Words by Hannah Tan-Gillies
With long-haul travel essentially off-limits, everyone has turned to the great British staycation to satiate their long-standing (and well-deserved) desire for wanderlust. This summer, we’re looking beyond the cosy thatched-roof aesthetic of your usual self-catering holiday accommodation and instead looking to the modern luxuries and unexpected geometries of beach houses like Carbis Bay Hotel, Eva’s Lookout, Latitude 50 Cornwall and Secular Retreat which showcase the best of what self-catering can offer. After all, if travel is all but limited to that of the self-catering variety, you may as well holiday in style.
Carbis Bay Hotel Beach Lodges
There is a certain allure about St. Ives that is hard to pinpoint, but it is something that is undeniably present in the Carbis Bay Hotel. The family-run, award-winning estate boasts 125 years of Cornish heritage and sits on the white sandy shores of a private, 25-acre Blue Flag and Seaside-awarded beach. The hotel’s beach lodges – which each offer private beach access – are undeniably some of the most luxurious self-catering beachfront accommodation you can book in Cornwall.
Sprawling over three floors and with three generously-sized bedrooms, each lodge comfortably sleeps a party of six. Two of the three bedrooms have their own private balconies offering breath-taking bay views, while the master suite comes with its own free-standing bath.
The lodge’s interiors are a fusion of contemporary coastal elegance and understated creature comforts. Grey concrete walls are softened by warm leather materials and rattan furnishings, while the modernity of a feature fire is offset by a cosy ash wood dining area. The spacious, open plan living space is anchored by glass bifold doors that lead to a small garden. The ground floor is also home to a kitchenette, fridge freezer, and a discrete utility area – for all the practical requirements of a luxury self-catering holiday. We simply cannot think of a better way to experience St. Ives than with a stay at one of the exceptional Beach Lodges at Carbis Bay.
A one-night stay at one of Carbis Bay’s Beach Lodges for eight guests starts at £1,800 and includes breakfast delivered to your door. For more information, visit carbisbayhotel.co.uk.
Eva’s Lookout is part of the Winterton Cottages portfolio and is located in the charming yet still relatively undiscovered Winterton-on-Sea in Norfolk’s coastal area. The property is a masterpiece of contemporary mid-century modern design and features wall-to-wall glass doors that open up to a large balcony with spectacular sea views of the Winterton Valley.
The house’s unusual ‘upside down’ style, means that it boasts a large open-plan living room upstairs and four bedrooms downstairs. The considerable living room area occupies the entirety of the second floor and also includes a designer kitchenette with all the luxury amenities a discerning self-catering holiday-maker requires.
Eva’s Lookout also comes with its own private, fully-enclosed garden that is equipped with a large outdoor table, perfect for a family summer barbecue. Not to mention, it also has private beach access so you can maximise the sun and sand during the British summer, however brief that may be.
A week’s stay at Eva’s Lookout for eight guests in June costs from £2,496 and £2,078 in September. For more information, visit: wintertoncottages.co.uk.
Latitude 50 Cornwall
Latitude 50 Cornwall offers ‘coastal spaces in breath-taking places,’ with a selection of luxury self-catering properties in Rock, Daymer Bay, Polzeath and Port Isaac in North Cornwall. There is quite literally something for every kind of luxury traveller here, because Latitude 50’s portfolio has a property no matter what kind of retreat you are looking for. The vast range of accommodation means that they can cater to romantic getaways, surf retreats, and even weddings and special occasions – as soon as restrictions allow of course.
We particularly love the Gwel Trelsa house, which can be booked with neighbouring properties, Chyanna and Polsted. The three cottages are located opposite the spectacular Polzeath beach with easy access to its laid back, yet effortlessly charming, village filled with quirky seaside cafés and restaurants. One of the highlights of these cottages is the death-defying sky hammock, accessible via glass walkway, in the property’s ultra-stylish split level living area. Here, you can get lost in a book or watch the surfers catch the waves underneath one of Polzeath’s legendary sunsets.
Inside, Gwel Trelsa is the epitome of seaside luxury. The four-floor property combines coastal chic with a spattering of punchy modern art and furnishings. The living room is the heart of the space, which also offers a light-up cocktail bar and spacious front and back balconies. Guests can also hire a local caterer to prepare delicious three-course meals during their stay, taking the concept of luxury self-catering to an entirely different scale.
A week at Gwel Trelsa starts at £1,840, and £1,500 for Chyanna and Polsted. For more information, visit latitude50.co.uk.
Peter Zumthor Secular Retreat
Peter Zumthor’s Secular Retreat didn’t exactly put South Devon on the map; but it has certainly strengthened its reputation as a place of breath-taking beauty. The Secular Retreat is the first permanent building designed by renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor in the UK and is a self-catering property of epic proportions.
The panoramic view of its dream-like setting, the Devonian hills, is just one of the myriad reasons why the Secular Retreat is so special. Not to mention, it is only a short walk away from one of the best coastal walks South Devon has to offer.
Just like the bucolic landscape that surrounds it, there’s something stunning and dramatic about the villa’s own spectacular design. Cantilevered white concrete ceilings, industrial limestone floors and full-length windows give it an unexpected sci-fi feel while still enveloping guests in an atmosphere of tranquillity. The Secular Retreat offers five individually-designed bedrooms, all anchored by the minimalist living area and the truly striking views that embrace the space.
Every design detail here has been thoughtfully considered to maximise the natural beauty of the pastoral landscapes surrounding it. It is exactly the kind of retreat that can bring a sense of calm and serenity to the chaos that has dominated our lives over the past year, and we cannot recommend it more.
A three-night midweek stay at the Secular Retreat in the low season starts at £1,895 while a four-night weekend stay starts at £2,650. For more information, visit living-architecture.co.uk.