Take a drive along the hugely entertaining winding lanes of the North Cornwall coast and you will see an inconspicuous sign for the Scarlet Hotel. Follow the route and you will find one of the UK’s most unique and cleverly designed hotels perched on the clifftops looking out of the golden sands of Mawgan Porth. With the environment a major factor in the hotel’s planning, The Scarlet has been designed to create a unique and sustainable building that enhances the local environment and allows residents to benefit from nature.
Visitors enter the reception area and are immediately greeted with a floor to ceiling window that overlooks the indoor swimming pool, and from there the breathtaking views down to the Atlantic Ocean. The open reception area and plethora of lounge rooms also provide plenty of room for a spot of relaxation; there is even a cool little drawing room with a cupboard full of board games and a pool table for a spot of late night drinking and fun.
The Spa at The Scarlet focuses on complete wellbeing rather than simply skin deep beauty. Guests have the free use of an impressive array of facilities, including the sauna, hamman and steam room, as well as indoor and outdoor swimming pools and log-fire heated hot tubs overlooking the sea. Those who really want to indulge can also take advantage of various treatments and massages; the Hot Poultice massage, in particular, more than relieved me of the stresses and strains of London life.
Accommodation is similarly impressive. Arranged over 5 levels, each of the 37 bedrooms enjoys a balcony overlooking the beach, with some even boasting their own gardens, wrap around terraces and cool shell-like viewing pods. Interior wise, the best way to describe the rooms is minimalistic luxury. All of the expected mod-cons are present, but in a clean and clutter free manner so as to keep the focus on the spectacular views. Luxury here isn’t about bling, but about thoughtful touches like various mood-lighting options, permanently warm floors (apparently achieved using eco-friendly natural heating), stylish decor and some of the comfiest beds you could ever wish for.
Headed up by Michelin award-winning Ben Tunnicliffe, the restaurant serves sophisticated, robust food that is surprising but never pretentious. Ben’s menus are simple yet bursting with flavour, with extensive use of what is at its seasonal best, including plenty of seafood. . Starters could include Lobster & Marrow ravioli with spring onions, chervil & parsley or Slow braised pork, marinated oyster, chestnut & girolle mushrooms with piccalilli. Main dishes feature similarly appetising dishes like Roast Sea Bass, nettle gnocchi & purple sprouting broccoli and Charred Rib of St Ives Beef with caramelised shallots, salsa verde & griddled polenta. The sweet-toothed will leave satisfied also, with wonderful creations such as Jaffa cake pudding and Honey & thyme roast peaches with hazelnut macaroons to choose from.
As with the rest of the hotel, the main feature of the large dining room is the sea-view. Floor to ceiling windows allow the moon and stars to create an intimate atmosphere in the spacious room, whilst the friendly and lively staff help to create an upbeat but laid-back feel. Breakfast is also served in this room, meaning an invigorating flood of sunlight in the morning. When the weather permits alfresco dining is also available on the large terrace. With dinner costing a £40 for three exquisitely cooked courses, The Restaurant at The Scarlet Hotel provides a compelling offering, especially when you consider the stunning location.
The Scarlet Restaurant Rating:
Cuisine Type: Modern British
Dinner for two: £40/head for three courses
Hotel rooms available for around £250/night
The Scarlet Hotel
Mawgan Porth, Cornwall TR8 4DJ
01637 861 800