With a direct footpath to three miles of sandy beach and a surf school on the doorstep, the luxe new apartments at The Chalet Saunton in North Devon are redefining the self-catering seaside holiday
To mix the best of the great outdoors with the best of cool modern living. Perched over Saunton Sands, one of the UK’s most magnificent beaches, with rolling Atlantic waves and the Braunton Burrows sand dune network, Chalet Saunton is a newly built ‘Apart-Hotel’ offering seven spacious, uber-modern apartments. It’s the perfect set up for surfing, with an outdoor shower to hose down and an area to store boards and wetsuits – surfers who’ve outgrown their VW camper van days will love the best creature comforts. It’s dog and family friendly too (ticking both my boxes) and a great base to explore pretty nearby coastal spots like Croyde and Woollacombe. In my lottery-winning, fantasy life, I would live somewhere like this by the sea, falling asleep at night to the sound of crashing waves and waking up to glorious views of sand, sea and endless sky. We started each day sipping coffee on the balcony watching the tide rolling in, before heading down to the beach to take the dog for an early morning stroll through the sand dunes. Bliss.
Chalet Saunton perched over the stunning Saunton Sands
We had one of those jaw-dropping moments when we walked into our three-bedroom apartment and saw the views from the floor to ceiling windows in the huge, open-plan kitchen/sitting/dining/ room. Flooded with light, the minimalist design is all cool greys and whites, with L-shape sofas, marble bathrooms and mod cons such as a wine cooler fridge, Nespresso machine and a pop up extractor fan built into the kitchen counter. Super friendly housekeeper Lisa left us a breakfast hamper with locally sourced eggs, bacon, bread and mushrooms, plus avocados – this is definitely a destination for the smashed avocado on toast crowd. Ilapothecary shampoo, conditioner, soaps and scented candles are the luxe finishing touches.
The light filled living area: check out that view
You really must
Hit the surf. Surf Saunton on the beach offers beginners lessons (great for kids), or you can sign up for one of the Chalet’s SurfFit retreats (starting 13th July 2018) hosted by big wave surfers. Aimed at all levels of surfers, you’ll focus on surfing skills, surf strength training as well as meditation, mindfulness and nutrition. Away from the waves, go for an easy walk around the South Coast path to Croyde for an ice cream, or for serious walkers, the half hour drive to the National Trust’s Heddon’s Mouth is a must. The two and a half hour walk through ancient woodland along the Heddon River and then up to the cliffs is dramatic, beautiful and exhilarating. Lunch at the Hunters Inn afterwards is the perfect reward (plus a visit to the National Trust shop for a tin of Devonshire fudge. Yum.). Cycling on the Tarka Trail, horse riding and fishing trips are also nearby activities to try.
Fall asleep in this super comfy bed to the sound of crashing waves
The Beachside Grill on Saunton Beach for great burgers or fish and chips for lunch or an early dinner (it shuts at 9pm). There isn’t anywhere else to eat in Saunton, but you’ll want to make use of your flashy kitchen in the apartment at some point. We picked up fish & chips to take away one evening at SQ in Braunton (a 10-minute drive) and had a really nice lunch at The Rock in nearby Georgeham. Serious foodies could try the Michelin starred Olive Room in Ilfracombe (a twenty minute drive away).
How to book
A three-bedroom apartment (sleeping six) at Chalet Saunton costs from £350 per night in on a self-catering basis (including a welcome hamper of local produce. To book, call 01271 890514 or click here.