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The Imperial, Torquay, Devon
Escape to the English Riviera and soak up all the charm of its Victorian heyday. Established in 1866, The Imperial sits on the cliff tops on the edge of Torquay, boasting stunning sea views, just a stone's throw from many of south Devon's tourist attractions. Soak up faded grandeur in one of the town's most iconic hotels where heritage remains at the heart. It's a great base to explore the surrounding coastline, suited to those looking for a little old-school charm of a bygone world. Distinctly decadent with its marble floors and huge chandeliers, the hotel exudes a traditional elegance - expect large comfortable bedrooms, formal dining and plenty of amenities including a health club, fitness suite, tennis court and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
It was great to walk the Agatha Christie mile, stretching along the town's seafront to Meadfoot Beach, a sheltered bay at the bottom of imposing clifftops.
The beaches are right on your doorstep, but it's only a 15-minute walk into Torquay, where you'll find plenty of shops and restaurants.
By car: around 4 hours 30 minutes from London, 2 hours from Bristol and 5 hours from Manchester. Parking costs £7 per night.
By train: trains from London Paddington and Birmingham New Street to Torquay takes around 3 hours. The hotel is a 5-minute taxi ride away. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
This hotel is suited to mature guests, as well as those looking for a little old-school glamour and families after a traditional seaside escape. The immaculate formal gardens won us over with their manicured lawns, palm-fringed boarders and 360-degree sea views.
Service & Facilities
Swimming in the heated outdoor pool overlooking the ruby-red cliffs of the English Riviera is an unexpected treat. Dogs are welcome to stay in a selection of garden-level rooms, where a bowl and bed will be provided.
- Swimming pool
- Fitness centre
- Tennis courts
- Free Wi-Fi
The Deluxe (dog-friendly) room stole the show with its direct access to the clifftop gardens and spectacular views across the bay. It was joyful to wake to the views beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking large palms set against a backdrop of sea and sky.
Standard Room, Deluxe Room, Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, dressing table/desk, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
What's not to love about a traditional Devon cream tea, served with a glass of champagne to a backdrop of blues?! Caught straight from the Brixham day-boats, the seared filled of local hake, served with pea and basil velouté, chorizo and samphire, offers an authentic taste of the bay.
The Restaurant: main dining room, sea views. Modern British cuisine, locally sourced ingredients. Open daily for breakfast and dinner.
Palm Court Lounge & Bar: coastal-themed bar, comfy chairs. Serving light bites alongside drinks. Open daily, 10am-9pm.