The Orangery blooms in Devon countryside

After a couple of guest stays at the Deer Park Country House Hotel in east Devon, we are publishing three posts about the experience including a review of the hotel, having fun cooking pizza in a clay oven on site and firstly this, the grand opening of the newly refurbished Orangery.

Deer Park Country House Hotel, with The Orangery to the left
Deer Park Country House Hotel, with The Orangery to the left

Hidden in the rolling hills and fields of east Devon, England lies Deer Park Country House Hotel, a long established venue that over the past few years has been given a new lease of life. More than a new coat of paint and quick repair job, the care and attention lavished on the hotel has already seen it become one of region’s most popular wedding venues and destination hotels.

Space, light and chandeliers in The Organery
Space, light and chandeliers in The Organery

With much of the investment coming from new owner, entrepreneur Nigel Wray, owner of both Saracens Rugby Club and Deer Park and a long time visitor to the hotel, the renovation is being done sympathetically and thoroughly. Day to day running of the hotel is down Mark Godfrey, a seasoned manager of large leisure and entertainment venues including a stint at Stoke Park Club, Buckinghamshire and at Harbour Hotels and Dart Marina Hotel & Spa, Devon.

This April the hotel hosted an official launch party for the opening of The Orangery, a Georgian-era building with long list of bookings for weddings already inked in. The evening kicked off in style with a Bollinger champagne drinks reception followed by speeches by Nigel and Mark. Nigel’s speech had an apt ending with him quoting the legendary Hollywood producer and film-maker Louis B Mayer: “Do it big, do it right, give it class”, which sums up the new ethos at Deer Park.

The interior decoration has been carefully selected
The interior decoration has been carefully selected

Commenting on the evening, Mark says: “What a fabulous evening! The weather was faultless allowing our guests to enjoy our foody treasure hunt around the grounds. Highlights of the trail included wood fired pizzas from our Dingley Dell clay ovens; Thatcher’s Cider who were found in Snug; Good Game with their range of locally cured charcuterie and Westcountry Hog Roasts who flipped mouth watering venison Burgers on the croquet lawn.”

Set in 80 acres of parkland and with the River Otter flowing by, the hotel has already won four AA stars and double Rosette awards for culinary excellence from the kitchen led by chef Andy Storey, ex-Gidleigh Park.

As a boutique hotel, the Deer Park Orangery can cater for up to 170 guests for weddings, parties or corporate events with its floor to ceiling arched windows, decadent chandeliers and distinctive mosaic flooring. While, the main hotel building can host 60 guests for more intimate celebrations.


Bruce McMichael

I am freelance journalist and published author focusing on food and drink; business startups and enterprise; culture and travel. I have also written about the global upstream oil and gas industry, shipping and current affairs. Based in London, I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur.

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