Review: A Roadtrip To Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall
In the Polestar 2
‘I opened the curtains with slight trepidation after a first night of howling wind and rain. To my joy and surprise I was met by blue skies and bright sunshine beaming down onto Mawgan Porth Bay lying resplendent beneath the adults-only Scarlet Hotel, my retreat for a couple of spoiling wintry days.’ Amelia Windsor reviews the Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall, having embarked on a road trip in the Polestar 2.
Hotel Review: Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall
Roadtrip in the Polestar 2
My friend and I had travelled in style to Cornwall in a Polestar, a marque I’m positive will become more and more common on our roads as we accelerate the transition to EVs. We were relieved to find a selection of charging points on our route and at lovely spots too, such as the Strawberry Fields farm shop and in the pretty village of Ilminster. The car itself – a Polestar 2 – was exquisitely smooth to drive along the winding Cornish roads, and I appreciated the extra leg room to sit back and relax while my friend took the wheel (I’m still an aspiring driver).
For over ten years now, the Scarlet Hotel has put the environment at the heart of all it does. When dismantling the old property before opening in 2009, lizards were found in the rock walls and were all rehomed, and the old hotel beds were donated to a charity for the homeless. Today, the roof is lined with a native plant called sea thrift that is home to many local insects and keeps the property cooler in the warmer months. There’s also no need for air-conditioning given the free and powerful sea breeze on offer. Solar panels cover the car park and grey water, captured from the famous Cornish downpours, flushes the loos. In the garden rooms, where I stayed, there are repurposed wooden coastal erosion posts from the bay that frame the mini terraces that look out to the sea – they provide the most spectacular views to be enjoyed from your bed or while brushing your teeth.
Strap On Your Walking Boots
The South West Coast Path runs right in front of the hotel and while feasting on a leisurely breakfast of Full Cornish or locally foraged mushrooms on toast, you might find your feet itching to take you to admire the awesome views across the bays and out to sea. Be sure to pack good walking shoes. Once on your way, just follow the path, wherever it takes you. You might find yourself stopping often to take in the theatrical crashing of the waves against the cliffs and the sea birds keening over head. There are plenty of restaurants and cafés along the way, but don’t miss The Beach Hut in Watergate Bay if you are heading to the left of the hotel, for some warming, hearty fodder and a chance to gawp at the surfers taking on the waves. After lunch, you might want to walk further to Roo’s Beach in Porth, a boutique filled with topnotch brands like Ganni and Gramicci. You can then grab a beer to enjoy on the beach opposite while watching the sun go down. A short drive away from the hotel in the nifty Polestar leads us to Harlyn Bay, where the unpredictable weather led to the best rainbow I have ever seen. It is also a perfect beach to take a stroll along or to just sit and take in the spectacular surroundings.
Then it was back to the Scarlet for a complimentary loose leaf tea or fresh coffee – much better than single-use teabags (most contain plastic) or ubiquitous plastic coffee pods. After all that fresh air, a session in the Scarlet Spa completed a dreamy afternoon: the pool looks out onto the bay and is heated by an impressive solar system. If you are brave, there is a natural outdoor pool that is filtered only by reeds and algae, allowing you to have that wild swimming feel, but with a quick enough dash inside to warm up in the cedar wood sauna. There are many Ayurvedic treatments on offer, and a hammam experience for two that involves exfoliating your entire body with a mud scrub before entering your own private steam room to cleanse and detoxify the body from top to toe.
Work Up An Appetite
I was also thrilled to be able to sample the new menu, following the arrival of new head chef, Jack Clayton. It features locally caught fish, such as hake and John Dory, gently cooked with delicate sauces and foraged sea vegetables. The menu changes daily, depending on the season. You can pair each dish with a Cornish natural wine; the team will be pleased to recommend which, but I loved the Knightor Chardonnay. Finish your meal with one of many beautifully presented puds like the clementine sponge cake. Clayton is aiming for a Michelin Green Star and he fully deserves it.
If you’re looking to mix things up a bit, definitely try the Herring restaurant at its sister hotel, the Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, a hop, skip and a jump away from the Scarlet and just as delicious – further celebrating all that the region has to offer.
It was hard to leave the hotel the next day, especially after an early yoga class and a final swim in the pool, watching the morning light brighten the bay with each length I took. The hotel team made sure to remind us to charge up the Polestar with the free charging points in the car park before we made our way back to the big smoke, feeling recharged, full of Cornish sea air and food, as well as plenty of amazing views and memories stored carefully in our minds to take home with us.
Book it: Amelia travelled to the Scarlet Hotel in a Polestar 2 (polestar.com). Double room rates at the Scarlet Hotel start from £225 B&B (scarlethotel.co.uk). Double room rates at Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, from £145 B&B (bedruthan.com)
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