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“Wonderful place to stay - just pray they don't let kids in the restaurant!”
Review of Masons Arms

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Masons Arms
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Branscombe
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 22, 2010

We've stayed here many times, and always had a terrific experience. Our most recent visit was no different (lovely room, excellent food and drink, great staff) - apart from our last night. This was somewhat marred because the management decided to waive its "no kids under 14 in the restaurant" policy - and allowed a large party, including a couple of very unruly kids, into the usually peaceful restaurant. (This was in spite of the fact that there was space in several other rooms where food is served, where kids would not have been such a disturbance.) Several couples who had been looking forward to a relaxing meal in tranquil surroundings just couldn't take it - and abandoned their restaurant tables in favour of one of the bars. Such a shame.
So our advice to anyone making a booking, and who wants to dine in child-free surroundings: get confirmation up-front that the restaurant will actually enforce its "no kids under 14" policy - and reserve your right to claim a refund if it doesn't!

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank WeeWillieWinkie06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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615 - 621 of 666 reviews

Reviewed December 14, 2009

Just come back from a night at the Masons Arms. Firstly to get to Branscombe involves some B road driving and prepares you for a travel back in time beyond mobile communications and time when service was the important aspect of any experience. The hotel is set in a valley and central to the village and consists of a series of cottages one row I assume is totally dedicated to accommodation and another row contains the main bar and restaurant with hotel accommodation. The buildings are totally in keeping with the area having been around since the 14th century, the stonework and thatch are in perfect condition and the steps and pathways linking everything are well lit. A word of advice; a real benefit to us and I would suspect to most guests, is that the village does not have mobile coverage so you may want to provide those who may want to contact you, the babysitters in our case, with the hotels’ landline number. Upon arrival the reception is accessed from the car park and I was courteously greeted by the owners. Taken to our room, Cottage 12; pleasingly everything that had been pre-arranged was prepared. The room itself was large with a 4 poster bed, a comfy sofa, arm chairs and coffee table, various other dressing tables and drawers. The bathroom was very large and had everything that was required including separate shower from bath. The room was totally dust free, well maintained and well lit with a range of subtle spotlights and various side lamps; which could be adjusted to provide bright lighting for packing etc. to a more subtle and cosy feel, very well thought out. Having enjoyed a walk to the beach we returned to the hotel and prepared for our evening Dinner. Once again the staff were courteous, recommending wines as well food options. We were on the Dinner Bed & Breakfast option and the menu was just the right size to provide choice but not too big to worry about the quality. The food was very good indeed and matches many good quality restaurants. Having enjoyed a glass of port with our cheese dessert, we were able to take a bottle of wine and a bottle of water back to our room to relax on the sofas and enjoy the occasion. It was at this time we discussed the reviews of others which had me worried at the beginning, and compare our experiences of various hotels around world. The room we had was probably one of the biggest we have experienced and very well maintained and whilst yes I would agree that the room would benefit from an investment in the bathroom area to a proper walk in shower etc as is prevalent in some 5* + hotels, this would be picky and I wouldn’t say this is a criticism of the current facilities. Upon reflection the quality of the room and food was very high, without having some of the stupidly high prices some hotels can charge. Would I stay again? Yes I think I would.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank renook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2009

Stayed at the Masons Arms on the Halloween weekend. The food was high standard pub fare (ate in the pub not restuarant). Would recomend the fish stew! The atmosphere in the pub was good with a large number of locals (and their dogs!) on Sunday afternoon. The local area is very beautifull too and the coastal walks are great for those who like the outdoors.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Alexwares
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2009

Stayed at the Masons for a 3 night mid week break. Our room was lovely and comfortable and nice not to see the standard boring rooms you see in so many hotels these days. The staff and owners were very friendly and more than helpful nothing was too much trouble.
Our stay varied from drinks in the bar with local chat, walks on the pebble beach or just relaxing in the residents lounge with a newspaper.
The food is faultless in Bar & Restaurant with a wide choice and a good selection of local produce.
Overall we came home relaxed and chilled .
We will return

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank davrob1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2009

Tiny room with only enough room for the bed, ridiculous sitz bath in the en-suite. Every table, every chair, every square metre of the bar areas reserved.....absolutely nowhere to sit and relax. No residents area, no lounge, no space.

Food good, service good in the busy restaurant but visibly went downhill as pressure on the kitchen increased.

Will not bother again.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kevin1955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2009

It was OK, but didn't come up to the eulogies I've read of the place. Bedroom a bit tired, and why did the ensuite have a glass door? It poured with rain while we were there - not the hotel's fault, but given we couldn't go out, why was the sitting room locked, so we had to sit cooped up in the not-big-enough bedroom?

My main criticism though is for the pub/restaurant - basically, it doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind. If it's a pub - and they make a lot of the fact that locals use the place - then why squeeze the locals into one corner of the bar, while most of the tables in the rest of the bar have reserved signs on them, and are empty?

The restaurant section is a bit like a hospital waiting room, in terms of atmosphere. The food is well presented, but lacks character. Same with the wine list - nothing offensive, nothing adventurous.

They should either be a pub with good food, or a restaurant, but trying to be both seems to result in blandness. It lacks character - you feel it was there once and has been lost. The potential is there for someone witha bit of vision and oomph to make it a bit special.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Hampshirehog9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2009

We stayed at the Masons Arms in Branscombe for a few days and it was truly lovely. The room was great, the food was delicious and the staff could not have been more welcoming. We had gone there with our labrador for a walking holiday and the location could not have been better. It was easy to get to and ideally located for afternoon drives. As the village is in a steep valley all the walks starting from here are strenuous to start with but once your up there the views are fantastic. We were very luck with the weather but the pub has a fire for cold days and nights and even does pig roasts. We had the fish most meals as it could not have been any fresher. The pub also has cottages for larger parties and there were no children around which suited us. It might get busy in the holidays but locals seemed to drink there in the evenings too.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JFisher75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Masons Arms

Address: Branscombe Village, Branscombe EX12 3DJ, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Branscombe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Branscombe
Price Range: $109 - $163 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Masons Arms 4*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestling in the heart of Branscombe, one of Britain's most picturesque villages, is the award winning, 14th Century, The Masons Arms. This charming thatched Inn dates back to 1350 - a cider house turned country pub - and the men who cut the stone for Exeter Cathedral drank here, hence the name. With only a leisurely ten minute stroll to Branscombe Beach, The Masons Arms offers an ideal base to escape the stresses of modern life and enjoy the magical vista of sea, beaches and the spectacular walks offered by the ninety five miles of Devon and Dorset's Jurassic Coast. The authentic interiors ooze character with timber frames, low beamed ceilings, pine cladding, whitewashed walls and a huge roaring log fire. Our award winning Restaurant offers an exciting and creative menu in relaxed fine dining surroundings. The Masons Arms kitchen brigade are dedicated to sourcing the very best of local Dartmoor produce. The cooking is classy yet simple, perfect for a special meal or relaxing Country lunch. We serve as many as six locally brewed bitters and the finest wines from around the world. The 21 bedrooms at the Masons Arms Branscombe, are cosy, stylish and inviting, blending comfort with character. The Masons Arms has been awarded a FOUR STAR rating under the Inn category by Quality in Tourism. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Masons Arms Hotel Branscombe
Masons Arms Sidmouth
Masons Arms Hotel Sidmouth
Masons Arms Branscombe, Devon, England

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