Former Narracott Hotel – A Vision of the Future


The Narracott Grand Hotel has had a chequered history, some of it famed and glorious in it’s heyday in the 60’s and 70’s and some of it, in more recent times, perhaps not so revered. But, there are exciting times ahead for one of Woolacombe’s largest landmarks as long awaited plans finally come to fruition as the property ‘rises from the ashes’ and a state of dereliction to enter a new phase of its life as a state of the art, contemporary, block of high quality seaside apartments together with a top end restaurant/bistro, indoor heated swimming pool and spa, games room and delightfully landscaped communal court yard gardens.

Local residents, I am sure, are breathing a huge sigh of relief as the main construction phase of the development is finally underway in earnest after many years of uncertainty surrounding whether anything was ever going to happen as the former local icon stood sadly decaying having been boarded up back as far as eight years ago in 2008. Rumours have been rife throughout the local community that the developers weren’t able to move forward with the project increasing fears that this very visible eyesore would remain as a blot on the otherwise stunningly beautiful coastal surfing village that attracts thousands of visitors from around the UK through the season. In truth, it has been a long time coming; probably too long, but having been involved with the developers and their associates since 2008 I can safely confirm that their interest and commitment has never waned and behind the ‘iron curtain’ tatty facade there has been a huge amount of planning and focus on ensuring their vision for the property would eventually be realised. A development of this magnitude is a difficult project to coordinate and bring together and, unfortunately, the whole process has been a much more drawn out and complicated venture than ever imagined. But, as revealed at a recent ‘launch party’ which took place at the villages own ‘Bar Electric’ when invited guests which included a large number of local councillors, business owners and residents were able to see first-hand the developers commitment to the project and understand that the building would finally now be underway. The party also revealed the first opportunity for all to see what the completed complex would look like courtesy of a fantastic computer generated ‘fly through’ which allows viewers to walk through the various different areas of ‘Byron’ which is the new name given to the development. Having attended the party I was able to speak to several of the local guests who, without question, are all very pleased with the news of progress and impressed with what will certainly be a fantastic new facility and regeneration of a former much loved building.

See for yourself: The finished ‘Byron’ click here to watch the ‘fly through’ Turn your sound on!

Byron will comprises 55 high quality apartments offering a mixture of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units including 5 fantastic penthouses sitting in a dominant position at the top of the building with far reaching views of the delightful bay, beach and the Atlantic Ocean. It is not only the penthouses that will enjoy the sea views, many of the complex’s apartments will also overlook the bay and beach as well as there being an attractive outlook in to the centre of the development where there will be beautifully landscaped communal court yards with extensive planting, water features, seating and carefully designed soft lighting for all to enjoy. The top quality specification will give owners all the benefits of modern day living with contemporary design and fittings that will more than meet current expectations with nearly all apartments benefitting from their own area of outside space in the form of a balcony, or balconies in many cases, or a private terrace. Added to that will be a large underground car park with an allocated space for each apartment. A full ‘turnkey’ solution is also being offered whereby buyers can work with local design experts VK Interiors to furnish and equip their new home ready for immediate use.

But, what makes Byron unique will be the excellent on site facilities that will elevate the development beyond anything ever seen in the immediate area. We believe that Byron will very much add to the community and bring to Woolacombe a superb new restaurant/bistro which will be owned and run by originally local residents Graham and Mike Brundle who want to provide excellent, well priced modern food and cocktails in a superb contemporary environment. The restaurant will be open all year round and will be open to the general public as well as serve as an integral part of Byron for the apartment owners to enjoy a range of services from. There will also be an indoor heated swimming pool and spa complex which will be for the private use of the residents and their guests and provide an alternative option for occupants especially when the weather is not conducive for the beach. A games room will also be available and there will be on site staff dealing with the day to day running of the building and the option of an in house Holiday Letting Service who will promote and manage holiday bookings should owners wish to go that route.

Having lived and worked locally all of my life I know there will be people in the village worried about these apartments being used solely as holiday homes, may be empty for large periods of time and perhaps a sense of disappointment that many local people will struggle to afford them. Affordability and homes for local people are always going to be a problem as Woolacombe has for many years been very popular with incoming purchasers from around the UK; I share those people’s concerns. However, looking forward, I believe Byron will offer Woolacombe so much; not just a lovely restaurant to enjoy but also to reinvigorate this otherwise rotting property and also bring in a lot more people who will use the local facilities, shops, businesses etc. boosting trade in the village and benefitting the community as a whole. The apartments also have FULL RESIDENTIAL use so there will be people who buy the properties to live in full time as well as take advantage of them as a holiday home or holiday let as there is excellent income earning potential from them as well. The site facilities should also boost the number of weeks the apartments will be used, if they are holiday homes, thus reducing the periods when there might not be quite so many people around.

In terms of timescales, there are two distinct phases of construction with the first part being the conversion and refurbishment of the existing building to deliver roughly half of the 55 units together with the opening of the restaurant and provision of the underground car park at the rear. This is planned for completion for the summer of 2017 when the first occupants will be able to enjoy their new homes. The second phase sees the building of three further brand new blocks at the rear, the landscaping of the courtyards and construction of the swimming pool complex; this should be complete around the end of 2018.

Buyers have a fantastic opportunity to get in now and have the best pickings of their new apartment. Reservations are actively being taken with several apartments already reserved or indeed sold. Enquiry levels at present are extremely high, despite the time of year and work is progressing at a real pace now.

The time has definitely come for the Phoenix to rise from the flames and once again become the jewel in the Woolacombe crown and I am very excited about prospects moving forward.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact me, Lee Hussell at Webbers Estate Agents on 01271 869119 or

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One comment

  • Nigel Charlesworth

    The Narracott as designed by Reggie Gale was not an eysore. It was a visionary interpretation by an enlightened young architect. It’s beach fronting elevation became an icon that linked in the 1960’s/70’s with The Red Barn frontage as an exemplar of those Carnaby Street/Flower Power Surfing days.


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