A break away in Devon doesn`t always mean having to rent a cottage in the middle of nowhere. For those looking for a modern and stylish alternative in one of Devon`s most desired city locations, look no further than The Magdalen Chapter Hotel in Exeter. It`s an utterly fabulous, modern, child and dog friendly hotel!
There was no better time to getaway than over the half-term weekend with the kids; we have two young ones, one 2.5 year old toddler and one 6 month old baby. The thought of staying in a hotel with kids may somewhat fill you with dread but not here. The laid back relaxed style and ambience puts you instantly at ease, there are no formalities at this establishment. That first impression may have had something to do with the staffs` unusual smart/casual attire of a formal white shirt, relaxed tailored trousers and trainers. First impressions were warm, inviting and a little left of centre, something you may expect to see in a quirky boutique hotel in London, but certainly not in the West Country – a welcome break.
Our Superior family room was a substantial size and much bigger than expected. There were three very inviting beds for all of us to crash in – a modern (and clean) travel cot, a fantastic pull out single sofa bed for our toddler and a huge sumptuous with crisp Egyptian sheets to sink into. The rooms were generously stocked with a complimentary mini bar and gorgeous REN products, which we indulged in during our stay. One rather fancy aspect that the hotel prides itself on is that it`s `paperless`, therefore guests receive their own iPad2 upon check in and can discover the hotels delights online!
At every turn there`s is real personality and character. This reflects within the unique and elegant artwork features throughout the hotel curated by Kate Sweeney of Perspective.
The dining spaces within the hotel are also impressive, there is a setting to suit all guests, whatever the palette fancies. Choose from the restaurant, library, bar or lounge to enjoy a cocktail, afternoon tea, light bite or a more substantial three course meal.
The Restaurant runs under the guidance of award winning home grown chef Ben Bulger, who has gained a reputation for simple but well executed food. You won`t go hungry, as the portions are Devonshire sized – hearty! The restaurant is bright, airy and very pleasant, and whilst the food is delicious, it has a gastro pub style (we like!) but if you`re craving some finer finesse then it`s probably not the eatery for you. Having said that, we certainly enjoyed our choices and the dishes we can highly recommend are the mussels for starters and the rib eye steak or ox cheek for mains. Menus are seasonal.
The Library is a lovely relaxed, sociable and intimate space where you can enjoy an aperitif or a few drinks after dinner. However, for guests of the hotel, they can literally use it as a library and it is restocked regularly to keep titles interesting.
There are two amazing private dining spaces – Chapter One (inside) and The Potting Shed (outside), which at the moment aren`t being maximized to their full potential. Chapter One is a smarter venue for corporate parties, intimate wedding breakfasts and special occasion dinners and it`s completely FREE to hire. The Potting Shed looks out onto the garden, it`s completely private with its own kitchen and is perfect for relaxed family mealtimes, meeting room facilities and even BBQ`s – whatever your desired theme this space has flexibility to accommodate.
Opposite The Potting Shed you`ll spot The Spa. Nestled in the walled garden The REN Spa allows guests and local residents to really take some time out to indulge. It`s small but offers a wide selection of treatments and everything you could want, the environment is cozy and gives you a sense of wellbeing as soon as you enter this space. Guests can also enjoy the `inside out pool` and even at 32 degrees, whatever the weather you can make the most of it. If keeping fit is more your thing then the hotel even has a small gym equipped with some fantastic professional equipment and it`s likely you`ll have it all to yourself on most occasions.
In summary, The Magdalen Chapter Hotel Exeter is exactly what the city needs. Flexible, relaxed and a welcoming atmosphere makes this a fantastic weekend destination for the family – oh and don`t forget the dog!
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