A couple of weeks I had the opportunity to tick off a spa bucket list destination, we spent the weekend at 5-star eco-luxury hotel and spa, The Scarlet. This beautiful modern hotel perches on the clifftops of Magwan Porth in Cornwall, with wide views across the ocean. This is an adults-only hotel designed for ultimate relaxation.
We spent a total of 4 days and 3 nights at The Scarlet as part of the Bells and Whistles package – this new package is designed to show the best of what The Scarlet has to offer. It’s the ultimate Scarlet experience, indulgent and relaxing. It takes you through the entire stay without having to think too much about planning or booking your next meal or spa treatment, it’s all there ready for you.
The Bells and Whistles package includes: arrival canapés and sparkling fizz, an in-room shirobhyanga massage, 3-course dinner with wine flight, breakfast every day (either in the restaurant or in bed), a spa long journey (individually-tailored spa treatments and the Rhassoul – a kind of steam room with mud, more on that later!), clifftop hot tub and champagne cocktails, 5-course taster menu with wine flight, afternoon tea with fizz, an Honest facial, a sharing board with a bottle of red, and a gift box of spa treats to take home.
We were incredibly lucky with the weather when we visited The Scarlet, it was a gloriously warm and sunny May weekend, and it made for a wonderful trip away.
THE SCARLET HOTEL
The Scarlet is a modern hotel, nestled into the clifftop. You drive up a steep road and down, what looks like, a residential road, to reach the hotel. Unlike most hotels, there is no reception desk, rather you are welcomed by the staff as soon as you arrive and taken to the lobby area.
Check-in is a more casual approach, with the hotel preferring to make you feel more at home. We were offered some tea and coffee whilst a staff member sat on the sofa with us and went through the check-in documentation, before showing us around the hotel and to our room.
The hotel is beautifully designed-led with large floor to ceiling windows across every floor facing out to sea. There is a bar, restaurant and library area. Outside the bar is an outdoor terrace which also leads down the outdoor pool.
Further down the stairs, there is the spa area, and beyond that were the stairs down to our room, a Just Right sea view room.
Outside there is the outdoor freshwater pool surrounded by some decking and sun loungers. Beyond that are a couple of hot tubs and the sauna.
Alongside these is a hillside path that leads down towards the beach. There you will find more of the gardens of the Scarlet, including these sea view pods. In nice weather, the staff add cushions and blankets here and even offer table service. It’s a lovely spot to snuggle up, look out at to sea or read a book.
All in all, there are plenty of spots around the hotel where you can chill out with your companion, or a good book, or simply to while away the hours lost in thought.
I was told that every room in the hotel is unique with different design features and layouts. So I can only tell you specifically about our room, but if you check out the website you might get an idea about what else they have on offer.
Our room was a Just Right sea view room.
We were so excited when shown to our room. It was a large open plan room of bathroom and bedroom looking out through huge floor to ceiling glass doors which open out onto a semi-private patio, a small patch of grass and out across the clifftop and to the sea. It was a stunning view, and I do love a good view.
Every time we were in our room we had those large glass doors open so we could listen to the sea. In fact, the weather was so balmy on our stay we had the doors open the last thing at night and first thing in the morning as we lay in bed relaxing and listening to the waves. Bliss.
The room itself was comfortable enough, I would’ve preferred a bigger bed personally as I am used to a supering-sized bed at home. There is plenty of space for moving around, a desk and a few chairs to sit on. There is no mini-bar, as this is an eco-hotel.
Rather, you can call the reception whenever you would like tea, coffee or water. We did this several times over the weekend and on every occasion, somebody bought a tray of drinks within minutes. I appreciated that we could so easily get a range of teas at any time, and I did also use this function to order breakfast in bed on our last morning.
The bathroom was open-plan, which I know is a marmite kind of feature. The sink and bath in the room were fine, but I didn’t like that the toilet had just a glass door with gaps at the top and bottom. This makes for a rather intimate toilet time which isn’t to my liking. This might not bother some people, but I’d like my toilet time to be alone time.
Otherwise, the room really was ‘just right’ and was a lovely place to relax for the weekend.
THE FOOD AND DRINK
Gosh, I have so many good things to say about food and drink at The Scarlet, it truly was excellent. And I’m not one to over-use superlatives when it comes to eating out (if anything I can be super picky). We were so well fed and looked after by the restaurant staff that I must say it is a testament to the team there just how well run it was, how high quality the food and drink was, but most importantly the service was top notch. We experienced some of the friendliest, down-to-earth staff at the restaurant, and it really did make the weekend special.
On the first evening, we had a 3-course meal with wine flight, as we watched the sunset over the horizon. The restaurant was buzzing with guests, but it never felt cramped. We had a lovely meal where the food, especially the textures of the food, were perfect.
We had the sommelier present a wine with each course, and as the evening went on we loved having a detailed chat about each offering he had. Of course, we were quite inquisitive and asked lots of questions, but this made for such a memorable and fun evening. I highly recommend picking the accompanying wine flight if you eat at The Scarlet, it really does make the meal special.
On the second evening, we enjoyed a 5-course taster menu with wine flight. This meal was phenomenal. Again, the textures of each dish were perfection, and so considered. Often there is a great flavour to food, but to get those textures perfect was wonderful.
Again, we had a full wine flight and we thoroughly relished in learning about each wine, where it came from, and how it complemented each dish. Deliciousness and learning, who knew that was such a great recipe for an enjoyable meal?! But be warned, a 5-course meal means 5 lots of wine! The last couple of glasses were dessert wines, but still … I had to hold myself back from finishing every glass or else Raj might’ve been carrying me back to the room. Unless, you can hold your wine, in which case, enjoy!
On the final day, we enjoyed a champagne afternoon tea. This was equally lovely. Generally, you have to book ahead for this as the pastries and desserts are all handmade fresh that day. Theses desserts were delicious, and some interesting offerings. The scones were not actually my favourite and probably the only thing I didn’t like this whole weekend, they were just a tad dry and not sweet enough for my liking.
But otherwise, I was so grateful that the chef adapted some of the sandwiches for me as I don’t eat butter in sandwiches, and Raj doesn’t eat mustard. We’re a picky two with sandwiches!
Other than that, we also had a great breakfast each day. Every dish is made to order, and the hotel has a changing menu each day depending on what fresh ingredients they have on that day. As is the ethos of The Scarlet, they try to source as much as they can locally, so you can truly enjoy eating fresh and local.
The breakfast menu is 3 courses, and each course has around 3 options. However, the staff make it clear that if there’s anything else you particularly you want they can usually make it up for you if they have the ingredients. For instance, I noticed a fellow guest ordering boiled eggs for breakfast on scrambled eggs day.
The star of the show at The Scarlet is the spa and I imagine almost every guest uses the spa facilities at the very least, but there are so many gorgeous treatments to choose from as well, it’s worth trying one.
Firstly, let me tell you quickly about the facilities. At The Scarlet you can enjoy a swim in the indoor pool with it’s striking floor to ceiling windows that cast a view out over the cliff and to the sea. Just to the side of the pool is a steam room, and there’s even a relaxation pod at the other end.
Outside is the natural, reed-filtered pool that has the feeling of a wild pond and it certainly has the temperature to match. It’s a refreshing feature if you feel brave enough to jump right in. Otherwise, make as I did and enjoy the view from one of the loungers around the pool, or make use of the outdoor sauna.
As part of the Bells and Whistles package, we had a dip in the clifftop hot tub (It’s a bookable option from the spa reception if you’re on a different package.). It’s not the bubbly kind of hot tub, rather it’s like stepping into a soft warm bath, except this is on the cliff looking out to sea. And if you’re lucky like we were, you get to be there at sunset as you enjoy the view with a glass of bubbly in hand. It’s definitely one of those indulgent, wow! moments. You take a deep breath and think just how lucky you are to enjoy such beautiful views.
The spa also has a couple of relaxation rooms – the deep relaxation room is a small dark space with hanging cocoons and blankets. You can chill out here after treatment and allow the gentle swing of the cocoon to lull you into a cheeky nap.
The light relaxation room is a much larger space just off to the side of the pool, and with an exit out to the outdoor pool. There you can find loungers, soft chairs, and a sunken area filled with giant bean bags. This was a nice spot to read a book for a while or do some journalling.
The other features of the spa include a yoga room and a meditation room. Both available if you speak to the spa reception.
For treatments, you get taken through to the quiet low-lighted part of the spa where each room is ‘tented’. It adds to the cosiness which you want when having a treatment.
For the Bells and Whistles package, I had treatments every day. First of all, I had the shirobyanga massage when we first arrived. This was supposed to happen in our room but there was a mix-up so we just popped along to the spa instead (if you want a massage in your room you can arrange that in advance with the spa reception).
This massage was a seated back, shoulders, arms, and head massage. It was an oil-based massage, so be aware if you have just washed your hair as I had! Apart from a head full of oil, this massage was perfect. The therapist used just the right amount of pressure and it helped ease away the tension from a long 4-5 hour drive to the hotel.
I have a lot of tension in my shoulders but the therapist was pretty expert at starting to work that knot out. In fact, the combination of 3 massages during my stay at The Scarlet finally got read of this intense knot I’ve had in my shoulder for the longest time.
On the second day, I went for my ‘spa journey’. As an Ayurveda-inspired spa, the therapists work to help determine your Ayurveda body type along with a discussion with you about your lifestyle and what you want out of your stay. For me, I needed some intense relaxation, something I struggle with day-to-day. After my long consult, my therapist determined the best treatments for me. This will vary from person to person and that makes that ideal for a spa journey.
My therapist found I needed some intense relaxation and pampering so I had a full body massage, with facial massage lasting about an hour and a half. It was super relaxing and what I found satisfying was that the therapist was able to determine the level of pressure I needed on different parts of my body. Generally, I say I prefer light pressure in a massage as I’m a bit puny with little muscle mass. But she was able to firmer pressure on my knot on my shoulder, more of my back and feet.
I left that treatment feeling so sleepy and dopey, in fact, I felt so chilled I was almost emotional. I sat in the deep relaxation room for a while a dozed off for a bit. I then went back to my room for a long nap.
One of the most interesting parts of the spa journey was the joint rhassoul experience that I got to experience with Raj. There is a choice of 3 different ‘alternative’ treatment rooms. The rhassoul is kind of like a steam room with mud. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before and I loved it. Essentially you have a timed session in this steam room, and a spa therapist talks you through the order in which to do the rhassoul process.
You essentially have a scrub that you either rub all over yourself or do for each other. All the while, the steam room is heating up. There are two showers in each corn of the room. You wash off the scrub. And then you cover yourself, or each other, in the mud mask. Then a massive rainfall shower in the middle of the room starts to help wash it all off. I think in between you go out of the room for a glass of water and dry off a bit.
All in all the experience leaves you with super soft lovely skin. And it’s such a wonderfully intimate experience. It’s lovely to do as a couple, and I wonder how many couples, especially us longer-term/married couples, do something like that. It’s a unique way to bond, and I can’t recommend it enough. It was intimate, fun, and unique. An experience we’ll never forget.
My final treatment of the weekend was an Honest Facial. For this treatment, I was treated to a quick foot bath whilst the therapist talked through the process, the products to be used, and asked any questions needed. I requested a foot massage for when the mask was on as I’m not a fan of hand massages. Then I popped onto the table wearing the disposable underwear provided and wrapped up in the sheet and blanket.
The facial was a deeply relaxing style facial using natural, organic products from the British skincare brand (I’ll try and find the name). It included a full cleanser, mask, treatment, deep massage, and moisturise. I must admit, at first I was not used to having such a long face massage, but once I let myself relax into it, I enjoyed the process and the result was insane. I could immediately see the difference in the texture of my skin. It was like magic!
OVERALL OPINION OF THE SCARLET SPA
We had a dreamy weekend at The Scarlet. The location is such a talking point and from the photos, you can see why the views are spectacular. But the staff really do make the hotel special. Everyone was super friendly and professional. We felt very welcome, and at ease.
The Bells and Whistles package is obviously the high-end option, but if you’re looking to enjoy every bit of indulgence available at the hotel and spa, it’s worth paying for it upfront with this package and then everything is taken care of for you. You can simply go about the weekend from one relaxing and enjoyable moment to another.
This hotel and spa are pretty special and I would love to visit again. My favourites bits of this break includes the rhassoul experience, the clifftop hot tub, the sea view room, the evening meals, the sommelier and his expert wine knowledge, my Ayurveda consultation and massage, and the people.
This hotel and spa has the personal touch which lends itself to an intimate, peaceful experience, all within a design-led location with amazing scenery and warm personnel. This is luxury done well.
A three-night stay, breakfast each morning – in bed if you choose, a three-course evening meal with wine flight, a five-course taster menu with wine flight, sharing board and bottle of red, canapés and fizz on arrival, afternoon tea and fizz, clifftop hot tub with a champagne cocktail, Shirobhyanga in-room treatment, Scarlet Spa signature four hour spa Journey (with Rhassoul), Honest facial and a gift to take home too… phew!
Prices start from £1,179 per person based on two sharing a Just Right sea view room for three nights.