Stepping through The Victoria Hotel’s porte-cochère (the grand porch to protect your horse-drawn carriage or snazzy motor from the elements) is a little like passing through the looking glass: another world awaits on the other side. Daily worries are suspended as you enter timeless elegance that has been charming visitors to this seaside hotel since 1903, writes Rosanna Rothery
Those hankering after old-school glamour and traditional touches (freshly cut flowers and fruit in your room to name two) will feel utterly pampered here. Alongside two seriously good dining rooms and a stunning coastal location, the hotel prides itself on impeccable service and style.
VISIT if you want to be spoilt by the seaside. From a doorman carrying your bags to dressing up for dinner, there’s a sense of everything being done “properly” at this four star hotel, run by South West family group, Brend Hotels.
For the full works, dine in the elegant AA rosette Jubilee Restaurant, although for a more relaxed nodress- code vibe, The White Room has chandeliered vintage charm. It’s here that head chef Stuart White showcases traditional coastal favourites (tiger prawn cocktail followed by fish and chips goes down well with mini foodies) alongside his fresh and zesty signature dishes.
Celeriac remoulade (a perfect balance between sharp and creamy) and a scrumptiously piquant piccalilli play their part in elevating a ham hock into a gorgeously light and zingy starter. A moist, pink duck breast transforms into a sublimely succulent main with the addition of salty pancetta and tarragon jus.
White’s impressive French style has a certain je ne sais quoi that sees every mouthful delight with vibrant and judiciously-matched flavours – admittedly, his stints in the kitchens of John Burton-Race and Heston Blumenthal can’t have done any harm.
DON’T VISIT if your idea of comfort is minimalistic and modern. Oak panelling, a sweeping staircase and swish drapes pay tribute to time-honoured grandeur, while all the rooms and suites exude classical elegance.
WE LIKED watching the morning sun appear over the red cliffs of the spectacular Jurassic Coast. A private balcony in the opulent Betjeman Suite, complete with a cute matching pair of turret rooms, makes a fabulous spot for a pre-dinner cocktail and sea-gazing over Lyme Bay.
INSIDER’S TIP On arrival, don’t even think about exploring Sidmouth. Instead, slip on a robe and take the lift to the groundfloor spa for a hot-stone massage and dip in the heated pool.
What we ate (dinner)
Starter Salt baked beetroot, Vulscombe goat’s cheese, hazelnut dressing, baby watercress
Main Free range duck breast, fregula, baby gem lettuce, peas, pancetta, tarragon jus
Pud Chocolate and honeycomb torte, Otter Ale ice cream
3 courses from £33
D,B&B from £125 per person