A Moorish Escape
SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE samples the delights of a newly-refurbished Dartmoor hotel and restaurant
Lofty and muscular, Haytor on Dartmoor is alluring – I see it from my house, I hear it calling. It draws me back time after time. But recently it’s been telling me of something different; in the historic landscape over which it casts its granite glance something enticing has occurred.
I’ve known The Moorland Hotel Haytor for many years and through several owners, but in November 2017 it was bought by Steve Furness and a whole new era began.
Refurbishment started immediately and went on for ten hectic months. The upheaval was worth it; the transformation superb.
One of the most appealing things about The Moorland Hotel Haytor is that, stylishness notwithstanding, it wholeheartedly embraces people like me who waft in off the moor, muddy, often with dogs (and occasionally horses) in tow.
The hotel’s fabulous location dictates a down-to-earth simplicity desired by lovers of the great outdoors, but it has successfully combined a rustic feel with comfort and elegance, leaving guests thoroughly cosseted.
Food is served in two arrestingly contrasting areas.
The quirkily-named Tinpickle & Rhum Brasserie was named by a previous owner who, during earlier renovations, discovered a tin of old pickles plus a bottle of French rhum in the attic. It is one of the most uniquely-furnished restaurants I’ve eaten in and includes an ancient science lab bench, which still sports the gas taps for Bunsen burners.
The bright Conservatory Restaurant overlooks the gloriously restored gardens and the hotel’s aim is “to deliver fresh traditional foods within Tinpickle & Rhum, and all things spectacular, seasonal, and new within our Conservatory Restaurant.”
Untold hours can be whiled away in lovely company with exceptional food and drink delivered by an unfailingly good and friendly team.
The eight chefs are headed by Mark Brankin and they deliver superb fare. My evening meal of crotin de chevre followed by sundried tomato gnocchi was nothing short of exquisite: beautifully presented, it was a shame to eat it, but I did, and, boy, was it good!
Since refurb the rooms are light, contemporary and gorgeous, with comforting touches such as fresh milk and homemade treats in the fridge. Throughout the hotel strikingly excellent artwork adorns the walls.
The Moorland Haytor has a programme of events during the year, so whether you’re attending one of these, planning a moorland holiday or just in need of a thoroughly good pit-stop whilst out walking, this is your place. Go! moorlandhoteldartmoor.co.uk