My wife and I recently celebrated my 65th birthday here, and I was interested to read the review of it by Silver Traveller “suzybean” in July 2015. Since then, not much seems to have changed, and that’s the way things seem to be at this luxurious 5-star hotel/resort.
It’s not a castle in the fortification sense of the word – it’s an Edwardian manor house which has been restored and refurbished to a very high standard without losing any of its original features and charm. We had been saying that it was unusual for us to be away from home without visiting a National Trust property – and then we found ourselves staying in what was very like one! The difference was the service – noticeable from the moment of arrival with the valet parking (no extra charge) and the way they would not allow us to even touch our bags until they were deposited in our room. That was a real step back in time!
Our room was delightful – spacious, luxurious, very comfortable and with numerous ‘freebies’ (both sparkling and still water, fruit, peanuts etc) all complimentary. None of the usual added extra charges, and definitely no charge for wi-fi! The turn-down service with fudge on the pillow was the icing on the cake! We loved the other public rooms – the bars and lounges – as it was just like sitting in a stately home. We made the most of the indoor facilities – the excellent pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi – but being February, were disappointed not to have been able to profit more from the golf course and the marked walks around the wonderful Devon countryside. There is also a programme of activities during each day, some of which are free, some paying, and some with children in mind.
As a birthday treat, we had dinner in the Great Western restaurant, which was definitely one of the best meals we’ve ever had, if not THE best. Again, the service was first-class, with a quality of cuisine that would be hard to match anywhere. One of the real treats was the little ‘extras’ that we didn’t order but came along with our meal – canapes while having our aperitif, a souffle to greet us on arrival at our table, and a ‘trou normand’ sorbet following our main course.
It all sounds great – but expensive – doesn’t it? Well I have to admit that if we hadn’t seen a very good deal on Travelzoo, we probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it. As it stands, 50% off bed & breakfast, including a glass of prosecco and use of the pool facilities, with 20% off whatever was spent in the restaurant, was excellent value and we are certainly going to keep an eye out for when the same deal is repeated in the future.