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Hazelwood House
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Reviews (69)
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Reviewed 9 August 2011

A remote, wild and truly unspoilt location. In truth, very overgrown and not easily accessible if you are anything other than able bodied. The woods and bushes have grown up around the hotel rather like sleeping beauty's castle in the briar and make it very dark and slightly damp inside the building.

The hotel is an old Victorian building 'rescued' by its owners and hotel management team in the 1980s. The dining room is a lovely space, brightly coloured with interesting paintings and a newly carpeted. On arrival you are greeted by the hotel Jack Russell, Lily who is a delight. The sitting room has a fire a grand piano and a few easy chairs but there is not room there for more than one family at a time. There is a TV room, but this space often seems to be in use by the owners. The remaining formal reception room is far from the dining area and is not a cosy space. In fact there is a chance you might never get dinner at all if you waited in here for you pre-dinner drinks!

The first floor rooms have been refurbished and have ensuite facilities. The top floor rooms where we stayed are smaller and share bathrooms along the landings. The only shower is on the second floor. The rooms on the top floor offer a stunning view into the valley and the charming boathouse from the front of the house, but those at the rear are tiny and dark with a view into the wooded rear of the hill behind. There is a creaky, rather unkempt feel to it all on the top floor. The sheets were clean and soft and there are plenty of pillows. There are no keys to the rooms on this floor, but there is little likelihood of risk to your possessions either. Hazelwood is a long way off the beaten track and is a very secluded and therefore very quiet place to be - especially at night. You are not really protected from other noise though, the doors bang and you can hear noise between the floors. We were not looking for a plastic hotel experience, but we were not really expecting what we found here either! The top floor is more like a glorified youth hostel really!

The rooms have TVs and kettles. but it is awkward not having water to fill these to hand.

On the downside we experienced a nail sticking up through the bathroom floor, a dirty bath and a bed spring sticking out sharply through the mattress. Also a very questionable amount of welcome and interaction from the owners. We were 'told off' on a couple of occasions! Once for asking about corkage (which is mentioned on the bedroom info cards), once for trying to enter the sitting room when another family were present, once for apparently ordering much too late, and once for apparently accidentally switching off the entire hotel's TV ariel system - which is run from a plug at the back of one of the attic bedrooms.

The domestic staff are lovely and go to great lengths to ensure you receive a delicious (though fairly costly) meal. The children's meals are very poor value for money - we were given the hotel's point of view on these: VAT etc etc, but £8 for a tiny bowl of rather tasteless tomato pasta didn't seem acceptable to us. The hotel did provide larger portions of pasta when we asked, but the price remains in our view, too high - when the money is traditionally made on the adult meal and wine. We had secured a reduced rate for our halfboard deal, but on arrival the courses were reduced from 3, to 2 with no real explanation except for the fact that it wouldn't make them enough money! We were also overcharged for items on our bill - it is all hand prepared which is lovely to see, but you do expect the total to be what you expect!

It is very hard to leave such a negative review and clearly many have had a delightful time here. We however saved very hard for this family week away and it was not what we were expecting. We didn't feel comfortable at any point (except when away from the building) and it is very clear that Hazelwood is not a place for families, but more a location for the occasional retreat or workshop. I don't think holidaymakers are really welcome here. The entire place requires a great deal of financial input which cannot really be created with the small number of guests and sometime diners. I also feel as though the owners don't really wish to share their space with others. This makes for a very difficult balance to achieve as a business.

Room Tip: Make sure you get a room on facing out onto the valley - the rear rooms are very dark.
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank Sleepdeprivedmummy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2011

Off the beaten track Hazelwood is a superb find for those that genuinely want to experience traditional English hospitality. Once the secret retreat of the Peeks the eccentric victorian tea merchant family, Hazelwood fell in to rack and ruin in the latter part of the 20th cent. It was rescued from distruction by a team of dedicated friends and little by little over the past 30 years has been reborn to become a unique living testament to all that is English. It is NOT a boutique hotel, even the word hotel sits uncomfortably after it's name. Hazelwood is a home but a home that offers the guest time and space to escape the challenges of today's iPad acessabilty world.

Once you have navigated through the glorious South Devon countryside you approach Hazelwood via a long stone walled drive and even as you wind your way down the stunningly wooded valley you know that you are approaching something different. Depending on the type of person you are, adventurer or safe player the anticipation the traveler might feel as he turns the last bend of the
drive will either burst into excited euphoria of wonder or a sense of concern that Hazelwood is not a convenient Travel Lodge or well mannered Hilton. The ancient Oak tree in the drive way conjures images of Tolkien the entrance and hallway a 1930s Agatha Christie novel, the dinning room and reception rooms a cluster of 40s 50s furniture alongside grand piano and old books, marble fireplace and candelabra.

The rooms are equally eclectic each one with it's own character but al very comfortable and clean many with amazing views of the awe inspiring wooded loddiswell valley.

We stayed in the master bedroom that is often given to honeymoon couples. Vast in size with a a big bay window and a queen size bed with crisp white cotton linen. The huge bath and basin are not re pro but original features but not blighted by Victorian plumbing as the water was hot and very plentiful. We woke to a beautiful day and was told that there was no problem to take a walk around the valley before breakfast. Feeling like characters from the famous five we explored the magical over grown gardens. Every turn revealed either a hidden grove or secret alcove in which one could escape with ahold book. We discovered under the brambles a buried tennis court that had probably not seen the sound of ball on gut for years and then there was the boat house, nestled on the banks on a tiny crystal clear river where once the Victorian ladies with their gentlemen friends must have courted and cavorted one another.

On returning to the house we were welcomed by a charming young local girl who clearly popped up from a local village to serve the excellent full English breakfast. Then as the house came alive around us to the organising of a forthcoming wedding reception we settled down to rest and relax for a few hours before journeying off to the coast for a walk by the sea.

Hazelwood is not for everyone, this is clearly shown by one or two other the other reports on here but for many it is a very special place. So wether it is for a stop over or a few days break, a celebration or just somewhere to recuperate in peace and quiet ( literally no mobile network coverage but they do have wifi available if you sit in the right chair!) Hazelwood is not a place you stay at it's a home that you experience and long may places like this exist as the world becomes increasingly more corporate and chain influenced.

  • Stayed: June 2011
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7  Thank Gameof33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2011

We started coming to Hazelwood at the end of the eighties on the recommendation of friends who had heard of the work of the Dandelion foundation and the excellent and frequent musical and other performances here. We have seen world quality singers, Japanese drummers, the Medici chamber orchestra and much much more. We have stayed overnight after the fiftieth birthday of a good friend and often done the meal and event ticket. It is appalling to hear the story of the drunks and the occasional mismatch of the excellent hospitality with the different lifestyles or expectations of a few travellers. We cannot speak too highly of the building the setting the estate the catering or most of all of the events. One of our favourite places anywhere.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Jannerbloke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2011

I have my own tour business and I have travelled all over the world in many 5 star hotels and this hotel surpasses all of them. Why do you ask? This hotel is situated in breathtaking landscape with its Victorian rustic gardens, situated in a valley of outstanding beauty. You instantly take in the peace and tranquillity of the area before you enter Hazelwood House. I have been coming here for over 6 years and have seen it change in those years and improve year on year.

Every aspect of the business has improved dramatically over that time. The food is one of the best non Michelin Star restaurants in the UK. The best in locally sourced and organic produce is always used to provide some great English dishes. I believe in less is more and that we have some amazing English produce available in the UK. For example, Haldon Valley apple juice, homemade blackcurrants jam for the cream teas, or the chef’s own chocolate torte. Every meal we had over the long weekend far surpassed most of the restaurants that I review in the Bucks, Berks and Oxon area.

My suggestion is to take your meal al fresco on the veranda facing the fauna and flora and the valley below especially when the sun shines.

When you enter the house, you feel instantly at home which is the love and attention that the house receives from the four main women who run this establishment. This is the Hazelwood House unique selling point. I have found this in only one other hotel in the world at the Windermere in Darjeeling, India.
On the cold days, make your way to the open fire in the reception room for drinks and conversation

The bedrooms are all well appointed but bear in mind that the charm of this place is it’s Victorian charm. En Suite are available in most to the rooms and I would recommend Room 5 which is the Wedding Suite

Above all, make you acquaintance with the four women who run this establishment and you will receive a warm welcome, an openness to meet your need and above all, a grace that you will not experience anywhere else in the UK. This is a special place run by extraordinary woman in the most beautiful countryside of England.

Room Tip: Get Room 4 with is the Bridal Suite. Great views
  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank RussHewer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2011

Hazelwood House. What an absolute gem!

But a warning - if you are looking for a modern, 'plastic' hotel with all the 'plastic' trimmings and 'plastic' staff, then the Hazelwood is not for you.

If, however, you are looking for true, breathtaking beauty in an idyllic rural location; if you are looking for somewhere that simply oozes old world atmosphere and charm; if you are looking for accomodation that is comfortable, peaceful and slightly 'off-beat'; if you are looking for genuinely lovely, friendly and accommodating hosts and staff; if you are looking for wonderful breakfasts and great food ....... then whatever you do, don't miss this simply enchanting establishment.

We had our wedding weekend at Hazelwood, which, for a number of reasons, had to be booked without us ever paying a visit to the place. Fortunately, the help and attitude of the owners eased us through all the preparations via phone and e-mail. Notwithstanding this, we were obviously a little nervous about things. We need not have worried! From the moment we passed through the gates it was, to put it simply, just perfect. To start with, the location is so beautiful that it actually does take your breath away. And as for the weekend itself, well, we could not have been made more welcome - a point picked up by all the guests. Every request, no matter how large or small, was met with a smile and all the staff went out of their way to ensure our happiness. The food was excellent - plentiful and tasty (and do try the cream teas).

We cannot recommend this place too highly. Interestingly, without prompting, nearly all our guests used a word to describe their feelings about the weekend - that word was 'magical'. Indeed, that word sums up Hazelwood House perfectly - Magical!

  • Stayed: April 2011
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3  Thank Brent D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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