A stay at the Salcombe Harbour makes for a luxurious and relaxing few days, finds Olivia Williams.
Nestled on the edge of the picturesque Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary, there is not one unphotogenic view at the Salcombe Harbour Hotel. The whole place is bright, airy and jolly with striped blankets, wicker furniture and vintage railway posters of Devon.
Its fifty bedrooms are all tastefully nautical, with plenty of thoughtful touches. Each room comes with generous free decanters of gin and sherry, a tablet, flatscreen TV with DVD player, an iPod dock and White Company toiletries, alongside all the usual accoutrements. To help you to enjoy the dramatic views there is also a basket of treats to use on the balcony including pashminas, books and binoculars.
The breezy Jetty Restaurant with its floor to ceiling windows is a beautiful place to start and end the day. The menu, which changes regularly, makes the most of the area’s seafood including home-cured gravalax, lobster and sea bream. There is also a specialist crustacean bar that is open every evening as part of The Jetty that serves locally caught scallops, oysters, mussels, and a luxurious fish soup of crab, mussels and crevette. Chef Alex Aitken started off life as a trawler man, and his experience and passion for the sea shines through.
Terrace tables at the restaurant overlook a remarkable view of the harbour – a serious rival to the French Riviera on a sunny day. There you can watch the yachts bobbing by on the sea as you drink a cocktail, take afternoon tea or go for a nightcap outside. For the more virtuous, further along the terrace there are also yoga, zumba and pilates classes. In the event of chillier weather there is a snug cinema with daily screenings to hunker down in.
With a stylish two-floored spa, indoor pool and stellar restaurant, there is little motivation to leave the hotel. However, you are right in the beautiful village of Salcombe, which deserves a stroll or two at least. Charming pubs, individual shops and romantic restaurants such as No55, Dick and Will’s and The Winking Prawn are worth investigating and are only five minutes’ walk away.
All in all, a stay at the Salcombe Harbour makes for a luxurious and totally relaxing few days. There is even valet parking so that you don’t have to tackle the steep hill down to the sea, and private moorings mean you can sail up to the hotel if you have your boat in tow. It’s upmarket and serene without being stuffy, and dogs and children are very welcome.
Salcombe Harbour Hotel (08448 589187, salcombe-harbour-hotel.co.uk ) Cliff Road, Salcombe, South Devon, TQ8 8JH. Double rooms from £186.67, excluding tax.