The Grand at Torquay
Torquay is known across the UK as the Queen of the English Riviera. This seaside resort has several luxury hotels, one of which is the four star Grand, which dominates the southern end of the sea front, close to the railway station.
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Back to the Torquay:
Take the train to this hotel and you won’t need a taxi. The entrance is just across the road, on the sloping side of the railway cutting that takes the tracks further along the coast.
Once inside, you hear nothing of this. Everything happens at the far side, facing the sea. Three sides of the Compass Lounge are glass windows, from which you see the magnificent sweep of the bay and the resort’s main beach.
Among Torquay’s claims to fame is the fact that it was the birthplace of the celebrated crime author, Agatha Christie, who came and went, but returned to the Grand Hotel for her honeymoon with her second husband. The holiday home they bought nearby is now in the hands of the National Trust and open to the public.
The Grand justifies its four stars with impeccable service and accommodation. It has an elegant restaurant, conference and wedding facilities, a tennis court, a terrace bar overlooking the outdoor pool and fountain, an indoor pool with jacuzzi, sauna and solarium, and a range of beauty treatments available.
Accommodation is in one of 131 rooms or 7 suites. Rooms are categorised Standard or Select with tariffs to match. They all contain what you would expect from a 4 star hotel, including tea and coffee-making facilities, and telephones with modems for guests wanting privacy to work with their computers. The ground floor public areas also offer free wi-fi.
The interior is full of Victoriana and art deco influences. If you watch as people come through the glass entrance into a vast reception area, you can almost see them straighten up as they recognise an air of refinement. You might imagine them a century ago, a gentleman twirling a moustache, a lady a parasol.
In the Compass Lounge, the acoustics are such that conversations in other parts of the room are just a low hum, and the hush is only broken when the door to the Terrace Bar opens and you hear the squeals of laughter from outside, reminding you of the 1920s flapper girls and their playboy escorts.
The Grand at Torquay has a touch of timeless class.