Wilderness perfected, by Boutique Retreats

Boutique Retreats, Sojourn

Travel is a fine and freeing thing. The unshackling of the metaphorical chains, the daily grind of work, and life’s endless expectations. Oh, and the choice! Sunshine, or snow? Lakes, forests, dunes or mountains? Total relaxation, escapism, exhilaration or luxuriation?

Maybe, you simply want to throw away the laptop, for just a few days. To be at one with oneself, just a toe off the beaten track. But maybe with a spa too? And don’t forget, we want some really great dining. Suddenly, from a mid-afternoon daydream, you’re wrenched back into the realms of labour, by the nuisance of finding your next getaway.

Taking just a little of that weight off your tired shoulders, dear reader, I offer you some inspiration, direction and delegation. As, with one swift click, Boutique Retreats will find your perfect homestay getaway from far-flung reaches of the UK, to just a stone’s throw from London. Costal, or cosy country? Hot tub, walking distance from a pub, a wood burner or dog friendly? All options they’ve got covered.

Boutique Retreats, Sojourn, Dartmoor


Choosing a wild country escape, we travel deep into the South West of England to the edge of the rugged and rambling Dartmoor National Park in Devon. A few miles from Exeter, narrow country lanes rush excitedly with water from the recent rainfall, hemmed by thick, high hedges. Offering quick glimpses of the wild landscape beyond, they take us to the little rural village of Drewsteignton.

As we near our destination, we walk down a narrow gravel path, through an ivy-clad gated archway, and a delightful sensory garden filled to the brim with herbs and climbing roses. Through the postcard-worthy garden, across a stepping-stone path, our home from home awaits. We are greeted by Sojourn, a chocolate-box-perfect one-bedroom thatched stone cottage, from Boutique Retreats.

Boutique Retreats, Sojourn, Dartmoor

We enter a cosy open-plan lounge and dining space, Sonos speakers already playing a soothing soundtrack throughout. Kicking off our boots, I am ready to explore the calming space. 

A ready-built fire in the woodburner awaits us settling down before it with a glass of bubbles from the bottle that loiters on ice nearby. Nook windows are framed with seating, and white-washed walls are punctuated by low wooden beams. Despite growing up on a 12th-century farm, my instinct to duck at the foot of the stairs escapes me as I marvel at my surroundings, learning quickly through my mistake to offer the home a respectful bow. 

Boutique Retreats, Sojourn, Dartmoor

The kitchen is a home chef’s dream, a large space fully stocked with everything one might need to design each meal, boasting a six-burner ceramic Rangemaster, a large island to rest and chat with one’s partner whilst you cook, and a wine fridge for the extras to accompany it. 

Whilst the area has many a Michelin guide restaurant, we had pre-decided to shy away from civilisation, stocking up with the necessities, alongside the not necessarily so-necessary at the nearby Dart’s Farm, an impressive emporium of local produce. With paper bags overflowing with cured meats, artisanal cheeses, chutneys, farm-fresh vegetables, pastries, crusty loaves, and local wine and ciders, we were set to dig in for the weekend. And, a breakfast of homemade biscuits, preserves, granola, and produce from the local dairy awaited us in the kitchen for our arrival.

Boutique Retreats, Sojourn, Dartmoor

Upstairs, low, wide windows stream light and birdsong into the space. Call it however you like, but your surroundings are an imperative point of any trip. Why would you want to stay anywhere that didn’t inspire you to unwind absolutely? From the enticing king-size bed adorned with a menagerie of feathered pillows to the lavish roll-top copper bath lingering in the spa room, this space does exactly that.

Scenes to explore are as vast as the moors at the doorstep. One might choose to soak in the history of the area, with a walk to the local Fingle Bridge to enjoy a fine example of a 17th-century stone arch construction. From there, a couple of hoursmore might take you up through the tree-lined rocky valley to enjoy a vantage point across the river floodplains from beneath Castle Drogo, on the Teign Gorge walk. The area is a veritable refuge of National Trust sites. Otherwise, one might take a drive out to the moors themselves. Pick a spot to park, pick a distant Tor, and get hiking.

Boutique Retreats, Sojourn, Dartmoor

For a slower day, did I mention the spa room? During your visit, your hosts Nicki and Lesley will arrange a bespoke treatment in the comfort of the cottage. Their therapist, Sukanya, arrives just before your appointment, setting up the space with candles, scented oils at the ready.

Specialising in Thai Massage, she will intuitively knead and stretch you like the finest of doughs, ensuring every tension is left behind. If a hot stone, relaxing massage, or even a facial is more your thing it’s all on the menu before you express your eternal gratitude and float airily out of the room.

Maybe a sunny afternoon will see you lounging amid the hum of the bees dancing in the foxgloves, the sound of running water twinkling from the end of the private garden. Adorned with fairy lights, the Bower House welcomes you later that evening. With a fully stocked outdoor kitchen, the Ooni pizza oven welcomes your creations as you enjoy a sundowner of Sojourn’s homemade Rhubarb Gin under the waxing moon that comes out to frolic with the stars, for an evening that will enthral and relax.


Boutique Retreats

Boutique Retreats bridges the gap between boutique hotels and traditional holiday cottages. Providing a personal service, this is not simply the self-catering property. With a vast portfolio of luxurious vacation rentals across England, Scotland and Wales, they specialise in short homestay breaks all year round.

Call Boutique Retreats on 01872 553 491

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Naomi Lake

Lake is a Makeup Artist, Hair Stylist, Model and Creative Director. As the Beauty & Wellness Editor, she comes to the table with over a decade of knowledge in the industry. When she's not on set or writing, she's in a yoga class, checking out a new restaurant or exploring the menu of a cocktail bar, in the pursuit of the perfect Negroni.

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