Review: Hidden delights of Devon coast

Review: Hidden delights of Devon coast

TREASURE: The Soar Mill Cove Hotel in Salcombe

NATURAL BEAUTY: Soar Mill Cove

First published in Travel Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

EVERY time we go to Devon we discover a treasure. And our last visit unearthed a nugget to behold.

Tucked away on the South Hams’ most southern headland is a retreat any stranger would find difficult to stumble across.

You need directions to Soar Mill Cove Hotel and once let into the secret you feel you have the key to an almost mystical experience.

The picturesque narrow country lane leading down to the hotel suddenly opens up to a wonderful panarama of breathtaking undulating countryside and scintillating seascape.

And nestled discreetly in the midst of this beautiful landscape is a single-storey hotel hand-crafted by its owners Keith and Jenny Makepeace.

The hotel offers the warmth and caring of a homely bed and breakfast but boasts the accommodation, facilities and menu of the high class hotel it has proudly become.

Only a short drive to the riches of Salcombe, Kingsbridge and my favourite Hope Cove Soar Mill has 22 luxurious suites and bedrooms most with stunning views out to sea.

It has indoor and outdoor pools, a tea garden and tennis courts, a nine-hole pitch and putt course, and a games room with snooker and table tennis tables.

But it is the attention to the minutest detail that makes Soar Mill so appealing.

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Keith and Jenny manage to make you feel like their personal guests.

Their close relationship with guests was best illustrated by a couple who had obviously stayed before inviting Keith, Jenny and their children to their table for dinner.

The bon amie was heartwarming compared to the luxury yet soulless five-star hotels that are popping up all over the place.

And no thimble-sized cartons of milk with your tea-making facilities.

You are invited to pick up a small jug of freshly poured milk at reception as you make your way to bed.

You could spend an entire week just soaking up the ambience of the idyllic location either taking short walks or just simply plonking yourself down and reading a book.

Glancing up you would half expect to see the Famous Five trundling past on their rickety bicycles.

Lots of guests have a packed lunch prepared in the kitchen and take long walks on the famous Devon coastal path which can be joined at the bottom of the hotel drive.

Come dinner, the menus are as good as anything you will find in the finest of restaurants with lobster always an option.

Every table in the splendid dining area faces the sea through floor to ceiling windows.

For the more adventurous, close by you can enjoy chartering a yacht or going on a fishing trip as well as scuba diving, windsurfing and horseriding.

Plymouth and its absorbing maritime history, shopping centre and gin factory(!) is only 20 miles away and Exeter airport 30 miles.

Soar Mill Cove Hotel, Soar Mill Cove, Salcombe, Devon TQ7 3DS, 01548 561 566.

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