Moorland Garden Hotel
Hotel in Plymouth
Sitting 190 miles south west of London, Plymouth might not be many couples first choice when it comes to a romantic stopover. Yet after a sun-filled winter weekend away, in the city that more people probably know for its naval power than its gourmet credentials, I’m cheekily flirting with the notion of a home by the sea.
You may know the city for its prevalent explorer, Sir Francis Drake or because it has a spectacular reputation for gin, but Plymouth, Britain’s ocean city, seems to making a quiet climb up the social calendar. With 240,000 residents, and more fresh fish than you can shake a rod at, the city’s food festivals, growing university and noteworthy chefs are flying the flag for the South West.
Since moving out of the smog little over a year ago, I’ve somehow felt a little more country robin than city sparrow, so it came as a comforting surprise when we arrived at our hotel. Surrounded by the rolling Dartmoor National Park, Moorland Garden Hotel already had a little something special going for it. Just a few miles out of the Plymouth city centre, this is ‘War Horse’ country and the Devonshire pastures that span for miles around are both welcoming and eerie in equal measure. Come nightfall, I was certainly glad to see the warming embers of the hotel’s lounge fire in The Dartmoor Bar.
A quick tipple and we moved across to the resident dining room, The Wildflower Restaurant. Head chef Bruce Cole has certainly reignited the area and its foodie reputation with his extensive experience in kitchens around the world. In October 2013, Bruce and his team scooped the highest of regional recognitions, taking the title of Best Restaurant in the South West from the Taste of the West awards. Starters of pan-seared Dartmouth scallops and potted Brixham crab were only topped by succulent lamb and pork belly mains. But neither of them had any hope against the sticky apple tarte tatin or bitter chocolate parfait for pudding. A triumph in every mouthful.
Fit to burst, we rolled ourselves up to our room, the Lilly Of The Valley Suite, to be met with a pleasing blend of London boutique and country inn with sumptuous queen-size bed and views of the expansive lawn. The hotel encompasses nine glorious acres of moorland garden (hence the name!) and it’s not until morning, after a restorative slumber, when the sun rises low over the rippling land that we fully appreciate the tranquility of the hotel.
Before leaving, make sure you drive to neighbouring Tavistock for a ponder around the famed farmers’ market and the National Trust property Buckland Abbey is the stuff romantic walks are made of.
The hotel is in fact owned by the parents of Deborah Meaden of Dragon’s Den fame, and 2014 marks the its 80th year and will no doubt come with a delicious array of celebrations and events to look forward to.
Need you a better excuse to visit? I think not.
Sophie Rae is a London based food and travel writer
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Services||Business Center, Free High Speed Internet, Free Parking, Restaurant, Room Service, Conference Rooms, Wedding / Personal Event|
|Number of Rooms||44 rooms & suites|
Garden Rooms; Premier / Balcony Rooms and Suites.
The hotel’s website frequently has special offers so it’s worth checking.
Last updated on 02-10-2015