Cary Arms & Spa
What We Love
- A five-star, Condé Nast Johansens award winner on the Devonshire coast, with sleek spaFreshly caught bay lobster at the highly acclaimed restaurant
- Watching the sun set from the large windows of the hotel's inviting bar
- Indulging in a heavenly window of 'me time' in the new Cary Spa
What To Know
- Rooms have great views out over Babbacombe Bay
- There's free—but limited—parking in a shared car park down the street
- WiFi can be spotty
The five-star Cary Arms & Spa is a special place and Condé Nast Johansens thought as much too, naming it the Best Waterside Hotel in the UK and Ireland in 2017. As you approach the property, you’ll soon get an idea of the romantic hideaway location and the dramatic coastal views to come. Located beneath the cliffs on Babbacombe Beach, this secluded inn offers a truly unique and luxurious place to stay that epitomises beachside living.
For activities, think wholesome British seaside fun. Stroll along on the shores, skimming stones or fish off the pier. Biking and fishing can be organised through the hotel, or why not have a go at some adrenaline-inducing water sports?
After a day exploring the pretty surrounding area, enjoy a warm welcome back at Cary Arms & Spa and treat yourself to a gastro-dinner of fresh, local produce or completely switch off with a marine-based Thalgo treatment in the new luxury spa. Cary Arms & Spa also garnered a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
How to Get There
We had a near perfect 3 night break at this comfortable hotel, despite the terrible weather. As others have said, the final drive down the hill to the hotel was scary, then hotel staff took our car back up to the hotel's private car park. We didn't use the car during our stay and the rain as we left made the uphill drive look even scarier - but a staff member was happy to drive us and our luggage up to the car park and driving up to the main road from there was fine.
We were in Beach Hut no. 2. This is fairly new, smart and beautifully equipped, with a large comfortable seating area, the shower room (huge walk-in shower), wardrobe and coffee making unit/fridge downstairs. Upstairs is the smallish mezzanine bedroom with a large bed, a chair and a chest of drawers. The stairs could prove a problem if needing the loo at night, but a torch is provided on the key ring. Outside is a wooden deck with two loungers. We were at the end of two beach huts (1 & 2) which meant our terrace was fairly private, but we had to walk past Hut 1's terrace and the spa (not tried) then through the hotel to get to the main entrance. The view down to the sea from our hut and terrace was also slightly blocked by the roof of a beach hut one level below.
Toiletries are luxurious "The White Company" although I was shocked by the unnecessary plastic, as well as card, packaging, and have written to The White Company and the hotel commenting on this. On arrival in our hut we found a welcome carafe of sloe gin (about 3 glasses each), and a bottle of rosé wine in the fridge, plus crisps and a selection of biscuits, the latter being replaced when eaten. Coffee is made with a Nespresso machine, which is ok when you know how! (Instructions in the hotel guide in the room); and there is a kettle with jars of tea and herbal and green teas. The milk comes in cute little bottles but we had to keep asking for more. Two bottles of water are also provided, and replenished when used, in the fridge.
Because of the weather we spent a lot of time reading in our hut, and very comfortable we felt too. We were amused by the fire, which is a screen set in the wall, with virtual "logs", "flames" and even "crackles" - it doesn't actually get hot but we did feel warmer just having it on!
Breakfast was a good if not extensive selection, the home made granola is particularly delicious. There is a menu for hot dishes but we were able to pick and choose, for instance I had the excellent Scotch pancakes and syrup without the bacon, and my husband chose just a few items from the Full English.
We had one evening meal at the hotel, the conservatory dining room is reserved for hotel guests. The food was very good, if somewhat expensive and the menu features "pub" food - my husband had fish and chips - and more "fancy" dishes, and there's a special vegetarian and vegan menu, I really enjoyed my pappardelle with courgettes, broccoli and spinach in a light cream sauce.
The staff were all friendly, pleasant and mainly ready to help. It's a small niggle but I did think the young and cheerful receptionists could have done with a bit more training - we asked them a couple of questions about the hotel and their answers were "Oh, I don't know." It would have been nice if they'd offered to find out.
Finally, the hotel's position. This is right above the sea by Babbacombe Beach. I was disappointed not to see the seal other reviewers have cooed over! You can walk at the back of the beach and over the steps to the next beach, where there are a couple of beach shops, a large café and - great fun - the Cliff Lift, a two car funicular railway that takes you to the top, to Babbacombe town and the Model Village. The town has lots of shops and cafés, probably not open in the evening, and one or two restaurants, and a large park at the top of the cliffs known as The Downs. We did walk along the Coastal Path in both directions but after the rain this was muddy and slippery and we had to jump over small waterfalls tumbling down the cliffs.
We would definitely like to return to this hotel, maybe in the Winter when we can hunker down in a "beach hut", watch the wild sea and not think about venturing out. Or when the weather is guaranteed to be good and we can explore the local area safely on foot.
I could be here all day if I wanted to list just how WONDERFUL our little holiday of 5 nights was here . It all started with very good email rapport with Rob and Lisa who ensured the booking process was perfect and everything to our exact requirements.
We arrived mid afternoon all our luggage was delivered to our rooms ( Beach Huts 1&2 ) placed conveniently next to the beautiful Spa. There was sloe gin waiting for us on the coffee table, crisps , chocolate bars , fizzy drinks , water and fresh milk which were replaced daily and a lovely bottle of wine in the fridge to welcome us ! The spa was right next to our “ beach huts “ and we took advantage twice a day. It was perfect and not once did we share the facilities with others .
The accommodation was first class .. serviced twice a day . Linda was wonderful nothing too much trouble .. happy , sunny and delightful . All of the staff especially Mark, ( who actually came to say goodbye to us which was really nice ) Lisa on reception was the most helpful , lovely and pleasant young lady ever .. again nothing too much trouble ) the staff are what makes this place extra special .
We will be making this the only place we stay in Torquay from now on after 20 years at the Imperial . It was literally the best holiday we have ever had. Can’t wait to come back !
I had an incredible massage with the spa manager and it was the most amazing massage Iâve ever had, she was so welcoming and her energy was beautiful. I felt so relaxed and calm Iâve never experienced a massage quite like it. Thankyou
Stayed for 2 nights in one their beach huts which was much better than I was expecting. Very high quality spec, well equipped, comfortable and more spacious than I thought it would be. The views from the decking are stunning and I imagine it would be very relaxing if the weather had been better but sadly it wasn’t as we only had one brief spell of sun. The decking has a couple of loungers but it’s not for sun lovers as it only gets the sun from mid afternoon - Beach hut 6 probably gets the best of any sun that is going. The rest of the hotel is a bit dated – quaint in parts but lacking the finish you find in other places that charge these rates. There are lots of spaces around the pub to sit and enjoy the views and the staff are wonderful - very friendly & helpful. The location is ideal for walking and the hotel provides each room with a booklet containing local walks. Car parking is a bit of a nuisance as it’s further back up the hill. To be fair the hotel does provide a valet service and it can be accessed on foot via some steps (5 minutes) but it’s not very convenient when you’ve forgotten something. Breakfast was very good. Overall we liked the accommodation and relaxed atmosphere and could well return in the future – hopefully in better weather!
Having discovered the amazing Cary Arms last summer there was no question where to book for my wife’s 50th birthday long weekend. We stayed 3 nights and this year pushed the boat out to stay in one of the outstanding beach suites. The suite itself is superb, but it’s the location right down by the waterside with a large private terrace that makes it extra special. The service at the Cary Arms is excellent and a particular thanks to Jack for looking after us so well. We ate in on two nights and the food was delicious on both occasions. The Cary Arms is a truly unique hotel in an outstanding location. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy great food and great service in a very informal atmosphere.