Following a prolonged period of personal upheaval and turbulent changes it was obviously time for me to seek some solace in an ocean wilderness.

Bringing along my equally stressed out daughter mid A-levels, we left busy Oxfordshire on a cold and very wet Friday morning in early March, and had chosen the Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall for our escape.

Recently celebrating its tenth anniversary, its stunning vistas and exposed, windy beaches looked like the perfect tonic for our rather battered nervous systems.  

Everything here is soft and gentle on the environment but also, and perhaps most importantly, on your soul

We arrived just after 3pm and parked easily – the sun was shining and a Scarlet host appeared as if by magic – there is no formal reception desk – to gave us a short tour of all the facilities while our bags and art supplies were whisked away to our room. We even ordered fresh coffees to be delivered when we got there.

The weather was beautiful – spring sunshine at last and stunning sea/sky views from every angle.

Unable to resist the calling of the ocean we went straight to the beach, which is right on the doorstep, for a long walk to breathe in all the colours and blast our senses; silver blue seas, green algae and wet charcoal caves. The tide was in (late afternoon) and the seas were rough.

On returning to our room, slightly wind blasted, we admired its neat simplicity, our crisp bed linen and beautiful oval bath beneath a large window which overlooked our small patio garden.

The host showed us the large interactive TV should we need it with most digital channels available and all menus and services shown on it – eco-friendly means no paper anywhere unless necessary.

We had some fun unpacking and then wandered to the spa in our hotel robes for a swim and steam. The sunset was stunning from the far end of the pool from where we could see the reeds of the natural outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs.

Then back to our room for a soothing salt bath and some art homework. There are no tea or coffee making facilities in the room, but complementary beverages will arrive within minutes of picking up the phone.

If you are looking for a wonderful, unpretentious hotel with the best views and tranquil, arty vibes this is for you

With dinner booked at 9pm – it is always busy so book in advance – we dressed up and sauntered to dinner. The Restaurant at the Scarlet champions local produce, with a menu that changes according to season and the flavours of the month.

Delicious dishes included brown butter baked hake with hispi cabbage, pan roasted pollock and celeriac and truffle risotto. Puddings were divine – we tried the tonka bean panna cotta with burnt white chocolate and enjoyed a selection of English/Cornish cheeses with our espressos. The modern, open-plan, high-ceilinged space has incredible views of the Atlantic, with large artworks on the walls and low-hanging chandeliers.

We chose the three-course dinner at £45.95 with an additional cost for a recommended wine flight. The sommelier was unpretentious, gracious and knowledgeable, and the wine list is extensive if you wish to indulge.

We were so tired we just about finished our meal and staggered to bed in a soporific trance only to wake at dawn refreshed and ready for the great outdoors. 

The morning light pours into the rooms here, our patio was minimal but perfectly formed like everything at the Scarlet, with beautiful evergreens and structural plants. The chairs are plastic but comfy and weatherproof – the upstairs pod (a feature of the Unique Rooms) is very comfortable and quiet, perfect for resting, reading and chilling – or working – there is a small window that can be opened if you wish to hear the sounds and scents of the sea outside.

the scarlet is the best place on earth to unwind and rebalance.

As a treat, we had breakfast in bed, perfectly cooked French toast and poached eggs with salmon, plus a banana smoothie and the ‘juice of the day’ which arrived very quickly despite the fact we hadn’t ordered it the evening before. 

We watched the morning news, swiftly decided it was far too depressing and then savoured our coffee in our little upstairs ‘pod’ looking out to the raging seas all cosy and warm inside. 

It was a more overcast day but the morning was beautiful. I was itching to get on to the beach particularly as the tide was out, allowing walks all the way down to the mollusc covered giant rocks and the huge cliffs on either side of the bay.

My partner in crime had art homework to complete so I left her in our cosy pod room and rushed out to the beach again. The sea feels like it is everywhere here; huge white horses and loud crashing waves – navy, turquoise, filling every sense with noise, and that distinctive salty aroma – bliss.

Enticingly we had a day at the Ayurvedic spa planned, and our first stop was the natural reed bed swimming pool. It looked rather cold but I remembered how important it was for the senses to feel natural water on your skin. How rare these days to get in a lovely fresh water pool – I jumped in, I couldn’t encourage anyone else and I didn’t linger long but the freezing fresh water left a youthful pink tingle on my skin and cleared any dark thoughts away.

With our sea vista hot tub booked for noon (linked to the hotel’s biomass boiler and not to be missed!) we warmed our bones in the outdoor sauna awaiting our ‘hot tub host’ who beckoned us into the delicious soft oak barrel where she served us cups of delicious freshly brewed Earl Grey tea while looking out at the amazing view and enjoying the surprisingly warm sunshine and stiff breeze. Fully cooked after half an hour we meandered to the Spa’s sea-facing relaxation room to rest, admire the view and read Agatha Christie before our appointments. 

We treated ourselves to a Tri Dosha Rejuvenating facial and a wonderful Sarvanga massage, both experienced in the beautiful and intimate tent like rooms before appropriately falling fast asleep in the suspended womb-like pods of the relaxation room. Zzzzzz

If you are looking for a wonderful, unpretentious hotel with the best views and tranquil, arty vibes this is for you. Staff are, to a man/woman, relaxed, professional and friendly, and the sound of the sea and enormous skies stuns your senses – it is the best place on earth to unwind and rebalance.

Everything here is soft and gentle on the environment but also, and perhaps most importantly, on your soul. We left feeling fresher, revived and full of grace.

Cath Davies

Fact Box:

  • Eco-Friendly
  • Free Parking
  • Bar & Restaurant
  • Outdoor Sauna & Hot tubs (book to avoid disappointment)
  • Steam room
  • Laundry
  • Room service
  • Pool indoor and outdoor
  • Spa & Hammam
  • Wi-Fi
  • Beach 
  • Spectacular Views
  • Adults only (Over 18s)
  • Dog friendly hotel & beach
  • Access to Coastal Pathways

Our room was £350 per night, including breakfast. The Scarlet offers dinner, bed and breakfast options, Spa Breaks and Spa Day offers are also available. Free Wi-Fi.

The Scarlet Hotel, Tredragon Road, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. TR8 4DQ 

01637 861800