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Coastal glamour

Art-deco inspired luxury meets seaside splendour at St Moritz Hotel, where stylish spaciousness makes for the ultimate holiday experience.

Words by Hannah Tapping

Trebetherick is something of a sleepy village on the north Cornish coast with just a small cluster of houses and a local store to its name; but don’t be deceived by its bucolic setting. This is the gateway to an area of Cornwall that exudes opulence and adventure, not least because it is home to St Moritz Hotel. Sat on the clifftop above Greenaway Beach and Daymer Bay, the hotel has a venerable history dating back to the 1930s. Its sparkling white-washed façade harks back to days of splendour when seaside holidays were de rigueur and St Moritz has certainly hosted its fair share of the rich and famous over the years. Today, the hotel’s appeal is much broader, although guests are no less discerning or venerable.

There’s a real 1920s Miami Beach vibe going on here – sunbathing, swimming and sipping rosé on the terrace are the order of the day… but with a family twist. Children are very well-catered for, with activities and movie nights running throughout the school holidays, meaning everyone gets to find their own little piece of Cornish heaven. A stay here is designed to rejuvenate and revive, whether that be a couple’s retreat, a family escape or an extended multi-generational holiday.

The hotel is cleverly set out with a combination of hotel rooms, large suites, coastal villas and apartments. Within the main hotel building you’ll find the rooms and suites. All have interiors designed by interior specialists with a chic sophisticated style that is focused on comfort, with those little extras that make a stay extra special; luxury bedding, fluffy white robes and Cowshed flipflops and products. Book a king room and you’ll have exclusive use of your own poolside beach hut – that’s movie-star magic right there.

Elegantly refurbished for this season by Helen Stephens, from Cornwall-based design consultants Absolute, are a set of room pods that can be booked individually or together. Each pod contains one suite, one king room and one cosy room that combine to create an apartment. The rooms share a private hallway and the interiors invoke a modern villa feel. Helen was given free rein to create spaces that would tick all the boxes in terms of form and function whilst remaining in keeping with the art-deco styling of the hotel building. The result is a “seamless balance of the serious with the playful, the luxurious with the locally-accessible and a sense of urban chic within a coastal retreat”. The pods are perfect for groups or families, giving the combination of bedroom privacy along with a lounge area, kitchen and outdoor patio. There are also coastal villas, eight new garden apartments and an off-site house that complete an accommodation picture that surpasses expectation.

Food is very important at St Moritz. The local Cornish larder provides the freshest seafood, locally reared meat, burgeoning hedgerows and a veritable garden of vegetables from which Head Chef Jonathan Dome creates modern French classic dishes, on a menu that changes daily according to which ingredients are freshest. The hotel has long-established values of impeccable service and gastronomy and this is reflected in the Shorecrest Restaurant’s à la carte dining. For informal eating, sharing platters and bar favourites are served in the bar and on the terrace and for an al-fresco experience the Seaside Café, which opens during the summer months, has a prêt-style offering along with takeaways from the pizza oven – always a favourite with youngsters. The wine list is carefully-curated and includes nearby Camel Valley’s award-winning, world-class wines that are vinted less than 15 miles from the hotel. Cocktails are described as ‘dangerous’ with Bar Manager Andy an aficionado in the world of mixology.

Often an after-thought for other venues, St Moritz puts wellbeing high on the agenda. The biomass-heated outdoor pool is surrounded by well-manicured gardens where guests can enjoy a game on the tennis court or simply chill in the loungers and hammocks. There’s also an indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room with plans afoot for a complete redevelopment of the indoor leisure facilities in 2023, where there will be an indoor-outdoor pool experience to include an external hydro-pool. The pièce de résistance of relaxation at St Moritz though has to be the Cowshed Spa. It is the only Cowshed you’ll find outside of the Soho House properties which can be found in luxury locations across the UK, Europe and the States. Adopting the original Cowshed philosophy developed at Babington House in Somerset, which was “to inject a little country calm into people’s busy lives”, treatment-led natural therapies are based on English country garden botanicals to nourish body and soul. Treatment rooms are oases of rustic-luxe calm; whether you visit alone, with a loved one, or with friends, you’ll leave feeling reconnected and ultimately rejuvenated.

No hotel worth its salt is without a concierge service and St Moritz is no exception. Excellent, well-versed hosts contact each arriving guest and can arrange everything from restaurant bookings to watersports. With a plethora of local adventure partners guests can surf, SUP, water ski, wakeboard and even enjoy a powerboat or sea-life safari. For a gentler appreciation of this area of the north Cornwall coastline there are endless clifftop forays and sunset strolls to be had, lanes to be cycled and, of course, there’s nothing like a dip in the ocean to balance body and mind. In fact, the hotel’s Sea and Cycle package embraces all of this. This three-night break includes a two-day cycle adventure along the Camel Trail and a wild swimming experience.

Nestled as it is between Rock and Polzeath, St Moritz finds itself in good company; this is the playground of the discerning and to be classed as a luxury hotel in this area, you can’t be resting on your laurels. You’ll be pleased to know that there is absolutely no laurel-resting here. The hotel requires a dictionary of superlatives all of its own –boutique, chic, cool, calming, elegant, stylish, welcoming – and the list goes on. At a time when news is gloomy, add a little north Cornwall sparkle to your next holiday; you deserve it.

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