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Hotel Highlights

  • Stunning views of cliffs, sand and sea
  • Eco-friendly outlook
  • Rock-studded outdoor pool and sea-facing hot tubs

Overview

Luxurious but laid-back, The Scarlet hotel has heart; it’s eco-friendly through and through and equally true to its roots; decorated with paintings by local artists. Lashings of glass maximise this Cornwall hotel’s cliff-top setting and sea-and-sand views, keeping the outdoors in, and every room comes with its own balcony or outdoor ‘pod’.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Scarlet with us:

A jar of Red Stuff & Wild preserve and a bag of home-made ricciarelle biscuits

Facilities

View Gallery
The Scarlet hotel – Cornwall – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

37.

Check–out

10am (or 11am, if there's availability); check-in, from 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $255.30 (£163), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast. Please note: the Scarlet does not accept group bookings of more than three rooms at a time.

Also

Ruby-red log-fired hot tubs stud the cliffside, overlooking the sea. Book in for your bubbles; they’re mighty popular.

At the hotel

Gardens, terrace with sea views, spa (booking essential) and library with DVDs. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, WiFi (bit patchy) free bottled water and Cornwall Soap Box products.

Our favourite rooms

The Just Right rooms are exactly that: peaceful and calm, with unobstructed sea views. Unique rooms have spiral staircases leading up to relaxing ‘pods’, with views over the sea-thrift-covered roof and out to sea.

Poolside

There’s a natural swimming pool outdoors and log-fired hot tubs on the cliff side.

Packing tips

Birkenstocks, Annie Greenabelle and howies threads, cotton beach bags and wooden jewellery.

Also

Maybe leave the mobile switched off – signal is next to non-existent in these parts. The hotel has two pet-friendly rooms (one Just Right room, one Unique), and dogs can stay for £15 a nigh on request; food and water bowls, towels and treats are provided.

Children

This is a couples-only hideaway.

Eco‐friendly

A biomass boiler, solar panels, heat recapture and heat exchangers are used; everything that can be is recycled; staff share cars; local produce dominates the restaurant menu; and the Scarlet organises a number of social and conservation projects.

Food & Drink

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The Scarlet hotel – Cornwall – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The Scarlet Restaurant champions local produce, with a menu that changes according to the flavours of the month. Dishes include pan-fried John Dory with wild garlic, cockle and parsley sauce, and St Ives beef with caramelised shallots, salsa verde and griddled polenta. Sweet tooths should save room for pudding – try the cider jelly with tarte tatin and blackberry sorbet. The open-plan, high-ceilinged space is splashed with scarlet hues, including low-hanging red felt lampshades.

Hotel Bar

Perched above the main restaurant area, Scarlet Bar has cosy banquette seating and the obligatory sea views. If you settle in during pre-dinner cocktails, stay here for your meal.

Last orders

Breakfast is served up from 8am until 10.30am; lunch is noon until 2pm, and guests are seated for dinner between 7pm and 9.30pm.

Room service

The 24-hour room service features light snacks, salads and sandwiches.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Mermaid- and merman-chic: an aqua-hued shirt or dress, and Mrs Smith should pile on the pearls or coral.

Top table

Sit by a window and admire the wild waters.

Local Guide

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The Scarlet hotel – Cornwall – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Take part in yoga, movement and breathing classes each morning at the hotel for free, or pay a bit extra for surfing lessons or wild swimming. Spend as much time as possible outdoors – kayaking, coasteering, horse riding, rock climbing and tree climbing should keep you busy. Indulge in an Ayuverdic massage at the spa, which has an indoor pool, hammam and a rasul (similar to a hammam, but designed for mud treatments). The beach is the perfect setting for a picnic or ball game. If you’re craving some non-sandy pursuits, head into Padstow. Hunt for souvenirs in the shops and galleries and sample local produce in the restaurants.

Local restaurants

This patch of Cornwall has been well colonised by celebrity chefs. Padstow (or ‘Steinstow’ as some locals dub it, though we've heard 'Padstein' more often) has four outposts of Rick Stein’s seafood empire: the Seafood Restaurant at Riverside (+44 (0)1841 532700; www.rickstein.com), St Petroc’s Bistro on New Street (+44 (0)1841 532700), Stein’s Fish & Chips at South Quay and Rick Stein’s Café at Middle Street (+44 (0)1841 532700). On the same street, there’s Number 6 (+44 (0)1841 532093; www.number6inpadstow.co.uk), which has one of Gordon Ramsay’s protégés, Paul Ainsworth, at its helm. The Custard Diner is a popular bistro at 1A The Strand (+44 (0)1841 532565), with great-value seasonal food and a warm, family-friendly atmosphere. At the family-friendly Watergate Bay Hotel, you’ll find a Cornish branch of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen (+44 (0)1637 861000; www.fifteencornwall.co.uk). Expect stylish decor and moreish Mediterranean cuisine.

Local bars

Linger over a pint at the Phoenix Inn, at Watergate Bay (+44 (0)1637 860353). The pub has dazzling views of the bay, and tasty grub.

+ Enlarge
Mawgan Porth’s sandy bay

The Scarlet

Tredragon Road, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall TR8‎ 4DQ, United Kingdom

Planes

Newquay airport is two miles away; fly here from other parts of Europe and the UK, including London Gatwick, Manchester and Inverness with Flybe (www.flybe.com).

Trains

Bodmin Parkway Station is a 30-minute drive from the hotel, and is serviced by the UK’s main train lines. Direct trains from London and Edinburgh stop here (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk).

Automobiles

Newquay is a 20-minute drive from the hotel, and there’s free parking for guests.

Reviews

View Gallery
The Scarlet hotel – Cornwall – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Richard Kilgarriff , Amigo to authors

Looking out through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Scarlet Hotel, I can see a pair of wiggling legs sticking out of a giant barrel pointing up to the silver-grey sky above Mawgan Porth Bay. It's as though I've spotted someone who's fallen into a giant bowl of soup. The legs belong to Phil – the Scarlet's Hot Tub Host. He is preparing his Dutch Kettles as he calls them, which are dott…
Read more

The Scarlet

Anonymous review by Richard Kilgarriff, Amigo to authors

Looking out through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Scarlet Hotel, I can see a pair of wiggling legs sticking out of a giant barrel pointing up to the silver-grey sky above Mawgan Porth Bay. It's as though I've spotted someone who's fallen into a giant bowl of soup.

The legs belong to Phil – the Scarlet's Hot Tub Host. He is preparing his Dutch Kettles as he calls them, which are dotted around the cliff face, and shot with red light, glowing like unearthly cauldrons. We've just arrived and as I'm watching Phil at work, a friendly person suddenly appears by my side in the manner of Mr Benn's shopkeeper. This sleek eco hotel has dispensed with the formality of a reception desk and this kind soul is here to warmly invite us to enjoy this beautiful art gallery, restaurant and spa as if it were our own home.

These Smiths have decided to forget our real home for a couple of days in favour of this wonderfully calm and luxurious eco-hotel. As we share our actual home with two noisy children, it's a delight not to have to constantly threaten our fellow residents with a spell on the 'naughty sofa'. Apart from a notable absence of kids, The Scarlet has few – if any – house rules. Behind the scenes I imagine it is run with the quiet but firm efficiency of an Audi engine – albeit one that has been converted to run on leftover organic kitchen waste.

An ethos of sustainable comfort rather than self-conscious consumption abounds; this hip hotel could wear a line of stars on its sleeve for service and facilities. But there's no showiness here – this is the kind of place that prefers to let you uncover its special powers yourself. 'It's rather like a stealth super hero that prefers to befriend you as Clark Kent or Diana Prince then work its magic when you're not looking,' I suggest, sagely, to Mrs Smith. Not a comic book aficionado, I fear Mrs Smith has failed to grasp the gravitas of my wisdom.

Talking of new friends, everyone who works at the Scarlet is, without exception, polite and confident, super respectful of guests, each other and, of course, the environment. The Scarlet's consideration for all things natural is demonstrated by thoughtful details guaranteed to please eco-worriers such as this once professional GreenSmith. There's adjustable lighting, delicious menus based on supply rather than demand, discounts for people who come by train and taxi, unconditioned heat and air, customised furniture and sculptures made from recycled glass and paper. Guests even receive a little cloth bag for them to take home any half-used bars of soap. Take that, Cowshed.

As with all of the bedrooms, ours has an amazing view of the Cornish coastline and Mawgan Porth's golden stretch of sand and ever-shifting seascape in shades of charcoal, blue and emerald is entirely hypnotic. For a few hours after we arrive, we just lie down listening to the waves crashing beyond our window. Mrs Smith, a non-recovering TV addict, notes that such is the sensory beauty of this place the sound of television would feel an intrusion. But the Scarlet is not about prohibition, so we fling off our hairshirts and spend Saturday afternoon wallowing in a long lazy cream tea and uninterrupted DVD – luxury indeed.

In keeping with a mission statement to 'challenge the convention of other hotels', there are no tea or coffee making facilities in the room, but reviving beverages of every variety will arrive within minutes of guests picking up the phone. We take full advantage on several occasions, sampling the rose, vanilla, camomile, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom treats from the Pukka range of teas.

With surfing, kayaking, coasteering or horse riding on the beach among the outdoor pursuits on offer here, you may find small-screened distractions easily eclipsed. We head for a dip in the indoor pool, trotting up and down wooden steps past the circular bar of cosy booths above the panoramic Atlantic-view restaurant. We glide past couples all chatting and smiling, creating a constant hum of happiness over breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Even the booze at this boutique bolt hole empathises with the elements here, and at aperitif time we toast our Smith reviewing duty with a Dark and Stormy cocktail. Settled in the small but eclectic library amid Henry James, Stiegg Larsson, JD Ballard, Iris Murdoch and Spike Milligan, we leaf through the catalogue of local artists displaying their works here. Fantisising about how we might decorate our own home with specially commissioned sea-inspired landscapes by Cornwall's artistic talent, we mentally plan where pieces by Lucy Turner and Steve Yeates might fit perfectly chez Smith.

With word that Michelin-starred chef Ben Tunnicliffe likes to put a smile on diners' faces and a warm feeling in their bellies, we surrender happily to supper. By the time Mrs Smith has reluctantly eaten the last molecule of her chocolate brûlée, we are as content as can be and we succumb to that decadent tiredness in a way one only can when there's a guaranteed lie-in on the horizon.

Waking early with too much energy, I leap out of bed and start doing semi-naked press-ups on the sunny balcony. Clearly this ruins a romantic moment - and possibly breakfast - for the couple out walking below. Undeterred by my pants, Mrs Smith tucks into Arlington Eggs and then disappears to have her full body massage in the Ayurvedic spa. She doesn't come back for ages, having fallen asleep (again) in the suspended pods of the relaxation room.

By noon, any clouds have completely cleared, revealing a sky of intense blue. Walking down to the beach past the natural pool, studded with granite rocks and splintered with green reeds, we pass Phil the Hot Tub Host. Perfectly upright on this occasion, he is leading his clients to and from his giant, red soup bowls like a convivial cannibal. Unable to resist his charms, we book a session and are soon neck-deep in steaming water, inhaling wood-smoked aromas, the soul-cleansing sound of waves in our ears.
Whether you're soaking or reclining, walking, feasting or fishing – it's great to enjoy a romantic escape with such a healthy conscience. 'I feel like a Celtic god,' I grin through the haze from our hot tub, fully relaxed and at ease. 'Borus,' Mrs Smith whispers, proudly demonstrating she knows the name of the Celtic god of hot springs. 'Who knew our dirty weekend would be so, well, cleansing?'
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Scarlet's Guestbook below.

 

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is our second visit to The Scarlet in Cornwall. We love the relaxed atmosphere that makes it feel like home with the luxury and outstanding service of a hotel. The staff are always smiling and are happy to help you with anything.

Don’t expect

The price of bar drinks is higher than average.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff, as always, was superb.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved more or less everything. It's not the most grand or poshest place we have been to, but this may be quite the nicest hotel we have ever stayed at in this country. It has a totally chilled vibe, lovely rooms with outstanding views from each, great spa, fabulous outdoor 'wild swimming' area, good sized indoor pool, attentive and friendly staff. It's well worth the money. And, is one allowed to say this? No kids running around as it's adults-only is a real boon in the summer hols! And, there's no mobile phone signal at all so nobody disturbing the tranquil peace of the place by yakking on their mobiles all day. And it deftly avoids the curse of being so self-consciously hip that it hurts. Go… and go again.

Don’t expect

If I had one quibble, it's that the food in the evening seemed limited in choice (just four choices in each course) and not particularly inspiring to me. Breakfasts, on the other hand, were outstanding.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Our room was spacious and amazing, with sea views that were stunning. The food was gorgeous and catered for vegetarians. There's a sumptuous spa area - the hot tub experience was excellent and all in all the staff were superb. Loved it.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the whole ambience.

Don’t expect

I would've liked a larger table in the room for eating.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

No children allowed! The atmosphere is laid back but efficient, all needs are catered for and though this is a luxury hotel it is not in the least bit stuffy. All staff are friendly, helpful and courteous. The breakfasts and dinner are sublime.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The location couldn't be better, atop a cliff with amazing sea views, especially from one of the hot tubs with a glass of the local bubbly in hand! The in-house spa is also pretty amazing too – go for the head-to-toe massage treatment, you won't be disappointed! The service and attitude of the staff is pretty much spot on and the hotel itself can't be faulted at all – so much so that this was our third visit!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the swimming pool, morning yoga class, beds and the cliff-top hot tubs.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The location is superb, with amazing views over the coast and sea, terrific service and a superb spa. Don't miss the cliff-top hot tub whatever the weather!

Don’t expect

I would've liked tea and coffee in the room – they will bring it to the room as you need it, but this is not always so convenient. They forgot our morning coffee on day two.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Impeccable service: any problems were dealt with swiftly. The kitchen was happy to accomodate any dietary needs. I left feeling relaxed and revived.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the sensational location, view and hotel architecture on arrival. It's breathtaking. The spa is number one for a reason: it has incredibly relaxing, professional, caring therapists and a wonderful variety of treatments.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the beautiful views from the clifftop location, and watching the sunset with a glass of wine in the hot tub. Peaceful and quiet – the perfect break.

Don’t expect

It can be difficult to get a table in the restaurant; book in advance!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Super quiet, stunning views, friendly staff where nothing was too much, superb food and relaxing spa. No phone reception, just perfect!

Don’t expect

I'd like a boader choice of food for non seafoodfish eaters. WiFi is intermittent depending where you are in the hotel.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked everything! Food, views, staff, hotel spa, pool, artworks… I just loved it!

Don’t expect

We stayed in a more expensive room for the last two nights of our stay and the suite was fab but we were so disappointed in the view; although we has a balcony, we looked directly down into another room's garden and across the screen roof with only a glimpse of the sea on the horizon.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The Scarlett was incredible – the staff is super obliging, it has the most picturesque views, the food was lovingly local and all ethical and environmentally friendly, too. I can't wait to go back and take Jasper, the hotel dog, for a walk.

Don’t expect

Book your hot tub early! We loved our Mr & Mrs Smith extra, half an hour in the hot tub. It gave us the courage to jump in the outdoor pool! It would be better if there were more hot tubs; they have such a fabulous view over the bay and beach.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The Scarlet is just perfect! As soon as I stepped through the doors I was met by a stunning view of the ocean, and warmly welcomed by the reception staff who appeared as if on cue. After being rescued from my bags, it was a quick tour of the hotel before I was left with instructions to ring for absolutely anything, and the promise of a much needed pot of tea to enjoy whilst looking out to the sea. My Just Right room had a fantastic view of the bay and was well proportioned without feeling small. The food was sublime with a fabulous wine list and the cake of the day deserves a special mention for being particularly scrummy. The staff couldn't have been any more helpful – amongst advice about where to visit and which coastal path walk was their favourite, they even printed off information about star gazing so I could enjoy the night sky. And, well... the Atlantic hot tubs were amazing! The seaweed bath is particularly recommended. I'm looking forward to booking the next trip.

Don’t expect

The sparse mobile signal reception is rather liberating, but be prepared for the chorus of pings of text messages and emails coming through as you leave.

Rating: 10/10 stars