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The Somerville 4.0

Torquay, English Riviera, Devon

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Review Summary

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  • Deluxe guesthouse full of antiques and lavish decor
  • Five-minute walk to Torquay harbor and center
  • Beautifully presented rooms with luxury touches
  • Excellent cooked-to-order breakfast included
  • Opulently decorated lounge and bar
  • Free Wi-Fi and on-site parking 


  • Decor might be a little fussy for some
  • Some traffic noise occasionally audible
  • Wi-Fi patchy in places

Bottom Line

The nine-room Somerville is an upscale boutique bed-and-breakfast with some of the most lavish, classically styled interiors in Torquay or the English Riviera. Though the property does overlook a fairly busy road, traffic noise isn't too obtrusive; the town center is a five-minute walk away but guests should note that it's all uphill on the way back. Rooms are superbly presented with luxury amenities and spotless bathrooms. An excellent cooked-to-order breakfast, wonderfully opulent lounge, and beautiful green gardens are the finishing touches on one of the finest places to stay in town -- and at relatively reasonable rates. Travelers seeking something with more facilities and closer to the beach might want to consider the Imperial Hotel instead.

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Boutique hotel meets guesthouse with opulent interiors and pleasant gardens

A gently sloping driveway curves up through gardens bursting with colorful flowers and sub-tropical plants to the entrance of the Somerville, which is marked by candy-striped awnings and a Union Jack flag. Stepping inside, gilt-framed mirrors, oil paintings, and carved wooden furnishings set the tone while cut-glass chandeliers and antique vases add to the lavish ambience. The reception area is no less extravagant with vintage blackamoor lamps and floral wallpaper, while the lounge is reminiscent of a Louis XIV 17th-century salon with its collection of curios, elaborate antiques, and tasseled finery. The Somerville was originally built as a private residence back in the 1840s and several extensions later it opened as a hotel over 60 years ago. The Somerville describes itself as a boutique property, and there are only nine guest rooms spread over its two floors, while the rear garden provides a pleasant place to unwind. Guests mainly consist of slightly older vacationing couples, but families are also catered to. 


Pleasant spot on an occasionally busy road, a five-minute walk from Torquay harbor

Though the area is generally quiet, the hotel is set on a well-trafficked road that slopes down to the picturesque Torquay harbor and the center of town, which is just over five minutes away on foot. There are numerous restaurants, pubs, and shops on and around the seafront, while the nearest bus stop is just a minute away and connects to the main Torre Abbey Sands beach in about 20 minutes (walking time is about the same). Torquay railway station is a five-minute cab journey away, while the bus station is slightly farther. Some might find the walk back up to the hotel a struggle as it is up a fairly steep hill.


Elegant, classically styled rooms with luxury touches

The hotel's lavish classical styling is a bit more subdued in its nine guestrooms, though the tone of decor follows in the same vein with gilded headboards, floral pattern fabrics, and cut-glass chandeliers. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, mini-fridges, and good quality tea/coffee facilities, while rooms also benefit from free Wi-Fi, bottled mineral water, and bedside candy. Beds are comfortable with goose down toppers, while clean, modern bathrooms come with bathrobes and luxury (albeit wall-mounted) toiletries. Street-facing rooms might get traffic noise, however, especially at morning rush hour.


Excellent buffet and cooked-to-order breakfast included, lovely garden, and free Wi-Fi

Free breakfast is served each morning in the hotel's bright conservatory overlooking the front garden and views over the town, or can be taken in-room. A continental-style buffet is available as well as an excellent cooked-to-order breakfast. Various drinks are available from the front desk and can be enjoyed in a pretty rear garden or the hotel's lavish lounge, which has a complete set of Agatha Christie's books. Being more of guesthouse than a hotel means there's not much else in the way of facilities, though Wi-Fi is free of charge (but can be patchy in places). Guests arriving by car have access to on-site parking.

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515 Babbacombe Road, Torquay, English Riviera TQ1 1HJ, United Kingdom

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