A Dartmouth hotel that was run by the same family for more than four decades has been sold, the owners have announced.

Christine and Steven Mayer originally bought The Stoke Lodge hotel, also known as the ‘Country House Hotel by the Sea’, in 1980. The two went on to include their three daughters and their partners in the venture.

But after 43 years, Mrs Mayer has decided to call time on the business as she is planning to retire.

“The time seemed just right,” she told this paper, adding that running the hotel had become increasingly challenging after her husband Steven died almost six years ago.

“It has got increasingly hard, especially after Covid, but we soldiered on,” said Mrs Mayer, who admitted selling the business had been “an emotional decision”.

The hotel just outside Dartmouth is noted for staging many different types of functions, including weddings and Rotary Club meetings.

The original building, which dates back to the 17th century, underwent many changes after the Mayers took over, and the hotel eventually doubled in size.

Mrs Mayer said: “We added two swimming pools and doubled the room size – we’ve done a lot of work over the years.”

The Mayer family: Chris, Sigourney, Chelsie and Samantha
The Mayer family: Chris, Sigourney, Chelsie and Samantha (Chris Mayer)

The picturesque hotel, situated close to the coast on three acres of ground, will not be closing down, however. Mrs Mayer revealed that a young couple will be taking over the business.

She said she expected the new owners “to put their stamp” on the business “and make it their own” in due course.

New owners Alexandra Ray and Myles Bruce told this paper that they were “extremely excited to be taking over the running of Stoke Lodge Hotel from Chris and her daughters”.

New owners Alexandra and Myles with their puppy Willow
New owners Alexandra and Myles with their puppy Willow (Alexandra Ray)

Ms Ray said: “It is a beautiful property in a stunning part of the UK, and we greatly look forward to building on their legacy.

“We have moved to Stoke Fleming from London where Myles was working at Coworth Park, part of The Dorchester Collection, and I was at The Savoy. We are both extremely excited to be embarking on this new journey together with our families, including

our new puppy, Willow, and look forward to sharing further updates in the coming months.”