I love nothing more than going away with my kids. From planning a trip, talking about where we’re going and what we’re going to experience, to the trip, the pit stops on the way and then arriving at our destination, full of excitement about what’s ahead.
Whether we’re going on a long holiday, visiting a local attraction for a few hours, off on a day trip somewhere or, indeed, on a luxurious 24-hour stay at a 5-star hotel in Devon Dartmoor National Park, nothing make me happier than spending quality time and making lovely memories with the kids. So when we arranged our stay at Bovey Castle this summer, we did our homework and as we arrived, we already knew to expect an incredibly beautiful, vast and impressive building, a luxurious setting and 5-star service. But even with these sky-high expectations, we weren’t prepared for exactly how fantastic our 24 hours at Bovey Castle were going to be.
Incredibly friendly atmosphere
Greeted by the friendly reception team and the concierges by the door, we were whisked in and shown our room first of all. Well, I say room, it was a suite, it was sweet and there were sweets! When you travel, dine out or stay overnight anywhere with kids, there’s always the question of whether a place is as child-friendly as they say they are. Most places say they are, but the level of how welcome children truly are, varies greatly, of this I’m sure many parents will agree. Bovey Castle really is incredibly child-friendly. From the warm welcome, treatment and fuss-making by every single member of staff we came into contact with and the sweets, fruit and child-sized bath accessories in the room, to the daily falconry display, the super-fun children’s survival class the kids were invited on and the child-friendly dinnertime in the brasserie… there was no limit to how welcome Matthew and Noelle were made to feel at Bovey Castle, and this meant I was relaxed and happy and enjoying our stay at Bovey Castle even more.
Delicious lunch in the bar
Well settled in the room, it was time for a bit of lunch before we did anything else, as we had driven for a while and were all hungry. We went to the bar and ordered our lunch, the obligatory burger (we love a good burger!), a nice wrap and a specially created vegetarian option for Noelle who was happy to find that no request was too big for the chefs in the kitchen, and they made her a delicious egg sandwich and salad. The wrap was great and the burger was among the best Matthew and I have ever had – complete with chunky chips and an incredible onion relish, absolutely spot on and just what we had hoped for. During our lunch the General Manager of the hotel, Francisco, came by for a chat. He was lovely, great fun and extended his warm welcome to us all, making an extra fuss of the kids, something any mum loves, of course, and we left the bar full and happy and excited about our stay at this incredible hotel.
Relaxation in the Elan Spa
The lovely spa at Bovey Castle is a wonderful and relaxing place to enjoy a little ‘me-time’. I went with my mum for a relaxation-session while the kids were trying to survive and make a fire outside (more of that in a bit) and it was perfect. When the kids came back in from the outside (they survived, yay!), it was time for a couple of hours of lounging by, and splashing in, the pool. And what a lovely pool it is, with the added bonus of overlooking the beautiful terrace, park and golf course outside. For the children there is no limit to the amount of time that can be spent in a swimming pool, but for my mum and me, 3 times 10 minutes over the course of 2 hours is about the limit, so when we were out of the pool, we were happily relaxing on the loungers, chatting and enjoying the stunning views on one side and the kids playing on the other. The perfect afternoon, no less.
Yay, the kids survived
One of the activities created for the children staying at the hotel, was a 2-hour survival course with Bovey Castle’s ‘Manager of Fun’. His official title is ‘Activities Manager’, but when your job is creating fun experiences for kids, corporate groups and anyone in between, surely you need a title change. Matthew and Noelle joined Mark and 3 other children who were staying with their families in the hotel, and off they went for 2 hours or den building, play with ferrets, bonfire making, marshmallows and sweet bread on sticks and much, much more. They came back so happy, full of great stories of how to survive in the wilderness, they had absolutely loved their time with Mark and were already asking when we could go back so they could go out with him again.
A lovely dining experience
Dining at Bovey Castle can take two different shapes as you have the choice of Smith’s Brasserie at one end of the building, with the more relaxed atmosphere and menu, and The Great Western at the other end which offers fine dining and 3 AA Rosettes. Being with the kids, we chose the brasserie as the nuances of fine dining is often lost on them and what we were in the mood for, was the relaxed dining experience. However, with the quality of the food and the flavours at play on our plates, we could easily have been enjoying the culinary delights of fine dining, so delicious was our evening meal. The children enjoyed the food from the kids’ menu and we had a wonderful dinner overlooking the stunning views of the golf course. Another perfect moment at Bovey Castle.
Bath, Bubbly, Bed
Night time was upon us and we retired to our perfect suite. The kids had a bath in the luxurious free standing bathtub in the enormous bathroom (“Mummy, it’s bigger than the room”, which it nearly was), we sat back in our beds, enjoyed a bit of TV, a glass of bubbly and fell asleep (slept like babies) happy about the fantastic day we had just enjoyed at Bovey Castle.
The perfect hotel breakfast
Now, it’s no secret, I absolutely LOVE a hotel breakfast, a love I share with my daughter. The abundance, the luxurious set-up and the delicious culinary delights. And as with all the other aspects of our stay at Bovey Castle, the breakfast more than exceeded our expectations with even more abundance, luxury and culinary delights than we could ever hope for. The breakfast at Bovey Castle is served in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, The Great Western, and it was just the perfect ending to a perfect 24 hours at Bovey Castle.