The Good Family Hotel Guide 4. Thurlestone Hotel, Devon

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Mood

A large white wedding cake on a green South Hams hillside, set in rolling acres with views sweeping down to Thurlestone Sands. Thurlestone has specialised in that newfangled concept, "child friendliness", for over a century. It remains a family hotel, but expects parents and children to treat it like the traditional four-star establishment it is, and not a theme park.

Accommodation

Rooms are all elegance and pampering, fluffy bathrobes and baskets of lotions. The best thing, however, are the south-facing views, especially from rooms with balconies.

Beach

Thurlestone Sands is a beach to banish the traditional image of the English seaside - an expanse the size of an athletics stadium, sheltered by cliffs with a giant natural arch of rock reminiscent of the Algarve.

Activities

The hotel has its own nine-hole, 3 par golf course, plus tennis, squash, indoor badminton, snooker, jacuzzi, sauna, swimming - indoor and outdoor pools - and a fully equipped torture chamber (aka gym and fitness centre). Also available locally are sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, mountain biking and walking along the south-west peninsula coast path.

There is a supervised children's play room and, at certain times during holidays and weekends, entertainments such as treasure hunts, magicians, clowns, cartoons and quizzes.

Refuelling

The restaurant's slightly fusty atmosphere dissipates in puffs of crab mousse and other delicacies served with arty flourishes. Young children are expected to have had supper earlier; there is a good, fairly healthy kid's menu.

The next door Village Inn (called just that) belongs to the hotel, does traditional grub and is a good lunch option.

Sample price

Basic price varies between pounds 126 and pounds 178 per night B&B for a double, depending on season. Children under 12 sharing pay pounds 22 including breakfast and supper, under 2s free. There are various other deals for weekends and longer stays.

Thurlestone Hotel, Thurlestone, near Kingsbridge, South Devon, TQ7 3NN Tel: 01548 560382, Fax: 01548 561069, email: enquiries@thurlestone.co.uk

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