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“Website needs to be more honest, is overpriced, but in great location”

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Soar Mill Cove Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Malborough
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 23, 2011

We've just completed a short stay at Soar Mill Cove and I'm hoping that I can provide a balanced review of its facilities so that anyone else visiting for the first time knows what to expect.
My wife and two children stayed in a suite with a sea-facing view. The first tip is not to book a 'garden view', where the main 'view' is of a grassy mound behind which sits the car park. The sea view rooms have a tremendous vista over the coast and get the sun for most of the day.
Our B&B room cost £280 per night. Thank goodness when I booked I asked whether it would be possible to get a discount and was given a 3 nights for 2 offer. If I hadn't asked we'd have paid £350 per night, which I'd have been very sore about.
On arrival my first sense was overwhelming disappointment and that I'd let my family down. I've been lucky enough to stay at some of the best hotels both in the UK and worldwide and from the website and for the room rate was expecting something special. The roots of the hotel are along the lines of it being a giant mobile home (I recall from the hotel information pack that it was transported to its current location after use at a naval facility). The suite was on the small side, with dated furniture but was generally very clean. The bathroom was particularly cosy with a sink directly behind the door and a small bath with a shower head, rather than a separate shower. The DVD player in the room caused great annoyance. We stopped a family movie after an hour for a break and then found out that the only options on the player were on, off and play.
We ate in the restaurant on the first evening and were disappointed at the quality of the food. There is obviously an aspiration to bring French-style cooking to the menu and the chef has trained in France, but unfortunately he didn't pass it off, the sauce for my guinea fowl tasting like a bad Chinese takeaway. That said the restaurant has obviously impressed the AA inspectors enough for it to be consistently awarded 2 AA rosettes and from the other TripAdvisor reviews clearly it works for many of the guests.
The beds were comfortable and we all slept well. Fussy sleepers will doubtless complain about the noise from the corridors and thin walls but we expected some disruption as the hotel (quite rightly) promotes itself as a family hotel.
The following day we tried the indoor swimming pool. What the website should tell you is that its 15 x 20 feet, so as an adult you can swim across in two strokes. My small children really enjoyed themselves there and if it was promoted as a children's pool that would have reflected better on the hotel.
The really tremendous part of Soar Mill Cove is that it sits behind about 200 acres of National Trust land, which includes a fantastic beach, with a mix of sand and rocky crags. The environment is the part that lifts the hotel and helped turned an initially very irritating experience, where I felt I'd really been ripped off, into a very pleasant and relaxing stay.
In summary, if I had paid half the price for my trip, I would have given Soar Mill Cove 4/5. In terms of value it was 1/5, so a balanced view is that this is a 3/5 stay, with the hotel being lifted by its great location.
It's a nice place for families and if you stay there try to get a sea view room and make sure you pay a fair price for your room.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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6  Thank 1FussyTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith Makepeace, Owner at Soar Mill Cove Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 24, 2011

Thank you for your input.
It seems a shame though that you did not let us know that you could know of any problems that you had while you were here, we are after all very approachable, as you will see from the vast majority of the other reviews. I guess when complaints are levied onto Trip Advisor rather than with at the time, then none of the hotels have been given a chance to do anything about it, which is surely the point of complaint?.
We would therefore been able to show you how to work the DVD player and sorted out any confusion over of our cookery, which is based around our Devonshire Larder, no doubt with Welsh influences as our head chef Ian MacDonald’s roots. Not French I am afraid.
With so many different websites offering a different basis for pricing it can be hard to keep track of each and every offer. To get over this we guarantee rate parity, so we will always match a published price found anywhere when you book directly with us. Saying that, unfortunately we do not have inflated margins that would allow discounting, particularly with our food because good ingredients will always cost a sensible amount and tend to offer the best results.
Of course with all the rooms quite different it is always best to have a good chat with us so that we can get you the best type of room or rooms as in your case for your particular needs. What is a priority for one guest is not necessarily the main priority for another and of course the view at one season may be the best at a certain time of the year but for instance the bluebells on the hillside may be preferred in the Spring to the Sea in the summer.
I hope that my input to your stay will explain why a privately owned hotel of a small size working to a reasonably high calibre with good staff conditions will never be cheap but will I would hope offer fair value.

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698 - 704 of 815 reviews

Reviewed April 19, 2011

Could not recommend the hotel more, my young child had a great time and the hotel caters well for young children. Sadly the grass tennis court was only being set up the day we left but otherwise all the amenities were good for children and relaxing for familes. Plenty to do in this stunning area. The dining room was excellent too and I enjoyed as many fish dishes as I could and they were all excellent and very reasonably priced. I would liek to visit in summer

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Lectern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith Makepeace, Owner at Soar Mill Cove Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 24, 2011

Thank you on behalf of all the team that put so much heart and soul into making Soar Mill Cove such a special place.
You make it all worthwhile from all of us.

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Reviewed March 28, 2011

I've just spent the weekend at Soar Mill Cove and the entire family had a fantastic time. The hotel itself is very friendly and very good with children.

My wife and I enjoyed the location, the views (stunning - and the beach is a 15 minute walk away) and the food and service (the menu sounds pedestrian when looked at but the actual food was very good). The wine list is small - but well chosen - and very reasonably priced. The hotel does a lot of "little things" that really help (like having free wifi - I'd love to see Hilton do that (as if!)).

The rooms are large - and so having the two children with us was no effort and we did not feel cramped at all. The extra amenities for kids helps (climbing frames, indoor small pool) as does having a dedicated Children's dinner time (5-6pm) with very good food prepared and served.

Breakfast was great - plenty of choice and a good English in various sizes.

The staff were all very, very friendly (especially Nick) and really couldn't do enough to help.

The kids didn't want to leave and we will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank KieronEdwards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith Makepeace, Owner at Soar Mill Cove Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 29, 2011

Thank you for such a charming and in depth review of our hotel.
It was a pleasure meeting your family and Nick is delighted to receive your compliments.
We look forward to welcoming you again one day soon

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Reviewed February 28, 2011

We were pleasantly surprised to find a room available on a Saturday despite not booking ahead and it also had a beautiful sea view. They gave us a discount as we were having dinner there but it was still quite pricey. We took a walk to the secluded beach and took full advantage of our complimentary cream tea.. The hotel building itself is quite dated and the main rooms are quite boxey but spacious. However, the decor in the bedroom was very tastefully done. The service was excellent, everyone was helpful and polite and the room service drinks we ordered arrived promptly. Our stay was unfortunately blighted by a very noisy family group with 8 or so children who could be heard anywhere in the hotel. We tried to escape them by having some of our meal in the lounge but could not escape the constant running up and down corridors and slamming of doors!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank MrsRos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2011

Hi Amanda

Been meaning to write since we returned from a really lovely week-end. Please say a huge thank you to all the staff for making us so welcome it was fantastic from start to finish. We will certainly be returning as soon as we can. The food was delicious, the rooms so comfortable and the views……………………..I know you must have heard it so many times but I just had to write. Keith and Jenny certainly know how to run a fabulous hotel.

Thanks again

Kind regards

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank brunton123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2010

I should have believed the reviews on TripAdvisor.
The web site is very swish, and makes out that this will be a haven for families with children, with welcome packs, child friendly meals and an eco tour on the beach to entertain. It implies that you dont need to bring a thing!
We went over half term close to halloween, it was full of families, but nothing special was laid on.
The hotel cannot obviously do anything about the basic structure, which I acccept, and indeed the lounge area is very comfortable. BUT.......
The rooms are so out dated that they really need to look at themselves in the year 2010. They should be ashamed of their 4 star status, obviously this means very little in real terms. The doors in our room were damaged, very old tired fittings and fixtures, dirty dusty old Dimplex heaters.
The coffee shop is a disgrace.
The food is pretty awful, never have I experienced scallops so overcooked, yet with leek so undercooked....amazing, and many other dishes are not up to scratch.....the childrens food was inedible. The only high point was the beef, which was actually pretty good.
Children, on the positive side, the staff are very understanding and put up with noise and running about (couples expecting a romantic hideaway beware) and the indoor pool was warm and good fun. BUT......
The welcome pack for the kids appears to have been the toy box which was awful. Used, colouring books that cost less than a pound, broken crayons and a load of rubbish toys. The web site is misleading and I get the impression that Keith doesn't really enjoy the eco tour as it was pointed out that he only does it in the summer!
The DVD player had no remote, and no buttons, so if you wanted to pause the film, you couldnt and had to watch from the start again.
All in all......a good web site, a nice view, some friendly staff, but thats it.
It was very expensive for what it was, and we left a day early as we were so disappointed.
I would advise anyone to seriously think again before booking.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with family
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7  Thank betula2907
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Keith Makepeace, Owner at Soar Mill Cove Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2010

From time to time we try to do all sorts of interesting activities that reflect our environment., in fact we did run an eco tour once with our local farmer which our guests greatly enjoyed even though we had very little take up of this. The same farmer is happy to organise such tours again for a group and we would happily promote these if enough e=guests would like to book them, however these take a lot of organising and can not be thrown together at the spur of the moment. The last time we did one was in the warmer summer months, unfortunately this was not requested on booking which if we had been given a little time then I am sure we could have organised something more suitable. The Dawn Chorus which we last did would not have worked with children with the late October weather conditions however.
Our team of staff do their absolute utmost to ensure families haver a great holiday, however I dont believe we would have succeeded in this case whatever we would have done as I feel if the Eco Tour had been such an issue why would it not have been requested before.
Food is of course subjective however any mistakes we may have made I would unreservedly apologise for. Thankfully with 14 consecutive years of winning 2 coveted AA Rosettes we seem to generally manage consistency, so this must be taken in perspective.
Halloween is a a difficulty time to please different age and religious groups, so we do play it rather low key and only on the actual eve, which I generally think is the best way. What we do is to let all the parents know that all of the staff have ample supplies of sweets for children who wish to Trick or Treat. I still feel this is the best way to avoid doors been knocked on and other guests disturbed. Trick or Treat is something which can jar against our very Englishness.
Clearly we are not for everyone and we genuinely try our best not to give the wrong impression, therefore a conversation can often deal with concerns coupled with research which this of course forms part of.

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Reviewed November 17, 2010

Just spent a 2 night weekend break at Soar Mill Cove. We were made very welcome and the whole place was relaxing. Lovely dining room and excellent food. Shame the weather prevented us using the patio area outside our room which looked out over the cove - but saw a beautiful sunset. Lots of coastal walks - quite steep at times.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank BMW002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Soar Mill Cove Hotel

Address: Near Salcombe, Malborough, Salcombe TQ7 3DS, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Salcombe > Malborough
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Malborough
Price Range: $170 - $650 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Soar Mill Cove Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Soar Mill Cove Hotel near Salcombe is a family run hotel & luxury self catering. A good base for walking holidays, short breaks & in holiday times popular with families enjoying caring service. A great base to explore South Devon. No stay is complete without dining in our sea view 2 Rosette Restaurant and the hotel offers best value when taking an inclusive break. All rooms have DVD library, flat screen TVs, WiFi free throughout, but limited connection speeds and no mobile phone signal in this rural idyll. 10 Acres of grounds and plenty of free parking. NEW salt water indoor heated swimming pool , sauna, gym & Spa Treatments, "just for fun" pitch and putt golf, table tennis, lawn tennis in season and snooker. Near Kingsbridge, Hope Cove, Salcombe, Thurlestone and Dartmouth. Luxury Self Catering Villas with up to 5 bedrooms. Available for exclusive use sea view weddings, so that no other guests are disturbed. New for 2015 the rather rugged approach road has been replaced with a lovely smooth driveway, the first of our new bathrooms are been rolled starting with The Makepeace Suite now ready for you holiday ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Soar Mill Cove Salcombe
Hotel Soar Mill Cove

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