Where: Lyme Regis, a pretty seaside town along the Jurassic Coast, has always been a popular haunt for staycationers. The harbour wall, The Cobb, has famously been featured in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and described as 'quite simply the most beautiful sea rampart on the south coast of England,' in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. The boutique Alexandra sits proudly on a cliff overlooking this delightful scene.
First impressions: This is the sort of hotel that makes you feel at home as soon as you cross the threshold. It's luxurious, yet homely, and it's clear that this is a family-run affair from the warm welcome and comfy slump-in-me-with-a-book chairs scattered about the downstairs.
Standout points: The hotel has its own private tower in the rose-filled gardens where you can wed in private or enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner for two against the beautiful backdrop of Lyme Bay. It’s not all about location, location, location here either – we’d probably visit this hotel even without the views, just to relax in the light, elegant rooms and to enjoy the fresh-from-the-harbour food in the smart restaurant. After an exhilarating day of seaside air and Dorset country walks you can book a massage in the on-site treatment room too.
Room for romance: As this hotel is mostly housed in an 18th-century manor, the rooms vary enormously in size, although all have a similar style, which combines mod-cons and character features to perfection. All the rooms are named after former owners of the house, but the Gould rooms are the most spacious and minimoon-worthy with large windows so you can make the most of the view.
Wine & dine:
The award-winning hotel uses local produce to stunning effect. The presentation is charming and artistic and fortunately the food really does taste as good as it looks. Plan your trip over a Sunday so you can enjoy the mouth-watering roast dinner, washed down with one of the delightful wines on a well-priced wine list.
We love: The hearty afternoon teas on the lawn are scrumptious and layering scones with jam and a thick layer of cream (or vice versa if you prefer the Devon technique!) feels so quintessentially English against the seaside backdrop and calming lap of the waves. While this hotel really does show off its best side in summer, the view is such that every season has its own unique appeal.
Go there: For a room with that view book one of the spacious Gould or Hinton rooms, or for the ultimate in seaside seclusion, book an Alexandra Cottage Apartment from £310 per night. An overnight stay at the hotel costs from £180 per room per night (two sharing) incl. breakfast, hotelalexandra.co.uk.