I’m harbouring a wonderful secret…

Shopping. Folk are shopping, buying things left, right and centre. Fine things, things made out of silk, leather and excess sails once attached to luxury yachts. Small dogs shiver anxiously as they wait outside boutiques, then beam happily as they are whisked up, nestled betwixt forearm and bosom. Carried off towards the nearest glass of prosecco, doing their best Kate Winslet / Titanic impression. Ears flapping, eyes half asleep. Wagging tails… just like Kate. There are a lot of people milling around, stepping on and off of the pavement. Avoiding Audi Q5s, Merc GLs and Freshley washed Range Rover Velars. Gulls skulk about in their usual fashion, polishing off the dregs of sourdough sandwiches and artisanal Devon pasties.

The streets are narrow, the estuary is speckled with boats of all sizes and the wallets are fat here in the picturesque town of Salcombe. Whatever your feelings when it comes to busy shops, packed streets, constant giant car dodging and squawks of “Hugo, stop harrasing Geoffrey. He’s trying to finish his turmeric latte!” It must be said, it is a beautiful little, busy town.

And busy it is. Or does it bustle? I suppose it all depends on your point of view.Β Whatever your poison, here’s the antidote.

I give you, The Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa.

This place is an oasis of calm, a deep calming breath from the harsh reality that is retail.

 

Overlooking the Salcombe Estuary, this almost Bond-villan-hideout looking building has everything. A spa, cinema (I know!), dramatic views, cocktails, restaurant, dungeon where they hold secret agents for questioning (though they’d never admit to it).

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NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-7You’re never to old to officially test the durability of a bed. This move is called ‘Lemur with an eagles wing’.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-3Complementary gin and port! yes, I did don slippers ‘n gown and watch boats pass with a glass of deep amber goodness.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-8NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-14The Jetty restaurant,Β our destination for the evening.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-16A lip-smackingly good bespoke whisky based cocktail, made by Benji – a wizard of all things alchoholic, to kick things off.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-17NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-19The incredible Harry Wild, sips an espresso martini. I’ll let you into a secret… they lace it with hazlenut liquor and it’s off the hook!

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-29All dressed up and ready to go. Fun fact, in my haste to get to the hotel I packed two different pairs of shoes. And I kid you not, they where both for the left foot! This resulted in me basically doing an impression of a CEO of a Californian start-up. Relatively smartly dressed dude, wearing flip-flops.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-31Amuse bouche of tomato soup. Unfussy, delicious, classic.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-35Alex’s Twice Baked Cheese Souffle” – elegant, cheesy and light as a light thing thats won lightest thing in the county, 11 times in a row and has just ingested a generous volume of helium.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-41NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-45Beautiful sea trout with fennel in a beautiful buttery sauce.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-50A celebration of a Devonshire pig! Belly, cheek and crackling with a fondant potato friend.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-53Poached pair with soft fruits and milk ice cream. Subtle and refreshing.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-57Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel ice cream, nut crumb – not for sharing.

NHPSalcombeHarbSmall-58We let Benji the alcho-mist run wild to create one of cokctails as sundowners on the terrace. Well, I say sundowners in this photo the sun had been and gone! We sipped sharp, tangy, rounded, sweet and STRONG drinks as the last of the days boats drifted back up the estuary. Tracing their journeys by their glowing red lights.

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Breakfast is a sacred thing. It’s a ritual that is taken very seriously in our life, probably yours too. A disappointing breakfast is like a wasted kiss, it’s too late to recreate once it hits, knowing you have to do it right at the next opportunity. Scrambled eggs are a risky test of new breakfast place. All to often they arrive dry, over-worked, unseasoned and almost as if they we’re cooked in a strictly butter free zone! A sad place to live. Unless dairy makes you implode, why would you want to live in such a place? Scrambled eggs deserve a rich, indulgent, buttery environment. Anyone that can eat butter and tells you otherwise, isn’t worth listening to. In fact don’t pay any attention to their opinons on anything, ever. Remove them from your bookFace group, don’t ever tweet them and never like any of their InstaPhoto imagery. Block’em.

Luckily, these eggs had a healthy relationship with butter and salt. I’d say they were lovers. A beautiful triangle that met on a holiday in Sorrento. Not leaving their hotel room for at least three days. Breakfast worthy of a decent kiss.

The running theme of beautifully seasoned food; flavoursome and classic in its simplicity, ran through our dining experience in its entirety. The staff were attentive, friendly and held their positions with a strong feeling of ownership. In the transitory world of hospitality, this is a wonderful thing to behold. I’d attribute this to Jason, the GM. His attitude towards the team is inspiring, giving them each freedom to grow in their roles and welcoming ideas. Promoting that holy grail of pride in what you do.

Next time you’re planning a trip to this part of the world, looking for an escape for the weekend or a spot to get hitched – book in here.

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