Everyone said that we were crazy for going to Cornwall for just one weekend. At an average of 6 hours drive each way, we were told to stay longer, to enjoy the time blah blah. But little do they know that Panu and I, we love roadtrips. We can drive for hours on end and 6 hours through the picturesque countryside is nothing considering not so long ago we did 9 hours through the Mojave desert.
So without so much as a GPS (mainly because we’re cheap) but loaded with snacks including biltong, m&m’s and yoghurt covered edamame, we set out early on Saturday morning, our destination: The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall.
I can’t even begin to describe The Scarlet. I mean, where do you start with a hotel that is perched on a cliff’s edge over looking the Celtic Sea, boasting eco-friendly operations and a Michelin starred chef? And even cooler than all that, what do you say about a hotel that has its own hotel dog, Jasper, who you can take for a stroll, run or play on the beach? You say yes please, that’s what you say, when they invite you down to stay the night*.
The Scarlet is an ultra modern comfort-driven hotel, nestled away in Mawgan Porth, one of Cornwall’s tiniest villages. Its objective is to unwind its guests through comfort, privacy and above all else, luxurious surroundings. I’m happy to say that The Scarlet does this, and it does it well.
Designed as a five story complex literally on the edge of the ocean, The Scarlet provides not only the usual hotel amenities. It goes above and beyond with a number of private (and lavishly furnished) lounge rooms and even a relaxation room where you go to well, relax, and I even noticed a couple of people napping in there.
The amenities continue with a heated indoor pool, outdoor “natural” pool (which at this time of the year is freezing so I didn’t give that a go) and a steam room. The bestest most awesomest amenity of all though? The traditional wood fired dutch tubs, situated overlooking the beach so you can truly relax and absorb the amazing surroundings while being kept warm and sipping on some bubbly if you so please.
But enough about the amenities for now. We arrived at The Scarlet around 2pm and were starving. Having totally bypassed Devon without stopping for cream tea, I was exponentially delighted to find out that The Scarlet’s all day menu included cream tea, so we ordered that and a cured meat platter to share. You can have the food anywhere on the premises; we chose to chill out at the eclectic and super trendy bar area.
The food itself was very good. The meat platter is standard fare I suppose, but the marinated artichokes, sundried tomatos and mini pickles won my heart! The cream tea with scones was also delicious because hello CLOTTED CREAM. Need I say more?
After our snacks and a soak in the tub, we retreated to our room to chillax before dinner. We were allocated a standard “Just Right” room, facing the ocean. If this is the quality of a standard room, I would die to check out an “Indulgent” room! And ps. HUGE SHOWER HEADS *love*
Oh one more ps. The bathrooms are “open bathrooms” ie there ain’t nothing providing privacy between the bedroom and the bathroom so if you’re in a new relationship and you’re a little shy about going to the erm, toilet? Maybe you ought to ask for a different room
After a substantial nap, we headed to The Scarlet’s restaurant, which is lead by Michelin starred chef, Ben Tunnicliffe. The dining room area is modern and spacious with high ceilings. We sat facing the ocean which at this time of the year means we sat facing blackness, but I can only imagine how beautiful it would be, dining in summer against the western sunset.
Fillet of ray bourguignonne
Potted crab, brown crab mayo & crispy egg
Breast of Cornish duck, jerusalem artichokes, pressed confit leg,
sprout top choucroute, date & leek
Pan fried halibut, pinenut & pumpkin seed crust,
purple sprouting, pomme anna & red wine
Salt lemon fudge parfait, pommegranet jelly & sorbet
Lemon tart, satsuma sorbet & crème fraiche
All in all the food was good. The mains didn’t wow me, but the starters and desserts were fantastic. I was particularly excited to find ray on the menu ~ I hadn’t had it in years (I love it just grilled with curry powder *nom nom*) and it hit the spot. Dessert wise, my salted lemon fudge parfait was amazing in all its sweetness, contrasted by the tartness of the pommegranet sorbet. Panu’s lemon tart, oddly coupled with a citrus satsuma sorbet, was also delicious.
After dinner, Panu and I retreated to one of the private lounges and played a couple of games of pool. Seriously, I think my most favourite part of the hotel has to be these lounges.
Rise and shine, it’s breakfast time!
Breakfast is served in the same dining room as dinner, which in all its luxuriousness the night before, felt a little too “proper” for breakfast. Nonetheless, it was comfortable and we slowly ate while reading the newspaper and magazine and things I never find time to do in London.
I started with a lemon & thyme poached pear in crème fraiche which OMG – I think this is meant to be dessert. It was soooooooo delicious, all I wanted was more, but I managed to contain myself.
Lemon & thyme poached pear in crème fraiche
Grilled flat mushroom, spinach, poached egg & hollandaise sauce
Smoked salmon & scrambled eggs
The breakfast was DIVINE. I can’t really fault any part of the meal, especially the grilled mushroom doused in delicious hollandaise sauce and did I mention the poached pear? I want to take that home and have it every single day for the rest of my life.
Though it felt like more than a day, our visit to The Scarlet wrapped up after breakfast and we started making our journey home. We decided to make a couple of pit stops along the way though, starting with Padstow, a small port town about 8 miles from Mawgan Porth.
The weather wasn’t really playing fair yesterday, bucketing down with blistering cold rain and wind. We managed to find refuge in Cherry Trees coffee house, right by the water and enjoyed a couple of ginormous Cornish pasties. I mean, we’re in Cornwall afterall. Panu had a steak & blue stilton pasty, and I had a steak, swede & potato. Thumbs up for both.
And another obligatory thing… I had to have come clotted cream ice cream… never mind that it was like below freezing outside.
We stopped again in Exeter, another town on the way home but didn’t eat anything because I was still completely stuffed from the pear and mushroom and giant pasty and ice cream. And finally at 7pm, we made it home despite the increasingly awful traffic heading into central London *grrrrrrr* and now I appreciate not owning a car here and having to deal with that crap.
Although it was literally a 36 hour trip (about 12 hours of which were spent in a car), we did manage to relax and unwind, most probably thanks to the hot tub, which if I could I’d totally take home with me. The Scarlet ain’t cheap (our room was £190 per night) but honestly, for a romantic, relaxing, secluded getaway, it is well worth the money and you could stay there for days without venturing out.
And now. It’s Monday. I’m back in London and really, should get back to some work.
The Scarlet Hotel
Cornwall, TR8 4DQ
01637 861 800
* Panu and I stayed as guests of The Scarlet, including dinner and breakfast.