Hotel Review: Beach Lodges at Carbis Bay Hotel, Estate & Spa in Cornwall
All I can say is ‘wow’. Sometimes you take those trips away and it really fits – the mood is right, the company is good, the weather can do whatever (it’s the U.K – I’m beyond hoping for sunshine when I want it) and you arrive at your stop to find the most perfect destination. I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t be thrilled to spend a few days in one of the recently opened beach lodges at Carbis Bay Hotel – they sit at the edge of the beach on one of the most beautiful bays I have seen in this country. They comprise of three floors of style, luxury, comfort and all of the extras I could, and couldn’t, think of. Oh, and did I mention the private hot tub on your uppermost deck?!
Everything in the lodge is luxury, from the Villeroy and Boch bathroom suites to the glassware in the kitchen cupboards to the Dyson hairdryers and GHD hair straighteners in the bedrooms. Not only this but it seems that so much has been thought of – there are beach towels by the front door so you can grab one on your way to the hot tub or beach, blankets by the patio door in the lounge area to take outside if you’re dining outside and you can snuggle when the air gets cooler. And on top of this there’s the daily cocktail that is brought to your lodge and poured into one of the glasses in your kitchen – one night I was in the hot tub and it was handed to me there – even better!
A bottle of Laurent Perrier Champagne awaited my arrival, along with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread, a whole lemon drizzle cake (not just a couple of slices but the whole cake!) I was also pleased to find a block of butter and some milk in the fridge as well as a basket of local goodies on the kitchen island to sample, including Cornish clotted cream fudge, mixed nuts, honeycomb chocolate, Cornish coffee, tea and more.
With Scandinavian design elements and an amazing spiral staircase connecting the floors, the super modern and stylish lodge offers a very sociable space for guests with an open plan kitchen-lounge-dining area with an island breaking up the space.
On the entrance level you will find the hot tub and deck area with furniture to utilise those stunning views and, once inside, you make your way down the staircase to where the three bedrooms are. All en suite with white marble tiles and a walk in shower (the master has a stand alone bath too), TV, phone and built in wardrobes with a hairdryer. Each has the same contemporary, yet comfortable style of décor but with a different colour scheme (rust, tan, orange) within the luxurious furnishings and the leather headboards and furniture offer differing neutral shades. Large sea-themed paintings or prints hang in each room and two offer a patio door to a balcony and sea views, while the third is graced with a skylight.
On the ground floor is the open plan kitchen, dining space and lounge area with a toilet and utility room too. You’ll find a tablet filled with information to use during your stay, some board games and books and a huge TV to keep you entertained, if the view of the beach and lapping waves through the floor to ceiling patio doors doesn’t quite cut it for you.
When the unfortunate time came to pack up and leave, I seriously considered locking the door and claiming squatter’s rights. The thought of not falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of waves lapping against the shore, my evening cocktail poured in my kitchen, my daily dip in the tub and those mesmerising views were too depressing to consider.
It’s not just the lodge that is luxury, the bay that Carbis Bay estate sits on is just a beautiful stretch of land with an almost tropical feel to it, further around the coast sits St. Ives, which is a great place to spend some time popping in and out of art galleries, coffee shops, eateries and local shops and also embracing the water with a boat trip.
Carbis Bay Estate itself holds a splendid spa, with one of my favourite relaxation rooms (chunky sofas and elevated views of the bay in a peaceful space = divine), a champagne bar, nail bar and a great selection of treatments to enjoy. There’s an outdoor pool, private beachside pavilion to indulge in a treatment outside, a barrel sauna and plenty of space and loungers to soak up the sun.
The deluxe kitchen in your lodge is fully equipped should you want to whip up some wonders, but you’re on holiday so a visit to one (or both) of the resident restaurants would be more than acceptable during your stay. Sands Restaurant and the Beach House restaurant both offer dishes from the land and sea but each hold their own identity if you feel like a more relaxed or formal meal.
The Beach House almost had me feeling like I had been transported to a Mediterranean hotspot (if it weren’t for the rain) with its beach side position, spacious outdoor eating area with white furniture and European delights to dine on. Pizzas range from £12.50 to £17.50, mussels and scallops can be enjoyed as a starter or main and there are meat or fish grazing boards to share as well as fish and chips, shoulder of lamb, ratatouille and more.
I found the chairs rather uncomfortable but the delightful food made up for this. Colourful, flavoursome dishes were served up on glass plates and I loved my garlicky king prawns to start (£8.95), accompanied with toasted bread to soak up the delightful garlic and chilli sauce. I can also recommend the scallop starter (£10.95), which were served with a curry mustard sauce, hogs pudding and pickled onion – a very tasty dish indeed.
For my main course I devoured a simple, yet delightful, crab tagliatelle dish (£22.50). Crab has that sweetness that certain shellfish possess and it was made more tasty with a creamy chive sauce, immersed in pasta and with a sprinkling of grated cheese on top. Yum.
Highlights of the dessert menu include a boozy deconstructed tiramisu guaranteed to please the tiramisu lover, and a light and fruity elderflower panna cotta, which was served with toasted strawberries and biscotti (both £7.95).
Sands Restaurant is located in the main hotel building and offers slightly more formal 2 AA rosette dining with a wide selection of British dishes to choose from.
To start I opted for the hay ash-rolled goat’s cheese with piperade tart fine and house pistou (£12.50) – a rich and flavourful dish that certainly whet my appetite with its range of textures too. My main course had a lot going on – Creedy Carver duck breast and leg was served with saffron potatoes, braised carrots, kimchi cabbage, orange marmalade and duck tea (£26.95 plus £8 supplement). I enjoyed a crispy duck Bon Bon and the quality of the meat was excellent but there was possibly one too many flavours on the plate – fruity, pickled, gravy, chilli and onion, they worked with the dish but not all at the same time. To finish my meal I opted for a chocolate tart with raspberry ice cream, banana purée and Italian meringue (£7.50) – a fruity and sweet dish, which I would certainly eat again.
IN A NUTSHELL
A slice of heaven. The beautifully presented lodges are sociable, super stylish and sit in a fantastic location. It is better than a home from home, it’s luxury, and when I hear of some guests returning four times in two months, I’m not in the least bit surprised.
I had a wonderful, relaxing time here and I could truly stay for another week or two, or, in fact, move in. It’s a true escape from whatever stresses life is throwing at you – you’ll soon forget, just jump in the hot tub with a glass of champers and gaze out to sea, there’s no better therapy if you ask me.
Address: Carbis Bay Estate, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2NP / 0173 679 2810