Just after Keri and I got back from our trip to Harrogate, it wasn’t long before I was back on the road. This time, Patrick and I packed up the car for a few days in Dartmoor as we’d been invited to review the Moorland Garden Hotel. We pass by Dartmoor a couple of times a year on the way to visit friends in Cornwall but hadn’t ever stopped off, so it was the perfect opportunity to check out yet another location on our never-ending list of places to visit.
The weather wasn’t the kindest for the first couple of days of our trip (but it did brighten up later). But luckily, Dartmoor is one of those places that finds its own beauty in the rain and the mist and I’m glad we got to experience the bleak, misty landscape so well known from Sherlock Holmes’ adventures in the Hound of the Baskervilles.
The weather had cleared a little by the time we reached the hotel. We’d been out visiting Dartmoor Zoo earlier that day and the route the sat-nav chose to take us was full of winding single-track lanes that finally opened out onto the moor proper before ending up at the hotel. Lots of fun, but rather exhausting so we were glad to finally arrive!
The hotel sits on the edge of the moor, just outside the village of Yelverton. Not only is it a stones’ throw throw from the National Park itself, it sits within its own nine acres of moorland garden. The formal garden at the front of the building was starting to fill with gorgeous autumnal colours during our visit and although it was a bit cold to enjoy the beautiful bandstand that sat in the corner of the garden, I imagine it would be perfect spot to sit outside with a drink during the warmer months.
The four star, 80 year-old hotel has been recently renovated and the decoration and fixtures throughout the building were all of a very high standard. The rooms struck a good balance between traditional and modern and there were lots of flashes of colour and fun scattered throughout.
Found on the outskirts of Yelverton, the hotel is perfectly situated for exploring the best of Dartmoor. Attractions such as Buckland Abbey, Morwhellam Quay and Dartmoor Zoo are close by, and if you fancy a trip into the city, the ocean city of Plymouth is just a couple of miles away.
We stayed in the Forget-Me-Not suite which was absolutely huge, with a large lounge area and bathroom big enough for double sinks, a freestanding bath – all with fabulous waterfall taps – and a walk-in shower. Plus a wide decked balcony gave a perfect view of the garden and the landscape beyond. Luckily, after a couple of days, the rain finally stopped and everything dried up long enough for me to enjoy my morning cup of tea out there.
One of the ways that the hotel excels is in its attention to detail – from the forget-me-not flower seeds and homemade biscuits that greeted us in our room on arrival to the spotlessly-clean room and soft robes. I seriously don’t know how they managed that – hotel robes are usually a bit the crunchy side but these were as fluffy as new. They were the perfect treat after a long soak in that amazing bath…
The hotel proved to be the perfect place to relax after a hard day exploring the National Park. The countryside location meant our stay was a peaceful one, the Dartmoor Bar was a cosy venue for a post-road trip G&T, and although there isn’t a spa onsite, you can order treatments (which I assume would be in your room) if you wish.
The hotel holds an AA Rosette for culinary excellence, so as you can imagine, the food was pretty darn awesome. Highlights included a Plymouth Gin fruit cup jelly with cucumber sorbet at dinner in the Wildflower Restaurant, local, fresh sausages at breakfast, and a Mediterranean platter with homemade foccacia from the Dartmoor Bar. I also scrawled a big note in my notebook how much I loved the fresh patisserie we were treated to after dinner and as part of our afternoon tea.
Talking of afternoon tea, the one at the the hotel is part of the Dartmoor Cream Tea Challenge. Made up of 16 venues over a 63 mile route, if you’re feeling brave, you can walk, run or drive your way round as many of them as possible to get your fill of the traditional Devon cream tea (which is cream on before the jam!) during your visit to Dartmoor.
My stay at the Moorland Garden Hotel was complimentary for the purpose of review, but all opinions are my own. To book a stay or find out about special offers, such as their current Winter Wonder Break, visit their website.