With staycations ever more appealing, we are rediscovering the glories of our island coastlines
Here, the editors of The Good Hotel Guide choose ten of their favourite seaside hotels, north, south, east and west, each with a very distinct personality.
The Nare, Veryan-in-Roseland, Cornwall
They will send a car to chauffeur you to Toby Ashworth’s family-friendly, dog-friendly hotel on the Roseland Peninsula, in sub-tropical gardens right above Carne Beach. It has been family run for 30 years and embodies traditional values. There are bedrooms and suites for singles, couples, families, some looking onto countryside, some with views across Gerrans Bay, with a terrace or balcony. The sumptuous new sea-view Whittington Suites are veritable apartments. Small children are served high tea in the relaxed Quarter Deck restaurant, with silver service and tableside flame-grills for adults in the dining room. The service, care and attention are unstinting.
B&B doubles from £328, singles from £174. Fixed-price dinner £50, tasting menu £60, à la carte £50. 01872 501111, narehotel.co.uk
Artist Residence, Brighton, Sussex
Capturing the spirit of bohemian Brighton, this art hotel on a seafront square took shape in 2008 when Justin Salisbury, aged 21, invited artists to move in to decorate and staff his mother’s B&B. The look, back then, was more student crash pad than chic, but these days the rooms are the perfect mix of boutique style and quirky detail, with antique, reclaimed and upcycled furniture, maybe a bare brick wall, a free-standing copper bath, a wrought-iron sea-view balcony. Coffee and cocktails are served all day in the bar and café. There are now three – soon to be four – Artist Residences (check out, also, Penzance).
Doubles from £129. Cooked breakfast from £7.50, full English/vegetarian/vegan £11, brunch (Sat, Sun) £20. 01273 324302, artistresidence.co.uk/brighton
The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk
Big skies reflect in a luminous tidal salt-marsh landscape, with views to the sea from this family-run hotel on North Norfolk’s unspoilt coast. As well as the main-house bedrooms, decorated in a coastal palette of pale blue, teal, lavender and white, there are eight dog-friendly garden rooms, each with a private terrace, in an extension with a grass sedum roof, designed to blend into the surroundings. Dine in the light-filled conservatory restaurant, with your dog in the bar or alfresco from the new seafood bar; the world is your oyster.
B&B doubles from £140, singles from £105. À la carte £38. 01485 210262, whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk
St Aidan Hotel and Bistro, Seahouses, Northumberland
There are views to mighty Bamburgh Castle from this small, modern, unpretentious B&B and bistro on the wild and wonderful Northumberland coast. The bedrooms – some quite small – are unfussy, painted and carpeted in soft shades of surf, sea and sand, with works by local artists, and binoculars. Two sea-facing ground-floor annexe rooms have outdoor seating. The friendly owners and staff can advise on walks and day trips. The bistro opens on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, serving a short menu of such dishes as roasted hake fillet with butter bean, tomato and chorizo cassoulet. You can take a boat trip from the nearby harbour to see the seal and bird colonies of the Farne Islands.
B&B doubles from £115. À la carte £35. 01665 720355, staidanhotel.co.uk
Cary Arms, Babbacombe, Devon
When Queen Victoria sailed off Babbacombe Bay, sketching tree-clad red cliffs she was reminded of Italy, and for la dolce vita you need look no further than this hotel above the beach, centring on a whitewashed stone inn, spilling over into converted fishermen’s cottages and purpose-built beach huts. Super-luxury huts have a bed on a mezzanine, a waterfall shower, a decking area, complimentary wine and sloe gin on arrival, snacks and soft drinks, a mini fridge and espresso machine. In the inn, superior pub fare includes such dishes as Brixham scallops, Lyme Bay lobster, West Country steaks.
B&B doubles from £125, beach huts from £255, singles from £100. À la carte £40, vegetarian/vegan £28. 01803 327110 , caryarms.co.uk
Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron, Ceredigion
In a planned Georgian town of brightly painted houses, this cornflower-blue waterside hotel is a social hub rooted in the community. Bedrooms in the main house or adjoining converted warehouse have a harbour or town view. Warehouse suite Aberaeron Queen has a wall of windows, glass doors to a Juliet balcony, comfy chairs, a zinc rolltop bath. All rooms have Welsh blankets and smart toiletries. You can dine on Carlingford Bay crab, Welsh rib of beef or homemade burger, have drinks on the harbour wall as the sun sets over Cardigan Bay.
B&B doubles from £145, singles from £95. À la carte dinner £38. 01545 570755. harbour-master.com
The Seaside Boarding House, Burton Bradstock, Dorset
Jurassic coast meets Cape Cod at this clapboard hotel above Chesil Beach, with sea-facing bar, restaurant and terrace. Inside, the look is all stripped-back style, with nautical paintings, marine salvage and antique-shop finds. Some bedrooms have a direct sea view, others a more oblique one; all are within sound of the waves. Menus are short on choice but long on appeal, with such dishes as whole Dover sole, orange and almond brown butter, rack of lamb, a vegan option. A cream tea alfresco is very heaven.
B&B doubles from £220, singles from £200. À la carte £40. 01308 897205, theseasideboardinghouse.com
The Ship Inn, Elie, Fife
You can eat great fish and chips and seafood as you listen to the soughing of the surf and the unlikely thwack of leather on willow at this white-and-blue-painted pub on the Firth of Forth, with its own beach cricket team. Bedrooms have a bright and breeze maritime feel. The top floor Admiral room has lovely bay views, a bathroom with walk-in shower and roll-top bath. Captain rooms also have a sea view; Sea Dog rooms are street-facing. The bar and restaurant are both dog friendly.
B&B doubles from £120. À la carte £35, 01333 330246, shipinn.scot
The Pierhouse, Port Appin, Argyll and Bute
Enjoy spectacular views across Loch Linnhe to Lismore and Mull from the seafood restaurant at this idyllically situated hotel, while enjoying a shellfish platter or fresh lobster from the creels at the end of the pier. Public rooms are hung with the owner’s art collection. The superior loch-facing bedrooms have a lounge area. Cheaper cliff-facing rooms look out on a curtain of greenery. Arrive by boat if you wish: there are moorings for visiting yachts.
B&B doubles from £125. À la carte £45. 01631 730302, pierhousehotel.co.uk
The Old Coastguard, Mousehole, Cornwall
In the pretty hillside fishing village of ‘Mowzel’, with its sheltered harbour, this relaxed. Inclusive dining-pub-with-rooms, in palm-filled gardens, is a model of casual chic, with bare floorboards, blazing fires, comfy sofas, walls hung with works by local artists. Many of the bedrooms have a sea view and balcony. All have a Roberts radio, books, luxury toiletries, fresh coffee, no TV (by design). You can eat with your dog at your side in the bar or alfresco. Brasserie-style menus of local, sustainable produce include fish from the day boats.
B&B doubles from £157.50, singles from £115. Fixed-price dinner £27, à la carte £32. 01736 731222. oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk