Hell Bay

Bryher, Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom Book from Book from £280 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. 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. You'll revel in being somewhere so unique, so far out. 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
  • 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.

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
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Island Hotel: 25 rooms
  • 25
  • Restaurant and bar (open mid March - end October)
  • Only Children aged 14 years and over are accepted
  • Closed: 18 Oct 2018 - 14 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
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 with older children.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • 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
  • 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
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis

Kids

Older children (14+) are accepted. There are several family rooms, a kids' menu for lunch, and a host of activities in the area; Bryher is a great place to roam around and explore.

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. Some of the sea-facing Studio Suites can also be interconnected.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Heated outdoor pool
  • 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)

Distances:

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

Location

The Isles of Scilly are located 28 miles south west off the tip of Cornwall. Getting here is part of the fun! The most popular route is by air (from Exeter, Newquay or Land's End) or ferry from Penzance. Please note that there are no flights or ferry crossings to the islands on Sundays, and luggage is strictly limited.

By Air - Fixed Wing or Helicopter
There are regular Skybus flights from Newquay (30 mins), Exeter (1hr) and Land's End (15 mins). There's also a new helicopter service operating from Land's End. All flights land on the island of St Mary's - see Isles of Scilly Travel for flight times and online booking. From St Mary's airport there's a 5-minute taxi-bus shuttle service down to the quay, where Hell Bay will arrange a boat transfer to the island, which takes 15-20 minutes. Once on Bryher a Land Rover will take you to your cottage.

Note flights can be delayed or cancelled due to fog or high winds. If all flights are cancelled on one day you can either spend an extra night on the islands and fly the next day (subject to availability) or they can transfer your ticket to the ferry for the same day. We recommend that you keep your travel times flexible (ie. don't arrange an important meeting on the day of your return).

By Ferry
Sailings on the Scillionian III depart Penzance mostly in the mornings to the main island of St Mary's - it usually takes 2 hrs 40 minutes. See Isles of Scilly Travel for sail times and online booking.

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • St Marys 5.0 km ISC

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.0 km

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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