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May 3, 2015
Whenever I discover a gem of a holiday retreat I feel inclined to keep it under my hat through a selfish fear of it being fully booked next time I want to escape.
But when it comes to the Prince Hall Hotel I simply can’t contain myself and want to shout about it from the rooftops.
Nestled in the heart of Dartmoor, the Prince Hall country house hotel is one of the most relaxing, dog-friendly hotels I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.
As owners of two lively cocker spaniels, my partner and I have sampled many ‘pet-friendly’ hotels, but this is one of the best we’ve found so far.
Stepping over the threshold of this eight-bedroomed luxury hotel, my two girls and I were greeted by the owners’ three dogs – two cockers (one turned out to be ‘sister’ to our youngest) and an elderly but adorable Labrador.
After a few minutes of feverishly sniffing around, my two had already made themselves at home – and I instantly felt relaxed and miles away from anywhere.
Glancing around I noticed the main drawing room in-keeping with the country theme, complete with a log fire and a range of beautiful comfy sofas.
One armchair in particular caught my eye. Sat in it was a middle-aged gentleman enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee with a black Labrador chilled out on his lap. Now that is what you call creature comforts on a lazy afternoon!
Hotel owners Fi and Chris Daly have blended comfort with luxurious living superbly. As Fi warmly welcomed us and showed us up to our room, I noticed the all the walls decorated with work by local artists, in-keeping with the hotel’s ‘keep it local’ theme.
We were staying in Haytor. As you’ve probably already guessed, all the rooms are named after Tors on Dartmoor such as Brentor, Saddletor and Burrator.
Each room is suitably equipped with Super King sized beds you just want to sink into, tea and coffee facilities (complete with a jar of yummy homemade biscuits) and all are en-suite with either bath and shower, just shower or bath with handheld shower – so check when booking for your preferences.
Ours, on the southern side of the house, had a picture-perfect view looking out over Dartmoor’s stunning landscape, not another property in sight.
VIP (Very Important Pet) mats are on the floor ready for the dogs’ dinner bowls and there’s ample space for two dog beds. And it’s not long before my two have sniffed out the biscuit treat left for them on the dressing room table!
Just minutes after dumping our bags we were out the door, along the lane round the back of the house and up on to the moor – and alone.
The hotel is perfectly positioned for dog walkers with 368 square miles of the Dartmoor National Park to explore.
There’s wildlife aplenty with ponies, buzzards, sheep, cattle, badgers and foxes to name but a few. Whatever your taste in countryside life, whether it’s walking, riding, shooting, bird-spotting or fishing, this is the spot to be.
The hotel can arrange activities such as falconry displays, guided wildlife walks or fly-fishing in the River Dart, to entertain you during your stay.
After a long sunny walk on the moor it was time to return to base. With the dogs walked, watered and fed, it was time for us to sample the riches of the Prince Hall Hotel restaurant.
The restaurant is the only room in the hotel that is kept dog free – and quite rightly so. Dogs are welcome to stay in the room, or if you prefer, in your car while you discover why Prince Hall is renowned for its food.
Whether you’re staying at the hotel or not, you must come to try the food. From the delicious full English breakfast through to cream teas on the terrace and the two or three course evening meal, it’s is all exquisitely cooked using homegrown or locally reared produce – oh, and has Gold and Silver ‘Taste of the West’ accolades to its name.
To enjoy an after dinner drink in the lounge, we joined two other visitors – one with their two dogs – another couple pet free.
The guests accompanied by their two four-legged friends were repeat visitors, having returned time and time again for the ‘best dog-friendly holiday we’ve ever found’.
But I wondered what it was like for those without pets. The couple who’d travelled from London without, told me: “We’ve loved our stay – and it’s great to see the dogs enjoying their holiday as much as their owners!”
Surely Prince Hall Hotel must claim the title of best dog-friendly hotel in the UK? If it doesn’t, it should do.
So you want to go? Stay at the Prince Hall Hotel from £160 per room per night (two sharing) including breakfast. Dogs stay free. See Prince Hall Hotel for the latest offers.
In addition, you can organise a special treat for you and your pooch during your stay at Prince Hall Hotel – with a visit by the dog healer!
The hotel’s owners have joined forces with Rachel Bolton – the healer of people and animals – having experienced her unique healing methods for themselves.
Rachel help bring your dog’s energy system into alignment using a relaxing energy-based massage-style experience, said to help the physical and emotional healing conditions of pets. If you’d like to find out more about Rachel’s work check out her website
The dog healing session (approximately one and a quarter hours) costs £55. Rachel can also help heal owners at a cost of £65 per session.
Picture: WMN on Sunday travel review of Prince Hall Hotel, Dartmoor