In a stunning position on the cliffs of Mawgan Porth, on the north coast of Cornwall, sits the very stylish and modern, Scarlet Hotel.
The drive through the village and up to the four-star hotel introduces you to the beauty of the remote and picturesque surroundings before you get the chance to fully relax in the haven that is The Scarlet. It’s these natural surroundings that encouraged the owners to design and run the hotel in an eco-friendly way to support the natural environment and to allow visitors to enjoy its beauty for as long as possible.
An adults-only establishment with a focus on the environment (viewing it and protecting it) the architect was challenged to design the ten-year-old building so that the water could be spotted from every public area of the hotel, and it’s very effective. Whether you’re reclining in the lounge with a coffee, taking a dip in the pool, dining in the restaurant, sipping on a drink in the bar, chilling in your room or playing some pool in the games room, you can, in fact, spot the water. It’s made even more possible because many of the public areas are set on differing levels, and it’s really worth being able to see the Atlantic waves approaching the beach below with some force.
Contemporary artworks litter the walls, there are, of course, flashes of red in the décor, to reflect the name, and there are plenty of areas to relax around the hotel and enjoy a hot drink (you won’t find tea and coffee facilities in your room but it’s free of charge, just alert a member of staff and drinks will appear).
There is no reception desk, so I milled about (albeit briefly) in the reception area until someone appeared, and I found that the hotel was very well scented, which took me a bit of getting used to!
A visit to the bar was a must for before dinner and I loved the funky fabrics, circular booths around the outside and seating in the centre covered in the modern monochrome fabric. Set on a mezzanine floor above the restaurant, the low-lit area was rather unique and welcoming with a generous cocktail list too.
I had a 30-minute cliff-top hot tub experience booked in on the day of my arrival, so I wasted no time in heading to the luxurious spa. After a dip in the pool, a visit to the steam room and a very chilled lie down in the spacious relaxation room I headed outside into the wild winds for my experience. Once de-robed I jumped in with haste – the October winds were rather chilly – but was immediately soothed with the warming waters and the fantastic views of the beach below and the bay beyond. After about twenty minutes of my wet hair whipping me in the eyes, I have to say I’d had enough, nevertheless it was a good experience and offered great views of the area below us.
Forget about an infinity pool, I had an infinity garden, which made up part of the stunning, natural view that could be seen from my ground floor room. Through the patio doors outside there were a couple of modern design chairs on a patio and, beyond this, an overgrown, wild garden looks as though it drops right off the cliff at height. It’s a spectacular view and, with the bed facing straight out, I could wake up to the watery vista if I wished.
Inside, the open plan layout of the room was different with a shower and toilet behind a clouded glass door at the back, bathtub and sink area atop sandy-coloured tiles to take in the view, then over a low wall was the bed. I guess this was another design feature to allow for as much of the water to be seen as possible. The décor was simple with touches of red, light wood flooring and a minimalistic and modern vibe to make the most of the compact space. I spotted plenty of eco-friendly features here including unwrapped soap, a refillable glass water bottle, lack of printed book (instead you find all hotel information on the interactive TV), no newspaper is offered, instead it is suggested you use an app, and lack of a hospitality tray, though you are certainly not deprived of refreshments during your stay, you just have to ask.
Dining takes place in the large, open plan restaurant, which boasts a high ceiling (to accommodate the mezzanine level bar), dark wood floors and a wall of windows to encompass the vast view. For dinner I was seated in a dark wood, high-backed cosy booth for privacy, which was made even more atmospheric with low lighting, ideal for my dining partner and me.
We were offered a three-course meal with paired wines and, one glance at the menu, full of local suppliers, told me that my taste buds would enjoy everything listed, though this made it difficult to decide.
Following a nibble of the goodies in the bread basket (plain white, pumpkin and an artichoke and rosemary offering) my first course arrived. I opted for the pan-fried hake and crab tortellini with parmentier potatoes and a seaweed cream sauce, which was served with a delicious 2018 Bacchus from Knightor Winery in Cornwall. I had certainly made the right choice with this dish, it was very flavoursome, with a creamy, tasty sauce, gorgeous black pasta parcels with a lovely piece of fish.
My main course was braised feather blade of beef with cauliflower, horseradish mash potato and wild mushrooms. This was served with a glass of 2014 Rioja Reserva, Hacienda Grimon in Spain. The sommelier should be commended; she was enthusiastic, friendly and seemed to know her stuff, describing the wines so well – I certainly enjoyed the wines that were chosen for each dish.
I really enjoyed the rough texture of the beef and thought it tasted good as a whole but this was a very dry dish and was tepid when brought out so, by the time I was finishing, it was cold. When asked by my waiter how it was, I was honest about the dryness and he informed me that it came with a red wine jus, mine did not!
Dessert choices consisted of an espresso panna cotta with carrot cake, Pedro Ximenez raisins and crème fraiche sorbet along with a cheese board. I enjoyed the variety of flavours, textures and all the little elements on the sweet dish and thought the cheese board was good too with a nice selection of crackers and breads to enjoy the cheeses with.
Breakfast is served in the same place and, during daylight hours, you can fully appreciate the view. There are daily changes to the menu to ensure fresh, local offerings are top of the list, it is limited but promised that if you desire something not listed you just need to ask. I thoroughly enjoyed the smoked salmon with poached egg, avocado and Hollandaise sauce on toasted rye bread – it set me up very well for the day ahead.
IN A NUTSHELL
This luxury eco hotel certainly offers a stay in a location like no other. With a focus on well-being, not just with the spa but, by relaxing in the lounge or enjoying some good food in this stunning setting, you are invited to be mesmerised by the view, fully relax and enjoy some peaceful time at the hotel.
Room rates at Scarlet Hotel are from £240 per night. This is based on double occupancy and includes breakfast, taxes and fees.
Address: The Scarlet Hotel, Tredragon Rd, Mawgan Porth, Newquay TR8 4DQ
Phone: 01637 861800