Home Beach holidays Seaside views at Thurlestone hotel in south Devon

Seaside views at Thurlestone hotel in south Devon

This traditional family owned hotel in Devon has great views of the south coast and an outdoor Art Deco swimming pool

by Sarah Bridge
thurlestone hotel

A stay at Thurlestone hotel

Getting to Thurlestone hotel, Devon is like going down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole. You follow one of those high-hedged, single-track south Devon lanes, praying not to meet any oncoming tractors, until, half an hour later, you pop up into the open air once again and think: ‘Where on earth am I?’

Thurlestone hotel entrance

After the narrow south Devon lanes, Thurlestone hotel comes as a welcome sight

Thankfully the views from this luxury Devon hotel will soon have you back on track, facing as it does across the English Channel and giving sweeping views all the way along the Devon coastline.

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Located on the hills overlooking Thurlestone beach in one direction and the local church and cliffs in the other, Thurlestone hotel isn’t located directly on the beach but gives great views of them (and there’s parking by the beach if the steep walk back isn’t for you).

Thurlestone hotel exterior

Thurlestone hotel was built in the 1890s and has been regularly updated since but has a traditional seaside hotel appeal

Thurlestone beach

The beach at Thurlestone, south Devon, which is just below the Thurlestone hotel

All about Thurlestone hotel

Set in 19 acres, the 65-bedroom hotel has been in the Grose family since 1896 and certainly feels traditional: the kind of place Agatha Christie could have stayed at in the 1930s.

The area is known as South Hams near Kingsbridge and Salcombe, and the village of Thurlestone where this Devon spa hotel is located is small but pretty. There’s an imposing church, a handy shop and a village pub (which is owned by the hotel) but the main feature in the village is the hotel itself.

lounge at Thurlestone hotel

The lounge area at Thurlestone hotel has a nautical theme

Thurlestone hotel facilities

Thulestone isn’t a place for guests looking for boutique chic and a lively vibe, but if you want to stay put for a few days, a week even, in a cosy, relaxing, comfortable hotel which has ample sofas and lounges for afternoon tea or even a snooze then this is the place for you.

That’s not to say it’s dull: there’s an excellent contemporary restaurant, a stunning outdoor art deco pool as well as an indoor pool plus the Thurlestone hotel spa, a golf course, tennis courts and excellent children’s play facilities (multi-generational holidays are popular here) so you won’t be short of things to do. However you won’t be made to feel bad if you don’t feel like doing anything at all but curl up with a book or just enjoy the views.

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Thurlestone hotel bedrooms

As you’d expect from a hotel by the seaside, the views are a big draw here and within seconds of entering my large, third-floor bedroom, I was outside on my balcony and drinking up as much of the south Devon coastline as I could.

Once I could tear myself away from the views which stretched all the way along the Devonshire coast in the glorious sunshine, I explored the rest of the bedroom with had a separate lounge and large, modern bathroom.

double bedroom at Thurlestone hotel

My bedroom at Thurlestone hotel was on the third floor and was large and airy, with a separate lounge off to one side and great views of the coast (which can be glimpsed through the door to my private balcony)

bathroom and bath at Thurlestone Hotel

My bathroom was large and smart

view from Thurlestone hotel

The view from my bedroom balcony

The sun obligingly came out and prompted the taking of dozens of photos (none of which do the view justice) and it was only when it disappeared behind a cloud that I could tear myself away to the spa.

Thurlestone hotel spa

Thurlestone hotel claims to be one of the best spas in south Devon, combining top class modern facilities with a touch of nostalgia from the golden age of ocean travel. With three fine beauty therapy rooms offer soothing treatments, an indoor pool, sauna, steam room, laconium, hydrotherapy pool and a fitness suite, the Voyage Spa is the perfect place to relax for residents and non-residents alike.

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The indoor pool was warm and welcoming, with loungers and pictures of ocean liners of days gone by, and there are several treatment rooms too.

hotel swimming pool

The indoor swimming pool in the Voyage Spa at Thurlestone hotel. There are also treatment rooms as well as sauna and steam rooms (and lots of loungers all around)

A unique feature of Thurlestone hotel spa is its large outdoor swimming pool which is decorated with pictures of Victorian bathers which makes a swim here like a step back in the past.

outdoor swimming pool at Thurlestone hotel

The vast outdoor swimming pool at Thurlestone hotel

It felt like the afternoon to get out and explore however, so I donned my wellies and headed off to visit the local church to have a good old hike around the neighbourhood. Returning in search of a drink I ended up at the hotel bar and enjoyed a half of local ale before heading to the Trevilder restaurant.

Trevilder restaurant at Thurlestone hotel

The Trevilder restaurant at Thurlestone hotel is large and modern and its picture windows make the most of those stunning views

menu at the Trevilder restaurant

The menu at The Trevilder restaurant

This is the most modern part of Thurlestone hotel and its vast picture windows shows off the views to their very best, from sunrise to sunset.

For now I was happy to explore the well-chosen menu which offered a wide range of dishes with local ingredients and suppliers (who were listed in the menu which I always like).

I started with Start Bay scallops grilled and presented in a shell with lemon, garlic butter and samphire,  and continued with rump of Devon lamb, carved pink with parmesan risotto and charred leeks. Both were excellent as was the red wine recommended by our waitress.

hand-dived Start Bay scallops with samphire and lemon, served in a scallop shell

My starter of hand-dived Start Bay scallops with samphire and lemon, served in a scallop shell

lamb with parmesan risotto

The lamb with parmesan risotto was an excellent main course

The meal ended on a high note of an excellent cheese board which offered a great choice local and British cheeses with apple jelly, crackers, celery and chutney.

The portions were very generous but I loved sampling them all, (particularly the Helford Blue and the Driftwood goats cheese) and I staggered off to bed convincing myself of the merits of an early-morning swim in the outdoor pool the next day.

cheese board at Thurlestone hotel

The cheese board at Thurlestone hotel was excellent

Thurlestone hotel breakfast

Predictably I enjoyed sleeping too much to make it for a swim in Thurlestone but I popped down before breakfast to find a few hardy souls taking a dip and looking invigorated. I indulged myself instead with a massive breakfast – I resisted the waffle maker but still made inroads into the wide selection of cereals, pastries, bread, cooked options and fresh juice – and made up for it with a massive hike along the South West Coastal Path towards Cornwall.

 great views of Burgh Island and its famous art deco hotel

My clifftop walk along the South West Coastal path was a glorious way to start the day and ended with great views of Burgh Island and its famous art deco hotel

 picture of bathers by the outdoor pool

A picture of bathers from yesteryear next to the outdoor pool

The clifftop path is just a few minutes from Thurlestone hotel through the golf course, and – having been thinking of Agatha Christie earlier – goes directly to Burgh Island and its famous art deco hotel which reviewed later. The hotel  inspired several of her novels and where Noel Coward visited, supposedly for three days and ended up staying three weeks. That seems to be the charm of a hotel on the south Devon coast – time just gets away from you.

Hotel information and to book Thurlestone Hotel

Thurlestone Hotel, Thurlestone near Kingsbridge, south Devon TQ7 3NN
01548 560 382 and [email protected]

Rooms at Thurlestone hotel cost from £155 bed and breakfast for an inland view room off-peak, while a deluxe sea view bedroom (such as the one I had) at this luxury hotel in Devon in the peak summer season can start from around £485 for bed and breakfast.

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Thurlestone Hotel is a member of the PoB Hotels group, a collection of 50 of the UK’s loveliest luxury hotels. Other hotels in that group reviewed on ALadyofLeisure.com include: Feversham Arms, North Yorkshire; Dormy House, Cotswolds; Bovey Castle, Devon; Park House hotel, West Sussex; Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire and many others (search ALadyofLeisure.com for PoB Hotels or click the red tag at the end of this post to find them all)

Looking for hotels by the sea?

A romantic seaside stay in the beach suites at Cary Arms hotel and spa, south Devon; A luxurious country escape at Bailiffscourt hotel and spa, West Sussex; A seaside stay right on the Suffolk coast at The Brudenell hotel, Aldeburgh, Suffolk; Luxury from treehouse to spa at Chewton Glen in the New Forest;

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