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Woolacombe Bay Hotel, Woolacombe, Devon
Woolacombe Bay Hotel boasts an enviable location, perched on the edge of the seaside town of Woolacombe and just a five-minute stroll from popular Woolacombe Beach - a three-mile stretch of soft sand, backed by dunes. Purpose built as a hotel in the mid-Victorian times, this north Devon coastal escape is home to some interesting period features, including an Edwardian lift that's still in operation. You'll be spoilt for choice with facilities - there's an Alchemist spa, SALT gymnasia and fitness classes, a private cinema, tennis and squash courts, a championship-sized snooker table and a nine-hole pitch-and-putt golf course, as well as a large outdoor pool and a smaller indoor pool.
Stepping out into the salt-fresh air and exploring the tidal sands of Woolacombe Beach is utterly exhilarating in all weather.
The hotel is right by Woolacombe Beach and 30 minutes' drive from both Saunton Sands and Barnstaple.
By car: the hotel is 1 hour 30 mins from Exeter, 2 hour 20 mins from Bristol and 4 hours 25 mins from London. There is free parking on-site.
By train: London Paddington to Barnstaple (via Exeter St. David's) takes around 4 hours. The hotel is a 30-minute drive from the station. thetrainline.com
By plane: Cardiff airport (40 miles)
Style & Character
Designed for family seaside escapes, short surfing trips and spa breaks, as well as a comfortable base to explore the north Devon coast. The drama of the panoramic sea views from the main restaurant won me over from the outset.
Service & Facilities
For a racket sports enthusiast, an afternoon of tennis followed by Pimm's on the lawn - with those sea views - is time well spent. Up to two dogs are welcome in the self-catering Beach Retreats all year round (£50 per week). They can dine with you in the Bay Brasserie courtyard where they will be treated to a cosy heated floor.
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Tennis court
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
The Loft Suite, tucked away in the rafters with a unique open-planned living space and dreamy sea views, is worth the extra outlay. We can't get enough of the queen-sized bed and its mesmerising beach views - perfect for that weekend lie-in!
Classic, Sea View, Classic Family Suite, Luxury Sea View, The Swallows, The Retreat, The Lighthouse, The Lookout, The Loft Suite, Beach Retreats
Facilities include: ensuite bath and shower room, spa access, tea and coffee facilities, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
We'd definitely head back for the catch-of-the-day, sourced from the famous fish markets at Plymouth, Brixham and Newlyn. Doyle's Restaurant's decadent chandeliers and spectacular views towards Lundy Island make it a dreamy spot to enjoy a seasonal supper.
Doyle's Restaurant: 2 AA Rosettes, classic British dishes, seafood, fine wines. Open every day for dinner. Mains from £14.
Bay Brasserie: relaxed, Mediterranean-inspired dishes, wood-fired pizzas, grilled meat and fish. Open every day for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Mains from £13.