This is an hotel that is very definitely worth a visit. The location is stunning and almost unique as you have to park you car in garages on the mainland and take a Land Rover or Sea Tractor to get to the place. The first thing you need to know is that the preferred means of getting to the island is by Land Rover which picks you up from the mainland garage and whisks you across the wet sand seamlessly to the hotel. The less preferred route appears to be via the sea tractor a- a sort of shed on stilts with wheels that grinds to and fro across the beach when the tide is in. The problem for us is that the paperwork suggests you have to get there at a certain time - when the Land Rovers can run - which is not exactly correct as the sea tractor is usually there - OK the conditions might be really bad and it cannot operate but heck it was June! We nearly killed ourselves to get there by the deadline not realising there was an alternative!
The hotel itself is amazing - it is made of concrete when it was still an experimental material [like the Dorchester and the Hearst Mansion in San Simeon] and the material lends itself so well to art deco. It is a bit faded here and there but then it is 80 odd years old. Our room [Jessie Matthews] was smaller than we expected but comfortable. The steel windows are a style feature of the whole building but are old and often drafty but we were fine. We were expecting a lot more art deco furniture and other stuff around the place and it has that Fawlty Towers feel about it which a lot of British stand alone hotels have but is not a point of criticism. The food is excellent and the wines affordable. Dressing for dinner is a great idea and the band on some nights are very good at recreating a thirties feel. The staff are super friendly and Gary the barman is exceptional. Pricing for the place is on the high side when you look at the whole package although food is included which we thought was a marketing error as it makes the place Ritz or Savoy priced and this place is definitely not a Savoy or Ritz. It is a quirky English hotel which is interesting. The Pilchard Inn which is part of the hotel is fun but again a bit on the pricey side [Crab Baguette £6] although there is an apartheid segregation between guests and the public which means you can always get a table and what the heck it was a great experience sitting there watching people misjudge the deceptively fast tide coming in and have to wade across rather than spend £2 on the sea tractor ride [a great experience].
Many guests are repeats and i can see why - this is cruising on dryish land - good food and wine, good staff and no chance of the captain running it onto the rocks! I think the marketing could do with managing expectations better - the bit about getting across the sand for a start - and making it clearer that the place is a bit of museum piece and not a state of the art Fairmont Hotel where the owner has just spent £500 million doing it up. It is romantic and it is quite different and unique. Something I was very pleased to do - once.
I got the impression one or two other guests were disappointed and I think the bad reviews I have seen on TripAdvisor are not warranted but again I would blame the marketing and poor management of people's expectations.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Authentic Art Deco hotel on its own private tidal island. Frequented by Agatha Christie, Noel Coward, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, amongst others. Join our famous guest list for lounging on our sunny terraces, a snug pint in front of the fire in The Pilchard - our 14th century inn - cocktails at sunset and black tie dining every night. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Burgh Hotel Island
- Burgh Island Hotel Devon