Soar Mill Cove

Hotel at the head of a hidden cove

This hotel must be in one of the most peaceful spots in the country and is situated at the head of a little valley, a short walk from the South Devon coastline. The lane gives way to a panoramic view of the sea and the hotel, which lies unobtrusively in the folds of the hills.

It really feels like you’re retreating into the wilds, yet it’s not very far from the bustling waterside town of Salcombe. Three generations of the Makepeace family play their part in the hotel, which explains why it’s got such a homely, welcoming feel. Members of staff are also very much part of the family, and several of them have worked there a long time, including head chef Ian Macdonald who’s clearly an integral part of the Soar Mill Cove experience.

His two AA rosette standard menus are modern and individual but they also contain lovely touches of Soar Mill family magic – a dreamily light pavlova made by Granny Makepeace which was declared “divine” by hotel guest, Audrey Hepburn. This is food to take your time over, with rich flavours, sublime sauces and dishes ranging from refreshing salads to rib-eye steaks and a fantastic array of seafood. There’s a superb wine list too, carefully selected favourites of the owners, once again reflecting the hotel’s ethos.

The balance of tradition and modern vibrancy is evident throughout the hotel, which saw a major refurbishment last year. Rooms are spacious, with several having private patios where you can lounge about and enjoy the sea views. Leisure facilities include a new spa with beauty treatments, a gym and a heated saltwater swimming pool, as well as plenty of both indoor and outdoor activities like tennis courts and a snooker table.

Soar Mill Cove is a happy place, where repeat visitors – and any four-legged companions – are remembered, and children welcomed with open arms.

Sample menu

Starter

Honey and orange marinated Scottish salmon with mixed leaves

Main

Slow cooked belly of pork with apple aïoli, caramelised apples, hog’s pudding and croquettes

Pud

Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel sauce and honeycomb ice cream

A seasonal menu of a starter, main course and dessert with coffee and petit fours for £35

Insider’s tips

Owner Keith Makepeace says, ‘When Audrey Hepburn was a guest of Soar Mill Cove Hotel, my mother served her some summer pavlova. Audrey declared it “divine” and not only asked for more, but asked for the recipe to. It was always her favourite whenever she stayed.’

Restaurants nearby

Burgh Island hotel and restaurant in South Devon

Anyone with a fancy for taking a trip to the glamorous past of the 1930s simply has to visit Burgh Island hotel

Royal Castle Hotel and restaurant, Dartmouth, Devon

Located at the heart of Dartmouth overlooking the harbour, The Grill Room has enviable views over the majestic River Dart

Soar Mill Cove, Near Salcombe, South Devon, TQ7 3DS

01548 561566

Opening hours

Hotel and restaurant open February to December. Restaurant open 8am-9pm. Self catering open all year

Chef: Ian MacDonald

Owners: Jenny and Keith Makepeace

Bedroom rate: £159

Bedrooms: 22

  • Kids welcome
  • Dogs welcome
  • Wifi
  • Disabled access
  • Parking available
  • Private dining available
  • Swimming pool
  • Spa
  • Wedding venue
  • Exclusive use
  • Online booking

Awards

The restaurant has held two AA rosettes for the last 15 years

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