An Island Nation

Anyone who has watched the TV programme Saving Lives at Sea will have heard the phrase "We are an island nation" (and probably be quite fed up with it!). It's true of course, Great Britain is an island, and perhaps there's something in our blood that draws us to the coast. On the other hand the Spanish, French and Germans are not island nations but they too love to get to the seaside whenever they have the opportunity.

St Ives, Cornwall

One thing is for sure: ever since the coming of the railways people have wanted to spend their holidays by the sea. The coming of the motor car and more leisure time has just made that easier during the last half-century. With all this in mind, we thought we would take a quick spin around a few little hotels that are right beside the sea in Devon and Cornwall.

Watersmeet Hotel, WoolacombeStarting on the north coast of Devon, Woolacombe is one of several long sandy beaches that are a magnet for surfers. The Watersmeet Hotel is a luxury four-star hotel in a prime position right by the beach with views along the coast and out to sea as far as Lundy Island.
The two restaurants at Watersmeet both boast stunning sea views to enjoy over dinner. There is formal a la carte dining in the Pavilion restaurant as well as informal contemporary dining in the Bistro. Afternoon Tea is also available in the lounge or on the terrace or lawn, whichever you may prefer.
All but three of the hotel’s rooms offer spectacular sea views taking in Combesgate Beach, Lundy Island and Baggy Point. A number of the bedrooms have white, wooden balconies and naturally they include all the features you might expect from a beautiful boutique hotel such as this.

Hartland Quay HotelOn the other side of Bideford Bay, Hartland Point is a rugged promontory jutting into the Atlantic, famed for the dramatically folded rock strata in the cliffs. It’s hard to imagine now that for several hundred years there was a small harbour here serving the trading ketches that plied their trade between Devon and Wales. In 1886 the pier was damaged by storms and the worker’s cottages became a hotel, the Hartland Quay Hotel, and it has remained ever since.
The Wreckers Retreat Bar serves locally sourced food and ales all year round. The clean and simple guest bedrooms comprise standard and sea-view double rooms, twin rooms and a family room.They all have a private bathroom with bath or shower, a flat-screen television, free WiFi and tea-making facilities.
Far off the beaten track, one visitor to Hartland Quay Hotel described the route to the hotel thus: “Follow the signs to the end of the world. Then it’s another three miles.”

There are sea views, and then there are OCEAN VIEWS! Lewinnick Lodge is perched out on a Cornish headland with nothing but water until you come to America. Lewinnick Lodge privileged position benefits from spectacular sunrises over the land and spectacular sunsets over the sea, and the huge terrace gets it all.
Perfect for luxury breaks in Cornwall, the ocean-edge rooms have emperor beds made up with Egyptian cotton linen, and plenty of high-tech features including DAB radios, bluetooth speakers and smart TVs.
The bar, lounge and restaurant have an expansive wall of glass looking out on the terrace and the Atlantic ocean. In summer it's wonderful to sit out on that terrace to enjoy a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner or just a drink. Yet it can also be just as wonderful to watch the wilder weather of the ocean too, securely tucked up in the warmth and comfort of Lewinnick Lodge.

There are many wonderful places to see in England but the Isles of Scilly are something else again. That's where we go for our next hotel. Star Castle Hotel is located in a 16th century castle on the hill overlooking Hugh Town harbour on St Marys. Star Castle Hotel, Isles of ScillyIt's a family-run hotel that focuses on exceptional customer service, award-winning food and views that could be nowhere else in the world.
It's not surprising that fish and seafood feature prominently on the restaurant menus, and the lobster and crab is all caught by the hotel's own fishing boat. Each day at breakfast the boatman is on hand to help guests plan a memorable trip to some of the other islands, taking in the breathtaking scenery, old shipwrecks, seals and seabirds.
The Castle rooms are naturally full of character, being a part of the original castle. They include four single rooms at very good rates. The Garden rooms are light, bright and spacious in a country cottage style. They all have a garden or sea view and some have a private verandah.

Idle Rocks Hotel Idle Rocks Hotel has stood on the harbourside in St Mawes for over a hundred years, always providing luxury accommodation and fine dining for visitors to the Cornish Riviera. Facing south, it has a sun-trap terrace that looks out across the harbour to Carrick Roads and the Fal estuary.
There's an award-winning restaurant and the bedrooms are individually designed; classic luxury meets seaside chic. The Seaview rooms have uninterrupted vistas across the Fal Estuary; fall asleep to the waves lapping against the seawall and wake up to the sunshine sparkling on the sea. There is nothing between you and nature. The Village rooms retain the nautical flavour but peep back into the village of St Mawes.

Cary ArmsWhile the name implies a traditional pub, and there are plenty of nods to that heritage in the Cary Arms, this hotel is first-and-foremost a boutique hotel with excellent food, a sublime spa and sea views to rival anything you will find anywhere. Spend your days with a restorative massage or bespoke spa treatment, a picnic down on the beach or take a table on the terrace for lunch. If you're lucky and book early you might even bag the prized Captain’s Table.
The spa has the very latest hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam rooms, gym and an innovative aromatherapy and phototherapy shower. There are also two new marine-based Thalgo treatment rooms including a Duo Massage Room. The Spa also has without doubt, some of the best views from both inside and out on the sun terrace.
The guest rooms and suites reflect the same tasteful style, with facilities galore and brilliant sea views. Most rooms have a terrace or balcony. There are also the new "Beach Huts", just about as far removed from the old-fashioned idea of a beach hut as it is possible to get. There are a couple of family rooms too, and a couple where pets are accepted.

Of course there are many more beachside hotels featured on Little Hotels, as well as country hotels, city hotels, mountain hotels and so on.

19 Jan 2022, 13:02