The last time we visited Soar Mill Cove, it was a very different experience for us. Grace was 8 years old and, as a result, we were able to do things a little bit differently. Meals were a bit quieter and we had a little more free rein to do what we wanted.
This time around, we able to look at our stay from a different angle. Taking a small child away isn’t really a holiday. A break from the old routine is though – and the staff and accommodation at Soar Mill Cove, a luxury hotel in Devon, take all of this into account.
Family Friendly Rooms at Soar Mill Cove Hotel
We were appointed the Makepeace Suite. It felt like quite an honour to have the room which had the name of the proprietors on it. We were impressed by the layout and amount of space we had. As you entered, there was a long hallway which stretched out to your left and directly in front of you was the children’s bedroom which had two single beds and a cotbed in the corner.
As you walked down the hallway, there were two large walk-in cupboards on your right which contained extra pillows and blankets and a safe. The next door on your right was a large bathroom and ahead of you was the main bedroom with a large Queensized bed, a coffee table with a bowl of fruit, sofa (which I believe was also a bed), a dressing table and high unit which had tea and coffee making facilities on the top of it (sensibly out of small fingers reach!). There was also a wall-mounted television and patio doors which took you onto your own private section of the gardens with patio furniture and a couple of loungers.
Take a look at my Facebook Live video to see the layout in full:
Or watch our video to take a full look around the hotel:
Dining with Children at Soar Mill Cove
Despite the fact that Soar Mill Cove have two AA Culinary Excellence rosettes, they are extremely accommodating of families and small children in their restaurant.
You can choose for your children to have high tea in the cafe between 5 and 6pm or children can eat in the restaurant from 6pm and choose 2 courses from the menu if dinner is inclusive. Children under 14 are not allowed in the restaurant after 8.45pm.
We opted to eat at 6.30pm both evenings. It was a little drawn out for Rex but we managed to keep him going and, because we were out of our normal routine anyway, he didn’t seem to mind.
I can distinctly recall the food from last time around – because it was so good. They didn’t disappoint this time either. There is a supplement for some items on the menu and, because I wanted to try the scallops, I opted to pay that on the second night.
Here are some of the dishes which we all tried.
I have to admit that I did find all the food quite pricey. It is a 2 rosette AA restaurant but I felt that they could have been a little more thoughtful with the children’s menu where the main courses were £12 each.
Breakfast was a leisurely affair. There were plenty of juices, cereal, toast and warm croissants on offer with homemade marmalade and jam. You could also order a full Devonshire breakfast, a Veggie breakfast, smoked kippers or mackerel as well as a bacon or sausage sandwich and boiled egg and soldiers.
When we visited, it was sunny on the first day and then a bit overcast on the second and third days. However, there is plenty to do at Soar Mill Cove, whatever the weather.
Firstly there is a games room and play area neatly tucked away at the back of the hotel near the car park. I say play area, there is only a little slide and outdoor playset for children. There is also a hut housing a pool table, box of Duplo bricks and a dartboard. Definitely somewhere to hang out on a rainy day.
There is a great indoor pool for the whole family to use, complete with non-slip mats around the edge. You are provided with towels in your room especially for the pool so no need to use your room or beach towels. Connected to the pool is a Beauty Spa. I was supposed to review some treatments but, alas, this wasn’t to be. Soar Mill Cove sound like they have had their fair share of bad luck with therapists. A new one was due to start just after we left so I do hope it is working out for them.
There is also an outdoor tennis court and small children’s playground adjacent to the hotel as well as plenty of outside space to run around in.
On top of this, there is a lovely large lounge which holds books, magazines, a chess board and a number of other board games.
There are many little extra touches to be found at Soar Mill Cove. On arrival you are given a voucher for a cream tea which Ross, Grace, Rex and I took in the lounge once we had settled in. It was a very relaxing place to sit and look at the beautiful view. Once we had finished, Grace and Ross had a game of chess whilst I pushed Rex around in his pushchair (hoping he would have a sleep!).
If you have a dog (or dogs), they can also holiday at Soar Mill Cove. All you need to do is ask for a dog-friendly room.
There are tea and coffee making facilities in the room but you have access to fresh milk which is put out on reception every evening.
There is a free DVD library with plenty of films available.
Things to Do in the Local Area
Staying at Soar Mill Cove means that you have plenty of activities on your doorstep. Whilst we were there we paid a visit to the National Marine Aquarium which was just an hours drive away in Plymouth.
There is also the local seaside town of Salcombe, where you can take the South Sands Ferry and, on arrival at South Sands Beach, you will be met by the famous ‘sea tractor’ which travels out in the water to greet you.
Soar Mill Cove is also situated on the beautiful SW Coast path. It is quite a trek down to the Cove from the hotel so we didn’t do it this time. We highly recommend it though. There are plenty of maps and details about local walks in your room.
If you are going on a day trip, you are also able to order picnics in advance. Starting at £15 per person , we couldn’t really justify the expense – but great if you want to push the boat out (possibly, literally!) for a special occasion.
For more details of what is local then take a look at the Soar Mill Cove website.
Regular Visitors at Soar Mill Cove
During our last stay I spoke to a man who was a regular. This time around I did the same with another by the name of John. He and his extended family all arrange regularly to meet up at the Cove. Their last night was our first. We first spoke to him whilst we were having our cream tea in the lounge and he was full of praise for the property and staff. He and his family also sat next to us at dinner and all of them were clearly enjoying themselves. It is heartening to see that Soar Mill Cove is so loved by so many.
There is such a sense of ‘family’ when you walk through the door at Soar Mill Cove. They clearly have longevity with their staff which, to me, is always a good sign. It says something when the pot-washer has worked his way up to hotel manager.
The staff are all friendly and welcoming and make sure you feel comfortable. The location is clean and tidy and you never feel that the children should be seen and not heard.
It isn’t easy to balance luxury with family when it comes to hotel stays – but I am pleased to say that I believe Soar Mill Cove have got it just right.
Soar Mill Cove still have rooms available during the summer holidays. For more details, please visit the Soar Mill Cove Hotel website. Soar Mill Cove Hotel are also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
We were provided with a two-night stay at Soar Mill Cove Hotel in Devon in return for this review. Please note that all words, images and opinions have been formed by the owner of this blog and have not been influenced in any way. Please do not reproduce any of the content or images on this post without prior agreement from Verily Victoria Vocalises.