Sleek Art deco haven on a tiny offshore island

CUT OFF FROM THE MAINLAND (forget mobile phones and unwelcome interruptions here), Burgh Island is an Art Deco haven surrounded by the seas. Think flappers in cloche hats, cads with monocles and pencil moustaches or even Baywatch with dress sense, and you are halfway there. Noël Coward adored this great romantic getaway and Agatha Christie used it as a setting for several scenes of sin and seduction in her novels.

This elegant luxury hotel has seen more than its  fair share of romantic rendezvous over the years, and its setting is as flighty as a heartbeat – one moment cut off from the South Devon coast, the next linked to real life by a shimmering sandy causeway. At high tide, the sea tractor plucks guests from the mainland, bringing them to this perfectly preserved time-warp where, with Charleston lessons and wicked cocktails, she spirit of the roaring 1920s and indiscreet 30s lives on. Lovingly maintained by Tony Orchard and Deborah Clark, this really is an icon of a golden age.

Hit the spot

Your own private island on the Devon coast

Bed time
Stay in secluded luxury in the Beach House, with its fabulous  sundeck.  Or get creative  in the Artist's Studio, a bohemian retreat with a vast bed.

Be savvy
Aim to look sleek by night and outdoorsy by day.

Be smitten
Jazzy art deco style on a fantasy seaside island.

Rippingly good Martinis

Classic tradition with a contemporary twist marks out dinner in the wonderfully deco dining room, while chef Conor Heneghan blends South Sea spices with catch of the day in The Pilchard Inn, just down the road. On Valentine’s Day, don black tie and pearls and dine on innuendo-laden dishes, after a rippingly good Martini. Learn to Charleston and tango, or climb the hill and watch for dolphins.

Edward came here with Mrs Simpson but we can’t say who stayed with Noël Coward, Gertrude Lawrence or glamorous aviatrix Amy Johnson. Today's guests can discover the potential of South Devon’s biggest bed and private garden of the Garden suite, the bold deco fabrics and mirrored bathroom of Odeon or the cosy slipper bath of  Shrimp – the hotel's snuggest room. 

Burgh Island was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mike North
Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the gallery.

Dining in
The dining room is best viewed in the evening when it sparkles with white linen, candles and flowers. A huge deco mirror over the fireplace reflects the diners and newly-commissioned murals add visual interest. The ceiling has an Odeon-like dome, lit around the edges, and so appears to float.

Dine on inventive modern seasonal cuisine with oriental influences such as buttered poached monkfish with braised fennel, langoustine and blood orange salad. Round off with baked frangelico custard with burnt honey syrup.

Dining out
Try Burgh Island's own 14th Century smugglers’ hostelry, The Pilchard Inn. It’s a snug haven of roaring fires, cosy nooks and real local ales just a few minutes from the front gate.


The candlelit Ball Room at Burgh Island

What’s cooking?
Try slow cooked beef cheek, peppered duckling breast and ‘El Rey’ chocolate with butterscotch pudding and burnt orange ice cream.

Dress the part
Slip into something slinky. You won't be out of place at dinner in evening dress and black tie.

Top table?
All tables offer fabulous views of the sea.

See & Do
This is a romantic getaway with a difference. Time your stay here with one of Burgh Island's dance breaks and you can spend your time whirling round the dance floor in between sipping cocktails. If your dancing partner is less than fleet-footed, you can always opt for a tutored wine tasting over Sunday lunch instead.

By day explore the Burgh Island’s 26 acres: there’s a seawater swimming pool, rocks to clamber over, sandy beaches and grassy picnic spots. You won’t want to hurry back to the mainland.

There’s a spa room where you can book a facial using REN products, a massage or  manicure. Burgh Island is one of a handful of hotels to offer REN facials. There’s also a sauna and a gym.

Being offshore is one of Burgh Island’s many charms, so there will be no High Street spending sprees.

Evenings are for looking glam. Tango  across the dance floor, smooch under the stars or chat with barman Gary "McBar" over a late night cocktail.


Don black tie and pearls and dance the night away at the hotel’s Valentine’s Ball.

Make sure you’re here for the Summer Ball, complete with fireworks, dancing and music against the backdrop of an ocean sunset.

Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-sea, South Devon TQ7 4BG

There is free guest parking on the mainland.

Plymouth and Totnes stations – 40 minutes

GBP 22 from Plymouth airport; Exeter airport  GBP 55.

Plymouth airport – 40 minutes. Exeter airport – 60 minutes.

Rooms and suites

24 rooms, 11 suites

Special features
This art deco hotel offers cool luxury and plenty of it. Some rooms have original 1930s baths or even baths in the middle of the bedroom – decadent or what.

Many come with roll-top baths, DVD players and wi-fi. The hotel also boasts a saltwater swimming pool, helipad, sauna, spa, tennis court, croquet lawn and gym.


Rates guide
GBP 350 - 550 (room rate includes dinner)

Open all year



11.30am but late checkout available where possible.

Minimum night stay?
Two nights at weekends

A cooked breakfast is served whenever you surface. Wake up to duck eggs Benedict and porridge with stewed rhubarb and maple syrup.

Room service
Available 24 hours a day


Welcome aged five and over. No children under 12 at dinner. A babysitting service is available.


Air conditioning


English, French, Russian, Estonian, Polish

Wedding license?

Weddings are based on exclusive hire of the property and can cater for up to 60 guests, 12 being non-residents.

Eco conscience
Burgh Island is one of the founder members of the National Green Tourism Awards, and the restaurant aims to use only organic local produce. Toiletries made from natural and organic ingredients are available in rooms and the hotel recycles and composts where possible. Low energy light bulbs are used throughout.

Your Contacts
Tony Orchard and Deborah Clark – owners

UK> DEVON> DEVON> Burgh Island

Room for Romance Extra

A complimentary cocktail for each guest.



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