Watersmeet Hotel – Woolacombe

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This fabulous boutique hotel on the outskirts of Woolacombe in North Devon has recently been crowned Best Waterside Hotel 2024 by Condé Nast Johansen’s. As soon as you experience an overnight stay here, you’ll understand why.

Paula and I were lucky enough to check out this four-star hotel which enjoys one of the finest coastal locations in this part of England. From its commanding, elevated position above tiny Combesgate Beach – to which the hotel has direct access – you’re treated to breathtaking views out across Woolacombe Bay to the open Atlantic.

Most of the 28 guest rooms boast sea views, but for the very best vistas, head for the hotel’s outdoor terrace or the two AA Rosette-awarded Rocks Restaurant, where you’re treated to fine food – the menu contains primarily classical English dishes with some modern European influences thrown in for good measure – while admiring sublime ocean views.


In fact, whether you’re indulging in an afternoon tea on the lawn, taking a dip in the outside pool or just relaxing in one of the many lounges, the sense of the hotel’s setting alongside the ocean is invigorating.

Throughout the hotel, where staff are genuinely polite and helpful, one finds a seamless blend of contemporary and classic styles. The feel is fresh and airy with wood floors and subtle colours complementing the overall theme.

Bedrooms have been individually decorated and are clean and comfortable. For those visitors, like me, who enjoy dropping off to the sound of waves breaking on the rocks below, you’ll be more than satisfied. Just open the windows or, for anyone whose room has a private balcony, peg back the doors.

Being keen walkers, the hotel scored highly on that front, too. Many coastal walks are found right on the doorstep. We’d recommend following the route to Morte Point and strolling along the superb three-mile-long sandy beach to Baggy Point.

A little further away and you’ll reach Exmoor, among the UK’s smallest National Parks, while from nearby Ilfracombe and Bideford you can catch the MV Oldenburg, the passenger vessel serving the island of Lundy, which can be spotted on the horizon from the hotel.

I’m always interested in a hotel’s history so was pleased to find everything I wanted to know contained in a document in our room.

Built in 1907 for a local businessman, the Watersmeet was operating as a private hotel seven years later. After several extensions to the building, some 40 bedrooms were available by the end of the 1930s.

During the Second World War, the hotel was requisitioned and a girls’ school from Kent was evacuated for the duration. After the cessation of hostilities, the building returned to its former status as a hotel and remained relatively unchanged until the 1980s.

Later, the number of bedrooms was reduced to 24 in order to provide more spacious, contemporary ensuite guest rooms. Then, in 1996, the ballroom was converted into an indoor swimming pool. By then, the outdoor pool was already in existence.

In 2003, Mrs James bought the hotel – which has two car parks – and has continued to improve the hotel, such as refurbishing all guest rooms and adding two new ground floor rooms. Meanwhile, the leisure facilities have been upgraded to include a hot tub and steam room.

We enjoyed our one-night stay so much, we didn’t want to leave – always a good sign! The Watersmeet is one of those hotels which, once visited, becomes a firm favourite you’ll want to return to, time and time again. While there are numerous selling points, it’s the cliff-top location which sets the hotel apart in our view.

Here at Travellowdown, we highly recommend the Watersmeet Hotel.

More information:

Watersmeet Hotel


Devon EX34 7EB

T: 01271 870333



Visited: April 2024

By | 2024-05-10T09:50:27+01:00 May 10th, 2024|Hotels/B&Bs, Latest Reviews, Places To Eat|0 Comments

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