Moorland Garden Hotel, Devon – Review
Moorland Garden Hotel, Devon
by Steve Crabtree – @stevecrab
Indulging in a weekend away is something everyone enjoys, and you can’t beat going off to a place you’ve never been before and wishing you could stay that little bit longer.
This is exactly what happened to me when I headed down the country to Yelverton, Devon. My destination: Moorland Garden Hotel.
“Warm, smiley welcome”
My drive from Yorkshire was a long one, but with copious amounts of coffee and planned breaks behind me, I arrived in the scenic and beautiful rural countryside of Dartmoor. The view of greenery and nothing much else was a lovely indicator of how laid back things could be around here.
I pulled in to the Moorland Gardens Hotel car park and it was bigger than I realised. It looked very nice, but I did wonder if the personal touch might be missing due to the size of the place. But I entered the reception to be cheerfully greeted by Katy and General Manager Andrew. After nearly seven hours on the road, you can’t explain just how much a warm smile and welcome makes you feel at home.
Before I arrived, they’d taken time to find out where I’d driven from and how my journey must have been. I loved that. There was the personal touch. They understood I probably wanted to get to my room, get settled and freshen up too. What a very pleasant welcome, and one that I’ll remember. Andrew offered to take my bags to my room, however I’d travelled fairly light so I made my own way to the Lily of the Valley suite.
“Very spacious, beautifully decorated”
My suite was on the second floor, and it was beautiful. Tastefully luxurious with a view out onto the lawn. The ‘lily’ was themed throughout the room in the wallpaper, cushions and curtains. It’s one of 44 rooms in the hotel, and I’d certainly booked something special.
With a comfortable sofa, and even comfier bed, my room was spacious with a mix of modern detail and traditional luxury. I had a Tassimo coffee machine and a small selection of coffee, alongside varied tea options.
A wooden desk, glass-topped coffee table (with homemade nibbles and fruit for me) gave it a homely feel – and the light in the room was low and soft. It tied the cosy atmosphere of the room together perfectly.
One thing I really liked was that the room had no air-con. I had radiators that worked that I could turn down. And the windows opened too. It’s easy to land in a hotel and discover the first thing you need to do is work out how to use the temperature control system, only to then dry a room out with warm air. But not here. A definite plus point.
I was pretty pleased this was going to be my home for a couple of nights. Heading to the bathroom, I had a clean and bright en-suite, with Duck Island toiletries. And my shower proved to be delightful as I got ready for dinner.
“The best main course I’ve eaten all year”
I’d developed a big appetite, and the Wildflower Restaurant was waiting for me. It was awarded its first AA Rosette in 2015, and the menu was a good size which catered for a number of tastes.
Like my room, the restaurant overlooks the garden. Taking in a laid-back atmosphere, I ordered a glass of the house white and decided to go for the Goats Cheese Parfait to start (£6.95). The Slow Braised Ox Cheek leapt right out at me in the list of main dishes, so at £16.95 I chose that too.
The restaurant is beautiful, and the tables are set up nicely. When the Goats Cheese Parfait arrived, it came with candied walnuts, pickled beetroot and rocket salad. I really enjoyed it too – very light, and the mix on the plate made it flavoursome.
But then we went up a gear when my main course arrived, and I was absolutely blown away. Served on a plate with pancetta, silver skinned onions and creamed potatoes, the Slow Braised Ox-Cheek had a scaled-up fine dining look. My eyes widened. And then, as I glided my knife through the meat, it just fell open. Cooked to absolute perfection. And when it came to eating it, it felt like it just melted in the mouth.
I can honestly say the Moorland Garden Hotel’s Ox Cheek is the best main course I’ve eaten all year. Soft and succulent, ox cheek may not appeal to those who have never tried it, but once you do you’ll have it again.
I can’t give any higher praise to the chef at Moorland Garden Hotel for how he prepared my main course. My Seasonal Spiced Pie with clotted cream that I had for desert rounded off a perfect meal.
I woke up nice and fresh from a deep sleep on the Saturday morning, and savoured the comfort of the bed. The Moorland Garden Hotel had so far been a lovely experience, and I had full Saturday to enjoy the hotel and the neighbouring areas.
After a coffee, I started the morning with a quick walk around the grounds of the hotel. The quirky garden sculptures are particularly worth looking at. I can imagine this being the perfect setting for guests sitting outside all day in summer, soaking up the rays.
I took my breakfast early, and went for the Full English option, with poached egg. With the previous evening’s meal still in my mind, I wasn’t surprised that the breakfast was phenomenal too. Sausage, bacon, beans… and the egg… perfect. It was a nice, light and fresh serving, and set me up for the day.
I’d recommend the trip to the distillery. Informative and interesting, it’s worth the visit just for the building itself. Don’t drive though – ‘sampling’ five gins, plus two bonus gins while you’re there is all part of the fun!
Returning to the hotel, a wedding is in full swing and I find out the Moorland Garden Hotel has won awards for its marital offering. I decide to eat in the bar and continue my relaxed weekend by tucking in to Pumpkin Soup (£5.95) and the Devon Reared Beef Burger (£13.95).
The bar area is as comfortable as the rest of the hotel and the food was, once again, perfect.
“A memorable stay”
After a couple of drinks in the bar, and some chill time in the lounge I retired to my room to pack my things. I got back in to that amazing bed that had given me such a wonderful sleep the night before and enjoyed Match Of The Day in my room, before putting the lights out.
And that brought my stay to a close. And it seemed to end so soon – it went very quickly. Although I spent a lot of time outside of the premises on the Saturday, I’d become quite attached to the Moorland Gardens Hotel. Very relaxed, very at home and very well taken care of and the service always came with a smile. I could easily have stayed a day or two longer. I could have eaten my Friday night meal again and again.
So if you’re heading down to Devon or anywhere towards the southwest coast, you’ll love the Moorland Gardens Hotel. A beautiful hotel, at a very reasonable price. And a Slow Braised Ox-Cheek that’s worthy of never shutting up about!
Moorland Garden Hotel, Yelverton, Near Plymouth, South Devon, PL20 6DA
One night bed and breakfast including the Moorland Garden Hotel award-winning mini cream tea to share offer from £69 per night, valid for stays during January and up to the end of February 2019, subject to
By road they are sign posted off the A386 between Plymouth and Tavistock.
The nearest mainline train station is Plymouth, which has direct links with most cities in England, Scotland and Wales, including London, Bristol, Leeds, Cardiff, Edinburgh to name a few.