Posted 26th May 2016
Situated in the heart of Totnes, The Royal Seven Stars Hotel has been giving its guests a warm Devon welcome since the 17th Century
Situated next to the River Dart, this landmark hotel has seen many comings and goings over the centuries. Built in the 1660s, it has served as a coaching inn for generations and has been added to and altered over time. By the early 18th Century the inn had a large inner courtyard and wide front entrance through which a horse and rider could pass, which now has a glass atrium and serves as the grand light-filled entrance hall to the hotel. The grand staircase and assembly rooms – now known as the ballroom - were added in the early 19th Century, when they were in great demand for local functions (as they still are today). During the 1800s the hotel was a bustling stagecoach hub, with stagecoaches departing daily to Plymouth and Exeter. However, the arrival of the railway in the latter part of the century caused the use of stagecoaches to diminish and the premises became known as a hotel.
It’s not known how it gained its ‘Royal’ prefix, although links have been made to Charles II, William of Orange and Edward VII, whose sons were appointed to HMS Britannia at Dartmouth in 1877. And as for the stars, well during the Middle Ages it was customary for religious houses to act as hostels for pilgrims and travellers and they would display a sign of sevens stars when the mother church was dedicated to St Mary, who wore seven stars in her celestial crown. It’s believed the hotel’s name originates from such a hostelry that was located close to the present building.
Today’s guests can still be sure of a warm welcome during their stay. The hotel’s 21 individually-designed bedrooms combine 17th-century features with contemporary touches. Familiar comforts include crisp white linen, fluffy towels and robes, a generous hospitality tray complete with fresh fruit and biscuits, free WiFi and luxurious toiletries.
And to start your break as you mean to go on, every guest is treated to a complimentary glass of champagne on arrival in the hotel’s elegant champagne bar. It’s not just two-legged guests that are treated like royalty at The Royal Seven Stars; your four-legged friends are welcome too. This dog-friendly hotel greets pets with treats, a toy and a dog bed, plus a selection of recommended walks and lots of fuss.
The hotel has two atmospheric and dog-friendly bars for guests to enjoy. Bar 7, which opens onto an alfresco terrace, has a contemporary feel with cosy leather sofas, while the Saloon Bar provides a more traditional ambience with a choice of real ales and a roaring log fire during the cooler months. Both serve simply cooked fresh food with daily specials for you to enjoy.
Meanwhile, for a more sophisticated dining experience, guests can eat at the TQ9 Brasserie. Here you can enjoy the seasonally changing a la carte menu which showcases the finest locally sourced ingredients, such as fish from Brixham, game from Exmoor and Dartmoor, local Sharpham cheese and succulent South Devon lamb.
As well as local real ales and Devon-made Luscombe soft drinks, guests can opt for one of the selection of 26 carefully chosen of wines available by the glass at the hotel – including locally made Sharpham wines.
The brasserie is also where you will take your breakfast in the morning, and it’s definitely worth getting up for. As well as the usual buffet selection of cereals, juices, pastries and yoghurts, guests can enjoy a full English breakfast which includes Devonshire hog’s pudding – a local speciality similar to black pudding, or home-baked ham and free-range eggs. Or if you prefer something lighter, then you can tuck into smoked kippers, smoked haddock or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
After breakfast why not take a stroll round Totnes itself? Known as one of the ‘world’s funkiest towns’, it is colourful, eclectic and full of energy and has a wealth of independent, artisan shops, galleries and bakeries to browse. And being situated within striking distance of secluded beaches, Dartington Hall, and the Riverford Field Kitchen, the Royal Seven Stars makes the perfect base for your adventures in South Devon.
Visit www.royalsevenstars.co.uk to find out more or to make a booking.
Visit www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk for more inspiration on places to see, things to do and events to attend in the local area.
By Anna-Lisa De’Ath