A whitewashed inn on the English Riviera is a great place to escape with the family and take the four-legged members for dog walks
Dog walking: good for your health. Long weekends by the sea: good for your health. So when top pet retailer PetsPyjamas gave Peter de Savary’s boutique seaside hotel the Cary Arms its coveted ‘Best for Walkies 2016’ award, we loaded our hiking boots and an eager Jack Russell into the car and set off for Devon.
It’s easy to see why the shipping entrepreneur chose this as his seaside bolthole – it is a wonderful place to switch off. Sitting on Babbacombe Bay, on the ‘English Riviera’, this is an old-school British seaside stay combined with modern luxury.
The main 1880s building, the Inn, nestles into the cliffs and just this summer De Savary added a strip of four stunning beach huts all with floor-to-ceiling windows, beds looking out to sea and terraces with views stretching for miles.
Everything celebrates the spectacular view – tables outside are tiered and hammocks slung for fantastic sunsets – and there’s even a bell that is rung when the dolphins come to play.
It’s a magical spot, charming, romantic and relaxing (word is that it enchanted Queen Victoria sufficiently to row ashore from the royal yacht with Prince Albert on several occasions).
Rooms have a clean, airy New England feel and furnishings are luxurious – retro red leather sofas and bedheads, plump pillows with sticks of rock at turndown. We stayed in the one-bedroomed Shell Suite, which was adjacent to the Inn and had its own private terrace with loungers.
It’s not easy to leave such cosy luxury but we were here to clear city cobwebs and the Cary Arms is a fantastic base for long, replenishing dog walks – it was the Babbacombe to Oddicombe stretch of the 630-mile South West Coast Path that got the hotel its gong.
We hiked through forests and along cliffs, only stopping to watch the yachts glide in, two intrepid climbers scale a cliff and, of course, breathe in those views.
We returned happily tired and hungry to a glass of crisp pinot and fresh seafood in the cosy flagstone restaurant while our four-pawed family member was treated to the dog dish of the day… beef couscous and gravy. Oh, and those emails? They could wait till we got home.
We booked through PetsPyjamas. Current rates are from £375 a night including a special offer until 31 December of a spa voucher and dinner for your dog!
Cary Arms Gallery