were helpful and friendly.
We did not eat dinner at the hotel, preferring to sample a local pub with a good reputation.
On Saturday we had a spa day (again, a Travelzoo deal!) which included lunch in Smiths brasserie. Food was lovely but we were not very hungry after our hotel breakfast!
The spa facilities were fine. Changing rooms were clean and bright, with working lockers and a private changng room. Towels were plentiful and used laundry was taken away regularly. The pool was warm enough and had a built-in jacuzzi at one end. It was quiet when we were there. Sauna and steam room were hot and clean.
There were plenty of loungers facing the wonderful view through huge round glass windows and watching the weather outside was a lovely contrast to being warm and cosy indoors.
We both had exfoliating scrubs followed by back, neck and shoulder massage- top marks to my therapists Clare and Donna.
All in all we were well pleased with our experience. I would probably only go on a voucher deal, but I would certainly be happy to go back again.
Bovey Castle is fantastic location but do not expect to get a Hot Shower or be able to have a normal shave. Water is lukewarm at best despite flagging issue to staff on day of arrival and during stay. In addition if you are looking to have a good sleep at night in a double bed then watch the gap our double was a twin with uncomfortable split.
The hotel is a in lovely setting and we had great views from our room. That was the only positive thing we can say.
It was very expensive and pretentious. A small glass of Prosecco and bottle of beer cost £17. The staff need training in protocol and manners and were not welcoming at all.
We decided to eat out at a local pub which we found a much better experience.
Once we arrived home, they left a message, saying they had taken £64.01 from our account through unpaid food bills. This was incorrect, though they did rectify this.
went with my daughter for a facial and afternoon tea birthday treat for me. i have never had a facial before it was good but the shoulder and neck massage was really what i needed and i felt it working on the tension in my neck it was really great perhaps i should go more often. anyway what we were really looking forward to was the afternoon tea and it was amazing. everything was great my only little comment is that i would have preferred more savoury than sweet there were 2 tiers of sweet and only one tier if savoury
can't wait to go again. great attentive staff lovely views and rooms. great place. i wish i could win the lottery i would live there forever. jenny.