A Devonshire Delight

I’ve been lucky enough to stay in some amazing hotel rooms across the world, so why did a stay in The English Riviera at the Cary Arms and Spa have me wanting to stay forever?

Situated in the sunny, sheltered haven of Babbacombe Bay on the South Devon coast, and brimming with coastal charm Cary Arms and Spa has an outstanding setting along with breathtakingly beautiful views all year round.

A Beach Suite was our home for two nights and what a suite it was. Withsteps leading down to our own private decked terrace,suspended over the beachwith awe-inspiring views across the bay and beyond, the most magical serene place to sit whatever the weather breath in the sea air, take in all the beauty surrounding you, and listen to the lapping of the waves on the rocks.

Inside was just as lovely – stylish and decorated to be reminiscent of a beach hut, but on a much larger scale. Whitewashed wood panelling, along with floor to ceiling bi-fold doors on both the lounge and the bedroom, nothing beats waking to the morning sun shining through the glass as you embrace a new day in this wonderful place.

The lounge has all the mod cons, including quirky touches such as a flickering virtual fire (no heat comes out, but that doesn’t matter as the ambience it creates is perfect). A bottle of wine, soft drinks and some sweet and savoury snacks awaited us as did a decanter of sloe gin that was left on the unique coffee table, handmade from stones and driftwood from the east coast of Scotland. On the back of the comfy sofa is thick blankets and throws, so whatever the weather you can wrap yourself up and disappear outside to snuggle up on the wooden loungers and watch the world go by. Although the weather wasn’t blissfully sunny, and we did have a little rain that wasn’t going to deter us from enjoying the outdoors as much as we could – Morning coffee, afternoon/evening wine and bedtime hot chocolate were all consumed on the terrace whether it was watching the morning waves, the afternoon sunset or the evening stars it was just too magical to not indulge and take advantage of.

As well as two beach suites, Cary Arms offer an assortment of various other accommodation including ten elegant sea-facing rooms and suites in the main Inn, three restored fisherman’s cottages and six deluxe beach huts all furnished and decorated to reflect cool contemporary beach side living.

Dining takes place in the relaxed and cosy inn, the perfect place for walkers, families, friends and travelling foodies to grab a drink or enjoy some of the fresh seasonal dishes from the kitchen. Wonderfully cosy and oozing with charm, after a day of coastal walks and sea air it was the perfect place for us to fill our rumbling bellies.

It seemed only right that as we were in Devon to start our dining with Devonshire crab and crayfish cocktail, so fresh and full of flavour, I’m sure the chef popped down to the water’s edge and caught it especially for us! A cool glass of the citrusy Cotes de Gascogne paired with this dish perfectly. We were dining on a Saturday night, which meant the resident pianist was adding to the whole ambience as he played quietly in the corner.

Mains were rack of lamb served with sweet potatofondant and tender stem broccoli, a mouth-watering array of texture and taste. Oven baked fillet of hake with crushed new potatoes and a basil pesto was full of flavour and certainly didn’t disappoint,

All meals can be enjoyed inside or out, whether it’s in the comfort of the wooden beamed bar or restaurant, the conservatory with its amazing views, the outdoor gardens, the secluded enclosed dining pod or a must in the summer months the Captains Table, where you can dine above an artist’s studio with an unparalleled view of the bay (I knew there’d be a reason for us to return!)

Hubby chose the sticky toffee pudding for dessert, which of course drew top marks, but I was saving myself for toasting some marshmallows in the specially created marshmallow fire outside on the patio. It may have been a cold, damp winters evening but you can’t beat getting all wrapped up, huddling round the fire and toasting marshmallows – It’s these little quirky touches that makes Cary Arms even more special.

The glass fronted sea-facing spa at Cary Arms is another bonus to the hotel, offering a relaxing haven of luxury within the facilities that include a steam room, sauna, relaxation area and the fete d accomplish a waterfall hydrotherapy pool, that offers rugged Devonshire coastal views. For sunny days there’s a private sunbathing terrace that again offers spectacular views out to sea and is decorated with exclusive American Art illustrations from Peter de Savary’s (the hotel’s owner) private collection and if you’re looking for that extra bit of pampering book yourself in for a treatment (I needed no persuasion whatsoever and indulged in a tailored made body massage, leaving my body floating back to my suite for even more energetic lazing on the terrace).

Cary Arms doesn’t only offer you the perfect coastal retreat it also affords a great place to explore, just follow the path along the shore line, manovere your way over rocks and paddle your feet in the sea as you take in breathtakingly beautiful scenery before you reach the site of the beachside cafe and water sports centre where you can hire out boats, enjoy an ice cream as you sit on the beach or take a ride to the top of the cliffs on the historic funicularrailway, where you can see the whole bay for miles around. Once at the top Babbacombeis a charming little seaside town, well worth exploring and stopping of course for a Devonshire cream tea!

Cary Arms offers everything you want from a staycation and more, it’s a hotel like no other. With its beachfront location, spectacular 360 views across the Devonshire coast line, locally sourced award-winning food, luxurious accommodation and quirky extras it’s the perfect place to just escape from everything, recharge the batteries, breath in the sea air and explore – we can’t wait to go back!


Cary Arms & Spa is a de SavaryHotel. Rooms start from £265 per night including breakfast. For more information or to book, visit www.caryarms.co.uk

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