PATRICK’S PUB TRAWLS
In a slight departure from his regular series of columns for Devon Life, of The Otter Brewery takes us on a trawl of some of his favourite hotels
This is a hotel where all the staff go beyond the call of duty to make their guests feel welcome. The bar here is very Otter friendly and they keep a mean pint of Ale. A break from the mould of normal Mercure hotels, it is set in the lower reaches of Southernhay Gardens and just a short walk into the heart of the city.
GARA ROCK, SALCOMBE
Perched on a Devon clifftop, come rain or shine this is Devon’s latest grand design. Built on the foundations of the old hotel, the big glass windows have views out to Gammon Head and the wider Start Bay - some of the most beautiful and hypnotic coastline in South Devon and the country.
In its old guise, this hotel reminded me of a scene from the Camomile Lawn. Now, with its incredible clifftop aspect and golden sands beneath, Gara Rock is a modern take on that beauty and a place to treasure whatever the weather. The perfect winter escape and a home-from-home by the sea for Tarka.
THE ILSINGTON, DARTMOOR
welcoming guests for over 100 years. With an enviable position in the heart of Dartmoor and almost in the shadow of Haytor itself, this is truly a walker’s paradise.
Packed with traditional character, there’s a laid-back vibe at work here and a warm welcome assured from the Hassell family and their team. From the Tibetan spa to the restaurant and on-site ‘pub’ there are plenty of ways to enjoy some holiday downtime even if it is freezing outside.
THE ROYAL CASTLE, DARTMOUTH
Enjoying pride of place on Dartmouth’s waterfront, a town not short on naval heritage, this is the first place my boys had a proper lunch (with napkins). They were far too young to behave and I far too happy to control them (apologies).
Happy because we had spent the previous hour in their lively bar where you forget you’re in a hotel, rather a comfortable and very popular Dartmouth pub with its huge oak beams. There’s a great mix of characters here and an education for all concerned (heads up lads) where fine dining meets the relaxing atmosphere of a great hostelry.
An invaluable part of the town’s fabric and a great base for exploring the many independent shops and galleries around it.
THURLESTONE HOTEL, THURLESTONE
Everyone talks about the Thurlestone – it has set a benchmark for beauty in the South Hams. The hotel has been under the stewardship of the Grose family for five generations. Time indeed to have developed a place (and successful formula) where its clientele return year after year to enjoy all the trimmings from their finelytuned set up.
There’s a great gym, spa, sensational sea views, squash and golf course. All fine set ups to a well-earned pint in their very own pub - The Village Inn. The perfect addition to the hotel.