Words by Hannah Tapping
Elegance abounds at this luxury clifftop hotel, whose beach vibe invites effortless relaxation for all.
The art-deco-inspired building that is the St Moritz Hotel harks back to the heady days of the 1930s, when it was regularly frequented by the rich and famous. Fast forward to today and it is no less desirable. You’ll find the hotel on the edge of the village of Trebetherick, at the gateway to the north Cornwall coastline above Greenaway Beach and Daymer Bay. This area of the Duchy has become the playground of the discerning, with world-class surf breaks, Michelin-starred menus and the ultimate in hotel luxury.
The St Moritz has recently undergone extensive refurbishment, elevating the rooms and suites to new heights of comfort and elegance due to professional styling. The accommodation has been thoughtfully configured to suit every taste. Guests can choose from traditional hotel rooms, larger suites, coastal villas or apartments – king rooms even come with their own poolside beach hut, for Miami Beach-inspired days by the pool. Sophisticated style and comfort are the order of the day with luxury bedding, fluffy white robes and Cowshed flipflops and products provided to make every stay that little bit special.
Guests also have the option of choosing from a selection of individual or interconnected room pods. Each pod comprises a suite, a king room, and a cosy room, which combine to create an apartment. Connected by a private hallway, these rooms boast a contemporary villa ambiance and are ideal for groups or families, offering a blend of bedroom privacy and communal spaces. The accommodation doesn’t stop there, such is the hotel’s versatility; coastal villas, eight recently added garden apartments and an off-site house complete the picture.
The St Moritz holds families close to its heart and offers a family-friendly, home-away-from-home stay that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter their age. In summer, the biomass-heated outdoor pool, which is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens, is the perfect place in which to lie back on a lounger or hammock with a good book while the children enjoy the water fun. For the more energetic, there’s a tennis court for a game or two and little ones can join Mini Moritz. This welcoming children’s club offers daily activities, many of which take advantage of nature’s playground when the weather’s fine; scavenger hunts, rock pooling and football on the lawn help to work up healthy appetites. In the winter months, arts, crafts and cupcake decorating keep hands and minds busy while movie nights make for a fun end to the day.
This year, it’s the turn of the leisure area and gym to be given a makeover which will see a brand-new indoor-outdoor pool experience to include an external hydro-pool. While the refurbishment is underway, a new Wild Spa experience will be available to guests and day visitors. Embracing the elements, this two-hour hot and cold contrast therapy leads the ‘winter way’, releasing the positive benefits the chillier season can bring. Energising cold water exposure in the form of icy plunge pools and drench showers is followed by a restorative Lithuanian-style, wood-fired sauna or the warming depths of the three hot tubs. At the end of the experience, guests can relax around a firepit in the cocoon of the Wild Spa Tipi with a warming drink or a cocktail.
St Moritz has always put wellbeing high on its agenda, and the pinnacle of relaxation here is 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. In fact, such is the draw of St Moritz that Sara Last, who worked alongside the hotel’s founder Hugh Ridgway on the pre-opening of the Cowshed Spa, has returned as the hotel’s director of operations after starting her career at the property when she was 21. Sara brings a wealth of high-end experience in the luxury spa and leisure industry and will be heading up the build of the hotel’s new wellness area: “St Moritz Hotel and Cowshed Spa are ingrained in my DNA; it feels like home. It feels so serendipitous to be back here. I want to lead the hotel to become the best spa hotel south of Bristol.”
Complementing the wellbeing offering, the menus at St Moritz are designed to nourish. Taking full advantage of the burgeoning local larder, expect the freshest seafood, locally reared meat and a kaleidoscope of vegetables from which Head Chef Vicki Aires creates modern French classic dishes, on a menu that changes daily according to which ingredients are freshest. For fine dining, the Shorecrest Restaurant offers gastronomic delights from its à la carte menu, accompanied by the impeccable service the St Moritz has become known for. Camel Valley’s award-winning, world-class wines are vinted less than 15 miles from the hotel and feature on a carefully curated wine list, while Bar Manager Andy, an aficionado in the world of mixology, has created a cocktail culture that takes guests from light aperitifs to rich, after-dinner drinks. For families or those who prefer a more informal setting, the Seaside Café offers a prêt-style menu, where sharing platters and stone-baked pizzas are a favourite during high season.
With so much to experience at the St Moritz, it might be hard to tear yourself away, but you should. The coast that surrounds the hotel is a veritable ocean playground just waiting to be explored. There’s no need to worry about where you should visit or which activity to choose as the hotel’s concierge service boasts well-versed hosts who can arrange everything from restaurant bookings to watersports. Local adventure partners include Wavehunters and Camel Ski from which you can choose surf, SUP, water ski or wakeboard adventures. For those that prefer a gentler approach to exploration, rise early and take a dip in the clear blue ocean waters before returning to the hotel for a restorative breakfast. If you want to explore the north Cornwall coast on foot, follow the South West Coast Path as it meanders along the craggy clifftops, before finding one of the paths that lead down the beach for a barefoot sunset stroll. Or take advantage of the hotel’s electric minibus that will drop you down to Rock or Polzeath and collect you for the return journey.
The St Moritz is simply the chicest of Cornish escapes and one that is unpretentious in its luxury offering. Nothing is too much trouble here and everyone is welcomed with open arms – all one need do is relax and enjoy the unique experience it offers.