IT DESCRIBES itself as one of Devon’s best kept secrets and Soar Mill Cove hotel, in South Hams, certainly lives up to its description.

Hidden away in the beautiful countryside, a drive up a single winding country road gradually brings you to what is guaranteed to be a peaceful and relaxing stay.

The story behind the hotel, which is run by the friendly and aptly-named Makepeace family, started when the original Mrs Makepeace, a trained pastry chef, saw an advert in a catering magazine and so along with her husband simply ran away to the sea.

They discovered the scenic spot where the family-friendly hotel stands and fell in love. And the love for the place now continues three generations on.

With a spa, lounge and restaurant at the hotel as well as the beach and the countryside on your doorstep, Soar Mill Cove provides a holiday with plenty to do and plenty to enjoy but also a holiday where you know you will leave feeling rested and relaxed.

The hotel boasts luxury suites with beautiful views to ensure your stay is of high quality and comfort while family suites are also available if you’re planning a getaway which involves the youngsters. There are also self-catering options available.

The hotel’s Devon restaurant, which has two rosettes and is led by head chef Ian MacDonald, provides a range of tasty meals to try out. With the menu changing each day, there is always plenty of variety in the dishes served which use local and seasonal produce.

Dishes enjoyed by me and my guest during our stay included starters of Start Bay hand-dived scallops with sauté leeks and a melting crab thermidor gratinee, warm smoked haddock fishcake with baby spinach and homemade tartare sauce and smooth duck liver parfait with red onion chutney and toasted brioche.

The mains brought us slow cooked belly and cheek of pork with caramelised apples, hogs pudding croquet and cider sauce, line caught fillet of sea bass served over Sour Bay chowder, a liason of crustaceans finished with a dash of cream and balontine of organic chicken with Scottish girolles, parsnip puree and madeira jus.

The dishes were as good as they sound and it was therefore only right to give the desserts a go too with the likes of lemon and lime posset with raspberries and home-made shortbread as well as the hotel’s famous strawberry and raspberry pavlova which was first created by the original Mrs Makepeace, a trained pastry chef, for Audrey Hepburn. It is reported that Audrey Hepburn described the dish as “divine” and even asked for the recipe.

The restaurant also serves breakfast in the morning which ranges from cereals to a full cooked breakfast while a coffee shop is also on hand for lighter bites and a bar for a quiet drink.

Each guest is also served a complimentary cream tea during their stay which can be enjoyed in the hotel’s lounge where guests are welcome to sit and chat, read the papers or just simply enjoy the views on offer.

You can also enjoy a game of lawn tennis, table tennis or snooker during your stay while the local area provides three golf courses, sailing opportunities for all abilities, clay pigeon shooting and outdoor adventure courses.

And if that’s not enough, the hotel also provides an indoor swimming pool, gym and sauna and you can even book yourself in for a spa treatment to really make the most of your relaxing break.

And it’s not just the adults who will have all the fun, there’s plenty on offer for the little ones too including children’s activities, a play area and a special high tea. Dogs are also welcome at the hotel.

Away from Soar Mill Cove, there’s plenty on offer from a walk in the nearby countryside or beaches which surround the hotel to a drive down to the nearby towns which includes Salcombe.

This again is the type of place to go to enjoy a relaxing wander around the small shops, to stop off at a coffee shop or to walk along the waterfronts. If watersports is your thing, there is also the option of a surf.The hotel also recommends a number of other activities you can enjoy during your stay including Salcombe Museum, Dartmouth Caste, River Link Cruises from Dartmouth to Totnes, Pennywell Farm and Wildlife Centre, Dartington Hall and Gardens and South Devon Cruises Boat Charters.

Beach-wise there is a range to choose from including three which have a Blue Flag award. These are Bigbury On Sea, Blackpool Sands and Challaborough. The hotel also provides suggestions of routes for those who are wanting to take a walk in the picturesque countryside which is on the hotel’s doorstep.

With plenty to keep you entertained but also plenty to help you relax, Soar Mill Cove hotel is a perfect spot for those wanting a quiet getaway. It might call itself Devon’s best kept secret but it’s one which you will certainly be glad to discover.

For a full range of prices or for more information on the hotel visit For bookings, contact 01548 561566 or e-mail