Carol Burns heads to this unspoilt corner of Cornwall for an unforgettable luxury family break…
We say it about many spots in Cornwall, but the Roseland Peninsula really is a slice of unspoilt Cornwall. Best seen through a meandering drive along its narrow roads (at some points only a few metres wide) to discover tiny villages filled with art galleries, ancient buildings (we love the thatched Round Houses in Veryan), deserted beaches and stunning hotels and restaurants.
And the best has to be The Nare. Rated by the AA as the best hotel in Cornwall every year for the last 25 years and who are we to argue? Perched above Carne beach in Veryan-in-Roseland, this stunning hotel offers a luxurious Cornish stay.
We were treated to a stay in a beach view suite complete with cute cabin room for our 11-year-old son (a brown paper package containing a gift laid out on his bed provided an extra treat). The master bedroom came complete with a kingsize bed offering uninterrupted views of the sea – you felt you could almost dive into the waters from the balcony. Fight the urge and head to the deck and enjoy the view and sounds of the sea as it lapping lazily into a sandy crescent shaped beach begging for a day spent bathing and sand castle building (and it’s perfect for a pre-dinner meander too).
The suite also featured a huge living space (with access to the deck) and a wall-hung TV hidden behind a painting (the perfect accessory for our James Bond secret-lair loving 11-year-old). The suite also featured the biggest bathroom I’ve seen in any hotel where double sinks, big bath and walk-in shower are complemented by full size Penhaligan toiletries and fluffy bathrobes. The housekeeping staff deserve a mention here: not only for the bed turning service that includes supplying fresh milk for the coffee tray each evening, but the incredible – and all too rare – attention to detail that lets you know you are staying somewhere really special, and where the staff will treat you with quiet attention.
The hotel complex itself is worth a day’s exploration. There are indoor and outdoor pools to try out, a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi – as well as a gym. There are also tennis courts, croquet and a spa offering luxury treatments after all the hard work of a day’s holidaying in Cornwall. And the outdoor heated pool is only bettered by what must be a hot tub with the best view in Cornwall. As the sun goes down the only lights visible illuminate the village Portscatho (where fireworks erupted after dusk during our stay: it felt like they were specially for us).
For dinner you can choose between the Dining Room or The Quarterdeck restaurant. Whichever one you choose, you can see and taste every one of their 4 AA Rosettes in their menu – from the delectable egg mayonnaise sandwiches served at lunch and the complimentary cream tea served to guests every afternoon to a delectable dinner menu – where dietary requirements are happily catered for (we were presented with our very own vegetarian menu featuring a choice of dishes including an elegant wild mushrooms starter and an intensely flavoursome pea risotto).
Among the restaurant’s attractions is the extensive wine list that should prove a real attraction to wine buffs. The wine cellar is stocked with classic and interesting wines from around the world, including châteaux Margaux and Rothschild. The list is exquisite reading and is clearly a labour of love for hotel proprietor Toby Ashworth. But whatever your budget and palate there is something for every taste.
The Roseland has a reputation for being out of the way, but a roadtrip to this lovely part of Cornwall offers a chance to really enjoy driving again – and any stresses endured along the pretty country roads will be long forgotten by the luxury that awaits at the end of your journey.
Things to do during your stay
The Roseland Peninsula has been designated part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the quality of its landscape and coastal scenery – so wherever you find yourself you are sure to get the wow factor. Bring your camera, sketchbook and journal to record your experiences in this stunning part of the world.
We counted nine beaches on the Roseland and each one is unique: from rockpooling on Portholland to the National Trust-owned Porthbeor – a quiet sandy beach awaits those who brave its steep path.
St Mawes is the largest village in the area and attracts day visitors who come over daily on the ferry from Falmouth to enjoy a promenade of this pretty fishing village.
St Mawes Castle
A visit to St Mawes Castle is a must. The artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII between 1540 and 1542 is looked after by English Heritage and alongside tours, there are plenty of special events going on.
St Anthony’s Lighthouse
The iconic lighthouse at the end of the Roseland Peninsula is famous for its starring role in the 1980s show Fraggle Rock.
Take a walk
The South West Coast Path takes in most of the coastline of the peninsula – try the walk that links St Mawes and the beautiful exotic churchyard of St Just in Roseland.