A UK heatwave screams "trip to the seaside", and what better place to take your bucket and spade than the breathtaking sands of South Devon's Salcombe. Set just a stone's throw away from South Sands beach is the new Harbour Beach Club hotel - not to be mistaken for its nearby big sister, the Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa. Backed by verdant valleys and craggy cliffs, it promises a genuinely slow and secluded escape. Outside, the sleek, three-storey glass and cedar facade appears somewhat intrusive to its tranquil surroundings, but step inside and you will enter into a canvas space detailed with art deco design.
Upon arrival (or you can choose to be chauffeured from the station), you'll be welcomed by a cheerful team, who can give the lowdown on boat trips to town and the must-try fudge flavours. The next bit, we imagine, will look like gawking at design details, or slapping on the factor 50.
We've said it before and we'll say it again - sea air is the secret to sleeping like a baby. Forget your lavender spray and white-noise playlist, Harbour Beach Club's 50 rooms and suites just entered the chat. Minimalist and airy, each room has a playful touch with flourishes of mustard, chocolate and olive coloured detail. We love the elevated super-king beds; partly for the obligatory summersault it entices, but largely for the half-moon wicker headboards, plush cushions and ready-to-snuggle wool throws. It's the details, however, that truly create that home-from-home vibe - a collection of books centred around sea themes and a sofa big enough to comfortably fit a family of five. Fashionistas will appreciate the built-in wardrobe space and art-lovers can admire the quirky abstract prints. Bathrooms are made complete with Italian terrazzo tiling, matte-black taps and refillable Bramley toiletries.
What's for breakfast?
Is it an unwritten rule to make breakfast a five-course meal when you're staying in a hotel as dazzling as this one? Find a banquet-style table spilling with flaky pastries, fresh fruit, oats and jugs of juice. After piling your plate taller than a skyscraper (and juggling back to your table without dropping half the contents), order the poached eggs and smashed avocado on sourdough - some might call it basic, others know it gets the job done. An impressive list of herbal teas are on hand to kickstart the digestive system.
How about lunch and dinner?
Some hotels have multiple restaurants, many offer a different dining space for each meal of the day, but not at Harbour Beach Club. One restaurant, framed by floor-to-ceiling windows and wrapped by sea views, hits the spot. Decorated with herringbone flooring, rattan chairs, woven lights and terracotta-washed walls, feasting feels intimate and exclusive. Outside, a terrace peppered with parasols promises to add a dose of vitamin D to your order.
As tempting as it might seem to order the entire lunch menu, hold off - you'll be grateful for the extra space at dinner. Arrive anytime between 12pm - 3pm, for a Devon crab sandwich, which, in our opinion, is best enjoyed with a side of halloumi fries drizzled in a tomato pesto. If you're trying to behave yourself, there's a crispy summer salad on standby.
Dinner tastes like tiger prawns, peppery squid, burrata mozzarella and a platter of mussels - and that's only half the starter menu. While you'd be hard pressed to find a bad seat, we recommend making a reservation to avoid missing out on the seafood linguine - it's known that half of Salcombe pops in for a plate.
Is there a bar?
Yes, you'll find the small and stylish set-up just behind the reception area for a post-beach beverage or a pre-dinner tipple. Our order? The pineapple daiquiri.
There's not much this place doesn't offer - hold your breath. Start your stay with a trip to the state-of-the-art spa, with a suntrap terrace, sauna, steam room, extra-large indoor pool and a Jacuzzi housed in its own room. Treats include the spa's signature marine massage, and a glass of fresh lemon water from one of the poolside dispensers.
If you'd prefer to skip past pumping weights in the gym, there are plenty of restorative options to choose, including: sunrise yoga sessions on the beach, wild swimming, coastal hikes and wellness sessions. Don't miss: 3pm on the terrace, when a trolley of ice creams are carted out. When in Devon...
How about their green credentials?
Trophy-worthy. The beautifully presented restaurant and bar menu is packed with seasonal and locally sourced produce. Before you order, browse the classics to find a selection of dishes carrying the title "Room to Reward". This initiative donates 50p from every purchase to Room to Reward, a charity that gives dedicated volunteers the chance to enjoy a getaway in an unsold hotel room.
What about accessibility?
There are three sea-facing rooms that have been designed to cater for those with mobility issues. The location, as breathtaking as it is, isn't ideal for whizzing around - narrow lanes included. Head to the front desk and the team will sort transfers or, alternatively, organise complimentary ferry-ride tickets into town. But be warned: should you wish to head out for the evening, 10pm is your final return call for transfers, otherwise you'll face a hilly hike back to base.
What's the crowd like?
Put it this way: you'll want to whip out your best garms while staying here. Expect to brush shoulders with an effortlessly elegant crowd - the sunnies and bouncy blow-dry for breakfast sort. The hotel welcomes all ages and has interconnecting rooms available, but with such a remote setting, we suggest it is best enjoyed as a long weekend with your main squeeze.
Things I should know
Gin lovers will delight at the complimentary decanter of Salcombe Gin. As the sun begins to set, an ice bucket and sliced grapefruit will arrive at your door. You'll find us on our private terrace, glass in hand, drinking in sweeping views across the bay.
Within a short walk I can find…
Bo's Beach Cafe. Situated directly opposite the hotel, this unassuming den is spot-on for top-notch grub and good vibes. A favourite among sunset-seekers, thanks to its wooden slipway overlooking the gin-clear waters. Head over for 7pm when speakers are blasting singalong classics and cool kids are scoffing wood-fired pizzas. Insider tip: water babies should slip next door to Sea Kayak Salcombe, where paddleboards are available to hire.
Rooms cost from £184 per night. Discover more at harbourhotels.co.uk.