Brimming with coastal charm, Cary Arms is a boutique spa hotel in South Devon’s “English Rivera” that combines all the values of a classic English Inn with the style and comfort of a luxe hotel. Becky continues her tour of Devon and Cornwall to experience what the hotel has to offer…
Cary Arms boutique spa hotel
In need of some air and the sea, we walk the South West coastal path from the hotel to local beauty spot Hopes Nose, where signs tell us not to feed seals within this UNESCO world heritage site. The hotel itself is perched at the very bottom of a steep cliff hidden from view from the road, which slowly over a sequence of terraces, leads you down to the bay. This means you can hear the sea from wherever you are in the hotel. The views across the series of interconnected little bays (Babbacombe, Oddicombe and Petitor Downs) are stunning, while giving you a good chance (locals tell us) of seeing dolphins playing in the calm sheltered waters.
Our room is a “beach hut” suite, which from the outside resembles its namesake, but inside opens up like magic to reveal a duplex with an elevated bedroom “cabin”. Huge wall-to-wall glass doors fold back onto a sunbathing deck, giving you uninterrupted views (even better from your bed) across Lyme Bay to Portland Bill along the Jurassic Coast. It’s the most luxurious and roomy beach hut you will ever sleep in! We are woken the next day by seagulls diving across the bay and inhale coffee in bed with the papers and watch the sea from our cabin.
After galavanting on the South West coastal path, we feel we’ve earned a trip to the hotel’s bijoux spa to relax in the hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room. The hotel doesn’t shy away from its natural nautical setting or the famed 1920s heritage of the local area, which Agatha Christie made famous (her beloved house Greenways is not far).
After breakfast, I treat myself to a full body massage to destress and work out the knots from a full day’s walking on the hilly coastal path. The therapist (Mel) was amazing and added reflexology to the massage while explaining her approach as holistically therapeutic. As a massage snob like me spotted right away, she expertly located the knots and tight areas, while also managing to accurately wheedle out the emotional stresses and strains in my life. She came and found me in the spa afterwards with a list of essential oils she particularly recommended and directions to a shop in nearby (hippy and fabulous) Totnes, where they would mix me a personal blend.
For a unique and restorative break on the English Riviera you’ll be hard pressed to beat this relaxed hidden gem of a hotel.
To make a booking visit the website or call 01803 327110. This article was written prior to COVID. Please check government guidelines before making any bookings.
Main image: booking.com
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