Far flung travels may be harder to navigate than ever before this year, but the Cary Arms & Spa in Babbacombe is proof that the UK can hold its own when it comes to luxury beachfront living.
A de Savery property that’s affectionately (and rather humbly) known as the ‘inn on the beach’, everything about this 5* resort oozes charm and character – from the friendly staff who greet you upon arrival to the nautical personal touches you’ll find dotted throughout the premises. The original stone structure boasts 10 sea-facing rooms, which are now nestled in the centre of a series of beach suites and huts with open-fronted views of the pebbly Babbacombe bay.
A stay in a beach hut offers the perfect blend of homely and high-spec – Smeg fridges, Nespresso machines, White Company toiletries and Netflix-enabled TV come as standard, as do complimentary sloe gin and the most epic biscuit selection we’ve come across thus far (think Clubs, KitKats and even sticks of rock – truly top tier snacks).
Injections of colour and soft texture from plump pillows and knitted blankets, soften away any excess glossiness and keep things cosy – you really can hole up here and feel a world away from, well, the rest of the world. Sit out on your private patio for sundowners and you might even spot a seal or dolphin bobbing amidst the waves – or failing that, a four-legged neighbour in the next cabin over, as the entirety of the Cary Arms & Spa is exceptionally dog-friendly.
However, if you can bear to drag yourself out of your blissful beach hut bubble, you’ll be rewarded with plenty of delicious food at the in-house restaurant. The gastro pub menu – which can be enjoyed al fresco when the sun deigns to shine – is popular with guests and locals alike, thanks to the abundance of fresh seafood and regional meat alongside more typical classics like pie and risotto. It’s hearty, tasty, stick-to-your-ribs fare that doesn’t disappoint.
Likewise, if budget stretches to a spa trip, we highly recommend booking in for a massage – expert touch of their therapists will undo even the most tightly wound of knots. The rest of the facilities (a gym, waterfall hydrotherapy pool and relaxation area) are small but pleasantly formed, and offer the option of a relaxing soak while looking out onto the surrounding coastline.
Elsewhere in surrounding Torquay, certain streets are somewhat sleepy, but it’s slowly waking up, as evidenced by the arrival of outlets like Margo’s, a super-cute contemporary café run by two sisters that’s just a short walk away. However, the more traditional elements are all part of the allure – take a ride on the historic funicular down to neighbouring Oddicombe beach to dip your toes and enjoy an ice cream, and you’ll see what we mean.
Ultimately, if picturesque scenery, unrivalled attention to detail and relaxation aplenty are your thing, a stay at the Cary Arms & Spa is well worth your time. Book well in advance though, because securing a spot in any season is now even more competitive than you might anticipate.
Lead-in rates in October is £242 per night staying in a Luxury Room on a B&B basis. +44 01803 327110, caryarms.co.uk