Saturday, 28 September 2019

Saunton Sands, Devon

The ambience of this stylish Art Deco hotel with glorious far reaching views along the coast, and delicious food, provided us with a memorable stay.

Saunton Sands is as a surfing beach but beneath the waves is a reef containing a diversity of coral and marine life seen nowhere else in Britain.
There are 3½ miles of shoreline to explore, but a quick climb over these spiky Marram grass covered dunes takes us to a special biosphere area known as Braunton Burrows. This is the largest sand dune system in the UK which covers fifty-five square miles. 

It hosts an extraordinarily diverse plant community, with over 400 recorded species of vascular plants.
This in turn provides a great habitat for a large variety of associated invertebrate species. Its uniqueness and biodiversity is recognised in its designation as both a National Nature Reserve and as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Opened in 1933, this Art Deco hotel was built by Sir John Christie who also built and owned the Glyndebourne Opera House in East SussexSince the opening, it has operated continuously as a hotel, apart from a brief interlude during the Second World War, when it was requisitioned to house the Duke of York's Military School.
In the late 1920s a young local boy called Percy Brend watched the hotel being built together with Florence, his girlfriend, who eventually became his wife. Whilst they were courting he promised her that one day he would buy the hotel for her.
In 1977, almost 45 years later, Percy fulfilled that dream, and to this day, the hotel remains in their family's ownership.

45 comments:

  1. What a wonderful looking place. Echoes of Agatha Christie I feel. Beautiful images as always. Another place to add to my list. B x

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    1. We have never been here before or knew anything about it previously - it proved to be a great place for a visit. I would definitely return again.

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  2. I love Art Deco in any case, and was delighted to see Burgh Island Hotel in Devon:
    https://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com/2017/03/art-deco-hotel-in-devon-cocktails.html
    but your hotel, Saunton Sands Devon, looks to have a more attractive front.
    How far are they apart?

    Thanks for the link
    Hels

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    1. I love Art Deco architecture too and also artefacts from that period which I have collected. Burgh Island Hotel is a very special hotel situated in a lovely location. Saunton Sands sits on the northern coast of Devon whilst Burgh Island is on the south. As the crow flies they must be approximately 65 - 70 miles diagonally apart.

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  3. The white hotel looks almost Mediterranean with the blue sky! Very nice place and photo's.

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    1. It was a place that we really enjoyed visiting very much.

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    1. Never been here before, but will definitely return.

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  5. The indoor is filled with excellent "ART DECO". As I love rocks, I would like to visit the beach in your photo. Happy Sunday to you.

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    1. Thank you for visiting - do call back again.

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  6. WOW what a wonderful story! I love the art deco look. It looks almost Mediterranean. Now that's my idea of beach huts! Bright colours and a bit cobbled together. We've never been to Saunton Sands, though we've passed by when visiting Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Barnstaple. I love the two old photos. Best, Jane x

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    1. It is the first time that we have visited too - it is surprising just how many places you can still discover in this tiny country of ours.
      Yes, those old beach huts look as if they have stood there for a great many years and been patched up and repainted lots of times.

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  7. What a gorgeous place. I love that mirror and table in the second photo. Are the rooms furnishings in Art Deco too? Such a lovely beach to enjoy.

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    1. Yes, the whole place is done in the Art Deco style. Even the doormen were dressed appropriately.
      The good thing is that this is the only place to stay in the area so the beach and its surroundings remain completely unspoilt.

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  8. Me too...a big fan of Art Deco...and I loved your photos (as well as the 2 older sepia toned ones) which show so many beautiful details. I'd love a visit there too!

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    1. I had not anticipated that the hotel nor the surroundings would be as lovely as they were. An extra bonus was the food which was beautifully presented and tasted so delicious.

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  9. What a beautiful place to stay, Rosemary. I can just see Hercule Poirot shuffling through the corridors there. Very interesting terrain around the coast as well. Love the poolside photo. All in all a wonderful destination for a holiday break.

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    1. It was a great spot Betty and as you mention the hotel does tend to conjure up images of Agatha Christie's Inspector Poirot - Agatha herself lived in Devon, not too far away at her house Greenway on the River Dart, I wonder if she ever visited?

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  10. What a beautiful hotel and your edit of the first photograph is just perfect! Like others who have commented, I can envision Miss Marple sitting in a corner knitting and observing, and Poirot taking tea in there.

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    1. We hadn't really taken much notice of where we were going to stay it was just booked on the off chance of having a break and a few days away, but it was a great choice that we both really enjoyed.

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  11. Hello Rosemary, That Deco hotel is impressive enough, but those dunes! I wanted to grab my botanical manual and run right over. There are also some wonderful and little-known dunes along Lake Erie in Ohio.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - now that you mention grabbing your botanical manual I do recall that you are quite an expert on grasses. I seem to recall you mentioning that you were given a book on that very subject written and illustrated by a lady lecturer that you knew.
      I, therefore, think that you would certainly have enjoyed exploring these sand dunes very much.

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  12. What a wonderful place and I love those beach huts.

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    1. The beach huts were certainly colourful fun.

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  13. For some reason the hotel always looks to me like a huge cruise ship run aground. And from your pictures it looks to be quite a luxury cruise.

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    1. I think that is a really great analogy for this hotel John - however, for me it was better than a cruise ship, which I personally have never fancied. I, like you, enjoy getting out and exploring all of the surroundings.

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  14. Nice artistic set of photographs as well.

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  15. Dearest Rosemary,
    What a magnificent location in unique natural habitat.
    Rugged dunes but quite interesting.
    And it has a happy ending 'love story' to it about Percy who promised his Florence to one day buy the hotel for her...
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - this was a great place to stay, and the food at every meal was absolutely delicious.

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  16. Dear Rosemary - The whiteness of the hotel is bright and clear, almost dazzling reflecting the light. I like the stylish interiors, poolside view, the colorful beach huts standing in a row. The coastal grass-covered dunes sounds interesting.

    Yoko

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    1. Thanks Yoko - we thought that it was a great find, and will definitely return.

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  17. What a nice story. Love the shot of the swimming pool.

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    1. I understand that as a young man he was a butcher working in a shop in the nearby town. He worked really hard at his job, and eventually ended up owning about 8 top quality hotels in Devon.

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  18. A hotel that has it all ! Love the Art Deco features and the amazing landscape . Also love the fact that promises sometimes have a happy ending :-))

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    1. I have always liked Art Deco architecture and artefacts so really enjoyed it here.

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  19. This is one of our favourite haunts. When we wake up, say "Oh sod it, let's go to the beach." Lunch at the hotel and then the return walk up and down the beach to burn it off. I can see a detour over the dunes is on the cards for next time..

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    1. I am so delighted to learn that you know this place too Jessica - if ever the opportunity arises do try and stay one evening for dinner. The food is wonderful, and the views across the sea, as the sun goes down, are spectacular.

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  20. Don't recall ever going as a child - but would love to visit there if ever back in that area.
    Fabulous story (good old Percy!) and photos Rosemary x

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    1. The hotel is really fabulous Mary with wonderful food too. We had a great time in Somerset and Devon - off soon to Suffolk and Norfolk.

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