From £112 per night | Dog-friendly | River Views
The Royal Castle Hotel started life as two merchant houses back in the days when Scotland was at war with Charles I and Guy Fawkes was locked in the Tower of London. A century later it became the New Inn, and by 1782 the two houses were woven together to become the Castle Inn.
It finally became the Royal Castle Hotel in the 1800s when someone gazed at its Doric columns and castellated cornicing and realised it looked more like a castle, than an inn. The rest, as they say, is history.
Inside The Hotel
Today, the Royal Castle’s white crenelated façade stands double-breasted and puffed out with pride; as it should, because it’s got every reason to be proud.
Step inside, pad along the ancient flagstones to reception, and the dark instantly gives way to a column of thick Dartmouth sunlight, thrown down from the glazed glass roof towering three floors up.
Adding to the brightness are the smiles of the girls on reception; complete strangers who couldn’t have greeted me more warmly if I’d have been family – which is distinctly the feel at the Royal Castle Hotel.
The Royal Castle Hotel has 16 standard rooms and 10 river view rooms, all are dog-friendly and many come with an envious view. Some also have their own hidden quirks: for instance, bedroom 6 comes with its very own priest hole – thankfully, the priest has gone.
But if your room doesn’t have a priest hole, don’t fret. You can be sure it’ll be dressed as refined as Kiera Knightly in a costume drama. In room 14, for instance, butter-creamed drapes hang over the bed; biscuit-blushed high-back chairs give you a spot to watch the world sail by; the gold brass of the double bed glints in the light; and there’s a large la mode bathroom with a jacuzzi bath.
The Royal Castle Hotel easily occupies one of the best locations in Dartmouth. To your left, with your back to the hotel, you’re a hop, skip and a jump away from the timeless elegance of Foss Street – where chic boutiques nuzzle alongside light and airy galleries.
To your right, Fairfax Place tapers into Lower Street providing a walk neatly peppered with delicate shops and pretty cafes and stretching all the way to Bayards Cove.
Straight ahead, the Royal Avenue Gardens sweep cares away with suited and booted flowerbeds and ironed-pressed lawns, whilst to the right of the gardens a boat float breathes gently in and out as Dartmouth life unfolds around it.
But best of all, the Royal Castle Hotel is a mere minute’s walk from the hulking waters of the River Dart – hence the magical vista.
One moment you’re gazing out of your hotel room, the next you’re across the road, sucking salted air and watching the River Dart carry super-yachts, picnic boats, paddle steamers and rent-your-owns downstream on its mighty turquoise back.
Breakfast and dinner are served in the Royal Castle’s blue-blooded Grill Room. I say blue-blooded because this large first floor was a favourite retreat of HRH the Prince of Wales when he brought his two sons to join H.M.S. Britannia in 1877.
HRH had good taste. The view, again, from this vantage point is eye-wateringly delicious – and that alone might fill you up. If not, expect a three-course meal fit for a king.
As you’d expect from a sea-fringed town, all the fish is caught in local waters and brought fresh from the fish markets at Brixham and Plymouth. Breakfast, like lunch and dinner, is equally as striking on the eyes and tastebuds – and sourced locally.
- 16 standard rooms and 10 river view rooms
- Pets allowed
- 2 bars and a restaurant on-site
- Free WiFi
- Family rooms