Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Mercure Paignton

2 Jun 2023 by Mark Caswell
Mercure Paignton (image from


The Devon seaside town of Paignton is situated on the Tor Bay coastline, in an area often referred to as the English Riviera – a nickname dating back to Victorian times when the region was compared to the French Riviera.

It is very much a traditional family seaside resort, with a red sand beach, Victorian pleasure pier, esplanade, and the popular Paignton Zoo on the outskirts of the town. Paignton is also home to the annual English Riviera Airshow.

Until recently the town has lacked the presence of major hotel brands, with exceptions being the Travelodge Paignton Seafront at the far end of the esplanade, and the Premier Inn Paignton Seafront (Goodrington Sands) located on Goodrington Beach to the south of Paignton.

But that has all changed with the arrival of not one, but two Accor properties in prime locations on the esplanade, overlooking the pier and Tor Bay.

Owner the Fragrance Group purchased two adjacent properties including the former Park Hotel in 2017, and these have been demolished to make way for two new-build hotels – the Mercure Paignton and the ibis Styles Paignton.

The first of these was unveiled in April 2023, with the ibis Styles set to follow later this summer.

The Mercure and ibis Styles properties in Paignton (credit Mark Caswell)

Where is it?

On the town’s Esplanade Road, around ten minutes’ walk from Paignton rail station, which has direct services to Exeter, London, Bristol and Birmingham. The Dartmouth Steam Railway also runs on the former Great Western Railway branch line between Paignton and Kingswear.

What’s it like?

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Mercure and ibis Styles properties have transformed Paignton’s seafront. The new buildings dominate the esplanade (see my photo above taken from the pier looking back to the hotels), and the Mercure features a large outdoor terrace – which was just being finished when I visited and which will undoubtedly be packed during the coming summer season.

We visited the Mercure Paignton in mid-May, around a month after the hotel opened – it’s the first Mercure property I have stayed in for a long, long time, and I was immediately impressed by the fresh, modern decor of the public areas.

Burgh Island artist Emma Carter Bromfield was commissioned to paint several pieces depicting the local coastline, including a triptych and a large painting of the sun setting over the pier, and these really help to give a classy feel to the hotel’s reception area and bar.

When we arrived on a Friday afternoon there were two members of staff on the front desk, and a few guests in the bar area enjoying the late afternoon sun.

Note that parking is in high demand in Paignton. We parked in the hotel’s car park which had yet to set up its monitoring system, but going forward this will be managed on a paid-for basis – guests will need to inform reception of their vehicle registration and there will be a £15 charge per night.

Artwork by Emma Carter Bromfield at the Mercure Paignton


The hotel’s 161 rooms are split into Standard and Privilege categories – the main difference between the two (aside from some additional amenities including bathrobe and slippers) are that the Privilege rooms have seafront facing rooms rather than looking onto side streets or an internal courtyard.

Our Privilege room 315 had floor-to-ceiling windows with wonderful views of Tor Bay and the pier – there are rooms one further floor up, but these have smaller windows, presumably due to building regulations.

In line with the English Riviera setting, room decor has an art deco feel, with gold trim details around the headboard, the curved luggage rack and the cupboard handles. Aside from this, white and light blue is the main colour scheme, with prints of more of Bromfield’s works helping to bring together a strong narrative across the rooms and public areas.

Mercure Paignton (image from

Amenities included a desk and chair, an additional armchair, a safe, hairdryer, iron, bathrobe and slippers, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary bottles of still and sparkling water, and a Nespresso machine.

There was also an empty fridge, which in Standard rooms is empty, while in Privilege rooms it contains a few complimentary bottles of Pepsi and orange juice. All rooms feature bathrooms with walk-in showers and Elemental Herbology products.

Wifi is free throughout the hotel with no code required, and as with most new-build properties the in-room power points have USB ports for easy charging of devices.

As with the public areas of the hotel I found our room to be stylish, modern and well-equipped.

Food and drink

The majority of the ground floor of the hotel is taken up by an open plan area for guest breakfast and Latitude 50 restaurant, both of which open out onto an expansive outdoor terrace. Parts of the terrace were open when we visited, but once work is finished it will offer a large space with an outdoor bar open to both guests and visitors.

We had dinner at Latitude 50 – my partner was particularly impressed with the vegetarian starter of aubergine roasted with hazelnut dukkah, while I enjoyed the butter-roasted chicken breast with chargrilled asparagus, honey carrots and tarragon chicken sauce.

Dinner at Latitude 50 at the Mercure Paignton (credit Mark Caswell)

This was finished off with a mighty Southwest cheeseboard (including fruit cake which was an interesting but welcome addition), and the beautifully rich Chocolate Singularity – dark chocolate delice with orange salted caramel, chocolate ice cream and a cocoa tuile.

My only small grumble were the thyme and parmesan chips were not much to write home about – if you’re going to advertise them in this way then I want to see a punch of both flavours covering each and every chip – not just a small sprinkling of the herb and cheese on top of (perfectly adequate) fries.


There is a fitness centre on the basement level of the hotel with a range of cardio and weights equipment.


This property exceeded my expectations on pretty much every level, and I have spent the last few weeks recommending it to local friends.

Between the Mercure and the soon-to-open ibis Styles (which I will be back to review at some point) the two properties have added over 280 modern seafront rooms to Paignton’s hotel portfolio, which will push other properties in the area to up their game. Exciting times for Paignton.


  • Best for The views of Tor Bay and the pier from sea-facing Privilege rooms
  • Don’t miss The outdoor terrace and bar on a sunny day
  • Price Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in July started from £95 for a Classic room, or £158 for a Privilege room
  • Contact Mercure Paignton, 22-25 Esplanade Road, TQ4 6BQ; +44 1803 229444;
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