Whether you’re heading for a romantic coastal getaway or a family holiday on the South Devon seaside, Thurlestone Hotel has you covered.
A four-star establishment with unbeatable coastal views, Thurlestone holds the honour of being the only hotel to be owned by the same family for such a length of time and, next year celebrates 125 years since the Grose family moved from Cornwall to start their business. With some epic celebrations, no doubt, taking place to celebrate such an achievement, it is clear to me that this hotel is putting in every effort to keep its repeat guests (there are, unsurprisingly, many of them) and new visitors entertained and pleased to the best of their ability.
With a fine dining restaurant, gorgeous village pub, indulgent spa, package breaks, kids playroom, golf course, pools, afternoon teas, views of the iconic Thurlestone Rock and more, what more could you ask for?
I was invited for a quick tour of the hotel upon arrival and saw some of the renovations that go on each year within the rooms, if they need it. I always find it interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes in these hotels to make guests have the ultimate experience as you often don’t realise all of the effort that goes into making your stay as great as it is.
During the tour I caught sight of the playroom for kids during their stay as well as the family kitchen where bottles can be warmed and food for little ones heated, and it’s all of these elements that are so well thought out that bring those guests back time and time again.
The weather was terrible while I was there so the outdoor pool and bar, lovely manicured gardens and nine hole golf course were out of the question, though I have visited on sunnier days and the terrace is a lovely spot to while away the hours with a drink in hand. There are also outdoor events held such as the summer gin and jazz afternoon on the gardens, which is a real treat.
For wetter and windier days though, there’s the lounge to recline and read in or the lovely Voyage Spa with an indoor pool, stylish relaxation deck and some sumptuous treatments to indulge in. Treatments include the typical manicures, facials and body massages, but why not indulge in one of the signature treatments such as the Voyage Spa ocean escape, which uses Atlantic sea salts to polish the skin, a seaweed mask, body massage and facial and scalp massage to rejuvenate from head to toe. There’s also a sauna, laconium, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and fitness suite to fully take care of yourself while you’re away.
It’s also a short walk to the beach and this part of the South West Coast Path serves up some incredible walks to the west across Thurlestone Golf Course to Bantham, with views of Burgh Island, and to the east to Hope Cove, Bolberry Down, Soar Mill Cove and around the coast to Salcombe. You may want to take a few trips out to cover all of that ground but there are no parts of this stunning coastline that you’ll want to miss.
Whether it’s a gourmet breakfast, pub lunch, classy afternoon tea or fine dining in the elegant setting of The Trevilder, whatever your craving, I’m sure you’ll be satisfied here. In the short space of time I had, I sampled as much cuisine as I could manage, I’m here for the food too!
Let’s start with breakfast, which is served in the hotel’s main restaurant, The Trevilder – named for the village where the Grose Family set off from in 1893 – and provides a wide selection of items from a buffet – the usual fruit, pastries, cereals, juices and yogurts – as well as freshly cooked items from the kitchen. I spotted a little table filled with tableware and crayons for kids and thought that was a nice touch to make children feel special and keep them entertained through breakfast.
I devoured some toast and marmite, a couple of glasses of cranberry juice, coffee and a plate of crushed avocado with poached eggs and pine nuts on toast. It was a small portion of one egg, but plenty of avocado and it was all I required to set me up for the day. Other kitchen items included a full English and vegetarian breakfast, with extra items, as required, eggs Benedict or Florentine, or smoked haddock with poached egg.
The ideal casual lunchtime setting has to be the attached pub, The Village Inn, with its unique décor and good wines. I headed over for an open sandwich of hand-picked Devon white crab with lemon mayonnaise for £13.50, it had lots of crab, no shell and was delicious served with some tortilla crisps and red cabbage coleslaw. The perfect light lunch if you’re going for dinner in the main restaurant. If you fancy a heartier meal then there’s a duo of duck, beer battered cod, moules mariniere, orange cheesecake and cinnamon baked Alaska, to name a few.
Dinner in The Trevilder is an elegant affair, made all the more so because of the sophisticated Art Deco-come cruise ship décor, which I loved. I sipped a Salcombe Gin and tonic in the bar first and found the service to be a little slow and disconnected to the restaurant. After heading though to the restaurant to browse the menu I immediately felt relaxed in the open plan dining area, which had huge windows to take in the seaside views (when it’s not dark!), light décor, toned down with soft lighting and a comforting atmosphere with low chatter and instrumental sax music filling the room’s space.
I enjoyed an amuse bouche of fish cake with saffron aioli and local breads, which was a lovely way to begin, followed by my starter of Devon beef fillet and mini scotch egg with pickled mushrooms. Prettily presented with little vegetables sprinkled around the decorative plate, the scotch egg had a gentle richness and the little thin slices of top quality beef were just enough, portion wise, for a starter.
Next up was fillet of pork wellington with crispy belly, charred leeks, burnt apple, crackling and a calvados reduction. This was a lovely dish with a gorgeous flavoursome gravy, varied tasty and colourful elements and a delicious piece of pork. A light, silky Pinot Noir from Chile rounded of these savoury courses nicely before I devoured a helping of warm orange polenta cake with sweet raspberries, white choc tuille and raspberry coulis. Yummy.
With uninterrupted views of the South Devon hills and South Milton sands with Thurlestone rock and the village church in the vista too, you could argue that this is one of the finest views you’ll get at a seaside hotel. There’s something rather magical about being by the sea and I’ve mentioned it many times that watching the waves and listening to the coastal soundtrack is the most relaxing place to be.
My spacious, blue-toned room had the most fantastic view and, from the balcony, I could spot all of the above. I think being on the second floor and to the left of the hotel, facing to sea, offered us the best of the views to be had. The large bed was supremely comfortable and had a dark blue soft fabric headboard to match the cushions, curtains and bed throw. The thick curtains did a great job of keeping out the morning light, while the shower was ideal for a morning wake up. The bathroom held natural tones with large tiles throughout and two sinks, a bath, well lit mirrors and super-soft towels and robes to make this a much appreciated room.
Expect to find a fully-stocked mini bar tucked away in one of the dark wood cabinets in the room as well as some fudge on the desk and a little bar of Salcombe chocolate on the pillow to add the little touches that make your stay all the more special.
In a nutshell
To combine a coastal and rural break, you can’t go wrong with Thurlestone Hotel. Whether you are looking for a family trip through the generations, a spa break with friends or a romantic getaway, the hotel endeavours to offer every type of stay for every type of traveller.
Rooms can be booked from £155
Address: Parkfield, Thurlestone, Kingsbridge TQ7 3NN
Phone: 01548 560382