We've stayed at Bovey Castle 4-5 times over the past couple of years and have only had one issue on the day they made a major change to breakfast service. Soon resolved. We booked for afternoon tea on Sunday 16th December 2012 which we knew was also the day they were holding a Christmas Fair. The idea sounded wonderful, the list of stalls sounded delightful, and the they advertised mulled wine and mince pies on arrival. The event was from 12.00 noon until 5.00 pm so we booked afternoon tea for 4.00 pm.
We arrived at around 1.30 pm and the welcome by the staff outside, smartly dressed as always, was first class and they did a great job with the parking. Walking into Bovey Castle is an experience itself because you're always given a warm greeting by the staff. Not today! The place was absolutely packed with visitors trying to look at the stalls, guests booking in, guests booking out and it was both chaotic and unprofessional. I felt sorry for the staff to be honest.
I was driving so mulled wine was not an issue for me but I wanted to find a glass for my wife and so went looking for a waiter. 45 minutes later, and having asked 4 different members of staff, I offered to buy a drink at the bar because no-one was serving mulled wine or mince pies. I then over-heard a member of staff asking the Duty Manager where the mulled wine was and he was told: "We've stopped it for a while but tell people it's going round" and then he walked off leaving this poor lad to explain this to other guests.
I'm not suggesting that the venue was crowded but I've had more room walking around the night market in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon [Hong Kong] and this was unbearable. We saw - what we could - within 15 minutes - and so asked if we could attend our afternoon tea booking early. Not a chance but then, to be fair, they were always going to be fully booked. Not wanting to stand in a crowd for another 90 minutes we cancelled afternoon tea, collected our car keys from Reception and drove home.
I loved the idea of the Christmas Fair and I love Bovey Castle. The mistake was that they absolutely underestimated the number of people who would turn up for free mulled wine and a mince pie. I would have been happy to have paid the £ 40.00 for two afternoon teas so we weren't after anything for free but like so many of these 'free' events' they are swamped by people who have no intention of spending a penny on anything else. Regular guests clearly didn't matter on Sunday afternoon and at £ 350.00 per night to stay at Bovey Castle I would have thought looking after 'regular' guests would have been a priority.
Lovely venue, lovely idea but a huge disappointment.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set within its own private estate on the dramatically-beautiful Dartmoor National Park, Bovey Castle is a 5 AA Red Star country house hotel and an unrivalled destination for a luxurious rural retreat. Built at the turn of the century, Bovey Castle has remained loyal to the subtle vision of grandeur upon which it was founded, and the understated-elegance of this bygone era continues to echo throughout the hotel. Within the 275-acre estate sits the 60 bedroom hotel and 22 granite lodges, both offering luxurious accommodation for family breaks, activity holidays, romantic escapes or corporate and incentive team building. The championship 18-hole golf course surrounds the historic manor house, while the estate lends itself perfectly to Bovey Castle's extensive selection of on-site resort activities. Immerse yourself in the luxuriously-appointed decor and outstanding service, relax in the holistic spa and indulge your taste buds with decadent food and fabulous wines. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bovey Castle North
- Hotel Bovey Castle
- Bovey Castle Hotel North Bovey, England