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“Lovely but a 4.5, not quite a 5.”
Review of Cary Arms & Spa

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Cary Arms & Spa
Ranked #17 of 148 Torquay B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Redditch, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Lovely but a 4.5, not quite a 5.”
Reviewed March 3, 2014 via mobile

We have just returned from a great stay at the Cary Arms.
We booked the Fleet Admiral room which has a fantastic balcony. (The lock on the door however was not engaging so had the weather allowed sitting out it would have been a pain. It is being fixed though).
The Sunday sleepover is very good value. In the F. A. room afternoon tea, a glass of fizz, 3 unrestricted courses for dinner and a fantastic breakfast is £240.
This was a ' just because' treat for my husband who felt very spoilt. He is a real ale fan and the hotels website suggests Otter ale plus at least one other is always on. Unfortunately not this weekend. Only one frankly mediocre handpull ale (although draft ciders and larger style beer available).
The food was excellent and I am very fussy. I don't feel the menu is in anyway overpriced and like that the very good Shaldon suppliers are listed.
Hot water bottle turndown a treat also.
So why 4.5?
I'm being picky.
On arrival we were totally blanked by the lady on reception although she was pleasent enough when checking us in.
The faulty lock in the room should have been picked up and fixed along with the colony of ceiling cobwebs.
The shower was rubbish, temperature temperamental and if you try to adjust the height it falls off.
This is picky and only commented on as it is 5 star accommodation. We would not hesitate to stay here again and next time would stay for longer. The service on the whole was very friendly.
Reviews are always subjective but the comments / impressions by a previous regular patron were not shared by us.


Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Bollybat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaryArms, General Manager at Cary Arms & Spa, responded to this review, March 12, 2014
Thank you very much for your feedback. I do take on board all your points and a few little things that you mentioned should have been sorted. We did have a problem with the balcony doors swelling with the recent weather and they have now been adjusted and fixed. The real ale situation was unfortunate. We had a run on the ale and 2 had run out simultaneously. When an order arrives due to the nature of the ale, the keg needs to settle for a few hours first, hence a delay in being able to serve it. We normally have 2 or 3 on during the winter months and 4 in the summer. I appreciate that if you are a real ale drinker then this was disappointing. I'm sorry to hear that a member of the team ignored you, I hope it wasn't intentional and just a busy moment, I'm pleased this was rectified. The team are very friendly and we pride ourselves on our customer service along with our Gastro food. Thank you for mentioning your appreciation of the quality of the dinner.
I really look forward to welcoming you back to The Cary Arms in the future and sincerely hope you will notice any niggles have been ironed out next time you are here and you feel we deserve the 5 stars next time.
Thanks again.

Fliss Crosby
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (231)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
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English first
guildford surrey
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014

Have just returned from an impromptu trip to the Carey arms.
The location is fantastic despite the slightly daunting steep hill to the car park.
The service is exceptional and of a standard rarely found these days.Even the young guys who carried our bags to the car were charming.
The rooms are very comfortable and the balcony is worth the extra cost. There is also a very relaxing residents lounge ideal for after dinner drinks or a sneaky snooze in the afternoon !
The icing on the cake had to be the quality of the food . The restaurant has to be as good as anywhere I have eaten in recent times ..including some very impressive London eateries. The wine list is very well constructed and the real ales are well looked after.
If there is a negative and it is almost irrelevant ..you don't need an offensive looking tv screen with a Magic fm logo on it in the middle of a very nice looking bar Mr D S !
I can't finish without returning to the fantastic staff from the management to the bubbly beauty therapist . Everyone we encountered we are credit to the establishment ..well done

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank brendanr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaryArms, General Manager at Cary Arms & Spa, responded to this review, March 12, 2014
Thank you very much for taking the time to leave us such lovely feedback. It's very encouraging to hear that you enjoyed your stay so much with us at The Cary Arms.
The team are very friendly and we pride ourselves on offering great customer service. It's nice for the staff to feel appreciated and very motivating for the whole team.
I sincerely hope we'll have an opportunity to welcome you back very soon.
Thanks again.
Fliss Crosby
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bray on Thames, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014

We have stayed at The Cary Arms (Captains Room, Beach Cottage and Pepple Cottage) on six past occasions, at different times of the year and loved the hotel so much we recommended it to friends and even invited our Dutch friends to spend Christmas with us here in 2012. The reasons

1 - lovely, friendly staff who could not do enough for you.
2 - very child friendly, even offering to cook different meals for the children as we were staying for a week (our children are now aged 5 and 8)
3 - great atmosphere where fellow guests become friends and a mellow buzz that just gave it an ambience the right side of relaxed

So you could say we were pretty impressed by this place.

In 2013 we decided to give the Cary Arms a rest, but returned for a few days during February half term this year and we noticed the difference immediately.

Jen and Tony who were the old managment team departed The Cary Arms at different points in 2013 and with them disappeared the magic sparkle of the place; the atmosphere. Also most of the old friendly staff have left - staff who took the time to get to know you.

The new team are pleasant enough and Lucie (a member of the old team) remains incredibly approachable and friendly, but the personal feel to the place has gone; and the sense of camaraderie between the team is now missing.

We also had a few issues while staying

1 - Our bathroom flooded into the kitchen. We were asked to not run any more water while they investigated the problem. It was early Saturday evening so they were getting ready for dinner service and of course we obliged. However after 90 minutes no one had come up to tell us what the problem was. After speaking to the duty manager we were told we could run a shower. They put the immersion on as we told them there was no hot water. However it appears there is a problem with the thermostatic tap in the shower as we couldn't get any hot water and the problem persisted into Sunday morning.
- oh and any communication involved having to go downstairs as there was no phone in our room.
2 - It seems that whilst dogs are welcome in the more cozy main restaurant, young families are moved into the cold, characterless conservatory. We explained that we would prefer to sit in the main restaurant which they couldn't accommodate until our last night.
- also I don't want to see staff carrying bowls of dog food in one hand and a diner's meal in the other. Please tell me they wash their hands as soon as they go back into the kitchen.
3 - The Cary Arms is not a cheap short break (£590 a night for the Captains Room B&B)), but there seems to have been a major cost cutting exercise taking place. Little things like toiletries have been down graded from Elmis to The White Company, the lovely Smartie biscuites have been replaced with shortbread and MOST IMPORTANTLY there seem to be fewer staff on duty making service slow, staff rushed off their feet and them looking quite frankly miserable - is this why the Duty Manager on Saturday evening rolled his eyes to high heaven when I asked for an apple juice for my daughter; don't think I didn't see you because I DID, but I won't embarrass you by naming you!
4 - the meals are not as good as they used to be. Again I assume chef has had to tighten his belt and the specials are overpriced and overrated - £25 for three lamb cutlets and £22 for a spicy crab which had half the shell mixed into the dressing.

The Cary Arms itself is still a lovely hotel, situated in a beautiful bay in one of the most stunning places in Britain. First time visitors will enjoy a relaxing break no matter what the time of year or the weather. However if you have stayed here before (prior to 2013) and you are making a return visit you will notice that the place has lost its magic sparkle; which I think is shame.

I have given The Cary Arms a poor rating because at the prices they charge I expected the great service I had received before. I left disappointed and underwhelmed.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Shanni B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaryArms, General Manager at Cary Arms & Spa, responded to this review, March 12, 2014
Thank you very much for your feedback, I'm glad you've always had a lovely time at The Cary Arms during your previous stays. Jen did indeed move on in 2013, however Tony is still very much a part of our team, he had a small break away from The Cary Arms and worked on some functions for The De Savary family, Tony is now back full time At The Cary Arms, the rest of the core team is all the same, Lucie, our Reservation Manager, Lisa, our Spa Therapist, Josh, a Supervisor, who is now Trainee Assistant Manager, Carly, Assistant Manager, Linda our Housekeeper and her team and also Head Chef, Ben, our Sous Chef, Steve and Thea our Chef de Partie. They have all been here for years and very much still work together with a strong team spirit. I am sorry to hear that you felt the atmosphere is not the same, many of our guests return year after year and enjoy the same warm, cosy atmosphere and high standards with excellent gastro cuisine.
We did have a flood on Saturday evening and I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you. This was unfortunate and unforeseeable and after looking into the incident, I believe the duty manager didn't handle the situation as best he could. I appreciate this was unsatisfactory for you.
We don't have a policy of specifically seating families in The Conservatory. Dogs are welcome in The Inn, part of the dining area and maybe on this particular evening we had an unusually large amount of guests with their dogs. The Conservatory is very popular with lovely sea views and many guests request to dine there. I'm pleased to hear we were able to seat you in The Inn on your last evening.
I spoke to the team member that served the dog’s dinner and he assured me he did wash his hands. All the team are very conscious of health and hygiene policies and our standards of care are very high. May I also reassure that the dog bowls are thoroughly cleaned and the food in them is not tinned dog food, we only serve dogs dinners of pork, rice and gravy which are cooked by the chef.
The Captains room that you stayed in is actually £590 for 2 nights bed and breakfast, not just for 1 night. We did use Elemis in the rooms a few years ago but we upgraded to The White Company, rather than compromising on quality. The Elemis products were also used in our Spa and we changed to The Exclusive Yon-Ka Parisian Brand last year, which has proved very popular with clients. The smartie biscuits came from a company that are no longer in operation; we have selected a luxury biscuit of equal quality to replace them.
We are fully staffed and the staffing levels are appropriate for the time of year. The only occasion where this wasn't the case was Saturday evening during your stay when a member of the team was taken poorly last minute. Occasionally these things do happen and the rest of the team were a little stretched. This was an exception, not the normal run of events.
We do offer a wide selection of dishes and many of our specials are at a similar price to other dishes, occasionally we put on dishes that cost more and are priced accordingly. The Lamb was £22.95 and was served as a rack of Lamb not cutlets, which is the sort of price one would expect to pay. The chilli crab was described as messy and the member of staff on duty serving assures me guests were told there may be small pieces of shell in the dish. I apologise if this was not mentioned to you. I must say I probably wouldn't like that myself and therefore I will review this dish with The Head Chef.
I do feel that The Cary Arms is what it always was and many little improvements have been made.
I don't like to hear that any of our guests have gone home underwhelmed, if you would like to discuss your stay with me any further please don't hesitate to call me and I will be delighted to talk through the details with you. Once again, I’m sorry for your disappointment on this occasion.
Fliss Crosby.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aldershot
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2014

.As before the staff were attentive and helpful, the food excellent. Really worthwhile short winter break. The sheltered bay is a perfect situation for enjoying the vagaries of February weather. The staff were able to recommend some lovely walks that were possible after the storms had disrupted our original plans. The Commodore was a delightful room with a beautiful view of the bay. Amazing attention to detail and thoughtfulness makes this such a charming and relaxing hotel.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank RRyel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redhill, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 21, 2014

My partner and I arrived to be greeted by staff shown to a lovely room overlooking the sea. Breakfast was delicious and cooked to perfection. A really cosy Inn and one were we will undoubtedly go again.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank John D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glossop, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2014

Just returned from a 3 night break THURS - SUN ( FEB 2014) stayed in the rear admiral
visiting Devon at the height of the storms was going to be interesting BUT the position of the Cary Arms in a sheltered cove meant the worst of the storms had little impact anyway enough of the weather report . We had our dog Meg with us and this place is a definite doggy retreat BUT don't be put off if you aren't a doggy person . The whole place has a real quality feel and its only a couple of rooms allocated to us dog lovers You really would never have known our room was used by other guests with dogs it was immaculate with no doggie smells what so ever
the location and views are fantastic as is the food. I think we found the most perfect place and we will be back. It is a real breath of fresh air to find such a well kept and well run place
its not your £75 B and B but it can get away with its price tag and still be reasonable value
visiting by the end of March means you get the added value of 3 nights for the price of 2
LOVED IT !!! we will be back

Room Tip: If you are taking your dog either of the rooms are good and your dog can join you in the pub / resta...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hammond47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pershore, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 14, 2014

Having visited Cary Arms in the summer last time, we were not sure what a winter trip would be like. It was cold and windy but the sun shone on us for most of the time and we had a lovely time again. As before the staff were great, rooms were super, food was lovely and they really looked after our Golden Retriever again - very dog friendly. She had a tailored doggy dinner followed by ice cream in the restaurant with us. She was in heaven ... After all, the trip was all about her !!!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Jacqui L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cary Arms & Spa

Property: Cary Arms & Spa
Address: Beach Road, Torquay TQ1 3LX, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > English Riviera > Torquay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 148 B&Bs / Inns in Torquay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Cary Arms & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chic, boutique 5 star inn privately owned and managed by the de Savary family in the unrivalled location of Babbacombe Bay. There are 10 contemporary, New-England style bedrooms and suites with outstanding sea-view, 6 newly launched Beach Huts and 2 Beach Suites plus 3 restored fisherman's cottages for rental.All have excellent sea views with outdoor decks, balconies or gardens. The atmosphere is luxuriously relaxing and friendly. Head Chef, Ben Kingdon and his team serve the very best of creative, English heritage dishes focusing on local, seasonal ingredients in an informal and relaxed setting. Hearty breakfasts, long lunches and lazy suppers indoors or out on the sun-terraces. Sheltering in its own unsung part of the South Devon Coast, the English Riviera, the inn is accessible by water and has its own moorings. A new Spa with indoor pool and hydrotherapy, experience showers, sauna and treatment rooms will supplement the existing treatment room from October 2016. (check for opening dates). Dog and family friendly. The inn is perfect for those looking for a luxurious and private getaway. It will blow the cobwebs away! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Cary Arms Hotel Torquay
Cary Arms & Spa Torquay, Devon

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