Life’s a French-Riviera-style beach in swanky Salcombe: Harbour Beach Club is the perfect


Any parent to a toddler knows that holidays with our little bundles of joy can be somewhat… challenging. The journey! The routine! The sleeping arrangements!

But it’s a case of sweet relief at Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa in the salubrious seaside town of Salcombe. Not only is it in a swanky location that makes the south coast of England feel like the French Riviera, but it makes relaxing with a toddler in tow a cinch. 

From warm and friendly staff – who were happy to fulfil my two-year-old son’s requests of racing them at breakfast – to parent-pleasing free gin in every room, this picture-perfect Devon hotel makes for the ideal beachside bolthole for families.

Harbour Beach Club is set in the beautifully unspoilt bay of South Sands in the South Devon Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a mile and a half outside the centre of the exclusive town of Salcombe, which was named Britain’s most expensive seaside home location earlier this year.

The setting is truly hard to beat, with the scenic beach just two seconds from the hotel, a huge perk when you are travelling with young children and seem to be back and forth to your room constantly for snacks, clothes and nappy changes. 

Louise Saunders checked into the Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa (above, behind the beach), set in the South Devon Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Louise Saunders checked into the Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa (above, behind the beach), set in the South Devon Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty 

Louise says that the hotel is in a 'swanky location that makes the south coast of England feel like the French Riviera'

Louise says that the hotel is in a ‘swanky location that makes the south coast of England feel like the French Riviera’

Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa is a mile and a half outside the centre of the exclusive town of Salcombe, which was named Britain's most expensive seaside home location earlier this year

Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa is a mile and a half outside the centre of the exclusive town of Salcombe, which was named Britain’s most expensive seaside home location earlier this year

Offering panoramic views across the beach, the hotel is secluded enough to provide a welcome break from the tourist madness of central Salcombe, but within easy reach of its many attractions.

What’s more, guests can park up for the weekend, ditch the car and visit Harbour Beach Club’s sister hotel in Salcombe using a free shuttle service. The town is perfectly walkable if you don’t mind hills.

My son Oscar, two, was delighted by the sweet local ferry from South Sands to Salcombe town. Riding out into the bay on the ‘sea tractor’ was without a doubt one of the highlights of his trip (and probably life!).

Louise writes: 'The setting is truly hard to beat, with the scenic beach just two seconds from the hotel, a huge perk when you are travelling with young children'

Louise writes: ‘The setting is truly hard to beat, with the scenic beach just two seconds from the hotel, a huge perk when you are travelling with young children’

There are 44 rooms and six stylish suites at Harbour Beach Club, with some for families with older children that interconnect

There are 44 rooms and six stylish suites at Harbour Beach Club, with some for families with older children that interconnect 

All bedrooms are air conditioned, in case you hit the British seaside holiday jackpot and chance upon a warm week

All bedrooms are air conditioned, in case you hit the British seaside holiday jackpot and chance upon a warm week 

Almost all of the rooms offer 'breath-taking' views of the bay, Louise notes

Almost all of the rooms offer ‘breath-taking’ views of the bay, Louise notes

There are 44 rooms and six stylish suites at Harbour Beach Club, with some for families with older children that interconnect. Almost all of them offer breath-taking views of the bay and balconies so guests can while away the hours looking out to sea.

If the copious sea air and tranquillity isn’t enough to guarantee a good night’s sleep, the sublime super-king beds will have you nodding off in no time – and all bedrooms are air conditioned, in case you hit the British seaside holiday jackpot and chance upon a warm week.

Plus, all rooms feature plenty of creature comforts in the form of a Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making facilities, a well-stocked mini-bar and those all-important complimentary bottles of Salcombe Gin. 

If the copious sea air and tranquillity isn't enough to guarantee a good night's sleep, the sublime super-king beds will have you nodding off in no time, says Louise

If the copious sea air and tranquillity isn’t enough to guarantee a good night’s sleep, the sublime super-king beds will have you nodding off in no time, says Louise 

'It's the ideal beachside bolthole for families,' concludes Louise, who spent four nights at the property

‘It’s the ideal beachside bolthole for families,’ concludes Louise, who spent four nights at the property

A brand new spa, which opened in March, is another bonus. It’s home to a 12-metre pool, with floor-to-ceiling windows, a suntrap terrace, sauna and steam rooms. I was lucky enough to enjoy a signature facial and drifted off to sleep in blissful relaxation. 

Time can also be passed simply relaxing and sandcastle-building on the beautiful beach. And handily, Harbour Beach Club has a well-stocked selection of beach goods, so not to worry if you’re short on space or travelling by train. 

We borrowed a bucket and spade, crabbing lines and a pair of adorable Hunter wellies for Oscar whenever we decamped to the sands.

Time can easily be passed relaxing and sandcastle-building on the beautiful beach. And handily, Harbour Beach Club has a well-stocked selection of beach goods, so not to worry if you're short on space or travelling by train, notes Louise

Time can easily be passed relaxing and sandcastle-building on the beautiful beach. And handily, Harbour Beach Club has a well-stocked selection of beach goods, so not to worry if you’re short on space or travelling by train, notes Louise

A brand new spa, which opened in March, is home to a 12-metre indoor pool (pictured), with floor-to-ceiling windows, a suntrap terrace, sauna and steam rooms

A brand new spa, which opened in March, is home to a 12-metre indoor pool (pictured), with floor-to-ceiling windows, a suntrap terrace, sauna and steam rooms

The restaurant has 'a good choice of children's food options', with adults 'treated to a wealth of delectable seafood options and delicious local fish'

The restaurant has ‘a good choice of children’s food options’, with adults ‘treated to a wealth of delectable seafood options and delicious local fish’

Breakfast was a highlight, says Louise, with the pancakes a delight for little ones

Breakfast was a highlight, says Louise, with the pancakes a delight for little ones

There are plenty of activities on offer too – including free beach yoga, paddle-boarding and kayaking. 

And those with more adventurous tastes can even try their hand at wild swimming, fishing trips and guided coastal hikes. 

We were treated to a boat trip around Salcombe Harbour with an incredibly knowledgeable guide who even let Oscar steer the boat, something he still talks about to this day. 

However, one of the main highlights for us as parents was that the staff seem to genuinely love children and even knew Oscar by name by the end of our four-night stay. And they thoughtfully allow parents to have a glass of wine in relative peace during mealtimes by giving little ones stickers and activity books. 

The hotel is secluded enough to provide a welcome break from the tourist madness of Salcombe, but within easy reach of its attractions

The hotel is secluded enough to provide a welcome break from the tourist madness of Salcombe, but within easy reach of its attractions

Louise declares: 'With beautiful views, an A-plus location, wonderful staff and a genuinely lovely vibe, Harbour Beach Club is the perfect place for British beach fun for all the family'

Louise declares: ‘With beautiful views, an A-plus location, wonderful staff and a genuinely lovely vibe, Harbour Beach Club is the perfect place for British beach fun for all the family’ 

Old and young are kept happy foodwise, too, with the restaurant offering a good choice of children’s food options and adults treated to a wealth of delectable seafood options and delicious local fish, as well as a robust wine and cocktail selection.

Breakfast was a particular highlight, with guests enjoying an extensive continental buffet and a menu featuring plenty of cooked options. The pancakes seemed to be a huge hit for the little ones.

With beautiful views, an A-plus location, wonderful staff and a genuinely lovely vibe, Harbour Beach Club is the perfect place for British beach fun for all the family. 

TRAVEL FACTS  

Louise and her family were hosted by Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa, where rooms cost from £195 per night on a B&B basis. 

A Sea View Family Room is £390 per night bed & breakfast based on two adults and one child or £402 for two adults and two children.

Visit www.harbourhotels.co.uk for more information.

Rating out of five: *****

PROS: Huge rooms, great location, beautiful beach, shuttle service, relaxed environment for families.

CONS: Having to leave. 

  



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