If you’re in search of some coastal charm and R&R, we suggest you head to the English Riviera. Perched on the bay of Babbacombe, SheerLuxe checked into the secluded Cary Arms for a truly restful retreat complete with stunning seaside views and indulgent spa treatments.
Where: Hidden from site, the Cary Arms sits at the bottom of the Babbacombe Downs, overlooking the peaceful English Riviera. A car (or a ten-minute taxi from Torquay train station) is a must – the winding road is impossibly steep to get down. It’s worth it though, as once you reach the bottom you’ll find nothing but the cliffs and endless sea for company, for a truly restorative British getaway. The hotel is owned by Lana de Savary, the entrepreneur behind the Cotswold's Old Swan and Minster Mill so you can imagine the interiors are going to be tasteful and the service up to scratch.
Check in to: The newly built beach huts. The main building is essentially a quaint coastal pub with rooms, but just a stone’s throw away you’ll find the hotel’s luxury huts, which are more like little houses with a beachy façade than your traditional beach hut.
Inside, they’re just as charming – think seersucker stripes, a porthole window with a view of the English Channel, Riviera-inspired art and a welcoming decanter filled with homemade sloe gin and champers on ice. For an added touch of luxe, there are floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open onto a sunbathing deck.
What to do: Whilst it might not have the Instagram kudos of say, Soho Farmhouse, it's utterly charming and the service is second to none. In fact, it's been charming guests for over 100 years and can count Queen Victoria and Albert among them. These days, it's far more modern, with a new spa, gym and foodie-approved menu.
Sunbathers might not be thrilled by the pebbled beach, but the private sundecks get our vote – just bring suncream and a good book. Children will want to grab a net and bucket for some rock pooling or watch the boats, divers and Sammy the local seal go by, if they're lucky enough to spot him.
Head to: Walkers will delight in the various trails up and around the South Devon cliffs, while those after a more relaxed weekend away should head to the nearby Agatha Christie Mile to retrace the steps of the famous Murder Mystery writer. For those with little ones, there’s plenty on offer, from the 1920s cliff railway route to the sweet Babbacombe model village – which you might recognise from a recent Stella McCartney campaign. Torquey isn’t too far, but in all honesty, Babbacombe is far nicer.
Tuck in to: Fresh lobster caught in the morning and served for lunch. As with any seaside getaway, it would be rude to pass up a fish and chip supper – and we recommend trying the River Exe mussels. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, make sure you visit Angel Tea Rooms at the top of the cliff road, for a traditional Devonshire cream tea.
Wind down: At the recently built spa. Built into the cliff face, you’d barely know it was there. The pool, although small, is stunning, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows looking out on to the Jurassic Coast – you’ll be hard pushed to find a more tranquil spot on the south. We booked in for one of the spa’s signature Thalgo massages, which was 50 minutes of pure bliss, before heading back to our beach hut to find hot water bottles in our beds and sticks of rock on our pillows – this place knows how to charm by the bucket load.
Check list: Walking shoes, waterproofs (weather dependent) and a car, ideally, if you want to explore.
Overnight stays in the beach huts cost from £375 per night, beach suites from £475 and luxury doubles in the main hotel from £245 per night.