The ultimate staycation! Sidmouth couple holiday metres from their home

Sidmouth resident Colin Healey is pictured with some of the staff at the Kingswood and Devoran Hotel

Sidmouth resident Colin Healey is pictured with some of the staff at the Kingswood and Devoran Hotel where he regularly spends his holidays. Ref shs 31-16SH 4125. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

‘The staff and the owners are always so good, welcoming, helpful and cheerful.’

A couple love the ambience and style in Sidmouth hotels so much they stay several times a year – despite living less than 50 metres away.

Colin Healey has been a familiar face in the town since he started work at a newsagents in Prospect Place in the late 1950s, but it was decades later he swapped a wanderlust lifestyle for holidaying a little closer to home.

Colin spent years travelling the world, but it was the inspiration from his wife, Winnie, that prompted them to enjoy ‘the best of both worlds’ with regular stay-cations in Sidmouth’s seafront hotels.

Nowadays, the couple visit The Kingswood and Devoran Hotel and Hotel Elizabeth around three to four times a year and often receive post from around the globe addressed simply as ‘Colin and Winnie, The Sidmouth Seafront’.

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Colin explained the first time they did it was when he returned from a trip travelling through Thailand and around the coast line of Malaysia by car, bus and motorbike in heat that topped 33oC daily.

The former Coldstream Guardsman said: “When I returned to Sidmouth, I had been away for probably three weeks and I was grubby and tired. Winnie said to me ‘you look absolutely shattered’.

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“I thought I could just do with a rest and stay in one place. I did not want to go anywhere for a change. Winnie disappeared and when she came back, she said ‘we check into the Kingswood and Devoran hotel at 1pm’.

“We really enjoyed our three-day stay there and said we must do it again. I think it was a special occasion when we next went and then we went again and again. Our birthdays are a special excuse.

“We have been doing it for quite a number of years. The staff and the owners are always so good, welcoming, helpful and cheerful.

“Guests are surprised to hear we live so close to the hotel, but it means we can collect our post daily, feed our birds, make any phone calls, change our clothes and then go back to the peace and quiet.

“The food is excellent in the hotels. When it’s a birthday, they arrange for cards to be sent from family and friends to the hotel. There is sometimes a stack of cards waiting on the breakfast table that have arrived from all over the world. Winnie loves it.”

He said the seafront views from the hotels on The Esplanade are unbeatable and speaks fondly of the many generations who have visited for FolkWeek and still remember him.

Owner of the Kingswood and Devoran Hotel Mark Seward said: “When asking about where our customers come from, people are almost always shocked at the number who travel relatively short distances to stay in our hotels.

“Colin and Winnie, whom I have known since childhood, are part of a small group whose travel plans are fairly straightforward as they live in Sidmouth.

“We often chuckle at the thought that the porters have less than 100 metres to move their holiday suitcases from door to door.

“The reception staff regularly receive post from the far flung reaches of the globe simply addressed to ‘Colin and Winnie, The Seafront, Sidmouth’, such is their affinity with the town.”

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