CAROL BURNS and family head to Portreath to lap up some award-winning five-star luxury at Gwel an Mor resort’s new eco-lodges
Gwel an Mor means view of the sea – and at the titular cliffside resort overlooking one of Cornwall’s favourite holiday spots, there are few places where the Atlantic swell can’t be seen or heard. The lodges nestle across West Cornwall’s coastal countryside sloping gently down towards Portreath.
We were welcomed by chocolates on the pillows – and a lollipop on our son’s pillow (which, he says, made a tasty midnight snack, by the way) and woke to a view of contrasting blues before realising it was the ocean and the sky. Our luxury eco lodge featured underfloor heating, a wood-burning fire and a well-stocked kitchen – we had a breakfast pack ready and waiting for us in the fridge featuring local eggs, sausages and bacon, bread and jam and milk (available to book at an additional cost).
With three bedrooms, the master en suite opens on to the deck – where that luxury of luxuries, a hot tub bubbles away in sight of the ocean. And for when we tired of the water, our eco-lodge had TVs in every room – and a choice of classic board games, including the family favourite Frustration, which in our stunning setting, was anything but.
Bikes measured to fit awaited us on our arrival – rental can be arranged when booking your holiday – Gwel an Mor offer several bike trails and the nearby Tehidy Country Park was also waiting to be explored. On the holiday complex there is a play park with swings, climbing frame and monkey bars and a croquet lawn – its sloping lawn was perfect for rolling down.
A friendly-staffed clubhouse sits in its centre of the resort offering a swimming pool – open until nine every night, as as a sauna and steam room, Jacuzzi and spa where delicious treatments for face, body and soul await. I underwent an hour-long salt-scrub massage treatment under the magic hands Daniella which had me wishing for warmer weather so I could show off my newly buffed skin.
Saturday night we headed for The Terrace Restaurant, a menu featuring everything from Tapas to seafood, burgers to risotto and pasta – enough choice to dine out every night of a two-week holiday – and most of it sourced locally. First up was a table game, some colouring and puzzles before sharing a baked Camembert cheese – with breads and olives. Staff were family-friendly and more than happy to bring out our younger diner’s courses as they were ready.
Feadon Farm was a highlight of the stay for the young and old among us – this wildlife centre is home to many rescued animals – including birds of prey, owls, snakes and hedgehogs. The meet and greet tour allowed us to get up close and friendly with its many inhabitants. Hands full of foodstuffs and with our knowledgeable and enthusiastic fact-filled host, Gary, we started with the pygmy goats – named after Gwel an Mor staff, before moving on to feed the chickens, meet the resident reindeer, named Bledhen and Nowyth (Merry Christmas in Cornish) and finally, for us, the stars of the centre: Todd the fox, who took food from our hands before kissing the nose of his smaller visitors.
And we haven’t even been to the beach yet! If Gwel an Mor has a downside, it’s that there is so much to do, you need at least a week to explore it.
This article first appeared in Cornwall Life May 2015