So, you worked hard all year and now you deserve a treat. Or it’s your silver wedding anniversary and you want to indulge your partner? But where do you go for those once-a-year, once-in-a-lifetime even, occasions? Here are a few of top luxury hotels by the sea, where the food, décor, service and setting is so outstanding you couldn’t fail to make memories to last a lifetime.
Words: Alex Fisher
BURGH ISLAND HOTEL, SOUTH DEVON
WHY HERE? To step back in time. This iconic Art Deco hotel set on its own private tidal island offers a truly unique stay. Adults-only, it is a romantic escape into the world of Agatha Christie and Noël Coward, who both spent many months here. Dress up for black-tie dining in The Ballroom and swim in the natural, secluded sea ‘pool’. The food is excellent, and for breakfast they make the best marmalade I’ve ever tasted.
NEAREST BEACH? Being on an island, the sea tractor brings you across from Bigbury on Sea Beach when the tide is high. Beautiful Bantham Beach can also be seen from many of the rooms.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Entry level price is around £550 per night per room, including breakfast and dinner, parking and transfers.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01548 810514, or visit burghisland.com.
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HEADLAND HOTEL & SPA, NEWQUAY, CORNWALL
WHY HERE? For storm-watching in winter. The stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean from
the rooms and restaurant are hard to beat. The award-winning spa now offers state-of-the-art facilities, including a hydrotherapy spa pool, hot tub, Cornish salt steam room, Swedish sauna and aromatherapy showers. Dine at the two AA Rosette-awarded restaurant, which focuses on modern cuisine with local produce – the best place from which to watch the sunset.
NEAREST BEACH? Sandy Fistral Beach is on your doorstep and it’s popular with surfers, who can be seen in the water from dawn till dusk.
WHAT DOES IT COST? An overnight stay costs from around £160 per room (based on two sharing), including full English breakfast and use of the spa.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 0808 2744119 or visit prideofbritainhotels.com.
Read our hotel review of Headland Hotel & Spa
THE IDLE ROCKS, SOUTH CORNWALLhttps://coast.tripsmiths.com/offers/uk-england-cornwall-newquay-headland-hotel
WHY HERE? For a foodie weekend away. This stylish hotel in St Mawes hosts the best chefs around the region for gastronomical evenings that are great fun. Fantastic cocktails, delicious breakfasts, and the sea is literally outside your window. There is also a lovely concierge on hand to offer guidance and help arrange any trips you’d like to make while you are staying there.
NEAREST BEACH? You are practically on it.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Seaview rooms start at around £360 per night.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01326 270270 or visit idlerocks.com.
Read our hotel review of The Idle Rocks
LOUGH ESKE CASTLE, DONEGAL, IRELAND
WHY HERE? To discover the Wild Atlantic Way. Enjoy the grandeur of this expansive castle and grounds, with its indoor pool and luxury spa. The bedrooms are more than huge, vast even. And if you are lucky you might even see the Aurora Borealis.
NEAREST BEACH? Take a trip to some of the highest sea cliffs in Ireland at Slieve League, which is about 40 minutes’ drive away.
WHAT DOES IT COST? The lead-in rate for a Deluxe room is around €270.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call +353 7497 25100 or visit lougheskecastlehotel.com.
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BELLA LUCE, GUERNSEY
WHY HERE? Reputedly, the only hotel with a commercial gin distillery in the British Isles…That aside, the sophisticated, but laid-back décor, with friendly staff and luxurious spa make it the perfect Channel Island escape. Rooms are beautiful, ask for the room with the mirrored bath, if that takes your fancy. As well as serving its own gin, the restaurant serves modern European cuisine, drawing on both the French and British influence on the island.
NEAREST BEACH? The hotel is in an ideal location to explore the island’s many great beaches.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Double rooms are available from around £120 B&B.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01481 238764 or visit bellalucehotel.com.
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ARTIST RESIDENCE, PENZANCE, CORNWALL
WHY HERE? For a bohemian escape. Use the funky Artist Residence Hotel as a base to explore the arty town of Penzance. Take a dip in the newly refurbished Art Deco lido, and eat fresh, local lobster in the hotel’s restaurant, The Cornish Barn.
NEAREST BEACH? The hotel is a few minutes’ walk from Penzance Harbour.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Double rooms from around £95 B&B per night.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01736 365664 or visit artistresidence.co.uk/our-hotels/cornwall/.
Read our hotel review of Artist Residence
ST BRIDES HOTEL AND SPA, PEMBROKESHIRE, WALES
WHY HERE? For the dramatic view from the pool, treatment rooms, restaurant and terrace. Beautifully positioned, with spectacular views of the harbour, beach and out to sea, this is an idyllic Welsh escape. There’s an expansive spa, great food and friendly, helpful staff who will tell you where to visit in the local area.
NEAREST BEACH? The sandy beach at Saundersfoot.
WHAT DOES IT COST? A double room B&B is priced from around £200 per night.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 0800 103 2660 or visit stbridesspahotel.com.
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WATERGATE BAY HOTEL, NORTH CORNWALL
WHY HERE? For an active break. Join the swimming club and try surfing, kite-surfing and hand-planing on the sandy beach. The relaxed ambience of this modern hotel makes it ideal for families as well as couples. Super-stylish, the hotel restaurant, Zacry’s, focuses on grilled meat and seafood. Crisp white linen, fluffy towels, and OK, it might be a bit of a personal preference, but they have the best chairs.
NEAREST BEACH? Watergate Bay is big enough for rockpooling and quiet walking, as well as watersports.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Double rooms are available from around £175 per room per night, including breakfast.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01637 860543, or visit watergatebay.co.uk.
AIRDS HOTEL, ARGYLL, SCOTLAND
WHY HERE? For an intimate retreat. With just 11 rooms this converted ferry inn offers a quiet hideaway and the perfect base for exploring the stunning landscape of the Highlands. Think whisky bars and real log fires. The restaurant has three AA Rosettes and offers a five and seven-course tasting menu.
NEAREST BEACH? The hotel is set above Loch Linnhe at Port Appin, a pretty fishing village on a secluded peninsula.
WHAT DOES IT COST? An overnight stay costs from around £290 per room (two sharing) including dinner, full Scottish breakfast, early morning tea/coffee and a newspaper.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 0808 2744119 or visit prideofbritainhotels.com.
TWR Y FELIN HOTEL, PEMBROKESHIRE, WALES
WHY HERE? To explore the rugged coastline and wildlife of Wales. Named AA Hotel of the Year (Wales) 2017-18, the chocolate brown and cream décor creates the perfect backdrop for this St Davids hotel’s art collection. Take a boat trip around nearby Ramsey Island and then return to a delicious meal at Twr y Felin’s restaurant, Blas, which boasts two AA Rosettes.
NEAREST BEACH? The hotel is a 10-minute walk to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the beach at Caerfai Bay.
WHAT DOES IT COST? A double room starts from £250 per night B&B.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01437 725555 or visit twryfelinhotel.com.
Read our hotel review of Twr Y Felin
HELL BAY, BRYHER, THE ISLES OF SCILLY
WHY HERE? For a remote escape. Overlooking the sea on the tiny island of Bryher, this secluded hotel is the perfect setting for those with busy lives. Slow down and get into island time, where plans change with the tide and weather, and you really have to go with the flow. Gather your breakfast from the resident hens, build pebble towers on sandy beaches and kayak on the sparkling ocean.
NEAREST BEACH? Great Par or Popplestones, but you can walk in any direction and you’ll find a beach pretty soon.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Rooms are from around £280 per room per night, based on two sharing, on a Dinner, B&B basis.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01720 422947 or visit hellbay.co.uk.
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BRIGHTON HARBOUR HOTEL, SUSSEX
WHY HERE? For a night on the town. A relatively new addition to this stylish, trendy city this hotel is just down the road from the British Airways i360 and is walking distance from the main venues and attractions. After a busy day exploring Brighton, relax in the extraordinary subterranean spa, which features wooden hot tubs in cavernous grottos as well as a steam room, sauna and hydrotherapy pool. The on-site restaurant, The Jetty, makes superb seafood bouillabaisse and great sticky toffee pudding. This hotel also has the most comfortable beds you can find.
NEAREST BEACH? The hotel overlooks the promenade and pebble beach. There are sea views from many of the rooms.
WHAT DOES IT COST? A double is from around £135 for room only.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01273 323221 or visit brighton-harbour-hotel.co.uk.
Read our hotel review of Brighton Harbour Hotel & Spa