Hotel Review: Carlyon Bay Hotel, Carlyon Bay, Saint Austell in Cornwall
Before I visited Carlyon Bay I had managed to find a quite a few family members and friends who have visited – all of whom couldn’t wait to tell me about the smart restaurant, oh-so relaxing spa and amazing location on the South coast of Cornwall. Well, I couldn’t wait to visit!
I unintentionally picked one of the worst weekends of the year to visit – weather wise – but one could argue it was actually the best. I couldn’t leave for the gales outside (the vista from my ‘sea view’ room didn’t stretch farther than the sideways tree just outside my window – at least it was when the winds were howling) therefore I managed to immerse myself in all things Carlyon Bay could offer.
I was ‘forced’ to chill out in the spa, enjoying a treatment too, couldn’t help but treat myself to an afternoon tea between dinners at both restaurants and, quite frankly, I read, relaxed, played card games, ate, drank, danced and napped. It was bliss!
HOTEL – TO DO – SPA
The large hotel, built in 1925 is well known for its top-class golf facilities and excellent coastal location, as well as its rather notable guests.
With an 18 hole championship golf course, 9 hole course, 6 acre practice ground, putting green, 2 golfs shops and a clubhouse bar it is easy to see why this place attracts the golfing enthusiasts. If that’s not your thing, you won’t be disappointed – the contemporary spa embraces you with its restful lighting and array of facilities and treatments. For the warmer days there is an outdoor pool and for the less weather-dependant days, indoors there is a pool, hydrotherapy spa bath, heated stone loungers, sauna, steam room, experience shower, nail studio and brow bar, spa bar and treatments too.
Divine, luscious, sumptuous, yes I am describing myself, well the skin on my face and my general well being after the most soothing facial and scalp massage from Megan. Using Elemis products – suitable for my sensitive skin – I was cleansed, toned, scrubbed, masked and moisturised, feeling myself relax minute by minute and I left feeling great.
To increase your energy levels you can partake in a game of tennis in one of the two outdoor courts, explore the 250 acres of private manicured grounds and gardens, challenge a friend to a game of croquet or snooker and, for the youngsters ,there’s an adventure playground and children’s playroom.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the famous faces that have passed through the hotel (presumably via the hotel’s helipad). From the likes of Colin Farrell to Charles and Diana to Tim Burton, Kevin Keegan to Winston Churchill, Tony Blair, Gordon Ramsey, Paul Walker, Kian Egan and Jimmy White, the level of celebrity that have graced the walls of Carlyon Bay is really quite impressive. I didn’t spot any celebs during the few days that I stayed but there are plenty of photos on the walls to peruse!
You really don’t need to leave, unless you fancy exploring (and the weather is on side). In that case take a walk around The Eden Project, visit the lost gardens of Heligan, or simply explore the glorious private beach, coastal location and stunning views that naturally come with it.
My guest and I spent some considerable time relaxing in the lounge as well as in our comfortable room. The lounge offered the ideal spot for a pre-dinner gin and tonic with some really good canapés, a post-dinner Espresso Martini (or two) to build up the courage for dance at the disco (put on by a visiting golf club) and also a deliciously indulgent afternoon tea and just a place to generally relax into a cosy sofa in classically decorated surroundings.
As mentioned, our room (apparently!) had a sea view and was decorated in cool, calming colours. With a large bed, creamy and mink walls and very pale blue curtains with cream fabrics, alongside soft lighting, I felt instantly comfortable each time I entered the room. There was a wardrobe, a chest of drawers and bedside table to hold our belongings, a desk and two low armchairs to face the windows. The modern bathroom was covered in grey tiles and held a bath and separate walk in shower but lacked in space to spread our items. We had tea, coffee, water, robes and a service twice a day to keep it neat and tidy.
There are two eateries at the hotel – the more formal Bay View Restaurant and Taste Brasserie. I had the opportunity to try both, starting with the modern, casual brasserie. Decorated with a dark wood floor, blinds and tables, sage green wallpaper and striped brown and green curtains with spotlights and candles, this was quite different to the classic décor that can be seen around the rest of hotel, though not a bad thing.
I started with the roasted West Country scallops with leek, truffle, Parmesan crumble, celeriac cream and pickled walnuts (14). This had wonderful textures and flavours but I thought the amount and richness of the sauce was a little overpowering for the scallops. I stuck with seafood and for my main course opted for a spicy Thai monkfish curry with baby spinach and jasmine rice (24). It smelled and tasted delightful with a good kick of spice and I have no doubt that this is the way to eat monkfish. I couldn’t possibly fit a dessert in with the portion sizes (no complaints about that here) and it had been a tasty, filling meal with good quality food.
The Bay View Restaurant has a twenties glamour about it with cream leather armchairs surrounding round white clothed tables atop a swirly black and cream patterned carpet. I loved the floor-to-ceiling windows curving around the restaurant and the wall of wines in glass cabinets as well as the accents of silver and chandeliers that created an opulent feel.
I started with a simple, yet lovely, amuse bouche of pea soup and thoroughly enjoyed my starter of goats’ cheese, beetroot, poached pear, blackcurrant and balsamic dressing. It was rich and tasty with a good mix of flavours and textures. I followed this with a confit of Creedy duck leg, hispi cabbage, confit celeriac and cherries. The flavours were good but the presentation of the dishes was fairly basic. Having said that, it’s all about the flavour and I loved the rich sauce and the taste of the cherry as well as the texture of the duck and the accompanying seasonal vegetables.
There was a good selection of West Country cheeses to choose from and the portions were good too – I would certainly recommend the Cornish Yarg, Miss Muffet and St Endellion Brie. Prices are included in the dinner, bed and breakfast rate – expect supplements.
Breakfast is also served here, you can help yourself to cooked items from the buffet as well as cereal fruits, pastries, compotes etc and items from the kitchen including pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup, Eggs Benedict and smoked haddock poached in milk.
IN A NUTSHELL
Carlyon Bay is an institution – with a range of top-class sporting and spa facilities, tasty food and a spectacular location, it is no wonder that this place has seen so many famous faces (and my family and friends!) through its doors, all wanting to experience a piece of this Cornish delight.
Natasha’s trip was organised by Visit Cornwall, the official tourist board and DMO for Cornwall, inspiring people to visit whether they are new to the county or life-long fans. Head to visitcornwall.com to begin planning your trip today.
Address: Sea Rd, Carlyon Bay, Saint Austell PL25 3RD
Phone: 01726 812304