From beach-fringed landscapes sculpted by the Atlantic, to historic homes nestled amid wild moors, Devon is a true testament to the natural beauty of the UK. Graced by crumbling hilltop castle remains and quaint villages, the county is renowned also for its rich cultural heritage, yet has evolved over time to become a paradise for hiking, surfing, cycling, swimming and barefoot beach roaming.
Devon’s charming hotels offer great contrast. Many of its traditional boutiques lie in the midst of nature and evoke the splendour of a bygone era, while many of its modern masterpieces nestle within the vibrant cityscapes of Exeter and Plymouth.
Wherever you choose to stay, you will encounter some of the UK’s friendliest hosts, who will bring a radiant glow of homeliness to your vacation. I’ve stayed in Devon quite a few times now I have handpicked my top cool and unusual hotels in the area (in no particular order)…
1. Harbour Beach Club, Hotel & Spa – a trendy, fun and very Instagrammable hotel that provides guests with stunning beachfront views
As I was welcomed through the cedar-fronted façade of Harbour Beach Club, I was immediately greeted with a huge slice of the South Sands waterfront, which was a great start to my Devon vacation.
On the doorstep of the hotel are craggy walks, while a short walk up the hill lands you at subtropical gardens, and a short ferry journey whisks you directly to Salcombe.
Textured rustic accessories are fused with Art Deco fittings to exude a cohesive and laid-back feel at this charming hotel, and the furniture in the two glass-walled restaurants extends the sense of luxury.
The more relaxed lounge area was my personal favourite hangout spot, which came with mustard-coloured velvet armchairs and a cool bar area.
- To book, check prices or availability for Harbour Beach Club, Hotel & Spa
2. Burgh Island Hotel – an iconic, fun and unique Art-Deco styled hotel set on its own private island in South Devon
Step back into the Art Deco heyday of the swinging Thirties at Burgh Island Hotel. This unique property, set on its own private rugged island, is accessible by foot on a low tide, or by a sea tractor at high tide.
Unparalleled luxury is exuded in the serene setting, which makes this hotel the perfect spot for a coastal wedding, or for once-in-a-lifetime parties. Once I arrived, the imposing white building and its vintage furniture truly took me to a bygone era, and its stunning tidal seawater pool offered moments of pure bliss.
I was welcomed with a champagne drink on arrival, and a high standard of service continued throughout my stay. The balconies of the guestroom come with blue and white striped deckchairs and offer jaw-dropping coastal views.
- To book, check prices or availability for Burgh Island Hotel
3. Kaywana Hall – a wow-inducing contemporary upscale bed and breakfast that offers a contemporary design and rooms
Situated opposite Dartmouth, this uber-contemporary B&B is a refreshing twist on the typical traditional accommodation in the region.
With its glass walls, curved lines, and glamorous glass-fronted poolside lounge, the hotel appears like it has been taken from Miami and placed elegantly within Devon’s bucolic scenery.
The hotel is centred around a heated swimming pool, where lazy poolside afternoons in summer are complimented by free snacks and drinks. My room, brightly coloured and modern, featured a private sun terrace, as well as state-of-the-art amenities and personal touches.
It had a giant mosaic of Julius Cesar in the shower and a curved glass wall inviting sublime treetop vistas.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kaywana Hall
4. Gara Rock – a cool, trendy and fun retreat complete with onsite films, yoga sessions and a funky design
This is, in my opinion, Devon’s coolest coastal hotel. Gara Rock, set on the bluff of a cliff, impresses with its rustic-chic interiors, cinema, sun terrace, and indoor and outdoor pools.
I enjoyed wild and windswept walks down the quiet sandy beaches, which gave me beautiful moments to recharge. Inside, the hand-loomed Rajasthani block-print armchairs, Indonesian rattan lampshades, and vivid velvet cushions ooze an eclectic panache, while the rooms blur the lines between vintage and industrial.
On-site, you can choose between two bars, both of which are stocked with high-end beverages. You can also enjoy films thrice daily, as well as yoga sessions and epic brunches on-site.
- To book, check prices or availability for Gara Rock
5. Broomhill Estate Boutique Art Hotel – a gorgeous quirky-chic and very creative boutique hotel surrounded by woodland and a beautiful sculpture garden
With quirky modern art displayed in every room, and a colourful collection extending into the graceful sculpture garden, this grand boutique hotel is brimming with beautiful personal touches.
A giant red stiletto and sweeping wooden staircase awaits in the entrance, and the hotel is set in 12 acres of woodland, with winding pathways heading down to the river.
I thought the award-winning on-site restaurant was incredible, offering a Moorish twist on its artisan-style cuisine in a super friendly atmosphere. Most of the guestrooms boast garden views, inviting you to relish the country charm amid comfy, traditional furniture.
- To book, check prices or availability for Broomhill Estate Boutique Art Hotel
6. Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa – a chic, modern and Insta-worthy waterfront hotel that overlooks the stunning Salcombe estuary
Set amongst sun-soaked beaches and sparkling seas, this design-led waterside hotel boasts a buzzy cocktail bar, a stunning rooftop terrace, a private cinema, and a fabulous seafood restaurant.
I loved waking up to a blissful serenade of swishing waves and seagulls’ calls on my balcony, and drawing the day to a close with a mojito on the communal decked terrace. All in all, this hotel is quintessential Devon at its best.
The pale décor with splashes of nautical flair, the huge marble fireplaces, and the Eucalyptus-scented spa’s stylish poolside cabanas gave me a real sense of luxury here, enhanced with the bespoke staff service.
- To book, check prices or availability for Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa
7. One Drake Road, Tavistock, Devon – a historic multi-award winning six-bedroom quirky boutique B&B that offers a drawing room and a cute courtyard garden
I thought this late 1700s home has done exceptionally well not just to stand the test of time, but to preserve its elegant Georgian Town House-style roots and still beam with glamour.
I stayed in the two-bedroom holiday apartment, where the property’s eclectic panache is ever present through the choice of furniture, artwork, and colour scheme. Here, the most panoramic views of the surrounding Dartmoor set a resplendent backdrop to the interiors.
The hotel is located just two minutes walk from the town hall square, and a short distance from a handful of traditional British pubs and restaurants.
- To book, check prices or availability for One Drake Road, Tavistock, Devon
8. Boringdon Hall Hotel and Spa – an enchanting hotel spa housed in a historic 16th-century manor house located in South Devon
This is an Elizabethan manor house situated close to Plymouth, which has an illustrious royal history. The property’s towering ornate ceilings and traditional beamed walls have housed a long list of prestigious guests, which include Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh.
The enormous stone fireplace of the hotel’s bar and lounge sets an opulent old-world style upon entrance, while the modern wing brims with chic sophistication and house a £5 million state-of-the-art spa – The largest in Devon.
I stayed in one of the rooms of the converted stables adjoining the main house, which was characterized by clean lines, soothing décor, and tech-forward amenities.
- To book, check prices or availability for Boringdon Hall Hotel and Spa
9. ANRÁN at Tidwell Farm – a quirky-chic and bright boutique bed & breakfast located in Newton Abbot
Set in its own verdant valley between Ashburton and Totnes, ANRÁN merges rustic farm features with luxurious touches, resulting in one of Devon’s coolest farm conversions, in my opinion.
The 6 converted barns, the latter of which are centred around gravel courtyard, exude old-world opulence and charm, and remind us of the property’s agricultural history.
The Manor House, an 8-bedroom Grade II Listed Building, is arguably the most graceful of all! I was largely impressed by the staff, who handed be a bespoke guidebook on arrival, and offered a constant helping hand whenever I had any questions.
The fresh breakfast delivered each morning came on a traditional wooden tulip tray, and utilized the produce nurtured on the farm.
- To book, check prices or availability for ANRÁN at Tidwell Farm
10. Bovey Castle – a unique upscale spa resort where set in a historic estate on Dartmoor National Park where guests can feel like a king
Catering to both outdoor enthusiasts and fine dining connoisseurs, Bovey Castle teems with high-end facilities, topped with a first-rate service.
Its dramatic location amid wooded hills on the western side of Dartmoor puts 368 square miles of wilderness on your doorstep. The stunning period features of the original baronial granite country house have been eloquently restored, including its sweeping mahogany staircases, large stone fireplaces, and mullion windows.
This old-world charm has been infiltrated with a generous dose of glamour in the form of plush fabrics, gorgeous shimmering wallpapers, and modern seating areas.
This traditional-meets-contemporary aesthetic is set in the backdrop of a beautiful tree-clad valley. Inside, you can make use of a heated swimming pool and whirlpool, and a silver-service restaurant.
- To book, check prices or availability for Bovey Castle
11. The Horn Of Plenty – a cosy, creative and charming boutique country house hotel and restaurant housed in a gorgeous Regency mansion in Tavistock
This beautiful country house offers glorious views over the treeline of the jaw-dropping Tamar Valley, and boasts both zesty modern rooms and more traditional ones.
This is the perfect spot for hikers (owing to the nearby trails), and also for foodies, with the farmers’ market and Country Cheeses shop in the nearby village. Inside, a unique blend of antique and modern furniture complements the quirky oil paintings and gilt mirrors, setting an elegant tone of old-meets-new.
The hotel has built its reputation on its food, with two AA Rosettes to attached to its restaurant. Here, you can indulge in a modern take on West Country classics, and relish a quaint rural atmosphere in the evenings.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Horn Of Plenty
12. Southernhay House Hotel – a beautiful intimate Georgian hotel that provides the perfect environment for a romantic break
With one of the city’s swankiest cocktail bars, Southernhay House Hotel is brimming with character, and offers a luxurious sanctuary in the centre of Exeter.
Built in 1805, this Grade II listed Georgian townhouse offers idyllic home comforts, and the décor reflects the property’s historic roots. The original fireplaces, shutters, and sash windows remain, while gorgeous upholstered chairs and bespoke furniture have been expertly infiltrated into the interior aesthetic.
There’s plenty of space to kick back and relax in the bar, where soothing ambient lights emphasize the quirky, historic artwork and provide a soul-soothing tone for a memorable evening.
- To book, check prices or availability for Southernhay House Hotel
13. Ginger Peanut – a cosy, quaint and charming boutique townhouse set in a beautiful location in Bampton
Bringing you to the heart of rural Devon in the historic town of Bampton, this Grade II listed building is surrounded by epic clay shooting, cycling, and sailing opportunities.
It is a modern take on a Georgian coaching inn, with an uncluttered palette of rich dark blues and contrasting orange accents which embellish the traditional décor.
I thought the restaurant was a charming space, where a focus on texture sets a soothing tone for an opulent dining experience after a day exploring the countryside.
Here, you can also savour an afternoon tea or a tipple of your choice. I also loved the complimentary snacks in my room, which was a nice touch after such a long drive!
- To book, check prices or availability for Ginger Peanut
14. Saunton Sands Hotel Source Spa and Wellness – the perfect modern hotel seafront spa hotel in Saunton Sands
Sitting atop a cliff overlooking a huge expanse of beach, this iconic Art Deco hotel is the perfect spot for hikers, modern jetsetters, and sunset chasers.
Built in the 1930s, a handful of refurbished elements have added a new lease of life to this heritage property. These include a brand-new spa, luxuriously preserved chandeliers, and bright geometric carpets.
I spent both of my evenings in the casual terrace lounge soaking up the graceful coastal charm, but other popular spots include the formal restaurant, the Beachside Grill, and the quaint souvenir shop.
For spa lovers, this hotel will exceed all your expectations with a salt steam room, an ice fountain, a Finnish aroma sauna, and a whirlpool tub. This is alongside a fitness centre and a tennis court just outside!
- To book, check prices or availability for Saunton Sands Hotel Source Spa and Wellness
15. The Cimon – a cute, cool and trendy 19th-century Victorian guesthouse set in a gorgeous Victorian Villa
With a rich history dating back to the 1860s, this gorgeous Victorian Villa sits in its own secluded grounds, and maintains many of its original period features which add an air of elegance to the heart of Torquay.
The award-winning Cimon is the ultimate spot for a family holiday, a romantic couples’ retreat, or a relaxing business stay. My room invited in the beauty of nature through large windows, and came equipped with trendsetting tech-forward amenities and plush bedding.
Guests can hang out in the foyer seating area or the resident’s bar in the ground floor lounge, both of which ooze an intimate blend of tradition and modernity, topped with a vibrant atmosphere.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Cimon
16. St Edmunds Guest House – an ultra-creative boutique design property that offers a distinctive and unique stay
Beautifully redecorated during Lockdown, the original 1970’s décor of St Edmunds Guest House has been harmonized with stylish and character-filled elements, creating a true homely feel.
The family hosts gave me a detailed introduction into Devon’s storied past, and definitely made me feel more like a guest than a customer. Each room has its own parking space, and a good public transport network runs between Paignton, Torquay, Brixham, Newton Abbot and Totnes.
Each guestroom comes with complimentary snacks and beverages, as well as high-end tech-forward amenities and luxury toiletries packs. Surrounding the hotel is a wide array of bars, restaurants, and cafés, while Paignton Pier and Harbour lie within a few minutes stroll.
- To book, check prices or availability for St Edmunds Guest House
17. Villa Marina – a colourful, kitsch, and elegant boutique hotel which enjoys Insta-worthy sea views of Torbay
Boasting stunning sea views across Paignton Seafront, this eclectic Bed & Breakfast sits idyllically in the heart of Torbay on the English Riviera.
As a recipient of the Visit England Gold Award and Green Leaders Award, this beautiful detached Victorian Villa is graced by a majestic garden girdled by greenery, as well as a charming decking area which is a beautiful spot for summer nights.
I thought a standout feature here was the breakfast, which combined local, organic, and fair-trade produce to craft delicious traditional breakfasts. Each room comes equipped with contemporary décor, as well as a smart TV with Netflix and coffee and tea-making facilities.
- To book, check prices or availability for Villa Marina
18. The Bath Hotel – a chic and unique boutique hotel located on the harbourside in Lynmouth
Overlooking the harbour in the picturesque village of Lynemouth, this quirky family-run hotel offers 20 quintessentially eclectic en-suite rooms with sea views.
The hotel has been in the same family since 1951, and there is a story to tell in each of its communal spaces. Each unit features ambient hanging lights and plush beddings with luxury headboards and accompanies state-of-the-art bathrooms with walk-in rainfall showers.
The award-winning Ancient Mariner is a charming dining spot with a comprehensive selection of locally inspired dishes in a quaint setting. The rest of the hotel is dressed in a wood-clad aesthetic that oozes opulence and splendour while nodding to the property’s historic origins.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Bath Hotel
19. Teign View at Grand Banks – a chic and modern self-catering apartment where guests can enjoy breathtaking sea views
With its elegant white-washed aesthetic, Teign View overlooks the estuary and the rolling hills of Shaldon. This 2-bedroom penthouse sits on the 4th floor, and boasts an open plan lounge, a fully stocked kitchen, and a stunning glass wall opening onto a balcony affording exquisite coastal panoramas.
The apartment blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor, as the beautiful blue sofas blend iridescently with the azure of the sea. Teignmouth’s popular Back Beach lies only a 5-minute walk away, with its many bustling bars and pubs.
Close to the hotel, you can also hop on a small passenger ferry to the quaint and picturesque streets of Shaldon – an excursion which can be arranged on-site.
- To book, check prices or availability for Teign View at Grand Banks
20. Glazebrook House Hotel – a gorgeous quirky chic gem of a boutique hotel located with well-maintained gardens located in South Brent
Glazebrook House is the perfect place to return to after exploring the wilds of Dartmoor. I would personally recommend the circular woodland walk around the hotel!
This elegant Georgian house has been renovated in a boutique style, and its 9 guestrooms are all named after Lewis Carroll characters, and are adorned with vintage pieces and retro curios, displaying a playful sense of British revivalist. My room afforded exceptional views across the verdant British countryside.
A charming hangout space is the house’s cosy bar, which complements its roaring fireplace with an impressive wine and cocktail list. An inventive and hearty menu is served in the on-site restaurant, featuring all the British classics.
- To book, check prices or availability for Glazebrook House Hotel
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My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my rescued Greek street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Laos, California and the surreally beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.