We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Superb setting and exceptional service”
Review of Commodore Hotel

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Instow
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Commodore Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Instow
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 12, 2012

We've used The Commodore a number of times over the past ten years but haven't stayed for the past three. Is it managing to maintain its reputation for fine food and excellent service? Does it still belong to the Woolaway family? When we booked in last week, the omens were good.

This is still a privately owned hotel, located in a truly wonderful position in the small village of Instow. Almost every window looks out across manicured lawns with palm trees to the village of Appledore on the other side of the estuary. Facing west as it does, the sandy beach is bathed in sunshine (if you're lucky!) for most of the day and the sunsets are stunning. Well, in our case we were lucky. In what has been a truly awful summer, our arrival coincided with wall-to-wall sunshine.

And yes, the hotel most definitely remains in the Woolaways' capable hands. I was greeted by young James Woolaway who may be a bit upset at being described as 'young' but that's how I remember him when he was still learning the ropes. Today he is outgoing, charming, professional and - despite my absence over three years - seemed to know me immediately. I was made to feel welcome. My room was excellent. White shutters give a colonial air and the double bed, piled high with cushions, was very comfortable. The en suite was large with a bath and separate shower cubicle.

Having unpacked I headed to the terrace outside to enjoy a cream tea. The Commodore doesn't stint on the clotted cream. There is far too much but yet we managed to not only eat it but also scrape the ramekin for every last drop. The scones are freshly baked and warm. Dinner (£30 unless staying on a half board basis) is a grand affair, taken in a sparkling restaurant which looks out to the sea. My polonnaise crayfish salad starter was light and fresh; lovely. We had hoped for the braised Clovelly longhorn beef for the main course but other guests had beaten us to it and we had to settle for the sirloin. This was tasty if a bit chewy, but the confit garlic mash, glazed carrots and port and red wine sauce gave it real flavour and rescued the day. As did the South African red which had depth and was good value at £14.75 a bottle. Olivia served us cheerfully and professionally and James was also on hand to make sure everything was okay.

I chose the Devon ice creams for dessert but my friend's cheesecake with clotted cream and fresh raspberries would have been a more exciting choice. It looked delicious and I was assured it was. Coffee and chocolates were taken in the residents' lounge, where we were able to watch the sun setting.

Breakfasts are good (and hot) and once I had remedied James's over-enthusiasm with the teabags (three for a small pot makes a brew that is way too wrong for my delicate constitution!), my cup was the perfect accompaniment for the grilled kipper. There was no shortage of toast; on both mornings we had to leave much of it behind. For medical reasons, one of my friends is unable to eat any food with seeds in it and because of this did not dare risk eating the toast which was made from good quality bread with flecks of grain in it and had to request a plain white roll instead. This was delivered during the second breakfast but, despite assurances that one would be brought to the table at our first breakfast, it did not arrive. This was a shame rather than a disaster and underlines the need to be fair to hotels by giving advance warning of special dietary requirements.

That said, the meals and the service were excellent. Joe and Connor were excellent waiters, keen to help and always polite. The Commodore is a fine family-run hotel and it is set in a glorious position. If you want a perfect break in peace and quiet, and you enjoy luxury that is understated, book a room. I paid £80 for B&B and when I elected to take dinner, this was charged at only £10. My friends secured a half board tariff.

Plenty of people return time and again and some guests are rather better known than I am. Kirstie Allsop and Rolf Harris have stayed, for example. Just one thing, don't tell too many people about The Commodore. The hotel, and Instow itself, is one of north Devon's best-kept secrets. Let's keep it that way.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the new wing when booking. These are contemporary with wooden floors, leather chai...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank DGchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (317)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

254 - 260 of 317 reviews

Reviewed August 9, 2012

My wife and I have been staying at this hotel for several years. As you arrive you are welcomed by the smiling receptionist who has been there many years. This is a family run establishment which is managed by Gary and James Woolaway who have carried forward the high standards of customer satisfaction established by the late Bruce Woolaway. The restaurant service and the quality of the meals is first class and the menu has a varied choice of starters and main meals.

On our visit this July we stayed in one of the luxury ground floor rooms which provided a walk in shower and a separate seating area. We would describe the accomodation as a suite more than a room.

We have stayed in several hotels in Devon and Cornwall and consider The Commodore to be first class in all aspects.

Room Tip: Select one of the front rooms as they provide an outstanding view from the hotel
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank John B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2012

We decided to extend our stay in Appledore North Devon after a week of unexpected wonderful summer sunshine and found a room at the Commodore Hotel in Instow. Arriving after a day at the beach with no expectations we were very pleased with our accommodation. The hotel and our perfectly suitable room were clean. It seemed the hotel went recently through a refurbishment. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Warm milk for our youngest daughter at night time and early morning were no hassle at all. The service at breakfast was first class. We could have stayed more nights and certainly would come back.

Room Tip: Ask for a see view room.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Klaus S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2012

Found the hotel by accident on the web. I am very critical of hotels which charge a lot but give little back so I did not have too much to complain about at The Commodore

The hotel is family run and it shows, they care about the clients. The dining room runs on well oiled wheels; the service is impeccable and never obsequious and the food is delicious.

I admit that the room was tired but it was clean and a fantastic view of the estuary. i could forgive the avocado bathroom which needed to be laid to rest and replaced with a sparkling white one because the bed was comfy and there was plenty of space for all my baggage.

Instow is a hidden gem - the kind of place we town dwellers can only dream of living - there was lots of life but it was about the healthy outdoors and of enjoying the stunning views across the estuary

Will I go back -yes please -soon!!!!

Free wifi and unlimited tea / coffee we're the icing on the cake

Room Tip: We were told to ask for room nos 3, 22,23,24 next time
See more room tips
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Geebee9999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2012

Our second visit, most of it lived up to our expectations, we returned as we has such a pleasurable time last visit. Great position,good food, excellent staff(owners) and service.however the bathroom wasn't good, very very tired, carpets in a bathroom and surrounding the WC,not good!!!!slight mould on the grouting, nicotine staining on the bath, scratched shabby varnished skirting boards.i didn't feel clean in there at all.The only other complaint was the coffee,I would guess that it was made in a cona machine, that is what it tasted like, not good in this day and age.If we can't have a proper espresso machine, a cafetiere would be preferable, I do expect hot fresh coffee that tastes decent.I have written with my feedback, but no response as yet.

Room Tip: I believe there are superior rooms, but didn't see them, l am wondering if some rooms have been...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank butzWorcester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2012

We have stayed here before and always found it fairly comfortable. It just needs the family who run it to stand back and be critical of how they run it. We think it's superb location might make them slightly complacent. It just needs tweaking.

Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
1  Thank AndyStorrington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2012

Got a deal otherwise I think I would say this hotel is a tad pricey. However the room was lovely with fabulous tea & coffee facilities and gorgeous views. Nice and clean. Good place for afternoon tea.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank lovefoodie666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Instow
1.7 mi away
Yeoldon House Hotel
Yeoldon House Hotel
#1 of 1 in Northam
512 reviews
1.9 mi away
Durrant House
Durrant House
#8 of 11 in Bideford
742 reviews
1.6 mi away
Hoops Inn
Hoops Inn
#1 of 11 in Bideford
411 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.8 mi away
Saunton Sands Hotel
Saunton Sands Hotel
#1 of 4 in Braunton
1,795 reviews
2.7 mi away
The Royal Hotel
The Royal Hotel
#3 of 11 in Bideford
598 reviews
2.1 mi away
Orchard Hill Hotel
Orchard Hill Hotel
#4 of 11 in Bideford
214 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Commodore Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Commodore Hotel

Address: Marine Parade, Instow, Bideford EX39 4JN, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Torridge > Bideford > Instow
Amenities:
Beach Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Instow
Hotel Class:3 star — Commodore Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 25
Also Known As:
Commodore Hotel Instow, Devon

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing