A Moor­ish Es­cape

SI­MONE STANBROOK-BYRNE sam­ples the de­lights of a newly-re­fur­bished Dart­moor ho­tel and restau­rant

Devon Life - - The Moorland Hotel -

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

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