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A few weekends ago we were invited along to the Moorland Garden Hotel located on the edge of Dartmoor.
After having a quick look on their website and discovering it was a four star hotel located in a secluded spot on Dartmoor with its own helipad I had high expectations.
‘Nestling in nine acres of picturesque and tranquil moorland garden.’
On arrival this place perplexed me from start to finish and I still can’t quite put my finger on why. I shall try and break down each element of our stay to see if I can get to the bottom of what it was.
The hotel has 44 bedrooms in total. We stayed in one of their junior suites called Peony. For a Friday night dinner, bed and breakfast package like we had the price was £199. For just the suite it would cost around £139 depending on dates.
The bedroom was very large, the decor was a little old fashioned but the bed was very comfortable. I ended up spending quite a bit of time in the room as the other half fell asleep about 9pm in the bar, so after poking him awake and putting him to bed I had a lovely hot bath with a bottle of sauvignon. Who says romance is dead!
- Views Overlooking Beautiful Gardens
- Complimentary Mineral Water
- Free Wi-Fi
- Tea & Coffee Tray
- Complimentary Toiletries
‘Luxury double bedded rooms with four poster bed, modern bathroom, sitting area with sofa. Views overlooking the beautiful gardens.’
The Wildflower Restaurant
‘The Wildflower Restaurant has large windows with views of the moorland garden and its own al fresco dining terrace in warmer weather.’
The restaurant was awarded an AA Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence so naturally we also had very high expectations for the food. Having run our own pubs, all of which served food we are quite particular about what we deem to be good food. For us it’s all about good quality ingredients, cooked well and not over complicated.
The decor made me feel like I had walked into a Dunelm Mill showroom. Personally I would style the restaurant differently. I don’t profess to being an expert in interior design but this is afterall my blog so I feel I can express my opinion.
I would also play on the Dartmoor theme more and have huge canvases on the walls with views of Dartmoor on them. They did have a few images but they were too small and lost in the busyness of the restaurant.
The restaurant is a fantastic space with great views I just don’t feel it has been utilised to it’s full potential.
I’m well aware that having been in the hospitality trade ourselves and with Phil being an ex-chef in can be easy to over criticise other establishments so I always bear that in mind when reviewing anywhere that serves food.
‘With a traditional British menu, using locally sourced produce, our menus change seasonally and our wine list is carefully chosen to suit all palates’.
The food was presented very nicely, I particularly liked how my starter looked. I had the chicken and ham hock terrine, Phil had the twice baked cheese souffle. For the main course I had catch of the day which was salmon with shrimp and citrus butter, new potatoes and seasonal vegetables. It was very tasty.
Phil had the rump of Devon lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, spinach and split caper jus. The lamb was a bit tough because it was very rare and the plate could of done with some nice roasted vegetables as there was an overpowering amount of meat in relation to anything else. Other than that the rest of the food was good.
Breakfast was in the Wildflower Restaurant and was laid out buffet style. You had a choice of cereals, fruit, yoghurts, croissants or cooked breakfast. I was hoping the breakfast was cooked to order as in the past I have never really found buffet style cooked breakfasts very good. I understand that it costs money to have a chef for breakfast as well as dinner but personally I prefer a breakfast that is cooked to order.
I opted to have a croissant with some local jam and fresh fruit which was very nice. I ordered a pot of green tea and the waitress brought me normal tea which was annoying especially as I had specifically asked her if they had green tea to which she replied yes. I left breakfast feeling a little disappointed.
The only way I can describe the decor is what I imagine Faulty Towers would look like if it had half a makeover by Dunelm Mill. Nothing really matched but not in a cool eclectic way more in a let’s throw this together and see what happens kind of way. I totally get what they are trying to achieve they just haven’t quite got it right! I love eclectic decor, it’s one of my favourite styles but it does have to be done correctly.
There was lots of lovely features in the hotel, think big gold gilted mirrors and elaborate light fittings they just hadn’t been put together right. One thing that the other half really didn’t get was the very large picture of three women staring down at him from above the urinal in the mens toilet. He found it quite disconcerting. I’m guessing there is a story behind the picture?
I feel that with just a few tweaks here and there the decor could be very cool and quirky. On reflection I did wonder if perhaps the hotel is in the middle of redecorating and modernising which would explain the mix of design styles?
I was greeted with a very friendly face at reception and the restaurant waiting staff were very friendly from start to finish. The Dartmoor bar staff were a little slow and had left glasses on every table in the bar area for the duration of the evening, as you can probably see in my photos above. Having run pubs in the past that is one of our pet hates especially when the bar wasn’t busy, no excuse really. Other than that no issues with staff at all.
I’d just like to be clear here there was nothing wrong with the hotel, the food was good, the bedroom was nice, the staff were very friendly it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I do feel that the decor needs some tweaking but other that that it’s a nice hotel.
Looking back on this post and writing down my thoughts on our stay I feel the hotel could do with finding it’s identity. I couldn’t determine whether it was a boutique hotel, a quirky eclectic hotel or a Devon country hotel. I believe that was my main issue.
The hotel has won many awards including the AA Rosette Award, Taste of the west Award 2013, Certificate of Excellence 2015 on Tripadvisor and Simply the Guest Award top rated on Laterooms 2016.
I also thought it was worth noting that the hotel is dog friendly which, with having a dog ourselves, is something that we always look out for.
If you go and stay at the Moorland Garden Hotel I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.