All are welcome at the Soar Mill Cove Hotel – children, dogs, even journalists, and this writer had the pleasure of staying there recently with my wife Leila, much in need of a break from her stressful work as a teacher at an inner London state school.
Be it Belfast or London the contrast with hectic city life could not be more pronounced than when experiencing the isolation of Soar Mill Cove, it took me a couple of hours to realize what that sound was I heard when we first arrived – then it dawned on me – it was simply the sound of silence!
Some 50 miles along this same stretch of coast in Cornwall, I grew up in a small highly individual hotel reflecting the personality and ideas of my mother – who both owned and ran the business. The Sour Mill Cove is owned and run by three generations of individuals who make up the Makepiece family, all of whom have an influence in the enjoyable experience of staying there.
Our generously spacious room with luxurious king sized bed had French doors opening onto decking furnished with loungers where to sit and drink in the fine view of the sea and surrounding steep hills dotted with grazing sheep and cattle behind which the setting sun slowly sank.
At the large spacious dining room boasting more fine views, we discovered an exciting and imaginative menu of fresh local seafood, and produce from West Country farms.
In 25 years of travel journalism I have been lucky enough to sample fabulous food from Mexico to Malaysia and throughout France and Italy. As of now I would travel back to the Soar Mill Hotel to experience once more: Soar Bay Chowder (shellfish soup): Start Bay Scallops (pan roasted with hogs pudding); Salcombe Crab Claw Linguini; Pan Roasted (same) Day Boat (caught) Sea Bass; Chargrilled West Country Rib Eye Steak, and needless to say the Whole Salcombe Lobster!
Finish with Sticky Toffee Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce and Honeycomb Ice Cream, and if there is still oom a selection of genuine West Country cheeses including Cornish Living Blue.
Soar Mill Cove Hotel guests then usually decant to the comfort of the lounge for coffee, liqueurs, and games of cards, drafts, or chess.
Next morning, before the impressive Full English (or should it be Devon) Breakfast, which of course is entirely free-range and organic and available in the same dining room, guests can take advantage of the good sized indoor saltwater swimming pool and SPA facilities.
Then it is time for long walks (around two hours) across wild fields and along spectacular high cliff paths to the picturesque Salcombe, famous for old narrow streets, waterside pubs, yachting, and now having some of the highest house prices in the entire UK.
The entire Soar Mill Cove Hotel is a single story building making very suitable for disabled and elderly guests.
Needless to say my wife and I would highly recommend the Sour Mill Hotel!