Saunton Sands Hotel, Braunton, Devon
Art Deco inspired and originally designed to look like a cruise liner, Saunton Sands Hotel was opened in the early 1930s by the Christie family, who built Glynebourne at a similar time. The Brend family bought it in 1977, and it's now a flagship of Brend hotels, having undergone a refurb with the addition of a new spa. Perched on the clifftops overlooking three miles of sweeping sands, coastal views don't get much better than this - it's ideal for those looking to escape their busy lives in the miles of unspoiled dunes. Expect old-school luxury and exemplary service at this beachside retreat.
Your expert reviewer
The charming harbour town of Ilfracombe - surrounded by dramatic cliffs - is a must-visit. It's home to Verity, Damian Hirst's impressive 66-foot stainless steel and bronze sculpture on the pier.
The hotel is by Saunton Sands beach, in the midst of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Nearby you'll also find Woolacombe Beach, and the traditional fishing villages of Clovelly and Ilfracombe.
By car: Saunton Sands Hotel is 1 hour 30 mins from Exeter, 2 hours 15 mins from Bristol and 4 hours 20 mins from London. Free parking is available at the hotel.
By train: London Paddington to Barnstaple (via Exeter St. David's) takes around 4 hours. The hotel is a 20-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
By plane: Exeter airport (61 miles)
Style & Character
An ideal retreat for couples and families looking for a traditional seaside getaway with a little added luxury. We can't get enough of the old-school grandeur - think bold, bright geometric carpets, gold accents and huge chandeliers.
Service & Facilities
A private surf lesson on Saunton Sands beach, from one of the dedicated instructors at the Walking on Waves school (discounted when you stay at Saunton Sands), is an exhilarating experience that's not to be missed.
- Sun terrace
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Tennis courts
- Table tennis
- Putting green
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
Though all fairly generic in style, nothing beats waking up to the sound of waves, and the spectacular views across the golden sands and the UNESCO world heritage Braunton Burrows from a sea-facing room.
Single, Cosy, Spacious Inland, Inland Family, Sea Facing, Sea Facing Family Suites, Saunton Apartments, Living Suites, Sea Facing Deluxe, 180 Degrees South Apartments
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom, luxury toiletries, TV with Sky Sports and Freeview, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities
Food & Drink
Head chef Mathias Oberg's artfully presented plates show off his ability to cook classic dishes with local seasonal produce and natural flare. There's no better setting to enjoy classic fish and chips than by the sea - all the more authentic when cooked in Sharp's Doom Bar beer-batter.
The Dining Room: 2-AA Rosette dining, European cuisine, steaks, small plates, smart dress. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Mains from £12.
The Terrace Lounge: light bites, sandwiches, selected dishes from The Dining Room, afternoon tea, outdoor seating. Open daily for lunch. Small plates from £8.
Beachside Grill: relaxed all-day bistro, sandwiches, salads, burgers, steaks. Food served 11am-9.30pm. Large plates from £12.
Saunton Al Fresco Terrace: teas & coffees, cakes, pastries, cocktails, nibbles and snacks.
Rooms available from £99 per night
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