Members of the Devon Hotels and Restaurants Association are putting their money where their mouth is and making significant investment into new and luxury facilities. The outlay comes from strong visitor numbers and occupancy during 2015 with hoteliers and restaurateurs reporting a positive outlook for the year ahead.
Derek Phillips Honorary Secretary of the Association said: ‘The modern Devon visitor is looking for far more than a delicious cream tea and sunny day on the beach or refreshing walk on the moors. The expectation is higher and hoteliers are upping their game to maintain a competitive edge with new facilities and the ultimate in luxury. We are also starting to see the benefits of the new South Devon Link Road which is really ‘opening up’ a huge geographical area and making many of our member hotels and restaurants easier to access.’
Member, Cary Arms in Babbacombe has recently spent £2 million on improvement and expansion projects including the construction of six duplex beach huts and two beach suites which boast uninterrupted sea views and sit adjacent to the hotel. Ian Solkin, Managing Director of Cary Arms said: ‘Our investment plans have reached the final stage and have been highly successful. We are particularly proud of our new beach huts. They reflect the romantic hideaway feel of Cary Arms with luxurious features and a brand new spa with a plunge pool, mini-gym, steam room, massage shower and relaxation and sun deck areas with wonderful views out to sea.’
The Highbullen Hotel Golf & Country Club in North Devon are building 58 new holiday homes and a further sixteen new suites are planned to be built adjacent to the Manor House. The project is part of on-going investment plans, which have seen the creation of The Palazzo, an award winning business and event venue accommodating up to 400 guests and a new luxury spa development scheduled for the end of 2016. Ronnie Orr, Resort Director said: ‘Many of our visitors come to us to enjoy our extensive leisure and golf facilities and beautiful grounds. We are maximising on this with the introduction of new luxurious holiday lodges which will give our guests a taste of the countryside without compromising on the luxurious standards that they expected. We look forward to delivering those expectations to more guests in 2017 and supporting our local community with more job opportunities.’
The Deer Park Country House Hotel near Honiton celebrated the fantastic reception of its brand new tree house last year and is currently building a Georgian inspired orangery. Mark Godfrey, Managing Director said: ‘Deer Park is becoming synonymous with wonderful Devon weddings and we are listening to our visitors and making our fantastic hotel even more welcoming, luxurious, characterful and fun! We were up 30% on wedding bookings for December and will be able maximise on nuptials with our Georgian orangery with room for 180 covers. It’s an exciting time at Deer Park!’
The Ilsington Country House Hotel near Haytor on Dartmoor has recently splashed out on a new, luxurious Tibetan influenced spa which boasts a heated indoor pool, hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna and a well-equipped fitness suite. Opened last year the new facilities have already secured the Ilsington a Gold at the 2015 Devon Tourism Awards in the category: Devon Spa and Wellbeing Experience of the Year.
City centre hotel, the Mercure Southgate has recently made a £1 million investment with a new restaurant and wet rooms. Part of wider expansion and improvement plans across the Mercure group, this Exeter hotel is gearing up for the continued increase in last minute bookings and making the most of the city’s booming business and leisure sectors.
As Mr Phillips concludes: ‘Devon is experiencing a real golden age at the moment with the tourism industry ‘making hay while the sun shines’. With the improvements reported by our members the Association is looking forward to another buoyant year which will continue to put our fantastic county firmly on the map for domestic and international visitors alike.