ornwall has long reigned as the British destination of choice for luxury travellers looking for good weather, great beaches and even better food – without the hassle of airports. In fact, so popular has the South West county become that, last year, Newquay was the most searched for holiday destination in the UK.
As such, it’s also become the locale of some of the country’s finest luxury hotels, with everything from traditional guesthouses to adults-only eco-retreats popping up over the past few decades, catering to staycationers looking for something a little more refined than a seaside B&B. Here are the best luxury hotels in Cornwall to book now.
Padstow Townhouse, Padstow
Part of Michelin-starred chef Paul Ainsworth’s mini Cornish empire, Padstow Townhouse lies in the heart of the pretty harbour town and is housed in a converted 18th-century home. Filled with antique furniture and artworks by Magnus Gjoen that will have you taking notes for your own interior design upgrades, Padstow Townhouse offers just six lavish suites across three floors, meaning it often feels more like staying with an exceptionally generous friend than in a hotel.
While there’s no restaurant on-site, all-day room service and picnic hampers are available from Ainsworth’s nearby restaurant, No. 6, while the Townhouse offers a Kitchen Pantry, stocked with snacks, cakes and a collection of gins, whiskies and wines, that operates on a 24-hour honesty box system. For those intent on exploring whatever the weather, there are Hunter wellies and four Duchess bicycles available to guests (as well as an electric BMW for those not inclined to brave the elements), while in-room spa treatments are available for those just looking to relax.
Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick
Cornwall isn’t just about beachside retreats. The county is full of miles and miles of glorious British countryside – and Coombeshead Farm occupies 66 acres of it. A working farm where pigs, sheep and ducks, as well as an abundance of fruit and vegetables, are reared for the on-site Michelin Green-starred restaurant, the farm is also home to a bakery that hosts regular bread-making workshops.
Rooms at Coombeshead Farm – and there are only nine of them – are spread across the farmhouse and newly-converted grain store and come in a variety of shapes and size so book early to secure your perfect spot. All rooms are en suite, while some are also dog friendly, and if you’re travelling with a large group, both the farmhouse and grain store can be booked for exclusive use.
The Idle Rocks, St Mawes
Relais & Châteaux membership is a good sign that a great stay is to be had at the independently-run The Idle Rocks, a classic white-washed hotel perched on the waterfront at St Mawes. Bought by current owners David and Karen Richards in 2010, the original 1913 building has been extensively restored, combining period features with contemporary beach-chic elements to create 19 elegant and inviting rooms.
Its enviable waterside position means The Idle Rocks is also home to one of St Mawes’ most popular restaurants. Helmed by chef Dorian Jamaat, food is modern European and capitalises on the restaurant’s proximity to some of the country’s freshest seafood, while private dining and an outdoor terrace for drinks are also available. Planning a special event? The Idle Rocks’ 25-seat state-of-the-art Hidden Cinema is the perfect place to wow guests.
The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth
An adults-only hotel nestled in the hillside overlooking the white sands of Mawgan Porth, The Scarlet is all about sophisticated luxury, wellness and reconnecting with nature. Built into the rock face, and with expansive use of glass, the hotel offers spectacular views from every room while natural materials abound throughout its 37 rooms and five floors. Guest areas, too, prioritise light and spaciousness, with an abundance of terraces, relaxation rooms and lounges available for those in need of somewhere peaceful to unwind.
The hotel's on-site restaurant serves all-day casual dining, with afternoon tea and Sunday lunch a particular highlight, but the real draw at The Scarlet is its world-class spa. Focusing on holistic wellbeing, treatments are administered in lantern-lit tents and include a range of Ayurvedic massage and bathing rituals, including a rhassoul using Cornish mud. Hotel guests also have access to an indoor pool, natural reed-bed outdoor pool and steam room, as well as a host of yoga, tai chi and wellness classes.
Carbis Bay Estate, St Ives
Occupying a prime position on the shores of what is undoubtedly one of Cornwall’s most beautiful beaches, the Carbis Bay Estate climbs uphill away from the ocean in a series of landscaped gardens, beach lodges and suites, arranged around a grand main house designed by Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail in 1894. Accommodation is accordingly varied, with the main house offering beautifully-furnished traditional bedroom suites, and the grounds given over to beach lodges sleeping up to eight with private gardens and hot tubs, and contemporary beach suites offering direct access to the ocean.
Once you’re settled in, there’s very little reason to leave Carbis Bay. The hotel boasts four restaurants: Restaurant 1894 for Cornish fine dining, summery Mediterranean fare at the Beach Club, modern pub classics at the Hungry Gannet and all-day casual dining at the Conservatory. The serene C Bay spa, meanwhile, features a heated outdoor pool, ocean pool, relaxation lounge, hair salon and a full complement of Aromatherapy Associates treatments.
Watergate Bay Hotel, Newquay
Looking for the traditional Cornish experience of sea, sun and surf? The Watergate Bay Hotel is your ideal luxury stay in Cornwall. Rooms range from classic doubles to family apartments and most are dog-friendly, while the Watergate Bay is also offering a ‘work from anywhere’ initiative for those after a Zoom with a view. The food is equally crowd-pleasing, with the hotel’s four restaurants serving up everything from seasonal modern fine dining and casual Mediterranean and British classics to a seafood and plant-based menu at a new pop-up by Emily Scott.
For those with little ones to entertain, however, it is the hotel’s huge range of activities that are the big draw here. Enroll aspiring surfers big and small in Extreme Academy, the Watergate Bay’s Surfing England and British Kitesurfing Association-approved surf school, where tutelage in stand-up paddleboarding, waveski and hand plane is offered alongside traditional surfboarding. The hotel also offers swim breaks, pilates and yoga retreats and fitness camps – plus a full-service spa to soothe the inevitable aches and pains.
Chapel House, Penzance
Dating back to 1790, the soaring ceilings and Georgian proportions of Chapel House are the perfect foil to its new guise as a mid-century modern townhouse designed by architect Keith Bell and owner Susan Stuart. Simple, clean lines, bold colours set against stark white walls and warming natural materials make Chapel House a smart and inviting place to stay (and Instagram intensively).
The hotel’s ‘open house’ concept means guests at its six bedrooms and two suites are invited to treat the facilities at Chapel House as if those of a friend’s home. A resident therapist is on hand to administer in-room treatments, a boot room is stocked with spare jackets, gloves, hats, wellies and flippers and unlimited tea and cake is available to guests content to loll away a warm afternoon on the garden terrace overlooking Penzance Harbour. Supper clubs in the open-plan kitchen also take place every Friday and Saturday using ingredients sourced from local farms.