The Scarlet revisited

Cornwall


By Naomi Tolley, December 1, 2011
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Cliff-top log-fired seaweed hot tub with a view over the ocean

Cliff-top log-fired seaweed hot tub with a view over the ocean

We visited the Scarlett, shortly after it opened, boasting impressive eco-credentials. Two years later, we went back to see how life can be when you go green next to the blue sea.

Taking a dip in a non-heated outdoor pool in September is invigorating. But this isn't any pool - it's more of a super-clean pond with reeds. But it's ok, it's meant to be this way, the reeds keep the water clean in the absence of chlorine.

It reflects one of the painstaking steps taken to harmonise the retreat with the 'unique' environment that surrounds it. The result is luxury at it's most elemental level: posh but not overwhelming; classy but unstuffy, proving you don't have to compromise on comfort to protect the planet.

I dip a toe in the limpid pool and shudder at the thought of complete immersion. But the view overlooking the sandy beach at Mawgan Porth and the vast expanse of the Celtic Sea beyond is one that makes you feel happy to be alive. So, with a new sense of well-being, and a yearning to embrace the day's challenges, I sink in: reeds tickling the soles of my bare feet. It leaves me feeling temporarily reborn. And this is all before breakfast. Importantly, the hotel is peaceful and orderly. And there is always a corner to curl up in and read a book, soak up the serenity or to sit, awestruck by the views.

For the more active, the team at the Scarlet can arrange surf lessons, wild swimming, deep sea fishing, tree climbing or horse riding. Or there's more relaxation. The log-fired seaweed hot tubs perch like bright-red flecks on the cliff-top with views across the ocean and there is the Scarlet Ayurvedic Spa with an indoor swimming pool (cleansed by low dosage bromine - that's chlorine-free to you and I), a relaxation area overlooking the natural reed pool, a meditation room, and a treatment area housing a tented treatment zone, a Hammam for traditional body scrubs, a Rhassoul for 'messy mineral mud sessions' and a couple's suite with a double bath.

I chose to meander down the private path to the beach and wander along the seashore where a family of four were off for their first surf lesson, beaming with sea-air glows and nervous smiles.

There's no bias about manager Nikki Broom's adoration for the Scarlet either: the guest book is aglow with praise for the place with many referring to their stay as "the most perfect break".

From day one, brick-by-sustainable-brick, the Scarlet Hotel had its impeccable eco-credentials firmly built-in, opening in September 2009, on a spectacular cliff top site.

Day-to-day, the hotel does everything it can to minimise its impact on the environment with the thoughtful employment of a biomass boiler, grey water recycling, rain water harvesting, natural air-con and sea thrift planted roofs.

Yet, while sticking to its worthy intentions, the Scarlet sacrifices nothing in the way of luxury throughout its public rooms and 37 stunningly appointed bedrooms and suites, featuring free standing baths, walk-in showers, ocean sea views, private gardens or private rooftop pods.

Chef Ben Tunnicliffe, heads up the 80 cover modern restaurant that has an ocean view (reserve a table at the right time and you'll have a view of the sunset) serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, using locally sourced home-grown produce.

Alfresco dining takes place on the roof terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the warmer months.

RATES: Doubles from £180

Tel: 01637 861 800

    Last updated: 12:50pm, December 1 2011