The chic, modern Salcombe Harbour Hotel and spa sits on the banks of the Kingsbridge estuary and comes with a coastal retreat spa, waterside restaurant and private cinema. At the heart of the spa is a dramatic 15-meter indoor pool with views over a pretty garden and the famous sailing waters. Here you will find a sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and plenty of calming places to relax. Treatments and rituals by ESPA sit alongside a range of beauty treatments and finishing touches. If you do love to be beside the seaside, make this stylish spa your Devonshire base.
- Family swim times
- Swimming Pool
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Crystal steam room
- Outdoor sun terrace
- Fitness suite
- Relaxation lounge
- Harbour signature range
- Mii cosmetics
Our Spa Spy review
The Harbour Hotel and Spa, in the South Devon village of Salcombe on the banks of the Kingsbridge estuary, is a modern take on a traditional seaside hotel. The hotel is stylish, relaxed and comfortable: think soft blues and whites and pictures of traditional seaside scenes. The spa is tucked away down a flight of stairs (there is a lift), while the pool area has huge windows along one side, making it light and airy.
What's on offer?
On arrival, staff warmly welcomed us, and invited us to sit on a sofa to fill out our consultation forms. They offered us a drink, then took us on a tour of the small spa. The changing rooms, five treatment rooms and gym are on the same floor as the reception; the pool and other facilities are down another set of stairs.
The narrow changing room has been thoughtfully designed with three good-sized showers, with shampoo/conditioner and shower gel provided, at one end, lockers and benches in the middle, and a WC and private changing cubicle at the other end. There are 42 lockers of varying sizes; those positioned above the benches are smaller, with no space for hanging clothes. A well-lit mirrored area has two hairdryers, hand wash, hand lotion, cotton wool and nail files. There is a spinner for drying costumes but no bags to place them in. There were plenty of spare towels on our visit.
Just inside the main door of the spa is a large round table laden with fresh fruit and flavoured waters; hot drinks are available in reception.
The pool area is the hub of the spa. The 15-metre pool is dramatic with dark-blue tiles glinting with gold. The pool is long enough to stretch out and swim a few lengths, though it’s quite narrow so only two or three of people can swim lengths at the same time. Alongside the pool are five cabana areas with sofa seating and white curtains that divide the seats; a lovely way to relax in peace mid spa day. Glass walls open out onto a pretty garden area; you can even see the estuary as you swim.
Alongside the pool are the thermal experience rooms; the sauna has room for six to eight people, the steam room is of a similar size, and the hydrotherapy pool has powerful massage jets. Cool off in the two overhead showers between heat experiences.
At the end of the pool is the "Pebble Room", a relaxation area decorated in shades of soft pebble grey. A slightly raised, padded floor, with plenty of cushions around the edge, encourages guests to lie back and relax.
Tell us about the treatments
We had a Face Back and Scalp massage (60 minutes, £70).
The treatment room was on the smaller side, but nicely decorated in soft tones of cream and aubergine.
My therapist, Jasmine, offered me a selection of body and facial oils to smell; I eventually opted for the ESPA invigorating body oil and the ESPA hydrating facial oil.
Jasmine began with a careful back massage, honing in on tense spots and instinctively working them out, allowing me to really relax. I turned over for the facial massage, which Jasmine ended with a scalp massage using pink hair mud -- one of my favourite products.
The oils smelled wonderful and were just the right consistency: thick enough to stay on my skin during the massage, but viscous enough to soak in. At the end of the treatment, I felt relaxed and refreshed, while my fine, dry hair felt glossier and thicker thanks to the hair mud.
The Harbour Spa at Salcombe offers a variety of massages, including hot stone, aromatherapy and bamboo massages. There are half-a-dozen different facial treatments, too; from the 40-minute express facial to an 85-minute ESPA Age Defyer facial. Try the Ocean Spa Ritual, a full body polish using a rich seaweed scrub and a mandarin orange moisturiser. There are specialist treatments for pregnant women and men, too.
Lunch is served in the main restaurant so you will need to get dressed beforehand. Wanting to eat light, I opted for a starter and pudding, rather than a main meal. My crab coquette with warm tartare salad was a lovely combination of crispy and creamy; the perfect antidote to my sharp lemon posset. My spa partner had the fish pie which was lovingly made using locally caught fish. Lighter choices, such as salads, sandwiches and options for vegetarians, are also on the menu.
If you decide to stay overnight, don't miss the catch-of-the-day menu containing whatever the boat brings in, freshly-cooked to perfection. I enjoyed a deliciously meaty and generous portion of monkfish served with a lemon-butter sauce.
We loved / we didn't love
The intimate and relaxing spa atmosphere. A gentle word of warning: the spa may feel rather crowded if it is full, so you may want to check before visiting in the height of summer.
The food: Everything was wonderfully fresh and well cooked.
The customer service: From parking the car and sorting the luggage, to early evening delivery of slices of lemon and lime to our room for a pre-dinner tipple, the service was faultless.
The views: The estuary is beautiful, whether you wake up to sunshine sparkling off the water or watch clouds of sea mist roll in come evening.
We didn't love
Having to get dressed for lunch: We suggest booking a spa day with afternoon tea to enjoy more time in the spa.
Who do you think would like it?
Romantics: Book some spa time, then relax on your balcony or dress up and sample some cocktails at the bar.
Mothers and daughters or friends: You can sit and gossip by the pool, then indulge in a quiet treatment or two.
Anyone who likes to be beside the seaside: Catch the ferry across the estuary, walk along the river valley, or just watch the boats come in and out.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Harbour Hotel Spa a Good Spa Guide rating of Four Bubbles. While the spa makes good use of the available space, and has a pool and very good heat facilities, it was a shame to have to get dressed for lunch. There is also little outdoor space to enjoy the rays on a sunny day. If you're staying at the hotel, you can use the rooftop terrace.
The Jetty overlooks the sea and seves up local, fresh and seasonal dishes and afternoon tea.
The Harbour Hotel has 50 rooms, many of which offer stunning sea views .