PERCHED on a craggy headland, Soar Mill Cove Hotel is the ultimate south Devon bolthole.
Situated between the upmarket town of Salcombe and fishing village of Hope Cove, it's set in 2,000 acres of National Trust countryside.
If you take a short walk through wild-flower-filled meadows you will reach the cove of Soar Mill, perfect for surfing and sandcastle building.
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Alternatively, join the South West Coast Path and strike out along its 630 miles of dramatic coastal walking (OK, you don't have to do it all). The hotel will even throw in a free hip flask of hot toddy if you request it.
That's the philosophy of this family-run luxury hotel - no request is too much and there are lots of free extras. The complimentary cream tea, brought to our room on arrival, was a bonus, as were the designer toiletries. This is also the place to go if you have young children.
They get their own twin room with a door leading off yours, complete with a rack of story books.
Class Our little boy's face was a picture when he opened the wardrobe to find his very own vintage fire-engine ride-on toy to scoot around the room on.
When we arrived in the restaurant for dinner all the children received pirate-themed party bags. We ate our meal in peace, including sirloin steak and chips, followed by spiced apple crumble, as our son polished off fish, chips and peas.
The hotel boasts an indoor swimming pool where we spotted Louis Theroux and family having a swim.
The nearby town of Salcombe is a beautiful place.
Popular with the sailing crowd, it oozes money and class with its boutique shops, restaurants, flash second homes and waters packed with luxury yachts. It has stores including Jack Wills, as well as Joules, Fat Face and White Stuff.
Girls will love the Aladdin's cave of high fashion Amelia's Attic, which sells gorgeous frocks, unusual jewellery and frilly knickers.
Our favourite pub in Salcombe was the Harbour Inn. Once you've climbed down the steps from the road, you'll find seats on the patio where only a low wall separates you from the sea.
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Salcombe's North Sands beach is a magnet for families and surfers. Behind it is the Winking Prawn restaurant, which serves classics such as crab sandwiches on white-washed tables.
Hope Cove, on the other hand, is a lowkey escape with two beaches.
Fishing boats are moored up on the sands, there's a sea wall which daredevils jump from into the waves and cliff-top walks.
Highlights include the Hope and Anchor, where you can eat pub grub, seafood specialist The Harbour Light and a seaside-themed art gallery. A small but adorable place.