Hell Bay

Bryher, Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom Book from Book from £300 per night

The UK's most westerly island hotel: bright rooms, good food and a heated pool in a wild and wonderful setting
Hell Bay's name says it all: shipwrecks, treacherous waters and tales aplenty. Set on Bryher - the smallest inhabited island of Scilly (1.5 miles long by half a mile wide) - you're on the edge of the Old World with nothing but ocean between you and America. Craggy rock outcrops stagger the horizon to create a dramatic and secluded setting. This 25-room hotel allows you to stay in style and comfort and its restaurant is billed as the best on these isles.

Owned by Tresco's Dorrien-Smith family you can expect solid and dependable service and rooms with a distinct New England style. Every room and space is filled with original, often important Cornish art work. Couples will revel in being somewhere so unique, so far out. But the hotel also has special appeal for families, who can enjoy its sandy beaches, heated pool, games room or collecting hen’s eggs for breakfast.

As the name suggests, it can give a shiver of excitement and romance. You secretly want to experience the mother of all storms knowing you can quickly retreat to this warm and welcoming sanctuary for some very civilized living. Where else can you say you've been to hell and back? Bring it on!

Highs

  • One of the UK's most remote and rugged settings with wonderful ocean views; Bryher is the least developed of the inhabited islands
  • Stylish, comfortable and well-equipped rooms, most with sea views
  • Excellent fine dining restaurant serving super-fresh seafood; we loved the rustic Crab Shack with its simple menu of crab, mussels and scallops
  • Family-friendly with 2-bedroom suites, kids' games room, tennis, watersports, high teas and virtually car-free
  • The onsite spa, for indulgent ilâ treatments, in a beautifully converted cow shed

Lows

  • Getting there and back by small propeller plane or ferry is part of the fun (the hotel can help arrange your journey) but travel plans can be scuppered by fog or high winds
  • It's expensive but room rates do include dinner and there are usually enticing off-season deals
  • Not for those seeking nightlife and shopping (Bryher has just one grocery store-deli, gallery and café) - this is somewhere to unwind, enjoy the outdoors and get away from it all

Best time to go

The climate is mild - compared to the rest of the UK, Bryher has less rain, more sunshine, warmer winters but cooler summers (max temp is about 22C). The best of the weather is in the spring and summer months but winds can pick up at any time. School holidays get booked up far ahead.

Our top tips

Take binoculars and wet weather clothes - even if it's dry and you take a boat trip, the spray may soak you.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Island Hotel: 25 rooms
  • 25
  • Restaurant and bar (open mid March - end October)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 15 Oct 2018 - 15 Mar 2019
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Pool Table
  • games room
Room:

Rooms

The 25 rooms, in a collection of clapboard cottages and boathouses, are set behind the main hotel. All have a similar New England flavour: light and bright with tongue and groove pannelling and fresh shades of blue and cream. Expect Lloyd Loom wicker chairs, crisp Malabar fabrics and contemporary Cornish paintings. Cosy, comfortable and high spec, with big beds, new down duvets and total peace, you'll be unlucky not to enjoy a wonderfully comfortable sleep here. Bathrooms may not be cutting-edge design but they are spotless with powerful showers.

The majestic Emperor Suite, with 2 bedrooms and a large deck with loungers, is perfect for a small group or family. On the upper floor of the ‘Boathouse’, Juno has an open-plan sitting room and balcony. Empress is a fully detached single-storey building with a private decked area, built to resemble a traditional boatshed. Popular with couples are the ground- and first-floor Studio Suites, all with stunning sea views from their balconies or patios. Further back in the garden, the Spring Tide Suites and High Tide Suites are either ground floor (with patio) or first floor (variable sea views), and have sitting areas (with 2 comfy chair beds) that can be closed off with sliding doors. The slightly cheaper Garden View Suites are set around a courtyard and lack the sea view but some have a second twin bedroom designed for families.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Fresh milk delivered daily
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

People come from every island to eat at Hell Bay. It's a special treat and staying in situ gives you a head start with either a hearty cooked breakfast from the menu or a continental buffet. For lunch, you can eat bouillabaisse, fish and chips or Hell Bay burgers in the bright and airy bar or, when weather permits, out on the terraces. But the main event is dinner, which is included in the room rate.

Fresh ingredients are the name of the game whether it be Bryher crab, Tresco beef or foraged herbs. Chef Richard Kearsley's short modern menu changes daily but each dish is beautifully presented and prepared with love and skill. Everything we ate was delicious, from the amuse-bouches to petit fours, but we particularly enjoyed the West Country venison with turnip gratin, red cabbage and chocolate jus followed by the Armagnac soufflé with Earl Grey ice cream and walnut and cranberry biscotti.

On summer evenings, the team also runs a Portuguese-inspired Crab Shack where, in a nearby barn, they cook up just 3 dishes: scallops, mussels or crab, accompanied by wine, coffee, bread, fries, a cheese board and crème brûlée.

If you want to eat out, simply catch a boat across to Tresco (10 mins) where you can choose from the Ruin Beach Café with its wood-fired oven pizzas, the Flying Boat Club, or the more traditional New Inn for fine ales, pub grub and a tempting selection of ice creams.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go for a windswept walk up Badplace Hill for amazing views across Hell Bay and Shipman Head, or look for shells on the white-sand beaches

  • Visit the Fraggle Rock Bar, the island's only deli-shop and the gallery owned by local artist Richard Pearce; honesty stalls dotted around Bryher sell everything from island-grown veg to homemade fudge

  • Splash around in the heated outdoor pool; indoors, there is a small gym, a Jacuzzi, a sauna and a spa treatment room

  • Water sports can be organised with Hut 62 on Bryher, whether it be kayaking, snorkelling, sailing or paddleboarding; they can also arrange private boat hire so you can explore neighbouring islands

  • This island is great for fishing, and there are regular boat trips to see seals or cheer on local gig races

  • The Scillies are a haven for birdwatchers, particularly in October when migratory birds visit the islands, or from April to July when you might see puffins on the Eastern Isles

  • Pop across to the neighbouring island of Tresco (10-minute boat ride): here you can visit the famous Tresco Abbey Garden with its collection of sub-tropical plants from around the world and idyllic sandy beaches

  • Play tennis on the nearby court or golf at The Isles of Scilly Golf Club on St Mary's, which has fabulous views. There's also a small 7-hole pitch and putt course by the hotel. Clubs, rackets and balls can be provided.

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Pool table
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis

Kids

Children are welcome. There are several family rooms, kids' menu and a host of activities and facilities; Bryher is a great place to roam around and explore.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

There are 4 specially designed 2-bedroom family suites: the cheaper Garden View Suites (Shah and Lily), which have a courtyard patio, the slightly more expensive ground floor Galatea Studio Suite with sea-facing patio, and the top-end Emperor Suite, which has the best sea views. 11 of the other rooms have sitting areas, which can be closed off by sliding doors, with either 1 chair bed (High Tide Suites) or 2 chairbeds (Empress, Juno and Spring Tide Suites) suitable for children. Some of the sea-facing Studio Suites can also be interconnected.

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged with a little notice

Baby listening:

Baby listening can be activated by your telephone and reception can listen in (reception is open generally until 10pm in high season and 9pm in low season)

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

High tea is served at around 5pm each day with a kids' menu offering simpler dishes

Kids Activities on site:

  • Heated outdoor pool
  • Children's activity room with pool table
  • Table tennis
  • Video games
  • Outdoor play area
  • Giant outdoor draughts
  • Astro-turf tennis court

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Sandy beaches (nearest within 200 yards)
  • Boat trips to see puffins and seals
  • Horse riding (St Mary's)
  • Feeding chickens

Families Should Know:

Children under 14 years must be supervised in the swimming pool

Distances:

  • Airport: 20-minute boat ride away on St Mary's
  • Hospital: 20-minute boat ride away on St Mary's
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for Hell Bay