Natalie French

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There’s something truly special about Britain’s most far western peninsula; with over 250 miles of rugged coastline - lapped by the wild Atlantic Ocean – many childhood memories are made here and the pull for grown-ups never leaves. Luckily, there are plenty of heavenly hotels dotted along the clifftops to stay and soak up the magic. 

Located on the Southern Cornish shores, St Michaels Resort has a lovely spot just a stone’s throw from Gyllvngvase beach. Inspired by its surroundings, the hotel interior is all nautical-themed in cool sea blues. Shoulders will drop on arrival. Feasting is high on the agenda here – whether that’s wood-fired pizza at the (dog-friendly) Garden Kitchen or the two AA rosette Brasserie on the Bay. For extra-chilling, head to the spa; centred around the hydro pool you can unravel in the Cornish Sea salt room or head outside to the hot tub and Finnish barrel sauna complete with, you guessed it, more sea views. 

This five-star, red-brick clifftop hotel is perched above the stunning Fistral Beach. With views at every turn, you can watch surfers bobbing in the wild Atlantic at this world-renown surfer’s paradise. You may recognise the hotel from the original film, The Witches – a Roald Dahl classic. Residents can take full advantage of the hotel’s new £10 million wellness retreat, The Aqua Club. The sleek building – made with Cornish stone and sweeping curves of glass – has no less than six pools; make sure you bag a space in the bubbly Sunset Pool to enjoy unrivalled views while you sip something sparkling. 

Winner of the Gold Award in Large Hotel of the Year at the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2021 & 2022, The Carlyon Bay Hotel is another country house stunner perched on the cliff tops above St Austell Bay. Set in 250-acres of manicured gardens and grounds; golfers will love the 18-hole championship cliff-top course. Swim laps in the 23m heated outdoor pool - which stretches alongside the spa - before heading to the two AA Rosette Bay View Restaurant; Cornish crab and char-grilled lobster are a regular on the seaside-inspired menu with ocean views. 

Tucked away in a quiet nook in the South East of Cornwall - between the ancient fishing village of Polperro and the port town of Looe - The Talland offers an unspoilt stretch of coast away from the Cornwall’s crowds. You four-legged friend is positively encouraged here; the promise of sausage for breakfast and chicken for dinner makes it well worth the small charge. Perfectly placed for strolls along the South West Coastal Path – that’s walkies sorted too. For the humans, there’s beautiful food, an extensive gin menu and a garden filled with sub-tropical plants, native flowers and Alice in Wonderland-style curiosities (fairy houses) to awaken the inner child. 

Perched on the edge of Falmouth’s historic harbour, The Greenbank is one of the oldest hotels in the town, dating back to 1640s. Arrive by boat and you can pitch up at the hotel’s own private pontoon. This coastal retreat has an enviable position close to the cobbled streets and independent boutiques and eateries. Time your visit right and you may catch one of Falmouth’s annual shindigs: from sea shanty singing and sailing regattas to the annual oyster fest. Back at the hotel feast at The Water’s Edge restaurant which pairs Cornish fare with rustic fine dining. 

Just a five-minute saunter to Falmouth’s sandy Gyllyngvase beach, this family-friendly Victorian hotel offers sea views – across to Falmouth Bay to Pendennis Castle - and good old-fashioned service. The Two AA restaurant services classic British food with Asian or Mediterranean twist. If the sun’s out request a table on the Sun Terrace so you can soak up the views while you dine. The National Maritime Museum is within walking distance or pack a cossie and head straight to the South West Coastal Path for breath-taking walks with a number of refreshing swim spots on route. 

Grade II listed Tregenna Castle sits high on a hill overlooking the postcard-perfect fishing Harbour and seaside town of St Ives. Once an 18th century family home, it’s now an expansive hotel set in 72-acres and subtropical gardens. Tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course and outdoor pool come as standard here - in fact, G7 leaders descended at Tregenna last summer for the Cornwall summit. A great base for exploring the west coast of Cornwall, walkers can trek the 20-mile South West Coast Path all the way along to mainland England’s most westerly point to Land’s End. 

Cornwall is synonymous with family holidays but travelling with young kids isn’t always breezy. But don’t be put off, Sands Resort Hotel has got you covered. Think: spacious two-bed suites, indoor and outdoor pools with baby splash pool, family mealtimes and a pirate ship playground. Not forgetting a baby listening service so knackered parents can slope off for a rare uninterrupted meal or long-overdue massage. Bliss. Situated in the beautiful north Cornish coast - between Newquay and Watergate Bay - Atlantic views are plentiful here. The beach is just a short walk too. 

Located at the quieter end of Fistral Beach, this cool and contemporary spa hotel was designed exclusively for grown-ups (sorry kids). Laid-back seaside-chic is the order of the day here. Floor-to-ceiling glass in the Dune Restaurant and The Bay Bar mean endless seascapes accompany locally-landed seafood and classic cocktails. Don’t miss the signature Afternoon Tea ‘Storm in a Teacup’: three tiers of naughtiness served alongside Novus Teas and, yet more, cocktails. While sea views are a common theme in Cornwall, the tide literally comes past the door at Fistral Beach Hotel blurring the blues and allowing optimal chilling.  

The Nare Hotel is a five-star, country house hotel with sweeping views over the secluded Carne Bay on the Roseland Peninsula - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Chill out in the indoor and outdoor heated pool or bubble away in the hot tub with views of the endless blue. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to The Dining Room to take advantage of the daily fresh Cornish lobster. If you prefer more laid-back dining head to the nautically-styled Quarterdeck Restaurant. In the summer months, book a day trip on the hotel’s 38ft motorboat ‘Alice Rose’ and enjoy the Fal and Helford Rivers; bring your cossie for impromptu swim stops. 

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