Cary Arms

, Babbacombe Beach, Torquay, Devon.
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At the foot of Babbacombe Hill, the Cary Arms Hotel lies right by the waterside at Babbacombe beach, close to Torquay. This historic English inn has been spectacularly re-purposed by the de Savary family as a fresh modern boutique hotel with extraordinary sea views.

The name implies a traditional pub, and there are plenty of nods to that heritage in the Cary Arms, but 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.

Dining at the Cary Arms is relaxed and cosy. The watchwords in the kitchen are freshness and seasonality, underpinned by a deep-rooted respect for the surrounding waters and land. Expect superb Devon beef, Lyme Bay lobsters and line-caught fish from the English Channel. There is also a barbecue in the garden, once again with the ever-present backdrop of the sea.

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.

Babbacombe, Oddicombe and Petitor Downs are a series of attractive little bays full of their own charms and known for their water quality and cleanliness. The red cliffs of Dorset and jutting point of Portland Bill are both visible on clear days. There is a historic funicular railway available to take you up and down from the beach to the village above. Throughout the seasons, this part of the coast assumes a rugged splendour far removed from the traditional bucket and spade image.

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Double rooms from £245
Guest rating 9.2, based on 794 reviews
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Hydrotherapy pool
Sea views
Free wi-fi
Tea-making facilities
Free toiletries
Beach nearby
Walking routes
Bicycle hire
Golf course nearby
Theatre nearby
Historic sites
Free car park