Belgrave Sands Hotel & Spa

“My dad already owned a small chain of hotels in the area when we bought this place and spent a year doing it up,” explains Kim Furness, General Manager at Belgrave Sands Hotel & Spa in Torquay. “Our dream was to create a four-star hotel: an elegant coastal retreat where guests could come to relax and unwind.”

Despite having little experience of the luxury market, this father and daughter duo were awarded a prestigious four-star AA rating just months after opening Belgrave Sands Hotel & Spa in 2016. They were also ranked Torbay’s highest-rated hotel.

“It’s a lovely location,” says Kim. “The beach is only a couple of minutes’ walk from our doorstep, we have ample parking, while Torquay town centre and marina are just a 10-minute stroll along the seafront.” Downstairs from the comfortable, modern bedrooms – many of which have sweeping sea views – guests can enjoy an impressive variety of lunch, light bites, afternoon teas and drinks in the elegant hotel lounge.

“We’re especially proud of our speciality afternoon tea which changes theme throughout the year, from Summer Picnic to Winter Wonderland,” says Kim. “At the moment it’s inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – you receive a golden ticket when you book, then it’s full of original treats like mini chocolate milkshakes, lemon drizzle lollipop cake and a golden chocolate egg filled with delicious coulis.”

Dinner at Seasons Restaurant is an extravagant six-course affair, featuring locally sourced quality ingredients, such as seafood from Brixham. The restaurant has earned a rosette for its cuisine, and Kim is hoping for a second on its next inspection. Dining is leisurely, too, accompanied by a pianist and followed by an evening’s entertainment.

“Each of our guests wants something very different from their stay,” explains Kim. “Some enjoy long coastal walks; others like to go shopping; others relax in the spa with a Decléor facial. But everyone loves our dinners. It’s the quality of the food – the personalized service, the whole experience – which makes them so special.”

Even so, Kim is determined to build on this success. “We’re constantly striving for perfection,” she smiles. “That’s our ethos – always trying to improve, to make the customer experience even better.”