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Peter Porker
09.12.2014, 00:49


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The Magdalen Chapter Magdalen Street Exeter EX2 4HY Exeter United Kingdom

The Magdalen Chapter hotel – Exeter – United Kingdom

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Rates from €106.76 per night (inc tax)

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At a glance

  • You'll love

    Historic locale

    Artistic interiors

    Refined Ren spa

  • Kids will love

    Glorious green gardens

    Imaginative kids’ menu

    All-weather pool

  • Don’t expect

    Kids club or crèche

    Pool supervision

    Baby-listening

Overview

The Magdalen Chapter, close to Exeter Cathedral, has a chic child-friendly set-up. Family-sized rooms and suites – where kids stay for free – sport William Morris-style prints (with a mod twist) in cool Wedgwood hues, and the walled gardens are scattered with striped deckchairs from which parents can watch children play life-sized snakes and ladders. Craft materials, board games and an in-room iPad will keep little hands busy while parents luxuriate in the Ren spa, dive into the all-weather pool or curl up with a tome from the library, before tucking into fine dining for all.

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Magdalen Chapter

Bed and breakfast rate Dinner, bed and breakfast offer December getaway

Parent-approved

 Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including The Magdalen Chapter – has been selected and approved by parents.

Smith & Family

Need To Know

Rooms

59. The hotel’s large Feature Room and two interconnecting rooms are best suited for families.

Check–out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from €106.76 (£84), including tax at 20 per cent. ⓘ

More details

Room rates include a hearty Continental or full English breakfast and free drinks from the minibar. Children Under-17s stay free in cots or extra beds in Deluxe or Feature rooms.

Also

All common areas are pram, buggy and wheelchair accessible (there are no steps up to the entrance). The hotel has a spacious lift, which stops at each floor, and there are two disabled-access rooms on the ground floor (one a Superior, the other Deluxe).

At the hotel

Spa, fitness room, swimming pool, restaurant, bar and lounge, library, garden, free WiFi throughout.

In your room

Flatscreen TV, iPad, iPod dock, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle, bottled water, free minibar, bathrobes, flip-flops and Ren bath products. In-room spa treatments are available on request.

Our favourite rooms

The elegant Feature Room has a separate sitting area and a large butcher-block sink (the perfect baby bath in a pinch). It sleeps two adults, and one child aged up to 17 on a double sofabed. In addition, there’s also enough space for a baby cot if needed. Regular rooms 115 and 116, and Feature rooms 217 and 216 interconnect, providing oodles of space and a little privacy.

Poolside

The sleek heated pool runs from inside to out, sunk into a walled section of the garden, away from the lawn, and flanked by day-beds. It’s unsupervised – and there’s no shallow end – but adult-accompanied kids are welcome and swimming aids are available if needed.

Spa

The spa is as slick and contemporary as the rest of the hotel, with wood-panelled walls and bright white treatment rooms. Bathrobes are provided in your room for you to wander down in. Indulge in massages, body scrubs, body wraps, facials, manicures and pedicures; treatments for mums-to-be and mini manicures (for under-16s) are also available. The spa leads directly out to the garden so you can easily sweep from deep relaxation to deckchair in a blissed-out haze.

And…

Afternoon tea needn’t be an adults-only affair: the lounge serves a mini-me tea especially for kids, with finger sandwiches, milkshakes, macarons and dinky doughnuts. There’s also a wide range of children’s books to read together in the library.

Book ahead

Babysitting must be booked at least a week before you arrive. 

Pet-friendly

Dogs can stay too, in Superior, Deluxe or Feature rooms for no extra cost. Dog beds and bowls are provided if requested before arrival.

Dining

The Restaurant looks akin to a contemporary circus top, with a tented ceiling, ringmaster’s coat-red chairs and chic pendulum lights – a suitable setting for chef Ben Bulgur’s show-stopping food. The internationally influenced menu changes on a daily basis depending which herbs and vegetables have been gathered from the hotel's garden. Whatever ingredients cannot be harvested there, are sought out from local suppliers.

Family fare

The Restaurant is a bright, relaxed place to eat with an outdoor terrace where mini Smiths can gambol about the gardens in the summer. The kids’ menu takes its cue from European dining, offering tapas-style light bites such as panzarotti (fried-cheese triangles) and ham croquettes, alongside healthy grilled fish, crudités and fruit plates (please note that the menu is seasonal and changes depending on what has been gathered from the hotel's garden). Highchairs are available and staff are happy to heat up milk or baby food on request. A Continental breakfast buffet with toast, pastries, porridge, fruit and yoghurt is included in your room rate, or an à la carte Full English; more unusual dishes such as spicy North African egg dish Shakshuka or ham hock with black pudding also feature on the menu.

Hotel Bar

Kids are allowed in the bar and lounge until 10pm. Decorated in regal purple hues, the bar has cosy armchairs and love seats which form snug fireside cocoons; however, open fires and an adult ambience mean you may feel more comfortable spending the evening in the lounge if you’re relaxing with toddlers. The lounge’s vivid green bamboo-print wall, cocktail and mocktail menus and baby-changing facilities make it the ideal family hangout; a menu of sandwiches, snacks and salads is also served throughout the day.

Last orders

Breakfast is available between 7am and 10am; lunch is served from 12 noon until 2pm; afternoon tea from 3pm to 5:30pm and dinner between 6pm and 10pm. Drinks are served in the bar until 1am; bar food is served until 10pm. In the lounge, the menu is available from 12 noon to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 9.30pm on Sundays.

Smith Insider

  • Top table

    The garden terrace makes the prettiest place to perch, but in brisk weather, sit near the chef station to be entertained by the kitchen’s culinary wizardry.

  • Room service

    In-room dining is available round the clock and children will love the novelty of ordering room service on the provided iPad, which has a fully loaded menu of sandwiches, steaks and salads.

    Also

    Staff are happy to heat milk around the clock (milk is free for children), and Sunday lunches and half-term dining are both free for under-12s when accompanied by an adult.

Parent approved

' Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including The Magdalen Chapter – has been selected and approved by parents.'

Smith & Family

Babysitting

Babysitters can be booked for £10 an hour (a minimum three-hour booking is required) and must be requested at least a week before arrival.

Baby-listening

Baby monitors are provided on request. Regular rooms: 110, 111 and 112, Deluxe rooms: 4, 5, 6 and 121, and Feature room 121 are all within listening range of the restaurant, but parents dining child-free should be aware that the signal can be spotty.

Other Services

Private dinners can be arranged for birthdays and the concierge can recommend nearby party shops and local entertainers.

What's there already?

For babies

• Highchairs • Cot bedlinen • Cot beds • Black-out blinds • Baby monitors • Changing mat • Soft toys • Board books

For toddlers

• Highchairs • Cot beds • Cot bedlinen • Changing mat • Swimming aids • Toddler-proof toys • Crayons/pens • Craft materials • Picture books

For older children

• Board games • Craft materials • Snakes and ladders • Swimming aids

Things to do

On-site entertainment requires a little imagination and parental supervision, with lush green walled gardens, a pool that runs from inside to outside and a giant game of snakes and ladders. Reception has toys, drawing books and art supplies for little ones to play with during parents’ coffee catch-ups in the lounge and teens can tinker with the in-room iPad. During downtime, parents can visit the Ren spa, or stop into the library and plunge into a carefully chosen tome before diving into the bar’s cocktail menu.

Sunny days

Let your little ones loose on the lawn with some games borrowed from reception, as you sit on the sidelines in a striped deckchair, book in hand. Then play referee in a game of giant snakes and ladders, and if things happen to get heated, take a family time out in the open-air section of the pool.

Rainy days

The lounge and library are peaceful places where both adults and children can skip rain showers; keep restless little ones engaged with art supplies, toys and board games borrowed from reception, or load up the games on the in-room iPad. The spa offers parents a sleek retreat to get scrubbed and rubbed down in, and the pool has a covered section (with a wood burner) for those days when you’d rather get wet indoors.

And there's more…

For parents, wine tastings, cooking classes and celebrity chef talks are also held throughout the year.

Smith tip

On the Waterfront (+44 (0)1392 210590) is a 17th-century red-brick-lined bar by the quay. Pile into a roomy banquette under the eaves, or nab a picnic table by the River Exe and tuck in to fully-customisable home-made pizzas.

Don't miss…

Dinner à deux at Michael Caines at Abode Exeter (+44 (0)1392 319955). The Michelin-starred chef (of Gidleigh Park fame) and county are as perfectly matched as the wine pairings, with fat Brixham scallops, Crediton duck and plenty of clotted cream.

Exeter is the perfect stop-off to bookend a trip to Cornwall or other Devon destinations. The city is petite but packed with iconic historic sites, shops, museums and a few hidden treasures. The glorious Gothic architecture and gurning gargoyles of Exeter Cathedral (+44 (0)1392 255573), are a 10-minute walk north from the hotel (on the Southernhay West road). Their summer-holiday programme has dragon painting, brass rubbings and mediaeval dress-up; if arriving off season, ring ahead and reserve an activity backpack (+44 (0)1392 285983), which contains binoculars, puppets, puzzles and storybooks. Entry is free for under-18s (with a small charge if visiting the North Tower); some arts and crafts classes are charged. More adventurous tykes can don a hard hat and unearth Exeter’s hidden heritage by exploring the 14th-century tunnels (+44 (0)1392 665887) that run under the city. The secret subterranean world is 10-minutes’ walk from the hotel – on Paris Street – and tours are 25 minutes (only over-5s can visit the tunnels; take under-5s to the street-level exhibition). This claustrophobic attraction becomes even more so in school holidays, so book ahead.

After adventuring, be sure to stop at Café Magdalen (+44 (0)1392 250750) – just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, on Magdalen Road – where lunchtime diners are plied with comfort food. Toddlers’ tea is served on Monday to Saturday afternoons (with toasties, cakes, giant cookies and a drink), which can be taken back to the hotel in a doggy bag if needed. There’s also a goodie-crammed children’s menu with scaled-down versions of grown-up meals. For evening meals head to Harry’s Grill Bar (+44 (0)1392 438545) – a 15-minute stroll from the hotel. Harry’s is affable to family affairs and their gargantuan burgers and steaks can be ordered as dinky dishes. Devonshire-cream-slathered desserts – from elegant affogato to bubblegum-flavoured sundaes – will prove-popular with sweet-toothed little Smiths. Coffee and cakes are served from 10am and an evening menu from 6pm.

Coast and countryside are both a short drive from the city. Grab a bucket, spade and some bait, and head to pretty seaside town Teignmouth to go crabbing on the back beach (a 25-minute drive south of the hotel). Bicton Park Botanical Gardens (+44 (0)1395 568465) lie to the east of Teignmouth – about a 35-minute drive – with indoor and outdoor play areas and a little railway, alongside waterfalls and kaleidoscopic flowerbeds.

Haldon Forest Park (+44 (0)1392 834251) – a 20-minute drive south of the hotel, via the A30 and A38 – has more than 3,500 acres of bucolic bliss, with horse riding, walking trails, cycling, archery and Segway tours, alongside Go Ape, adventure playgrounds and a Touch of the Wild club – which teaches kids about native plants, trees and animals. Children’s mountain bikes can be picked up from Forest Cycle Hire (+44 (0)1392 833768) near the rangers’ lodge from £9 a half day; helmets, trikes, child seats, trailers and tag-a-longs are also available. Over-10s can play on Go Ape, while under-10s enjoy a treetop walk, and the Ridge Café serves snacks, sandwiches and a toddlers’ lunch at the Playdough Club each Thursday in term time. Toilets and baby-changing facilities are available on-site.

Crealy Adventure Park (+44 (0)1395 233200) is 20-minutes’ drive from the hotel via the M5. Here families are dropped, splashed and swung from bombastic rides, run wild in indoor adventure zones or calm their nerves in the paddock, farm and pet shop. Toddlers under 92cm enter free; there’s a reduced rate for children from 92cm to 100cm, and family-ticket prices depend on the size of your group. On-site changing facilities, a lost-child station and a picnic area make visiting a breeze, and a toddler’s village and soft play are offered for the littlest Smiths. Close to the the park – a 15-minute drive north – is Jack in the Green (+44 (0)1404 822240), a stylish yet easygoing, black and white country pub with cracked-leather armchairs, trompe l’oeil bookshelves and vintage detailing. Ingredients plucked from backyard plots and produce from lauded local suppliers are used to make ‘Totally Devon’ dishes – mead-braised pork belly with butternut squash, plums and amaretti crumble – and more exotic delicacies, such as Moroccan pork tenderloin, pastilla, pistachio and confit orange. Space to run round both inside and out, and a kids’ menu with sustainable fish with chips, pint-sized roasts and free-range chicken nuggets make for family dining with finesse. 

The Magdalen Chapter
Magdalen Street, Exeter, Devon EX2 4HY, United Kingdom
Hotel setting

By cathedral and quay

Getting There

The Magdalen Chapter sits near the centre of historic Exeter city, in a quiet street close to shops, museums and Saint Luke’s university campus. Restaurants line the quay, a five-minute walk away, and Exeter Cathedral and Guildhall are a 10-minute walk.

Planes

Exeter International Airport (www.exeter-airport.co.uk) is a 20-minute drive from the hotel. Flights arrive here from most major European cities, and transatlantic and Pacific flights connect at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport or Paris Charles de Gaulle. There are several car-hire booths at the airport and the hotel can arrange transfers for £30 a four-person taxi (one-way only).

Trains

Exeter St David’s is the nearest train station, a five-minute drive (or a 20-minute walk) from the hotel. The station’s a three-hour journey from London Paddington Station, four-and-a-half-hours from Manchester Piccadilly, three-hours from Birmingham New Street and 90 minutes from Bristol Parkway. The station has a taxi rank and the hotel can arrange transfers for £8 one way (for up to four people).

Automobiles

From the motorway, exit at junction 29, then follow signs for the city centre and cathedral. There’s a carpark right next door to the hotel – which has a limited number of spaces – and discounted parking is available close by (an overnight ticket costs £3.90 and a two-day ticket is £14.70).

Other

Exeter can be reached via the M5 and the A30, or the M3 and A303. If driving from the airport, exit the motorway at junction 29, then follow signs for the city centre and cathedral; parking is next to the hotel, with reduced rates for guests (£3.90 from 3pm to 10am or £14.70 for 48 hours). Exeter is ideal for exploring on foot, but a car will come in handy for day-trips to nearby Dartmouth, Plymouth and Exmouth beach, or cruising through the Devonshire countryside.

Parent travel tip

Book a high-speed First Great Western train (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) to Exeter St David’s and teeny travellers will be entertained en route by the on-demand TV in Coach D – dubbed the Entertainment Carriage – which has a selection of children’s programmes including Peppa Pig and Ben 10 Ultimate Alien. If driving from London, stop off near Salisbury to take a peek at Stonehenge, scarf down a quick picnic and use the bathroom and baby-changing facilities there.

Smith & Family  Parent Panel reviews

 Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including the Magdalen Chapter – has been selected and approved by parents.

The Magdalen Chapter’s impressive frontage – redbrick and festooned with rooftop finials – resembles a boarding school in the Malory Towers vein, but thoughts of dusty antiques and matronly ‘marms vanish as soon as you walk inside. This former Edwardian eye hospital has been lovingly shelled and turned into an art gallery with beds. The bold and brightly coloured, sculptural-chic interiors co-exist peacefully with overly excited knee-high guests, and children stay for free in the generously sized, tastefully outfitted rooms. Take a dip come rain or shine with the sleek pool that runs from inside the hotel to the garden, or play giant snakes and ladders. Games and books in the lounge or library, or messy cooking sessions in the kitchen are also great ways to while the day away (if you’re not careering over a lush Devon landscape on a horse, bike or zipline that is). The hotel’s Ren spa also provides some respite for frazzled parents.

Nearby, Exeter’s iconic landmarks, museums, shops and subterranean tunnels are easily explored, before sampling the region’s finest produce in the hotel’s big-top-style restaurant en famille. Top off a day of historic discovery by reading bedtime stories borrowed from the library (or aloud from the in-room iPad, if you’re so inclined). The Magdalen Chapter is both fashionable and fuss-free, creating a space that strikes the fine line between grown-up and great for kids with pizzazz, and if you need evidence of the hotel’s child-proof credentials, well… it has withstood two World Wars.

Smith & Family

The Magdalen Chapter’s impressive frontage – redbrick and festooned with rooftop finials – resembles a boarding school in the Malory Towers vein, but thoughts of dusty antiques and matronly ‘marms vanish as soon as you walk inside. This former Edwardian eye hospital has been lovingly shelled and turned into an art gallery with beds. The bold and brightly coloured, sculptural-chic interiors co-exist peacefully with overly excited knee-high guests, and children stay for free in the generously sized, tastefully outfitted rooms. Take a dip come rain or shine with the sleek pool that runs from inside the hotel to the garden, or play giant snakes and ladders. Games and books in the lounge or library, or messy cooking sessions in the kitchen are also great ways to while the day away (if you’re not careering over a lush Devon landscape on a horse, bike or zipline that is). The hotel’s Ren spa also provides some respite for frazzled parents.

Nearby, Exeter’s iconic landmarks, museums, shops and subterranean tunnels are easily explored, before sampling the region’s finest produce in the hotel’s big-top-style restaurant en famille. Top off a day of historic discovery by reading bedtime stories borrowed from the library (or aloud from the in-room iPad, if you’re so inclined). The Magdalen Chapter is both fashionable and fuss-free, creating a space that strikes the fine line between grown-up and great for kids with pizzazz, and if you need evidence of the hotel’s child-proof credentials, well… it has withstood two World Wars.

By Smith & Family

The Guestbook  Smith member reviews

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Magdalen Chapter's Guestbook below.

 

No Smith members have posted their reviews of The Magdalen Chapter yet. You could be the first!

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