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.
- 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