Sandy Cove Hotel

Old Coast Road, Combe Martin Bay, Berrynarbor, Ilfracombe, EX34 9SR, United Kingdom
Sandy Cove Hotel
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Very Good


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Good For Business
  • Families73
  • Couples62
  • Solo50
  • Business100

More about Sandy Cove Hotel

Wedding disappointments

by TripAdvisor Member M&M-1001-7

We booked the Sandy Cove Hotel back in July 2006 as the venue for our Wedding and Reception. At the time of booking we spoke to a manager who was very helpful, made us feel that this was the best place for our wedding and that the hotel could cater comfortably for all our needs (which were pretty basic). We only had a small wedding party and had booked the hotel for the wedding breakfast and also the evening reception (held within the dining room), as suggested at the time of booking as the wedding party was only small.

As our wedding is in September 2007 we thought all plans were fine and were looking forward to confirming arrangements for colours, room bookings etc.

On meeting with the hotel again, and with another member of staff, we sat down to discuss the finer details and go over the original arrangements.

1. They had NO idea that we required the ceremony to be held at the hotel - although all this was booked, written down by the very helpful gentleman we met and agreed back nearly a year ago.
2. They wanted us to now move to the marquee although we had arranged to have the main hotel at the time of booking and were even suggested this due to the party number.
3. We would have to arrange a DJ although we agreed to use the DJ in house.
4. And almost worst of all - Room Bookings! A hotel that doesn't want to book out rooms! As they have 'offers' on over the weekend of our wedding they were 'un-able now' to take bookings of less than 3 days (at obviously an increased cost) for this weekend. We were advised 9 rooms would be allocated and discounted to the wedding party - but NO more! We could have just 6, although 5 of those rooms had already been booked by some of our family. No negotiations were to be done on this we were promptly told. Not our fault that, as in her words "Weddings are not our main revenue" - why on earth do they do them then!!!!
5. On explaining that my father-in-law to be was making our wedding cake and would like to set this up before the ceremony, this seemed to pose a problem. We understood that maybe an early start with setting up the cake would prove difficult for them that we could pick a time a little later on the morning of the wedding so the my father in law could set up (without any assistance required) the cake.

I have not been spoken to in such a rude and un-professional fashion probably ever! As the member of staff went to check what could be done with the timings for setting up the cake etc with the Hotel manager, we waited in reception, and he stormed out, and proceeded to bellow across the front desk and 4 customers checking in "That we cannot set up the cake before 12:00 if you're lucky!" (Wedding ceremony at 1:00pm!) - Such anger and aggression!

On a more serious note, I personally was very upset by the whole ordeal. We had booked everything around the Sandy Cove Hotel as our location, String Quartet, Singer, Photographer let alone bookings already in place for the rooms, and our whole planned day just torn apart by incompetence, rudeness and NO customer service - even for prior bookings and worst of all very special occasions like....well....WEDDINGS!

Thankfully, we now no what good customer service feels like, after much searching due to the late notice we have managed to re-booked with a hotel in Lynmouth that has the up most of customer care. Obviously having to cancel Sandy Cove.

Please do not risk your day and happiness by considering booking here for your special occasions. They cannot cater, they are not willing to cater and provide you with the service level you would expect.

You have been warned - please don't feel the disappointment and stress we have had to endure, especially for the most important plans you may ever make.

Kind regards, M & M

A wedding to remember

by TripAdvisor Member cresswellcricket

After reading some of the unpleasent reviews concerning Sandy Cove Hotel I think its only right I put forward my experience at Sandy Cove.

When we first visited Sandy Cove regarding our wedding, we met with the manager who was very helpful and went through the numerous packages and choices they have on offer. I personally found the manager very polite and we ended up inviting her down to have a drink at the evening reception when she was off duty.

My wife and I got married in Berrynarbor, North Devon last July in the local church and the had our afternoon and evening reception at Sandy Cove.

Upon arriving back from the church all our guests received hors duerves and bucks fizz .

We then had lots of photos taken by our photographer. We recently received our wedding album from the photographer and could not believe how well the photos had turned out, the main reason being the spectacular view of the coast from the hotel.

The view is certainly something worth visiting Sandy Cove for on its own, however they have much more to offer than that.

After the photos we went into the main part of the hotel for our wedding breakfast, which was STUNNING!!

I had pate to start, then roast beef with a gigantic yorkshire pudding! The best was yet to come - the Banoffie Pie was out of this world!

After the wedding breakfast and speeches our guests made their way down to the hotel marquee for the evening entertainment.

At first I was nervous as I was unsure if our 140 evening guests would fit into the marquee - I needn't have worried.

When we arrived down to the marquee our evening guests were there and the atmosphere was electric.

The best part about the marquee was the delightful chocolate fountain!! - Many people have since made comments to me saying how wonderful the chocolate fountain was!!

I have to say a big thank you to all the staff involved, they were very attentive and made our day that extra bit special.

All in all, Sandy Cove made our wedding a day to remember!!

poor reception!

by TripAdvisor Member Penroby

We only stayed for a couple of nights at the Sandy Cove Hotel. I can honestly say that I have never met such discourteous and apathetic members of 'holiday' Reception staff in my life! Absolutely no interest was shown in helping the guests with anything at all, Especially NOT this 'warm welcome' that you're meant to be due according to their website. The view from the room was spectacular and the swimming pool was littered with floating dead flies and other insects.
Our first night was interrupted by a fire alarm waking all the guests at 3 in the morning and later at 3.15. The couple next door to us were in their 70s and were naturally very distressed. Guests were told various 'stories' and excuses by the rude Reception staff who seemed to imply it was all the guests' fault and thus an apology was not due to us at all! Some guests even convened in the car park down the road - confused as to whether there was a fire or not. There weren't any clear instructions of what to do in case of a fire. Anyway, Reception staff were more concerned about a wedding taking place so hotel guests were brushed aside and out of the way all day - left to look after and serve ourselves. Due to the wedding, they needed the fridges to be kept empty and hence I was told the hotel wouldn't refrigerate my medical injection - especially as the apparently 'only' fridge was "only accessible by the bar staff". The bar staff were very eager to close early at 10.30 p.m. and hence could not guarantee the bar being open late (when they were meant to be) so I couldn't collect my cooled injection later when I needed it. Therefore we had to adapt all our evening plans to ensure we were available if the bar staff decided to go home early.
Overall, my wife and I were very upset at how we and others were treated by the ill-mannered Reception staff. We both felt constantly 'told-off' by the Reception staff and the way they made us feel affected our holiday more than I think they realised. The lady Receptionist was surprised and a little disappointed that we hadn't accumulated any extra costs during our stay - we however think that £135 a night was way more than enough.

great food

by TripAdvisor Member susie6

We spent four nights at this hotel covering our anniversary on the 16.02.07.
We stayed in the Lodge with 4 poster bed, bit of a disappointment as it is just a pine bed nailed together, not worth the extra £30. The outer walls of the room were damp so there was mould on the skirting boards.
However, the food made up for the room, this was plentiful, well cooked and imaginative. The staff were very friendly. Overall, we would stay again if the price was right.

Very disappointing

by TripAdvisor Member kerflump

We stayed for one night only at this hotel and would never go back again! The view is outstanding but thats its lot. The leisure centre was appalling, cold and damp with mould and the "gym" was very old fashioned and grubby with some of the equipment out of action! including the toilet! The steps down to the leisure bit were too steep and slippery and it looked so unappealing when we arrived. This was a shame as we had chosen this place because of the leisure facilities- didnt recognise it from the brochure. The room was adequate though terribly tired and dated and the carpet ill fitting also the LINO in the bathroom! We had to walk up a staircase, along a dull, narrow corridor and through four doors before we reached our room, this when we were laden with cases etc and even though there were two men plus a lady behind the reception - no help even offered. Evening meal was adequate breakfast was surreal. Cereal dispensers that were so dated with three boring cereals only, choice of two fruit juices and "fresh fruit" tinned apricots, prunes and orange segments which were out the afternoon before and covered in cling film! I would be interested to know how long ago the brochure was compiled.......... thoroughly disappointed in all. Wish I had taken photos for you all to see.


by TripAdvisor Member Van_and_Dan

We stayed at this hotel for 2 nights and, as other reviews suggest the views were amazing. The view however from our room was a brick wall!.

The rooms could do with updating and the breakfast buffet improving, they were always running out of things - orange juice, toast etc, and the fruit selection was tinned prunes and tinned mandarins.

The worst thing about our stay was the extremely loud music blasting until after midnight on our first night, I wouldnt normally complain about a bit of noise but being 5 months pregnant, in need of sleep and on a relaxing break away it was a bit too much. The second night was much better though.

Enjoyable stay

by TripAdvisor Member barneydog138

We have just got back from a lovely long weekend at the Sandy Cove. Our room was excellent, we woke up to a breath taking sea view every morning! The staff were very helpful and friendly. The food was fantastic especially the smorgasbord and carvery on the Saturday night!!!

We will definately be returning in the near future and would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone.

An excellent hotel; we really enjoyed it.

by TripAdvisor Member Lards

We recently stayed at Sandy Cove, with a dog and a two year old, and the stay could not have been better. The staff were wonderful, the room was very good, (despite not having a view), dinner and breakfast were excellent and the way they looked after our two year old (special meals etc) was great. The pool was very nice and my partner and little one enjoyed it very much. There is space to walk the dog and the views ..... are superb!

Could not fault it in any way.

It represented real value for money and we would most definitely a) recommend and b) go back ourselves.

could do better

by TripAdvisor Member potter00

stayed with wife and 2 children late May,found the place so frustrating as it has the potential to be a lovely place to stay,on check in we were greeted by a matronly individual who proceeded to regale us with a list of does and donts,our room was ground floor but we were told to carry our bags upstairs along a narrow corridor and down the opposite stairs so that we would not disrupt the preparations for the wedding that was taking place in the main dining area,our room was good with a stunning view,but the lack of a more friendly reception after a 5 hour drive was more than a little annoying.later that afternoon i requested a cream tea and was told that they were not avaailable because of catering for the wedding,requested same the next day only to be told they were all sold,,,not good ,,,.As for plus points ,,contrary to some reviews the food in the evenings was outstanding and the service first rate,,breakfast offerings were again very good but staff could not cope with demand,if you wanted a drink in the daytime you had to rely on the receptionist ,who had multiple duties and seemed to be the only staff present...totally laughable really,,in short this place is symptomatic of the british attitude to tourism i.e premium prices (eg 3 pound 35 p for a pint of flat lager) for substandard service .

Fawlty Towers....

by TripAdvisor Member sjcsystems

Oh dear. My wife booked this through an ad' in the Telegraph. She chose it because they claimed to offer many choices for vegetarians and also the 5 night package deal was good value. Reception was ok, but NO lift and NO porter. Seeing the mainly older clientele struggling with the stairs was most disturbing. If you have mobility problems avoid at all costs. You can order a daily paper. However one morning I had to take it myself as no reception staff available at 8am in the morning.
We were a party of 4 and were supposed to have connecting rooms, but no. I took a rear bedroom with view of wall outside. Walls paper thin, hear neighbours breathing, both sides of mobile phone convos, the lot...Also had rain coming in through bathroom roof and corridor outside(very narrow). Other 3 had front room, sound insulation much better, poorly decorated, badly fitting carpets. View from front is OK. Don't be fooled by proximity to sea - you can't get to it. Worryingly right next door much of the coast path has slid down the cliff, pity this hotel hasn't. Both rooms had good bathrooms, but everywhere floors creak and squeak - late night trips to bathroom turn into a symphony. Facilities? Well there is a pool with retracting/sliding roof - great to let the bugs in - bottom littered with remains of these. Jacuzzi ok, but contains bleach - avoid eye contact because it really stings. Gym is a few bits of equipment. Sauna and steam room are two person max walk in cupboards. The whole 'leisure' complex is down very, very steep flights of steps. No covered connecting walkway to hotel. There is 1 panic button in the event of an emergency, no lifeguard or CCTV etc.
The food? Oh dear. Veggie choices are one per night. Ask waitress and you might get more. Five course dinner is: starter (choice of 4/5), soup or sorbet, main (choice of 5 or small range of fixed alternatives), dessert (frozen gateaux etc), coffee/tea. Service is ok, can be slow if busy. Often menu is printed but a main is not available. In our case venison was on list, but gone by the time dinner started. Four sittings for dinner, earliest is 7pm - late for young families, to 8.30. Don't stay here if you want to go to a theatre or after dinner entertainment. Dinner takes 90 minutes minimum. I felt compelled to complain after the menu was changed, the carvery stopped and service fell apart. The manager was less than helpful, grudgingly agreed to reduce bill, however also labelled me a complaining person (first time I've ever had to complain anywhere globally), dismissive and suggested I leave there and then. I recommend first sitting for dinner else things start to run out. Chef unable to do any alternatives - salads not available ever. There is a flat £5 charge for room service, so a pot of tea in your room is £6.45. Each room has a kettle and tea/coffee so should be unnecessary. There is no Internet service and very poor mobile coverage. I am on my 3G cellular modem running on GPRS at 5k sending this, just. Car park some distance from hotel, easy to get soaked walking to car. No evening entertainments, but place isn't attracting type of person who would want them,
Would I come back? Absolutely no way. Avoid it and hope nature does us a favour by letting it slide gracefully off the cliff, empty aside from the manager.


Looking Out The WindowLooking Out The Window


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 Sandy Cove Hotel

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Sandy Cove Ilfracombe
Hotel Sandy Cove

Address: Old Coast Road, Combe Martin Bay, Berrynarbor, Ilfracombe, EX34 9SR, United Kingdom