|Photo by Freeimages.com/Jon Wisbey|
by Suzy Bennett, The Daily Telegraph, June 22, 2016
I’m about as close to the water as it’s possible to get without getting wet toes. I’m at Britain’s newest beach huts, the latest venture of The Cary Arms hotel, near Torquay in south Devon, and just below me, flanked by rust-red rocks, is a tiny, perfectly formed beach. Waves lap. Seagulls cry. Distant laughter sweeps in on a gentle breeze. It’s a soundtrack straight out of a meditation CD, guaranteed to send even the most restless mind into a long, deep sleep.
Due to open on July 1, 2016 these six huts – two of them suites – have floor-to-ceiling views of what must be one of Britain’s most expansive seascapes, stretching from the south Devon town of Teignmouth, right along the Jurassic Coast as far as Portland Bill in Dorset.
The one-bedroom huts and suites are geared for couples and designed to be an extension of the hotel, rather than self-catering, so meals are taken in the cosy sea-facing restaurant in the hotel’s main building. The accommodation is engineered to make the most of the show-stopping panorama, with concertina glass doors, and beds, sofas and mirrors positioned at perfect viewing angles. In the smaller huts, portholes allow for bed-based viewing from the mezzanine-level bedrooms.
The huts are built with natural materials – clapboard, Cornish slate, Cotswold stone, Canadian cedar – and the earthy theme continues inside, with suede sofas, shell-filled lamps, cork stools, seaside paintings and table-top displays of lichen-encrusted slate.
Luxurious touches abound, including walk-in showers, non-mist bathroom mirrors, soft carpets, White Company toiletries, a Smeg minibar, coffee-maker, sun loungers on the terrace and a stick of Devon rock left on satin-soft pillows — a sweet little nod to the seaside location. There’s no shortage of technology either, with remote-control gas fires, motion-sensor bathroom lighting, a Sonos digital music systems and free Wi-Fi.
The smaller huts are decorated in zesty oranges, turquoises and limes — geared, presumably, for a young market. The larger suites have a more muted palette of soft creams, oyster greys, stone and sage greens. These have a separate bedroom, and a free-standing bath in addition to a walk-in shower.
So are there any downsides? Not many. The huts adjoin each other, so you’ll only have plants screening you from your fellow guests, and glass-fronted terraces mean you may be looked in on (the suites offer more privacy). There’s no room service, and until the hotel finishes building two further beach huts and a new spa in September, there is likely to be construction noise. Oh, and you might want to check your brakes and practise your hill-starts before you arrive as the hotel is down a precipitous, winding hill, with only a granite wall between you and the sea.
Other than that, these beach huts look set to be the coolest new kids on the coastal block. Pebbly Babbacombe beach and the South West Coastal Path are on the doorstep, the lively harbour towns of Brixham and Dartmouth are within striking distance, and Dartmoor National Park is a half-hour drive away. Visit when there’s a strong easterly wind and waves will slosh dramatically over the huts’ decks. I might be getting my toes wet after all.
Beach huts are £375; suites are £475 year-round. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Read the full review: The Cary Arms
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This article was written by Suzy Bennett from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.