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“A disappointing second stay- avoid the 'annex'! BRRRRR!!!” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Bovey Castle Hotel

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Bovey Castle Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in North Bovey
Certificate of Excellence
Exeter
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“A disappointing second stay- avoid the 'annex'! BRRRRR!!!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2013

My wife and I might be confortably off, but we like a bargain and so have used Bovey Castle's numerous deal offers twice - once over christmas in unseasonably lovely weather, which was lovely, and the second in February, in unseasonably cold weather- and it flopped badly.

As with the first visit, we weren't expecting top-notch rooms, but the room for the first visit, while up in the eaves and with zero view, was lovely, elegant and cosey, with a terrific bath and bathroom (the 'hot' water was tepid, though); above all, we were in the main castle building itself. But not this time...

THIS time, we had to trudge across the castle courtyard to an 'annex' which, while architecturally sympathetic and containing beautifully decorated rooms, was a disappointment as you instantly lose the 'castle' ambience that made the previous stay a treat- so the 'location' score went from 5/5 to 1/5 for me, because I wasn't actually in the castle any more; and then, a HUGE let down for another crucial reason: THE COLD! Now, my wife feels the cold, but me- no problems at all; but by heck, the bedroom was so chilly that 'relaxing' in there compelled us to go under the bedcovers in our clothes. And as for the bathroom- beautiful, but, my God, I'm really not exaggerating to say it must be a converted chill storage facility for a butchers shop. It was breath-takingly, BITINGLY freezing, a bit like stepping through the wardrobe into a frozen Narnia, laughably 'heated' by the tiniest heated towel rail imaginable, and compounded with a feeble output that only had effect on the skin of your hands that made contact when you clamped onto it for dear life. One's breath chuffed out like a teamtrain at full speed, and (without going into gory detail) use of the toilet seat was akin to sitting bare-butted onto an ice rink. Having a bath was out of the question, and even a shower was a hot-cold water torment, with any part of one's wet skin not immediately under the hot flow of water attacked by the cold. In short, a disaster.

YES, we complained, and were offered a portable convection heater which came VERY promptly however; it was unsafe to put actually in the bathroom, and we were stunned to find that opening the bathroom door and using it to try and heat both rooms (one chilly, and one icebox) was an abject failure because even with this, the heating just couldn't cope. I acknowledge it was a bone dry and bitingly cold period when we went, but, with all respect, it's set in DARTMOOR and, well, Dartmoor DOES get bitingly cold winters, so a hotel situated there should really build in heating that copes with the worst.

As a result, we left one night early. Because it was a deal, it felt too cheapskate to try and claim something back. Suffice to say we still love Bovey CASTLE itself, and every other praise we gave about Bovey CASTLE - the food, the service, the ambience, etc of the CASTLE still applies- but if we took another deal, we'd insist on staying in the CASTLE itself (even up in those eaves'd be fine!), both to avoid the loss of ambience by being stuck in an out-building - and, in cold weather, never be put there, no matter what!

Room Tip: For the love of Peter, avoid the annex like the plague. DEMAND to stay in the main castle building...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LordFlasheart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,132 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (486)
Date | Rating
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English first
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2013

The most perfect place for a long weekend. A beautiful hotel with warm friendly staff who can not do enough for you. The hotel itself is simply stunning. The decoration and soft furnishings are exquisite. The rooms are extremely comfortable and with a view to die for. We will be back. Thank you Bovey Castle and look forward to seeing you again soon.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Kay W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bristol
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2013

Bovey Castle is in an amazing location with spectacular views and a beautiful starlit sky at night. We had a lovely 3 night stay here (after paying an extra £90pn to upgrade our room) despite being initially disappointed with the standard of the original valley view room. We have stayed at Bovey Castle before and it has to be said that standards are slipping whilst charges appear to be increasing.

For the money you pay for everything at this hotel you have every right to expect the best and sadly it seems this is no longer the case. The Edwardian Grill was one of the biggest disappointments as the menu was limited to either beef or fish and did not change during our 3 night stay. The service was also appalling and reminiscent of Fawlty Towers with a really long wait between courses. The same can also be said for room service (on the rare occasions that you were able to get through to them on the phone).

The hotel is fortunate to be in this unique setting but for the money charged there are other better options available.

Room Tip: Bring plenty of money as you will need it!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank mcac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2013

Bovey Castle is without doubt, a stunning location and a beautiful country house. However the rack rate on our standard room before breakfast was £300, and for that price, we expected a lot more than we received - hence only three stars.

First the good points: it is a spectacular setting and the main "castle" areas are stunning, as are the well cared for grounds. On arrival, staff took care of our bags and on learning it was our first visit, one member of staff gave us the tour which was a great idea. All the staff we encountered were a cut above the average hotel staff - very polite, friendly and eager to help. In the main house, there is the large reception, four or so different lounges and a bar, the two restaurants (the posh Edwardian Grill an the more relaxed Castle Bistro), the spa, the gym and pool. The public rooms are all lovely and majestic but comfortable, and guests are encourage to use the sofas, enjoy the log fires, talk to Beaky, the house African Grey parrot, and read the complimentary papers.

The pool is a good size with several loungers that can be drawn up to face out of the long windows that overlook the grounds. There is a steam room and sauna. The jacuzzi was a bit of a disappointment as it is part of the main pool - ie they share the same water, so there is no temperature difference - we found it a bit pointless to sit in cold bubbles. We tried the clay pigeon shooting on site and the guide was great, although having done it before we both thought that it was quite expensive for the number of clays you actually got. The morning free falconry display is definitely worth going to see as well.

We didn't eat in the Grill for dinner but did try the Bistro. The food was fine although the menu was pretty limited (burgers, fish & chips, two seafood dishes and mushroom risotto), and we got the feeling it was more an option for those who need to eat with children. However if you want a more "middle option" as we did, there are plenty of pubs in the Dartmoor area (note you will need to drive or take a taxi) and the girls on reception were great at recommending places and making bookings, essential given we had zero mobile phone signal.

Then the bad points: you are charged for every thing they can charge you for, and when the rack rate is £300... it just seems wrong to ask people to pay £5 per day for wifi or £14.95 plus service per person for breakfast. But our main disappointment was the room. Whilst the communal castle areas are lovely, the standard classic room we were allocated was really quite shabby. Chipped paint, shabby window frames, worn carpet, torn and peeling wall paper. The furniture and decor was mismatched (and not in an eclectic antique way), the bed was a normal double and the bathroom was fairly small, a standard size suite. There was no fridge/mini bar, there were tea/coffee facilities but having used the four UHT mini milks up on day one, they were never replenished. But the bed was comfortable and in the grand scheme of things none of these points are truly terrible. We would have been fine with the room... IF we'd been in a three star hotel paying three star prices.

There were a couple of other little things of well. None of which on their own were a real issue but when everything was taken together and given we were paying through the nose to stay in a five star luxury hotel, left us feeling generally disappointed. Things like having to wait fifteen minutes for a table at breakfast; the staff getting the breakfast order wrong; being woken in the morning by noise in the courtyard outside; calling maintenance after I ran a bath and the water was really quite brown and being told curtly: it's the peat, there should have been a sign in there telling you that (there wasn't, and in any event it was brown enough that I didn't really want to have a bath!).

Overall, it is a stunning location and we were still glad we visited. Some of the points above might seem fairly trivial, but it really comes down to the fact that when you spend that kind of money to visit a five star hotel, you do expect a much higher standard - and it just wasn't there for us.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LinzofLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

We stayed a couple of nights at Bovey Castle and had a wonderful time. The service was excellent as always. In every trip to Bovey Casle we have enjoyed playing golf, swimming in the pool, enjoying the superb setting and walking in the surrounding areas. The food is wonderful in the Edwardian Grill and the afternoon tea must not be missed! It is a great place to relax and lose track of time as well as the mobile phone signal!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 36KM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taunton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
97 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

Lovely location for country house hotel but few things let it down, reception and porter staff very efficient and helpful but dining and bar staff slow and forgetful, room nice size and well equipped, lovely comfortable bed, but boiling hot could not seem to turn down heat?.Maintenance in bathroom needs attention and areas of paint peeling off walls on way down to swimming pool where the jacuzzi was quite cold as it is part of the large swimming pool. Good breakfast in delightful room but spoilt by large crowd of golfers who came into breakfast and dominated the room hogging the buffet area and talking loudly, a shame as this hotel has so much going for it and to have afternoon tea by a log fire in one of the sitting rooms with the papers is bliss.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank piney56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013

There is no doubt you pay top whack for a stay at Bovey Castle, but we find the stretch worth it. This is our second stay and this time opted for a lodge, which was great for a family setting. The pool is family friendly, though the box of kids pool accessories could do with a refresh. Experienced a few delays in the dining areas when busy, but improves markedly when less busy and the staff can show the attention they wish to. The grounds are beautiful and the Bovey Rangers activities for the kids are great and well supervised. Falconry display every morning is a highlight, we will certainly never tire of getting up close and personal with some magnificent birds of prey. I didn't play the course but it looks superb and my wife took a couple of spa treatments that she says were terrific. Generally staff are great, visible and always happy to help, as too is Federico, the manager.

Room Tip: Lodges are great for families, especially if you can get the hotel to comp you a golf buggy!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Ryannwall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bovey Castle Hotel

Property: Bovey Castle Hotel
Address: North Bovey, Dartmoor National Park TQ13 8RE, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Dartmoor National Park > North Bovey
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in North Bovey
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Bovey Castle Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 63
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set within its own private estate on the dramatically-beautiful Dartmoor National Park, Bovey Castle is a five-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 64 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 décor 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

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