A beachy pit stop for travellers exploring the arty town of St Ives and the Cornish coast, this forward-thinking hotel is based in a stunningly scenic spot.
Looking out over Carbis Bay from its own sandy beach, it includes a large Victorian hotel, four restaurants (two are fine dining), a spa and several new self-catering lodges on the beach.
The estates’ 125-acre plot is idyllic with sub-tropical gardens, a wide stretch of golden sand and views that go all the way to Godrevy lighthouse in the distance. From the hotel there is a path leading directly to the South West Coast Path where you can walk to St Ives in under half an hour.
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Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate – which has been voted best eco hotel in the UK 2019 – attracts a variety of guests, from loyal customers who return year after year, to keen walkers and a hip crowd attracted to the food events held at the hotel’s pop up restaurant space (more on that later). You might even come upon some dedicated day trippers who visit purely for the food.
The estate has an exclusive and unpretentious feel, with friendly staff and a busy, but happy atmosphere. It has two contrasting parts – the Victorian hotel and spa at the top of the hill and strikingly modern but stylish beach lodges and restaurant down on the beach.
THE BEACH LODGE
There are eight beach lodges at Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate. All face the sea and are right on the sand. Each one is set up slightly differently. Ours had three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a roof terrace with jacuzzi, huge open-plan living area, a kitchenette and private garden with a full-width deck that has a gate to the beach. The bathrooms are elegantly decorated with white marble tiles, traditional chrome Perrin & Rowe showers and a selection of Aromatherapy Associates toiletries.
The design throughout is very much about muted tones and natural materials, from sustainably sourced timber to cool grey stone floors and aged leather details. Our custom-made spiral concrete staircase was a thing of artistic beauty. The lodges are also pretty high tech, from digital light controls to Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems.
Lodge 5: We were truly blown away with this lodge. From its magnificent, ever-changing sea view, to the quality of the finishes and the pure escapism of being right on the beach and hearing the waves…it was an escape to the seaside you would want to return to continually. Enough independence and privacy with all the perks of room service if need be.
On warmer days, open all the bifold doors, both on the ground and upper floors, and take in that incredible azure blue view whilst eating outside on the deck. Who needs the Mediterranean? On cooler days, warm up in the rooftop jacuzzi with a glass of champagne.
Built at the same time as the beach lodges (2018), the real star of the food show is Carbis Bay’s pop up restaurant space (as of January 2020, called Sauce Supper Club). The large building has incredible views out to sea through its floor to ceiling windows and is attracts some of the best chefs in the country. During our stay, Tom Sellers was running a pop-up there called Story by the Sea, with a portion of the restaurant proceeds going to an ocean clean up initiative. The menu was based around reinventions of ‘simple’ dishes like crab tart, tomato salad and Cornish lamb with courgettes.
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Carbis Bay Hotel, Spa & Estate has five dining options in total, including a beach club restaurant for very good fish and chips. Rather than go to the main house for breakfast, we opted to have a hamper delivered to our room every morning with freshly cooked eggs (to your liking), smoked salmon, freshly made yoghurt and fruit, sourdough and pastries. The lodge also came with a huge basket of local produce, from shortbread biscuits and chocolate to a bottle of sloe gin.
Carbis Bay Hotel, Spa & Estate won the 2019 award for Best Eco Hotel in the UK due to their committed sustainability practices. These include the care of their Blue Flag beach (which has excellent water quality and regular beach cleans); the installation of an on-site eco-friendly Energy Centre; the use of sustainable building materials; and the installation of pathways and a promenade made from recycled plastics from the ocean (using to date, the equivalent of some 3.5 million plastic straws).