We were looking for a short break with golf for myself and my son, spa/pool for my wife and fine dining for us all. This hotel far exceeded all the criteria.
The hotel (and the adjoining golf course) is set on a cliff top, overlooking Carlyon Bay, close to St Austell. Apparently, the hotel has been here for nearly a century, as can be surmised from it's British, half-hearted take on Art Deco architecture. From the photos on the walls, you can see it's a popular place for celebs but it's also been the site of high powered political meetings. Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern met here for a summit as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.
On check-in, the doorman (complete with top hat!) took our bags to our room. We deliberately chose a room with an inland view (i.e. it overlooked the car park) as the standard rooms are bigger on the inland side of the hotel and smaller with a sea view. So if you want a bigger room yet you also want a sea view then I believe you need to upgrade to a suite. My son had a single room with sea view. It was small (as we expected) but, like ours, very well appointed. The view was lovely. The bathroom in our room looked like it had been very recently refurbished and, although small, was excellent. Although our room was a reasonable size, the bed was a little short. It was also very warm but there was a fan in the wardrobe which we used throughout the night, to help cool us.
The public rooms (bars, lounges etc.) were luxurious but comfortable and welcoming. Loos were immaculately clean and smartly kitted out.
We were here for 2 nights and ate both nights in the main restaurant. The food was modern fine dining in style and was executed to a very high standard and all three of us really enjoyed it. Guests tended to arrive for a drink in the lounge prior to dinner, where they were able to browse the menu whilst enjoying some delicious amuse-bouches. Please note that dress is smart casual.
The staff were a credit to the hotel. Friendly and helpful, polite and efficient, without being overly formal or stuffy and clearly well trained in customer service. This was the case for all the staff we dealt with, from the door, reception, the bar, the restaurant and also by the outside pool. One example - we arrived early (the journey to Cornwall being unusually free of traffic and hold-ups) and we knew we would not be able to check into the room for some time. However, we made ourselves known to the lady on reception who recommended a pleasant walk along the cliff top to nearby Charlestown. This turned out to be a charming small port, where we happily spent a couple of hours. On returning to the hotel, our rooms were ready for us. I'm sure the receptionist has made that recommendation many times before but it was thoughtful and welcome.
As for facilities - my wife used the spa and indoor pool (golf widow!) but together we all used the outdoor pool, as the weather was lovely. It is heated - but not overly warm, I'm glad to say. There are a couple of tennis courts and we had no problem booking a slot. There is a small putting green and, best of all, a really enjoyable pitch and putt course in the attractive gardens. Clubs are available if you don't bring your own. There is free wifi and it worked well both in our room and in the public areas.
As part of our booking, myself and my son played golf on two days, on the hotel's 18 hole course. A beautiful and very well kept course, with the first few holes hugging the cliff edge. On both days, the course was busy in the morning and seemed almost empty in the afternoon and a regular told us that this was the usual weekday pattern. So if you want less queues at the tee box, you might want to consider an afternoon tee off time. If you do play in the morning and you want a buggy, book in advance. Although they have a fair number of buggys, there are a lot of senior players and the buggys were in high demand. Saying that, walking the course on foot gave us a chance to appreciate how attractive it is.
We had lunch on the terrace of the club house on one day and it was very pleasant indeed. We had baguettes and my son's ham and my beef was high quality - thick cut and plentiful.
All in all, this is a fantastic place and we had a wonderful time. OK, the beautiful weather helped but this is a really good hotel and we had a very enjoyable stay. My wife is already planning for us to return, with a group of friends.
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- Also Known As:
- The Carlyon Bay Hotel St Austell
- Carlyon Bay St Austell
- Carlyon Bay Hotel St Austell
- The Carlyon Bay Cornwall/St Austell