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Spotlight on Bovey Castle spa and hotel in Devon

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Earlier this year began shooting our latest video, depicting some of the different types of spa experiences across the UK. Shooting on location, one of the destinations we went to was the magnificent Bovey Castle. Perched in the midst of Dartmoor in south Devon, this grand country house hotel epitomises luxury escapism. Here’s what you need to know…

Bovey Castle hotel

Part of the Eden Hotel Collection, Bovey Castle has all the style of an independent hotel with the slick customer service of an experienced organisation. A historic country house hotel, it has undergone fantastic refurbishments in recent years, the result of which is exceptional accommodation and attention to detail.

The Cathedral room, where afternoon tea is served|Find out more

Guests can choose to stay in one of 60 individually-designed bedrooms located in both the original historic manor house and private mews building across the courtyard. The five star hotel also has 22 three-storey Bovey Castle lodges to stay in across the estate. They’re perfect for groups of friends or families looking for that extra bit of privacy and time together.

The restaurants

Naturally, food at the hotel is a treat. The Great Western fine dining restaurant has three AA Rosettes to its name, while Smith’s Brasserie also has one of its own.

Smith’s Brasserie|Find out more

The two restaurants are overseen by Executive Head Chef Mark Budd. He uses the local larder to optimal effect with seasonal dishes that are made to be savoured. An indulgent retreat, it’s more about enjoying yourself than worrying too much about calorie counts. Especially given that the beautiful location is primed for afternoon teas that are made to be savoured.

The Bovey Castle spa

There has been a spa at the hotel for a number of years but it was given a huge makeover and extended in recent times to become the five star Elan Spa it is today. Bringing contemporary relaxation to the historic hotel, the art deco pool has the most spectacular views across the grounds. 

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Children are allowed in the pool, so if you want to avoid the busier times it’s best to be mindful of their swimming times between 9am and 5.30pm. However, as there’s a lot of space there’s still plenty of opportunity to relax whether or not you’re with family. There’s a beautiful gym, a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. The treatment area is a plush and contemporary adult only space slightly separate from the facilities.

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Decorated with a sense of Hollywood glamour with a modern twist, it’s all grey hues and slick finishes which make it a welcoming environment. The team have worked hard to create a really unique and meaningful experience in the spa area. It’s spacious and enjoys lovely views once again, and uses ESPA products for the majority of treatments, alongside, Mii for makeovers, Trufitt and Hill for discerning gentleman in their dedicated Gentleman’s Quarter and a range of Orly nail products in the nail boutique.

The location 

Being in the middle of Dartmoor, the views are spectacular. As you arrive in meandering style across the moors, you may find yourself greeted by freely roaming sheep and cattle before reaching the gentility of the hotel. The hotel is surrounded by manicured gardens and terraces that are made for sipping tea. There is even a little putting course on the lawn. It then extends to vast, rolling greenery as the hotel grounds stretch out in front of you, coupled with its  renowned Bovey Castle golf course. It then moves seamlessly into the dramatic moorland. 

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The country retreat vibe is enhanced by the periodic presence of unique guests such as peregrine falcons. As it happened, while we were here a nest of falcon chicks spent a little time being cared for at the reception desk, much to guests’ delight. 

This vast amount of space has been put to good use by the hotel, showcasing both its luxury credentials and its welcoming ones. There’s plenty of activities to take part in. For example, you can book the off road experience track in one of their 4X4 vehicles, try archery and clay pigeon shooting. There’s cider and sloe gin making in the long barn. Or cocktail masterclasses where you can choose to invent your own cocktail or mix up a classic. 

For families there’s the chance to visit the deer park and experience their daily feeding. A daily falconry display, and during the school holidays, little ones can enjoy the Bovey Bears Den Club. Slightly bigger ones can get stuck in with all the activities in Bovey Rangers.

The verdict

Think of luxury spa breaks and this is probably what will come to mind. The perfect balance of everything, Bovey Castle is indulgent but welcoming, decadent but offers a real sense of wellbeing, and tranquil but with plenty to do. Your only problem will be getting there without getting lost in the middle of the moors. On the face of it, it is absolutely a romantic hotel and spa, and you will never go amiss having a weekend together here or celebrating special occasions. However, the space, accommodation options and range of activities also makes it perfect for groups of friends or families as well.

Top tips

  • This is somewhere to stay overnight if you can, to really make the most of it. A day will be amazing but we suspect you won’t think it’s enough.
  • Book to do one or two activities while you’re here, whether it’s a round of golf, a cocktail making class or going to the deer park.
  • The weather on Dartmoor is changeable, but that’s all part of it. Bring wellies and a raincoat and head out to explore.
  • Treat yourself to afternoon tea and really spend time enjoying it - you won’t regret it.

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