Our fourth and final stop on the Cornwall trip was, The Scarlet, a luxury, adult-only eco-hotel near Newquay that I had wanted to visit for ages.
As we entered the foyer we noticed a sign instructing us to just ‘take a moment’. That set the tone for the next 24 hours – The Scarlet exudes calmness.
There’s no formal reception desk, just huge comfy sofas to plop yourself into but before long someone came along proffering herbal teas whilst checking us in. Actually the whole hotel is full of cosy, relaxing lounges, and food and drink can be brought to you wherever you are. There’s no phone signal here, so it’s the perfect place to really switch off.
This is luxury. But not the showy type. We’re talking the perfectly understated kind. To start with there are two pools, one inside which is heated with floor to ceiling windows, next to a steam room. There’s also an all-natural, reed filtered, outdoor pool which, whilst freezing cold in October (whilst we were there), is still a must do, even if it’s just for the quickest of dips. There’s also a cedar-barrel sauna down on the cliff (with cubby hole so you maintain the sea views!) which will warm you right up should you be brave enough.
The Scarlet has just 37 rooms in the hotel, all spaced out so that we never feel like we’re on top of people, despite it being fully booked. We were staying in one of the ‘Just Right’ double rooms with an open plan bathroom on the Coastal Garden Level. Although there are larger rooms available, this was absolutely everything we could have wished for. Behind our double bed was an open plan bathroom with standalone bath, and just behind that, a frosted glass door hides the toilet and shower. Homemade Cornish Oula products are provided, as well as gowns and the cosiest slippers. Floor to ceiling glass doors connected us to our patio outside which led onto a grass path to the edge of the cliff. It was here, whilst the sun was going down that we got engaged. Ahhhh!
Luckily we had a hot tub session booked in – a pretty bloody perfect way to celebrate if you ask me. These barrel tubs are perched right on the edge of the cliff and need to be pre-booked (£20 per bath, 30 minutes) but you get it all to yourself. Glass of champagne in hand, we watched the rest of the sun set on the most perfect day.
We were here on The Scarlet’s Cornish Wine Adventure package which meant we had a five course tasting menu with matching wines to enjoy in the main restaurant. We began with a creamy white onion and cider soup with truffle brioche on the side. It was served with a class of Camel Valley Brut – Cornwall’s answer to champagne (and arguably better, often winning in blind taste tests). Next up was a golden bowl of saffron-spiked smoked haddock chowder paired with limoux chardonnay, before a main course of slow cooked lamb, served pink with mint potato dauphines and a glass of hearty rioja. Luckily it didn’t end there with a cheese board piled high with chutneys, figs and biscuits to share and finally, a decadent dark chocolate marquise with mint choc chip ice-cream and a vintage port for good measure. We floated back to our room suitably tipsy and stuffed.
Waking early the next day, we skipped the complimentary yoga class (give me a break, we’d been to mediation the day before), and had a lazy start to the day. There are no kettles in the room, instead The Scarlet team will happily run a fresh brew to your door on demand, along with a breakfast menu (which changes daily!). Breakfast in bed is actually encouraged here (hurrah!) so we just stayed in our gowns with the glass doors thrown open munching on freshly baked croissants, bircher muesli and pots of coffee galore, watching the sky wake up before us.
We couldn’t leave without checking out the spa properly though. I was booked in for the ‘Short Journey’ a 60 minute massage tailored specifically to my needs based on my ‘Pitta’ – no not the bread, that’s my Ayurvedic body type. My masseuse was so incredible, that when she asked if the pressure was ok, I was in such a deeply relaxed out of body state that I genuinely had forgotten there was another human being in the room with me. Afterwards I’m taken to the deep relaxation room which must be what heaven is like. The lights are dimmed and I’m tucked up into one of the cushion-filled canvas pods that are hang from the ceiling, along with a herbal tea. Bliss.
Before leaving for lunch we had a quick walk through perfectly landscaped, yet natural looking gardens to find the coastal path to the beach below, noticing little cubby holes dotted about for couples to relax, read a book, have a glass of champagne. Looking back up from the beach you can barely see The Scarlet at all – so even if you’re arriving in the middle of summer, you’ll still get total privacy.
As part of the Cornish Wine Adventure package we got to enjoy lunch at nearby Trevibban Mill. It’s a working vineyard, not far from The Scarlet (they’ll even drop you off so you don’t have to drive) with a modern building housing Appletons at the Vineyard. The restaurant is run by Andy (ex-Fifteen) and his partner Lyndsey. Again there was a special menu for the occasion but all with a strong Italian influence. We began with the prettiest ball of burratina hiding under a generous shaving of autumn truffle. An absolutely beautiful plate of rabbit and tarragon-stuffed anolini (literally meaning little pies, they’re similar to tortellini) came bobbing about in a chicken broth. Not quite ready to leave behind the fresh seafood, I couldn’t resist the squid ink linguine with Padstow crab and ‘nduja for my main and the rose harissa fish stew is an absolute must-order. We liked it so much we seriously considered holding our wedding here!
Maybe it was the unexpected Italian menu in the heart of the British countryside, or the remote location, (or the fact we were newly engaged and in a little bubble) BUT it was honestly one of my favourite meals from the whole year.
The Scarlet is absolutely perfect for mini-mooners (we’ve already decided we’ll be returning for ours!), or just couples needing a bit of time out.
I don’t think we could have loved it more.