If you’re looking for somewhere to completely switch off and unwind before your bundle of joy arrives, Boringdon Hall offers a 5-star luxury escape to nurture your mind, body, and soul and not forgetting your stomach (especially if you’re eating for two) thanks to its newly MICHELIN Star restaurant…
The majestic Boringdon Hall Hotel & Spa is situated in hilly Plympton and nestled on the outskirts of Dartmoor in Devon. The name ‘Boringdon’ actually comes from the Old English for ‘enchanted place on the hill’ – a fitting name origin for this striking destination.
The hotel can be found close to an ordinary residential area in Plympton, a suburb of the city of Plymouth in South West Devon. Drive through the wooden gate of the estate and it’s as if you’ve just stepped through a portal and transported to a secluded countryside retreat miles away from general civilisation.
As we travel down the long driveway, almost like a very mini version of the Windsor Castle approach, we see the humble squared turrets of the Tudor hall come in to plain view and our eyes fill with immediate awe.
The Grade I listed manor house has a significant history that stretches back as far as the Domesday Book, very exciting for a couple that has only ever stayed in modern settings. This place is just steeped in history and old British heritage.
Boringdon – or “Burth-Y-Don”, meaning “enchanted place on the hill” in Saxon – became crown property in 1539, following Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Boringdon later came into the hands of Henry Grey, the Duke of Suffolk and father of Lady Jane Grey – later Queen of England for a mere nine days.
It’s also thought that Queen Elizabeth stayed at Boringdon in 1588 whilst travelling through the West Country. Other notable guests have included Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, who enjoyed a banquet at the manor in Sir Francis Drake’s honour, following the sea dogs’ raid on the Spanish fleet in Cadiz in 1587.
You can find out about much of the hall’s history on the big wooden plaque that sits on the left wall of the reception wall and in the hotel’s handy information booklet, a perfect keepsake for the history buff.
Rooms and Suites at Boringdon Hall
There are 41 rooms and suites spanning the hotel – ranging from cosy Stable Rooms in the newest wing to plush four-poster rooms. There are four suites available too for those seeking a little extra luxury, including the opulent Royal Suite with a private hot tub on the outdoor terrace, providing guests with stunning views across Dartmoor.
We stayed in the cosy Isabella Room, complete with an original 17th-century wardrobe that looked like it had leapt from the pages of a certain C.S Lewis novel. We were welcomed with a huge four-poster bed and an extremely inviting standalone bathtub situated in the perfect spot to have a relaxing soak whilst watching a spot of television.
I took full advantage of this, the GAIA bath salts provided made it feel like I had a slice of the downstairs spa in my own quarters.
Food and Drink
Aside from the beautiful setting and outstanding hospitality, the food at Boringdon Hall has really put this place on the culinary map.
Àclèaf, meaning oak leaf in Old English, is Boringdon Hall Hotel & Spa’s MICHELIN star and 4 AA Rosette restaurant, run by Head Chef, Scott Paton.
Excitingly, we were the first guests to be seated in the dinner service immediately after the restaurant was awarded its first MICHELIN star the previous night, so there really was a buzz about the place.
The chef made an appearance from the kitchen and welcomed us to the restaurant and presented us with a little game to complete along with a buffet-style starter of different breads, butters and slices of cured meat, the star of the show was the goat’s butter with honey drizzled on top.
Along with our beautiful appetiser platter, we were given a little game to complete each. We were told to circle whichever shape caught our eye the most from the list and this would determine which palate cleanser we were given later on in the experience.
From the tasting menu, I had two truly standout dishes. One of these was the SCALLOP which was served very slightly seared in a carpaccio style plating, drizzled with the creamiest citrus and red chilli sauce, a real treat for the taste buds.
Another was the CRAB, which is quite possibly the most beautifully presented dish I have ever been presented with, it was almost too pretty to eat! It came served with pieces of mango in a curry sauce and a vibrant green drizzle.
GAIA Spa at Boringdon Hall
A real selling point of this hotel, aside from the exquisite rooms and top-class dining, is definitely the award-winning spa, GAIA (referring to the Goddess of nature in Greek mythology).
The spa offers guests a truly magical swimming experience in a stunning, natural setting. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the indoor pool, providing peaceful vistas of the trees, and an inter-connecting outdoor hydrotherapy pool allows visitors to swim seamlessly from inside to out.
The spa, named “Best Destination Spa” by Condé Nast Johansen in 2022, 2020 and 2018, also boasts a Crystal Salt Steam Room, Herbal Sauna, Experience Showers, Outdoor Hot Tubs, Treatment Rooms and a Deep Relaxation Room.
GAIA Spa Treatments
Treatments at GAIA Spas include facials, massages and scrubs as well as longer, step-by-step holistic treatments known as GAIA rituals. Various GAIA rituals are available targeting different problem areas of the body and mind, including GAIA Crystal Therapy, which uses personalised crystals, and GAIA Raindrop Therapy, which uses pure essential oils. The spa also exclusively uses GAIA Skincare’s award-winning, organic and all-natural products, which were designed and developed in-house.
I opted for the spa’s new Calming Journey treatment. A truly tranquil experience, the Calming Journey has been developed to offer complete relaxation and peace within.
The Calming Journey began with a serene back, neck, and shoulder massage to ease muscle tension and calm the mind and body, followed by an Indian head massage which included a facial cleanse, tone, and a beautifully relaxing facial massage, focusing on pressure points to relieve tension. Both journeys include a hand and arm massage, helping to release stress and find total relaxation.
I left the massage room feeling extremely grounded and tranquil, which was extended for another half an hour when I was directed to the peaceful Deep Relaxation Room which offered free refreshments and beds to lounge on.
Pre and Post Natal Treatments at Gaia Spa
A perfect accompaniment to a babymoon, the spa offers a beautifully gentle, relaxing treatment perfect during and after pregnancy. This nurturing treatment exfoliates the back and is followed by a specifically designed massage focusing on alleviating muscular aches in stressed areas, helping you to feel relaxed and restored.
This 60-minute Mother Gaia Treatment includes a full body massage and bump massage. The 90-minute treatment also includes a bump mask, mini facial, face massage with our jade wand and scalp massage.
How to Book
Boringdon Hall Hotel & Spa, Boringdon Hill, Colebrook, Plymouth PL7 4DP. Head to boringdonhall.co.uk to book your stay.
To book a table at Àclèaf, head to acleaf.co.uk.
To book a spa day and/or treatments at GAIA Spa, head to gaiaboringdon.co.uk.
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