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The Commodore Hotel
Marine Parade
North Devon
EX39 4JN

01271 860347


A family run hotel for over three generations

In late summer 1968 Bruce & Patricia Woolaway made their return to North Devon in order to create a business they would personally own and operate. This was to be The Commodore Hotel Instow (Formerly Strandfield House) a Georgian residence set within this Charming waterside Village.

After much sympathetic restoration and conversion from the early 1970’s until the mid 1980’s the Hotel would eventually take shape in order to take advantage of the spectacular location and estuary views. The Hotel slowly earned itself a stellar reputation for good food, service & accommodation with the added novelty of all three of Bruce and Patricia’s children, Mark, Gary & Vanessa, all playing their respective parts to ensure its welcoming & friendly atmosphere.

After finishing his education in the summer of 1974 it became apparent Gary, after much seasonal training in all departments, would be most enthused to make it a life long passion and ambition to eventually become a director at the Hotel. Working alongside one another for the next thirty years, Gary, Bruce & Patricia, would form a unique and even internationally renowned partnership that seldom exists for such a long period in this industry. They would possess a welcoming friendly greeting that would put local residents, Olympians, celebrities, politicians and even Royalty at complete ease.

With the arrivals of a third successive generation from 1987 onwards it then became clear the Hotel would now span three generations of dedication with all three of Gary’s children, James, William & Olivia, working together at various stages under their father's direction. With the sudden loss of Bruce In the late summer of 2005 the family sought to honour his memory by continuing to uphold the standards he set for his Hotel. 

James Woolaway, after returning from a two year catering sabbatical in 2006, joined Gary to assist in the day to day running of the hotel and to naturally forge a similar relationship template that had brought Gary, Bruce and Patricia past success for nearly 30 years. 


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Just minutes from the North Devon Link road & Historic market towns of Bideford and Barnstaple we are ideally placed for exploring local heritage , galleries & shops.