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.
Honey and orange marinated Scottish salmon with mixed leaves
Slow cooked belly of pork with apple aïoli, caramelised apples, hog’s pudding and croquettes
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
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.’
Soar Mill Cove, Near Salcombe, South Devon, TQ7 3DS
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
- Kids welcome
- Dogs welcome
- Disabled access
- Parking available
- Private dining available
- Swimming pool
- Wedding venue
- Exclusive use
- Online booking
The restaurant has held two AA rosettes for the last 15 years