Every place we visited on our recent Cornwall trip kept exceeding expectations. That’s not to say Mounthaven wasn’t as good as Carbis Bay (not at all!), but each excelled in their own individual way. So if Mounthaven was foodie heaven, and Chapel House was our idea of absolute interior perfection, Carbis Bay had the serious wow factor.
So let’s start at the beginning. Carbis Bay is a rather old-school grand hotel, not far from St Ives. It rises out from the cliff in all its splendour and takes over an impressive 25 acres. The front of house manager proudly showed us around the facilities in her golf buggy, us bouncing about like kids in the back. In the main house there’s the C Bay Spa with its own pool and hot tub, as well as the main restaurant and bar. Meanwhile right on the beach, there’s the newly built Beach Club with its Mediterranean food and knock out sea views. So far so good, but we hadn’t seen nothing yet.
Carbis Bay Beach Lodges
Jeez Louise, the beach lodges are seriously impressive.
Each lodge comes with its very own private rooftop hot tub with uninterrupted views of the Blue Flag sandy beach below. There’s also garden furniture, including a rather stylish egg chair if you’d prefer to kick back and take in the views from up here.
Working our way downstairs we were shown to the three (THREE!) double rooms, all complete with their own bathrooms with roll top tubs and separate showers. You wouldn’t be disappointed with any of the rooms but two had their own balconies looking out to sea (the other a skylight which was ever so cosy). Brand spanking new, no expense has been spared when kitting these out. Think Dyson hair dryers, Aromatherapy Associates products in the bathrooms and the fluffiest of robes and towels everywhere. We particularly liked the clever window in the shower, which allows you to maintain the stunning views even when washing your hair.
Making our way down the rest of the central spiral staircase bought us out into the open plan living area. On one side of the room huge sofas look onto a modern fireplace, whilst a massive dining table complete with overflowing fruit basket took over the other. Behind that is a kitchen with an island and stools, (but no hobs, “the sort of guests that hire these lodges don’t want to cook”, we’re told – quite.) Instead you’ll find a large fridge stocked with milk, Nespresso machine and a hamper overflowing with Cornish treats. Just in case you can’t bear to leave the lodge (and really, why would you?), they’d kindly left a fresh loaf of bread and butter, a jar of cookies and a lemon drizzle cake under a theatrical glass cloche. Carbis Bay also offer a private chef who will come over and cook up a seafood banquet, a bbq, paella night – whatever you want. You can even order cocktails from the Ipad which will be bought over to the lodge.
We loved the art selection – think Gray Marlin-esque pictures of swimmers in the sea and on the beaches. A seaside theme for sure but very elegantly done and not at all kitsch.
As the lovely front of house lady said as she left, “If the main hotel is five-stars, this is a six” (we’d argue, and then some).
Giddy with excitement we cut a slice of cake, opened up the champers and jumped straight into the tub where we stayed until the sky turned bright pink for us.
After getting ready (and putting the sound system to the test – it passed!) we reluctantly left the lodge behind to head over to the two-rosette Sands Restaurant back in the main building. Supporting the “Keep it Cornish” campaign, fresh fish is caught daily in St Ives and 90% of ingredients are sourced as locally as possible. Highlights for us included the fillet of Cornish beef with Cornish brie, turnip puree and tarragon cream and the Disaronno & cherry fondant which was served on the most beautiful plate. It’s an extensive menu though with plenty rifts on old favourites – Executive Fish & Chips anyone? (that’s five different fish with five separate batters, peas two ways and broken tartar to you and me). Portions are on the generous side – you’ve been warned.
Once we’d had our fill of ‘Guess the Song’ (they play acoustic versions of pop songs, it’s quite entertaining), we scooted back to the lodge and jumped into the comfy beds.
The next morning we had to make the most of our proximity to the beach. Sliding back the glass doors on to the garden area, there are just a couple of steps down until you are right on the beautiful golden beach. Blankets and flip-flops are left by the door so you don’t have to think about a thing. We explored mermaid coloured caves and pretty waterfalls – the only thing missing was a dog, maybe next time.
Breakfast can be delivered to the lodge but we went back to the main house for a huge plate of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on a delicious buttery muffin.
Really this place would make such a great party pad, or a super luxurious family holiday. For little ol’ me and Andy it was outrageously extravagant – and utter heaven.
The biggest luxury of all though is the beach – you’d normally travel so many hours for a view like this, but it’s right here in the UK, and it’s absolutely perfect.