Words by Hannah Tapping
Discover a quiet corner of paradise on the Cornish coast where sub-tropical splendour meets laid-back spa luxury.
When it comes to hotel luxury, St Michaels Resort has led the way in Cornish coastal stays since 2001. Set back just a few steps from Gylly beach, the hotel nestles amidst tranquil sub-tropical gardens where views, framed by the branches of soaring pines, extend across Falmouth Bay. The smell of the sea, combined with the heady fragrant scent of the pines, brings a distinctly Mediterranean feel to Cornish shores. This immersion in the beauty of nature is echoed throughout the hotel. There has been a considerable amount of investment over recent years, bringing the hotel in line with the very finest in the UK. Boasting the largest and best-equipped health club in Cornwall, the facilities are next level; no wonder then that the 2500-member base is often oversubscribed.
The welcome area of the hotel has been redesigned and re-imagined; it’s more akin to stepping on to a luxury liner than checking in a reception desk. Talking of liners, the impressive development adjacent to the hotel allows St Michaels Resort to offer stylish, self-catering beach residences within the Liner development alongside their traditional hotel room and suite offering. Although, any accommodation here is far from traditional in terms of style and comfort. Interiors nod to the nautical – ocean blues contrast with sandy tones – while beds are dressed with Egyptian cotton linens that invite deep slumber, lulled by the sounds of the sea.
The resort is also home to the largest hydrothermal pool in the South West. This warm, watery oasis, with its 21 massage stations, is a place of restorative relaxation and also boasts a herbal Finnish sauna, experience showers, and steam rooms. Step beyond the pool, through the French windows, and you’ll find a south-facing spa garden which basks in Cornish sunshine throughout the day. Recently re-landscaped with tucked-away terraces on which to relax, the planting is exquisite. The deep blue flower heads of agapanthus nod in the breeze, while echiums rise majestically amidst tall grasses and aeoniums. The hotel gardener’s attention to detail and horticultural artistry is breath taking.
Below the spa garden, the original sloping lawn has been replaced by gentle terraces on which seaside-inspired deckchairs face the ocean. A pop-up bar and BBQ make this a laid-back area in which to find solace. Perhaps a coffee and several chapters of your favourite book while your feet find the cool of the early morning dew-soaked grass; or a sundowner, enjoyed while listening to one of the live music events on the lawn.
St Michaels captures your heart at every turn of the path and perhaps none more so than the pebbled one that leads to the resort’s newly unveiled spa lodges. These four beach-chic lodges at St Michaels Resort draw inspiration from their surroundings, offering an elegant and refined sanctuary. Nestled below the main hotel, they offer a wonderful degree of privacy, cleverly placed so that they are not overlooked but situated close enough to the spa that you can wander effortlessly from your lodge to access all of the facilities, all day, every day.
Unlocking the tall wooden gate, it feels as if you are entering your own coastal hideaway, inspired by the beach huts of days gone by but elevated to a whole new level of luxury, one that is connected to the restorative properties of water. I would recommend rising early and partaking of a cold-water dip off Gylly beach. Returning to your lodge with skin cooled and tingling from the salty sea, rinse off under the hot outdoor shower before ordering breakfast to be enjoyed on your private terrace.
The lodges have been designed with contemporary soothing tones, natural accents and gentle textures. Step through the doors and the delightful open-plan space has a sink-into sofa (which turns into a bed if your retreat is a family affair) in which to relax, with an electric woodburner available for chilly toes; shoulder season retreats here are as magical as high summer. The décor is subtly understated, and everything has been carefully thought out. Your lodge is equipped with all the luxuries of a hotel room, including a mini bar stocked with local tipples When the weather warms, throw open the doors and welcome in the Cornish air. All four of the lodges have interconnecting gates, which are double-locked for single occupancy, but if you want to stay with family and friends, they can be opened to allow a convivial pathway between two, three or all four of the lodges. The planting in the lodges has been done with the same care and attention as the wider hotel grounds and will mature to create a coastal microcosm.
Days can be spent here doing as much or as little as you want. Meander along the pebble path to the resort’s award-winning spa – as a guest of the spa lodges, you’ll enjoy unlimited access to the two-hour Hydrothermal Experience – an invitation to indulge in relaxation at your leisure throughout your stay. Or, take turns warming in the barrel sauna looking out across the bay, braving the icy cold plunge pool or letting the warm gentle bubbles of the 12-person hot tub wash over you. The spa treatment menu includes signature wraps, massages, scrubs and facials all enjoyed in luxurious treatment rooms.
St Michaels is as concerned with nurturing the body as it is with the soul. The award-winning Brasserie on the Bay overlooks the ocean and has a three-day, locally sourced rotating menu. Lodge guests are welcome to enjoy all of the hotel’s facilities, or if you prefer some seclusion, dinner can be delivered to your lodge. Lighter bites and lunches can be enjoyed with laid-back vibes in the Garden Kitchen. Returning to your lodge replete, enjoy the ultimate in indulgence with a soak under the stars in your lodge’s private outdoor copper bath tub. Set on the decked area, let the warm waters carry cares away.
To be one of the first to experience the new spa lodges at St Michaels Resort from £200pp per night, visit stmichaelsresort.com/spa-garden-lodges.