Cary Arms & Spa

South West England Devon Torquay

  • Rooms, suites, cottages, beach huts
  • Contemporary Boutique Hotel

Perhaps the perfect Devon seaside inn, updated as a sumptuous boutique hotel for the 21st century.

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Tucked away on scenic Babbacombe Bay, Cary Arms couldn’t have asked for a much better location. Perched delicately on the rocks above the pebble beach, at the bottom of a slightly hair-raising descent down a single-track road, this is a seaside inn to die for, brilliantly combining traditional Devon delights with all the style and comfort you expect from a contemporary boutique hotel. Its location is so magical, the service so attentive and the rooms so comfortable that if you come here at any time of year, you won’t want to leave.

The sister hotel of another West Country favourite of ours, The Eastbury in Sherbourne, the Cary Arms has just ten rooms and suites, plus four restored fisherman's cottages with 2–4 bedrooms each and six quirky huts and two beach suites on the beach. The hotel was famously visited by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who was apparently rowed ashore here for a cream tea when visiting Torquay,  and it remains at heart a coastal inn but with an up-to-date feel that is more New England than the English Riviera. The eight rooms and two suites all have fabulous sea views and their own terraces, along with king-size beds with good quality linen, Smart TVs, tea-and coffee-making facilities, complimentary bottled water and a decanter of sloe gin, and White Company toiletries and waffle bathrobes in the en-suite bathrooms. Two of the ground floor rooms welcome dogs, as do the three of the four cottages, which are a great alternative for couples seeking a bit more privacy or families. Dogs are also welcome in two of the beach huts and one of the beach suites, right at the water’s edge.

You may be reluctant to leave your little capsule of comfort down by the sea, and you could quite happily spend a few days here and not emerge, pottering around on the beach, having a pint or two of local ale in the beamed dog-friendly bar while you watch the sunset, or eating in the hotel’s excellent restaurant, which serves good simple gastropub food centred on local beef and lamb and of course the freshest fish and seafood; it’s moderately priced and they also do a great-value set lunch menu. They have a comfy lounge and billiard room, and a spa with a gym, steam room, sauna, waterfall hydrotherapy pool , showers with a soundtrack of tropical birdsong and of course the usual treatments. There’s also a decked sun terrace with an outdoor fire and boxes of blankets for winter days.

It is worth leaving occasionally, however, if only to experience the 1920s funicular railway that takes you up to Babbacombe proper – best known for its model village, which remains one of the Torquay area’s best-known attractions. Beyond here you can explore the nearby bays of Oddicombe and Petitor Downs, which are connected by footpath. The Petitor cliffs are the source of Torquay’s extraordinary marble pavements, while the waters off Oddicombe are a haven for divers who come here to explore the reedy shallows and various nearby wrecks.

All in all the Cary Arms is a very special place for a short break by the sea – at any time of year.

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Open all year.


Rooms and suites from £269 a night, beach huts and suites from £389 a night, cottages from £495 a night, £990 for 3 nights or £2475 for 7 nights. Dogs cost £20 a night, for which their get their own bed and bowl.

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Contact Website  01803 327 110  Cary Arms & Spa, Babbacombe Beach, Devon TQ1 3LX

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Getting There

Leave the M5 at Exeter and follow sign for the A380 to Torquay: at Ashcombe Cross, branch left then take the 2nd exit B3192 signposted to Teignmouth.  In Teignmouth, at the bottom of hill by traffic lights, turn right and take the coastal B3199 to Babbacombe. Follow the signs to the seafront, past the model village and turn left onto Babbacombe Downs Rd, and then turn left onto Beach Rd.


  • Bar
  • Gardens & Grounds
  • Hot Tub
  • Restaurant
  • Spa & Treatments
  • Wifi
  • Beaches
  • Walking
  • Family rooms
  • Gym
  • Parking
  • Wedding Venue
  • Activities
  • Dog-friendly
  • Family-Friendly
  • Five-Star Luxury
  • Foodies
  • Historic
  • Romantic Retreat
  • Sensational Views
  • Waterside
  • Wellbeing
  • Boutique hotel
  • Spa Hotel
  • Apartments

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