in its 90 years as a leading resort hotel, the Palace in Babbacombe has seen its fair share of famous names, front page politicians and sports personalities over the years.

Princess Anne, the late Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and TV’s Sue Barker whose professional tennis career blossomed on its courts have stayed at or visited the hotel which hosted many top-flight events and conferences as well as being a holiday venue.

It soon attracted an international clientele, drawn as well to a golf course, covered swimming pool – opened in 1928 – covered and open tennis courts, bowling greens, squash courts, a gymnasium and even a cinema.

The hotel’s darkest hour was during the war when it was requisitioned as an RAF hospital. In 1942, it was bombed and many killed and injured. It was targeted again in January, 1943. It was not able to open as a hotel again until 1948.

It was not long before the Palace was back on its feet benefiting from the surge of tourism to Torbay in the 1960s and 1970s. It has changed hands many times.

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