Often overlooked by residents of Devon, the coast just above…
Grandly situated on the seafront and aptly named, The Grand Hotel has real soul and character and is a magnificent jewel from a bygone era.
In my humble opinion Torquay is something of a Georgian and Victorian gem, beautiful architecture, elegant parks, impressive public edifices, exotic tree planting, our predecessors certainly had an appreciation of the finer aspects of life and had the capability and resources to implement their grand schemes. Of course the arrival of long-distance train travel fuelled the development of Torquay and The Grand Hotel was part of Great Western Railway’s vision to cater for visitors to Torquay. So it’s no accident that there’s a discrete little railway station a few hundred yards behind the hotel allowing travellers from London and further afield to hop on the train and then several hours later arrive at the hotel on the seafront with little fuss, what an absolute revolution this must have been for people used to travelling by coach and horse. The hotel has seen many famous visitors over the years, one of these being Agatha Christie, who spent her honeymoon at the hotel in 1914.
The hotel itself is an impressive structure distinguished by its twin towers and is ideally situated. Just to the left of the hotel (assuming you’re looking out to sea) is the beautiful and historic Torre Abbey (see overleaf) and on the other side of the hotel you can access the beautiful Cockington Village and the grounds of Cockington Court. Then of course, a walk along the promenade takes you into the quay itself which is a cheerful place to enjoy a coffee whilst people watching.
The room stayed in had direct views across the whole bay, was luxurious and the bed was extremely comfortable. There was also a fridge provided and a separate hall with wardrobes, so there was plenty of space to spread out and relax. The Grand has magnificent rooms and lots of space, also inside and outside swimming pools, a sauna and spa, so as a guest, everything is at your disposal.
There are several lounge areas and a centrally located bar in the brasserie with plenty of windows allowing you to enjoy the coastal views.
The dining experience was excellent in the Grand’s Restaurant 1881 – commemorating the year that the hotel was built. You get the proper fine-dining experience at the Grand and I can happily report that restaurant food was excellent, as was the table service which was both friendly and polite without being intrusive. The quality and selection of wines was superb, the Chablis and Côte du Rhône sampled being of fine quality.
The hotel is owned by the Richardson Hotel group who continue to invest much effort and funding into their establishments, the other in Torquay being the Grosvenor Hotel which we featured in our previous issue, having recently undergone a major transformation after being taken over by the group. The Grand’s a fine old Victorian hotel, we should celebrate the Victorian era, it was a time of great optimism and astounding engineering feats, The Grand Hotel embodies all this and is highly recommended – Editor.