Hope Cove House, Devon: hotel and restaurant review
Wake up to the swish of the sea, feast on fish barbecues on the sun-soaked terrace, or simply enjoy the sandy beach at this coastal retreat
Looking for places to stay in Devon? Want a coastal retreat in the South West? Read our hotel review, and check out more British seaside holidays for foodies here…
Hope Cove House in a nutshell
This is one of very few hotels in the South West where you can fall asleep listening to the swish of the sea. Hope Cove House sits next to a sandy beach in the tiny hamlet of Inner Hope, a safe distance from crowds further up the coast.
Salsa on the stereo, sea views and a sun-soaked terrace set the scene at this coastal retreat near Salcombe. It’s no oil painting from the outside, but this 1950s hotel has soothing and stylish interiors, with contemporary furniture plucked from Brick Lane stores by owners Oli and Ra Barker. Plus there are vibrantly-coloured fabrics chosen by family friend Tricia Guild, the interior designer who founded Designers Guild. In summer, bask on the terrace with a glass of prosecco in hand, or take a bracing swim in the sea (with seals if you’re lucky). During the colder months, hunker down by the wood-burning stove with a paperback from the colour-coded library.
Which room should I book at Hope Cove House?
10 simply decorated bedrooms let the sea views do the talking, although there are zingy yellow, turquoise and powder-blue accessories for colour (plus posies of wildflowers). King-size iron beds have firm mattresses and a choice of feather or hypoallergenic bedding, and there are stacks of interior magazines to leaf through in place of televisions. Room six has a big balcony and double-aspect windows, room nine the most modern bathroom, and room 12, tucked away on the second floor, has the best view. Bathrooms are dated, but L:A Bruket toiletries make up for it.
The food and drink
Run by London restaurateur and wine bar owner Oli Barker, Hope Cove House focuses on tightly-curated, seasonal, high-end coastal food with a Mediterranean feel. Expect starters such as octopus with chorizo and white beans, or fried baby squid with sumac and aioli and, for mains, tender pollack with braised fennel and crab bisque. Salads, herbs and vegetables come from Oli’s mother’s own vegetable patch, lamb and pork is from the Salcombe Meat Company, and fish is landed in nearby Plymouth or Brixham. The 80-strong wine list includes a good choice of natural wines, and there’s a refreshingly unpretentious bar that stocks just one of each spirit and an evolving range of London beers.
The buffet includes crunchy homemade granola and fruity jams, with toast-your-own bread from Bakehouse Salcombe. Cooked options include a Full English, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, kippers with oozy parsley butter, perfectly-cooked boiled eggs with anchovy soldiers and (highly recommended) shakshuka.
What else can foodies do?
A 20-minute walk along the South West Coastal Path takes you to South Milton Sands, home to the Beachhouse. Here you’ll find some of the freshest seafood on the south coast: plump prawns, lobster doused in garlicky butter and crispy squid are served up on rustic communal tables, or on picnic tables outside that overlook the beach and dramatic Thurlestone sea arch. In Salcombe, you can make your own gin at the Salcombe Distilling Co. and watch ice cream being made at Salcombe Dairy.
Is it family friendly?
There are two small family rooms, sleeping three and four. The proximity of the beach makes life easy for those with tots in tow on sunny days, but distractions are more limited when the weather is bad.
Book a visit for a summer weekend, if you can, to make the most of fish barbecues on the terrace and Salcombe Dairy ice cream served from a vintage bike.
Written by Suzy Bennett, July 2019
Photos by James Bedford