Gara Rock is to be relaunched as a well-being retreat on the south Devon coast in the spring, following “significant” investment from new owner Aria Resorts.
Located on a cliff top near Salcombe, the resort was acquired in 2016 by Aria Resorts after being put on the market by Kingfisher Resorts the previous year for £8.5m.
At the time of its sale, the property was comprised of an 18-bedroom hotel and restaurant, with a collection of cottages, apartments and a spa.
It is now nearing the completion of its transformation into a retreat with a focus on wellbeing, featuring five loft suites, six sea view apartments, five cottages and 12 apartments. There will also be a restaurant, Lookout bar, cinema, indoor and cliff-top outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and treatment rooms, along with access to its own beach.
General manager is Donovan van Staden, who is originally from South Africa and has experience of working in luxury safari camps and retreats in Zambia and Botswana. He moved to the UK in 2016, initially gaining experience at Kinloch Lodge on the Isle of Skye and Driftwood House in Portscatho, Cornwall, before joining Gara Rock in October that year.
Van Staden has been joined by Lewis Glanvill as head chef, who has returned to south Devon where he started his career. In recent years Glanvill has worked in London for restaurant consultant Nigel Sutcliffe of Truffle Hunting and Ed Wilson of Brawn.
Glanvill will oversee the restaurant which will feature a British menu and alfresco seating with wood-fired pizza ovens and outdoor fire pits, as well as the Lodge which will offer light snacks and drinks. The Hut, located in the field opposite the property will serve guests and walkers with pasties, ice cream, hot drinks and cold beers.
Aria Resorts is currently in the process of developing a number of resorts within the UK, including Bay Filey in North Yorkshire and on the Isle of Wight, where it has recently acquired three holiday resorts (Rookley Country Park, St Helens Holiday Park and Colwell Bay) alongside the 44-bedroom Priory Bay hotel in Seaview.
Videos from The Caterer archives