Sustainable Luxury - The Scarlet Hotel

The Scarlet Hotel just oozes style. There aren’t many places that manage to combine luxury and genuine eco-friendliness so successfully.

Their outdoor swimming pool, for example, not only looks gorgeous but is also chemical free – the water being filtered by a living reed bed. And the sleek indoor pool - which we were delighted to find is big enough to swim proper lengths, is sanitised with bromine, rather than chlorine, which is kinder to the environment. Even the flip flops provided in the spa (Ayurvedic, of course) are made of recycled car tyres.

Swimming Pool Scarlet Hotel

The Natural Swimming Pool at the Scarlet

Romantic Hideaway

The Scarlet Hotel (Tredragon Road, Mawgan Porth, T01637 861800) opened in 2010 and is run by members of the Whittington family, who also own the nearby Bedruthan Steps. While Bedruthan is family-friendly, the Scarlet is very much aimed at adults. It’s the sort of place you come for a romantic weekend or a special occasion; celebrity Dawn French recently took over the whole hotel for her 'secret' wedding to a local charity chief. It’s surprisingly welcoming for the lone traveller too, with friendly staff who make you feel at home, plenty of snug corners where you can cosy up with a book, plus gloriously indulgent treatments in the excellent spa. We spotted several people holidaying alone who all looked extremely contented.

Clifftop Luxury

The location is idyllic, with the hotel perched on a clifftop above Mawgan Porth beach, a few miles outside Newquay. The Scarlet sits on the South West Coast Path, the waymarked footpath that etches Cornwall’s scenic coastline, so suits walkers as well as beach bunnies.

It was purpose built to be eco-friendly and merge tastefully into the landscape, and achieves its aims with great aplomb.

The bedrooms themselves are just too-cool-for-school: our room was open plan with a free-standing bath (as well as a shower), floor to ceiling windows, a comfy bed and funky lighting – press a button and you can choose everything from ‘ambient’, ‘relax’ and even ‘bath’. We must confess that when we went to bed we couldn’t quite work out how to turn the lights off (not cool enough, obviously), but eventually managed it.

As you might expect, the soaps are organic and handmade locally, while the staff will happily bring you pots of tea, coffee or freshly brewed chamomile flowers to your room. All rooms at the Scarlet hotel have a view of the sea, as well as some outside space.

Green Living

From our balcony we could see the hotel’s ‘green’ roof – literally green, it’s covered with sea thrift; a plant that grows widely in Cornwall, it has been used here to improve the energy efficiency of the Scarlet hotel, as well as provide a habitat for insects.

This is a place that really cares about being eco-friendly - it has solar panels, a ‘grey water’ recycling system and even takes part in regular beach cleans – yet the overwhelming impression for guests is serene luxury.

The restaurant sources as much of its food locally as possible, and there’s an emphasis on seasonal produce. Breakfast – so often a let down, even in luxury hotels – included homemade bread and jam, Cornish apple juice, and a delicious dried fruit compote which had been poached in an Earl Grey and lemon syrup. Even the tea was Cornish, from the Tregothnan estate near Truro.

A stay at the Scarlet isn’t cheap, but with its Ayurvedic spa, gorgeous setting and good food, it lives up to its promise.

Now go from the Scarlet Hotel to Cornish tea at Tregothnan.

Try this recipe for traditional Cornish pasties.