St Moritz Hotel & Cowshed Spa, Cornwall’s North coast, two minutes from surfing haven Polzeth and next to beautiful Daymer Bay
The Med comes to Cornwall. The buildings are beautiful white stone, built on the hills overlooking the stunning Camel Valley estury. Sea views from many of the rooms, the outdoor pool and the Sea View café and restaurant are breathtaking, rain or shine and bunnies lollop across the green fields surrounding the grounds.
What type of break you have here is whatever you want it. You can have an action packed holiday full of long walks, water sports, cycling trails and local exploration or you can chill out on a sunlounger, spend hours in the spa’s sauna and steam room and have relaxing seaside break.
Double rooms from £120 per night based on two people sharing, including breakfasts (prices vary depending on time of year). Seat-view suites and self-catering villas are also available for families and larger groups.
Cowshed Spa treatments from £40.
Enjoying sunset on our semi-private beach with a bottle of award-winning Camel Valley Pino Noir.
The Instagram Shot:
The food is delicious, seasonal and beautifully presented. New head chef Jamie Porter is only 26 but his dishes are imaginative, use local ingredients and taste divine.
Stand out dishes included the mussels, local St Endoc asparagus, perfectly cooked salmon with a crispy battered Oyster, and an out of this world pork tenderloin with parma ham and apriot puree.
Plus we have to admit drinking a gin martini while eating Porthilly Oysters presented on a bed of ice made for a proper Mad Men moment.
The bar also stocked a good selection of local beers and lush cocktails made with aplomb by a cheerful French waiter. The Ginny Hendricks and Virgin Mojito deserve a special shout out.
Cowshed Spa makes the place a destination in itself. I was booked in for a facial but with seriously stiff shoulders and a painful recurring twinge in my neck I asked at the last minute if it was possible to change it for a massage. My therapist had no problem with this and gave me possibly the best massage of my life. I explained my woes and she responded expertly, with a deep massage in the sore areas. I left feeling completely rejuvenated, all the knots and bumps smoothed out.
If you’re not familiar with Cowshed products they’re all natural, organic and smell beautiful. The products are also in the rooms, which is a nice touch and gives you the chance to try out the lovely creams, gels and shampoos.
As well as facials and massages, the spa has the usual array of treatments, all with its signature products. Picking which one to have is the hardest bit.
Local beaches. The hotel is perched on the cliffs by Daymer Bay, which you may have heard of. It’s a gorgeous beach, popular because of its sand, tiny church (where John Betjemen is buried) and coastal walks. Even at high tide you can sit on the sand and if you’re brave enough for a dip, there’s a long sandy beach to entice you into the water.
We were particularly fond of a more private, lesser known beach to the north of Daymer and right in front of St Moritz itself. Called Greenway Bay, it's a short walk from the hotel and has a wide, sandy beach, as well as an abundance of rock pools to investigate. Surfers can occasionally be seen tackling some of the biggest waves out to sea and it’s a lovely quiet place to enjoy Cornwall’s natural beauty.
Past this are more beaches and you can walk to Rock either by the sea or on the Coastal Path in less than an hour. From here you can take the boat across to Padstow.
Other local hits are the Camel trail, which can be cycled (and should include a trip to the Camel Valley Vineyard), the quaint fishing village of Port Isaac (where Doc Martin is filmed), and the historic ruins of Tintagel, a little further up the coast and a worthwhile daytrip.
Surf's up. Polzeth is one of the best beaches in the UK for beginner surfers and it’s a popular sport with many newbies giving it ago alongside experienced surfers.
St Moritz send budding surfers into the spray with Wavehunters. A beginner lesson includes hire of all the equipment (including a very necessary wetsuit) and tuition that helpfully includes pulling you onto the waves. Weather is predictably unpredictable with summer sunshine one day and midwinter wind and rainstorms the next. But if you’re hardy and up for it, the hard work of sufing will keep you warm and there’s nothing as life affirming is jumping into a freezing English sea on a cold morning.
We braved quite a storm to manage our first standing-up-surfing experience and it was even more rewarding for the inclement conditions.
Another nice touch is that the St Moritz Landrover is available to guests staying in the hotel. It can drop you to Polzeth for surf lesson or come and pick up the whole family from Rock if you can’t face the walk back.
It’s hard to find fault with the hotel. If we’re nitpicking, it would have been nice to have matching slippers for our robes, as we did end up heading into the spa in trainers. And don’t bank on being able to choose a treatment on a whim. It gets busy and books out fast so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment.
Visit StMoritzhotel.co.uk for more details or call 01208 862242.