Bedruthan Hotel & Spa | relaxing hotel, Cornwall, UK
In a nutshell: This family-friendly spa hotel in Cornwall has a relaxed, creative vibe and an impressively holistic ethos for a spa hotel. It’s set above the beautiful sweep of Mawgan Porth beach, just made for head clearing walks, sandcastle building and surfing, and puts on all sorts of crafty, fun and wellbeing activities for children. Set in an unpretty 1960s building reached across a car park, it’s less sophisticated than its adults-only sister hotel The Scarlet nearby, but has equally awesome sea views from the inside and makes a great place to hole up with your kids.
Who it’s best for: Anyone with a child, especially stressed and exhausted parents looking to take time out in the spa and/or who want genuinely engaging facilities and activities for their children.
Who it’s not for: Anyone without children. They are everywhere – it’s a bit like being in a giant crèche.
What you do: Relax and engage with your offspring by going walking, biking, swimming, beachcombing, surfing and sandcastle building. There’s also an impressive daily timetable of craft sessions, fun activities and evening clubs, from camp fires and movie nights to family yoga, circus skills and kite flying. Adults get to have their own fun too – try evening salsa classes or attend an acoustic guitar performance.
When you’re tired, pop them in the kids club (every guest gets two hours free per day) or play swapsies with your friend or partner and use the indoor hydro spa (which, rather happily, kids get access to for 30 minutes each morning). There’s also an outdoor Sensory Spa Garden (which you pay to use for an hour).
The hotel’s holistic ethos carries over into the spa treatment list, where there’s all sorts of delicious treats on offer using the fantastic organic Ila products (kids get their own 30 minute Ila facial) and the hotel’s own locally made and natural products called Oula (which is Cornish for owl – why not? I told you it was a creative place).
Where you stay: It’s all geared up for kids, so there are outdoor children’s play areas, tennis courts, a zip wire with a fantastic sea view, an indoor soft play area, outdoor pools (for summer swimming only, as they’re solar heated) and a decent-sized indoor pool. This is open for adult-only lengths at 8 am and 6pm – it would be helpful if you could also pop into the sauna or steam before breakfast, but as the spa doesn’t open till 9 am and breakfast finishes at 10 am this isn’t that easy.
The highlight of the spa is a large hydrotherapy pool with views out to the sea. There’s also a sauna, steam room and caldarium, two showers (though only one which offers privacy) and, for relaxing after, a square of comfortable cushioned seats to sit on and read, a few comfy loungers and a balcony for sunny days.
In a separate place entirely, the Sensory Spa Garden is an outdoor circuit surrounded by willow fencing and graced by pots of plants and herbs that you can do in all weathers (guests have been known to have bravely ventured here in the slanting rain). You start with a DIY oat-based body scrub in a dry stone walled yurt, and carry on to a sauna (with a sea view), a rejuvenating cold drench (go on, you’re worth it), a lengthy session in a hot tub and a wet scrub with a warm shower before ending with (the best bit) a herbal tea to sip around a marvellous fire pit while your feet have a soak in a copper pot filled with warm water. It’s £45 for an hour – bring a friend for this, as it’s a social rather than solitary activity.
Inside the hotel there’s a tempting shop and a giant converted ballroom with tables at the windows where you can relax and enjoy the sea views. Bedrooms are comfortable and relaxed if uneventful – rather dated wooden furniture in ours was spruced up with bright cushions and colourful artwork. We stayed in an Apartment Suite, which was in a separate building to the main hotel and had super sea views and outdoor loungers.
How was it for us: My husband, daughter and I have been here twice now and we’ve all loved it each time. On this visit my daughter (age 6) developed an addiction to the zip wire, my husband and I enjoyed a proper coastal walk, and we all made beach huts out of lollipop sticks in a craft session. The beach was a daily attraction for paddling and running around on, and we ended each day falling asleep to the sound of waves.
I enjoyed an hour in the Sensory Spa Garden circuit – most especially staring in the giant blazing fire at the end of it.
Be warned there’s no changing room, but I popped into one of the stone yurts at the end of the circuit to remove my wet swimming costume so I could sit around the fire without feeling damp and chilly. I had a super Ila Marine Floral Facial, which felt suitably seaside-appropriate and (as with every Ila facial I’ve ever had) was so much more than just a facial, complete with bliss-inducing facial massage and beautifully carried out by South African therapist Liza. Meanwhile, my husband and child spent time perfecting their floating skills in the indoor pool and doing an entertaining treasure hunt around the hotel.
What we took home: Some rather lovely cards from the tempting shop and happy hearts.
Would we go back: Absolutely.
Food view: The Lanai Lounge serves herbal teas, inventive drinks such as the Turmeric and Honey milk (very tasty) and locally made energy balls if you’re flagging. Most meals are eaten in The Wild Café, a general dining room with sea views that serves breakfast, a simple all day menu of burgers and salads during the day (with a few tasty specials) and a kids buffet tea early evening. In the evening you can dine off The Herring menu in the café with your children, or if they are 12+ you can eat in a more refined environment downstairs (baby listening is also available). The Herring meals were consistently good throughout – highlights included Sweet potato and zucchini Thai green curry, Orkney salmon with crushed earlies and Boccadon Farm osso bucco with potato puree, spring onions and Madeira.
What’s lowly: The unattractive exterior – I wanted to clad it with wood to protect it from negative comments, for it belies what lies on the inside. Be sure to book a room with a sea view.
Insider tip: Staff are friendly, efficient and used to parents with bizarre off-menu requests, so don’t be shy if you’re teenager is a vegan or your toddler has developed a penchant for fillet steak.
Price: From £199 for a family of four (children aged 2 and 5) in a sea view double, B&B, which includes 2 hours of free childcare for each child.
Value for Money: Not bad, though things do add up as with any hotel, and it’s worth looking at packages. For example, the Toddler Break: Spend Time Together, for families with pre-schoolers. This costs from £478 for a two-night break and includes breakfast each morning, two hours free childcare each day, an additional £30 per adult and £7.50 per child to spend on food each day, and a free evening toddler-sitting. The break also includes the loan of free equipment – think puddle-jumping boiler suits and wellies for kids, kites and spades, all terrain buggies and toddler-carrying back packs.
Getting there: Newquay airport is a 10 minute drive away. The Nearest station is Newquay, 15 minutes away, or Bodmin Parkway station is 30 minutes away.
Sister retreats: Adults-only The Scarlet, on the same stretch, is owned by the same family, and the place to head if you’re without offspring and in need of more peace and luxury. (I admit that having stayed at The Scarlet a number of times I did peek enviously through the fence while out on a couple of our walks at a couple on the wooden deck area enjoying a cuddle, a drink and the sea view in solitude).
Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones
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