JC Stays - The Cornwall Hotel Spa & Estate, St Austell

With new woodland lodges in the hotel's grounds, there's a tempting new reason to visit Cornwall


It doesn’t take much to tempt most of us down to the Cornish seaside — last year it was named the UK’s most popular holiday destination for the second year running. And as well as its dreamy beaches, pretty fishing harbours and dramatic ruins, there’s a raft of new openings to keep us coming back for more.

The big news for the region is the £20 million revamp of Tate St Ives. With the first stage of the major refurbishment now complete (the whole project will be open by the autumn), art lovers can access twice as much art on show as well as enjoying a new roof garden.

And from the Eden Project’s largest exhibition for 15 years — The Australia Zone showcasing plants of Western Australia — to the National Maritime Museum’s latest British Tattoo Art exhibition, there’s something new for everyone.

As a base to sample all this and more, The Cornwall Hotel, Spa & Estate is a great option. Near St Austell and just a short drive from the quaint seaside villages of Mevagissey and Fowey, there’s a choice of hotel rooms in the converted Victorian mansion or the new Scandi-style Woodland Lodges in the grounds, stretching across 43 acres of secluded parkland.

The latter are ideal for families. The topsy-turvy layout (the bedrooms are on the ground floor) offers spacious open-plan living and a covered balcony upstairs makes the most of the countryside views.

Décor is pared-back yet nicely cosy, with en-suite bathrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen and widescreen TVs. Some lodges also have hot tubs: check before you book.

While the lodges offer the freedom of self-catering, guests can still access the full facilities of the main hotel, including the Elephant Bar & Brasserie restaurant and Clearing Spa. Book ahead for breakfasts, which include home-made granola, American pancakes and an excellent Eggs Benedict to get the day off to a great start.

Interiors inside the main house offer a touch of characterful flair. Kickstart your evening with a Cornish Dark ‘N’ Stormy in the boutique-style bar; baskets of board games, flagstone floors and velvet occasional chairs are stylishly homely.

Dinner in the original drawing room is a highlight. While there are plenty of family favourites on offer — fish pie and the prerequisite fish and chips — there’s also enough to keep self-confessed foodies content, too. A standout dish was the Roast Fillet of Cornish Hake while the Sweet Potato Gnocchi was a surprise hit with the younger connoisseurs.

Because the main draw of The Cornwall is just how family friendly it all is. This summer brings pop-up pizza events, movie nights in the lounge with popcorn and sweet treats, plus outdoor games available in the extensive grounds (think croquet, giant Jenga and treasure trails).

While you might want to quietly sneak off to the Clearing Spa by yourself, it also welcomes the little ones in to use the glitzy infinity pool.

Don’t fret, though, there’s enough on offer at The Cornwall to ensure some much needed me-time: a steam room, sauna and treatment rooms offering Aromatherapy Associates therapies are just perfect for those “I want to be alone” moments.

After all, a family holiday wouldn’t be sane without them.

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