We were lucky enough to visit Cornwall’s Scarlet Hotel recently. After packing our flip-flops, wet suits and eye masks, we jumped in the car and arrived at Mawgan Porth on the North Cornwall coast with plenty of time for an aperitif, enjoyed in a giant red Dutch Tub perched on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
The Scarlet offers guests beautifully designed interiors and exteriors – artwork, sculpture, furniture and lighting by Cornish artists adorns public spaces – along with food to die for, friendly, knowledgeable staff and 37 bedrooms, all with sea views and rain water showers.
Enter the building and an immediate sense of space, light, peace and tranquility washes over you, helped by the fact that no children are allowed to step foot in the hotel. Those seeking family-friendly environs can book into the Bedruthan Steps, owned by the same family.
The Scarlet is the brainchild of three sisters who wanted to create a luxurious, adult-only retreat that put eco-friendly credentials and sustainability at its heart. They have achieved this by using a biomass boiler fuelled by local wood chippings, solar panels, rainwater and grey water harvesting, and a sea thrift roof.
If you feel like being active, it’s all there for you: foraging, tree climbing, wild swimming, yoga on the beach. If it’s relaxation you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. The Ayurvedic-inspired spa takes guests on individual ‘journeys’, there’s an indoor pool, meditation room, Hammam, Rhassoul and couples’ suite with double bath. There’s also a natural outdoor pool for sunnier days that uses a living reed bed as a filtration system. It was freezing when we visited but looked tempting all the same.
Ben Tunnicliffe, a local Michelin star chef, is at the helm in the restaurant, offering diners beautifully prepared local produce, from Cornish scallops and John Dory, to St Ives beef and wild mushroom pie. Breakfast is equally delicious.
Work your way through the wine list in the bar over a game of Scrabble or relax in the library with its low lighting and pool table. Service is discreet and enthusiastic; most of the staff are locals and are only too happy to share their local knowledge. We loved it so much we’re already dreaming of our next visit.