Hotel Du Vin, Exeter
With a night away in a former 19th Century Eye Infirmary, we hoped to come out the other side well fed, refreshed and without bags under our own peepers; the relaxed offering at Hotel Du Vin, Exeter delivered just that.
Hotel Du Vin recently celebrated 25 years of the brand; we must admit we thought they had been going longer, but well done to them all the same!
With currently 19 venues across the country, the chain of hotels tends to choose buildings with individual style and have certainly done so here in what used to be a more clinical environment.
The Exeter venue is located on the south end of the city centre, and has some free parking on site, otherwise plenty of parking next door in the public car park.
The building itself is wonderfully grand – let’s step inside…..
The Hotel Facilities
The downstairs area is bright, modern and relaxed, and is accessible to all, residents and non-residents, business people and families, for meetings, coffee, or a full blown meal.
The hotel has a relaxed bar area with casual seating at the heart of the ground floor, where you can enjoy your usual tipple or even treat yourself to a cocktail. To the left is an airy casual lounge/eating area, with doors out onto a patio, and to the right is the unpretentious main restaurant with very high ceiling; tear drop lighting fills the space, without being over the top. The whole rear of the building is glass fronted, allowing plenty of light in, and the view out to the secure walled garden and some more alfresco seating, which is a nice surprise considering the location of this city building.
A fantastic facility is the ‘indoor outdoor’ heated swimming pool, perfect for young and old. A warm haven of bubbles and sunken jacuzzi seating indoors for relaxing, and enough room outside for a swim or float whilst contemplating dinner time. Our son absolutely loved it. They also have a small spa in the walled gardens if you have time for a pamper.
The Hotel Room
The floors with rooms on are more sumptuous and calm; soft lighting, a stylish palette of soft grey carpets and beige accents represent the modern day, whilst with curved walls and doorways remind you that this is a Victorian building.
In the room, there are a few hints to what once was, including drainage holes in the floors from back in its surgery days and the benefit of high ceilings, and tall windows giving the room a spacious feel. Yet modern touches have been included for the demanding traveller such as mood lighting and speakers in the bathroom – much to the delight of our son who chose the lighting scheme above his sofa bed.
A very comfy king size bed for us parents, in warm blue tones, with a perfectly sized sofa bed made up for the boy; a gown and slippers lay waiting for young sir, for his adornment before walking down to the pool.
Plenty of hanging space in the form of a built in wardrobe, caffeine by way of a nespresso machine for tired adults, and heavy blackout curtains to ensure a restful night.
There’s quite a good choice with something for everyone. For early evening dining, there is a prixe fix menu which represents great value, and a good sized children’s menu. Sadly our son now eats like a man, so the main menu it is for all of us. The menu changes around twice a year, with a few tweaks around it’s core offering.
Starters of moules frites and meat sharing platter kicked off our dinner, all very generous in portion size and tasty.
Cassoulet Classique for the main event consisted of a hearty casserole of white beans, confit duck, smoked Toulouse sausage and pancetta which kept hubby pretty happy! Our son and I opted for some red meat options, including ribeye steak and onglet steak. The rib-eye was cooked medium rare as requested and was juicy and tender, but the surprise of it all was the onglet steak – onglet (or hanger) steak is an incredibly tasty piece of beef not often used. This steak was a bit like a chopped steak burger, except it is incredibly herby which quite frankly resulted in a delicious bit of meat.
For dessert the boys opted for ice creams (hubby had no room left for the very impressive cheese trolley).
The Morning After The Night Before
We awoke the next day, well rested thanks to the comfy bed and high quality blinds and curtains keeping the light out. After squeezing in a quick morning swim we were treated to a delightful breakfast of omelette Arnold Bennett (smoked haddock and parmesan) and eggs benedict with bacon – they even happily fulfilled our request of a side order of fresh avocado, and it was all really tasty. The French Market Table had plenty of other lovely things to help yourself to as well.
With good sized rooms, a lovely pool and within walking distance of the Quay, the charmingly independent shops in Magdalen Road, and 5 minutes walk into the heart of Exeter, it certainly is a great spot as a base for a city break or staycation. Our only critique is that the website doesn’t seem to allow you to look for a room for more than 2 people, so it’s best to call and speak with one of the very helpful staff. From a family point of view, our son was made to feel very comfortable and welcome, as any guest should be they young or old, and we will certainly be back.
It’s definitely worth a visit even for just a meal, with Sundays being a real treat thanks to their four course menu which includes a buffet style French Market Table.
Hotel Du Vin Exeter, Magdalen Street, Exeter EX2 4HY
Our stay and dinner was gifted to us by Hotel Du Vin, and has not been seen by them prior to publishing. All views are our own.