The Scarlet – Gourmet Chick in Cornwall

Could there be any place better in the world to be than sitting in a lipstick red hot tub at The Scarlet hotel in Cornwall sipping champagne? As soon as I heard about the hot tubs I jumped at an invitation to stay a night at The Scarlet. It’s the little things at the hotel that make it really special. The fresh leaf tea and filter coffee that is available for no additional fee from room service instead of dinky bar fridges and kettles in your room. The crisp, high quality bed linen. The copy of the Rough Guide to Happiness in every room’s desk drawer instead of the standard hotel bible.

My favourite place – the outdoor hot tubs
It’s the big things as well though. The expansive views from every room in the hotel over the stunning Magwan Porth Beach. The eco credentials of the hotel evident in the roofs carpeted with Cornish grass so the hotel blends into the natural environment. Did I mention the luxury specially created toiletries?
The view from the balcony of our room. What looks like grass is actually the roof of the hotel rooms below.
Equal thought has gone into the food at The Scarlet with a restaurant headed by Ben Tunnicliffe who gained a Michelin star during his tenure at The Abbey. The menu is seasonal, changing daily and Tunnicliffe makes as much use of the renowned Cornish local produce as possible. The setting for dinner is as spectacular as the food. The dining room pays tribute to the hotel’s name with an ultra modern design interjected with splashes of scarlet in every shade. White linen tables stand out against red wine and chocolate coloured banquettes and dangling felt lampshades. A sense of drama and occasion is created by the soaring ceilings and floor to ceiling windows framing the beach views.
The whole hotel is incredibly stylish with beautiful local art displayed in the common areas
Pan fried ray wing was served perched on a bed of rocket and tiny cubes of chorizo. The fish was slathered in a saffron aioli that is a ready match for the punchy flavours of the crispy chorizo. Rings of bread crumbed squid were deep fried to a state of crispiness and teamed with smears of guacamole and chilli jam. The flavour combination worked well but the squid itself was a little disappointing tasting more like fish n’ chip shop fare.
A round fillet of beef was expertly aged, flavourful and exquisitely prepared. Perfectly medium rare, the beef was teamed with pan fried smoked gnocchi and twirly, curly wild mushrooms. Fillet of line caught sea bass was crispy skinned and tender. it was paired with a lobster raviolo and a scattering of soft tomato salsa.
Beef fillet with smoked gnocchi
It didn’t fall down at dessert either. Vanilla creme brulee, predictably ordered by MTV boyfriend was smooth with a good crack of caramelised sugar on top. The bright pink autumnal fruit sorbet that accompanied it sharply cut through the creamy brulee. The well kept cheese board featured a creamy Tunworth almost like a brie, birch Bath blue and a sharp 12 month aged Montgomery cheddar. The cheeses were accompanied by excellent home made biscuits scattered with poppy seeds and a sweet apple chutney.
The generously sized cheese board for one
In keeping with the ecological bent of The Scarlet, the wine list was entirely European to save on air miles. There was an emphasis on small producers and organic, bio-dynamic wines. We drank a bottle of red from the Duoro region of Portugal, a full bodied wine which was tanning heavy but with fruity undertones.
The next morning, we ate one of the best hotel breakfasts I have ever had. Breakfast at The Scarlet is all about the toast. Thick slabs of home baked bread were slathered in rich, red lumpy strawberry jam or sticky marmalade. Resisting filling up on the bread was essential as breakfast was a multi course affair with home made granola yoghurt and berries and then a choice of breakfast “mains” which changed daily. The full English was a staple and featured “hog sausage” alongside the usual suspects, a black pudding style accompaniment made out of spicy sausage. Eggs Arlington was a version of Eggs Benedict but featuring smoked salmon instead of ham. The hollondaise sauce was super creamy and clearly made to order.
Granola with berries
Gourmet Travel
  • We drove to Cornwall from London which takes between four to six hours. Another, more ecological option is to catch the train to Bodmin Parkway station or for those feeling flush you could fly to Newquay.
  • If you can tear yourself away from The Scarlet, you can hang out on the beautiful Magwan Porth beach or there is a great walk to Bedruthan steps from the hotel where you can take in the stunning views and eat afternoon tea for £4.95 at the National Trust tearooms.
  • There is lots to do in Cornwall even in Winter like visits to the galleries in St Ives (including the Tate) and a tour of the open air Minack theatre.
Bedruthan steps – a half hour walk from the hotel along the cliffs
Details: The Scarlet Hotel, Tredragon road, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, England (Ph 01637 861 800)
Damage: Pricey. Bed, breakfast and dinner packages are from between £160 to £240 a night at this time of year. You don’t need to stay at the hotel to eat dinner there and a three course meal is £35.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of The Scarlet
Cream tea at the National Trust tea rooms at Bedruthan Steps
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of another super luxury hotel for a get away, Babington House in Somerset or if you are heading to nearby Devon why not try a weekend at The River Cottage.


  1. I’d love to go to Cornwall one day. It is home of the cream tea, after all! There are so many great places to eat there.
    What a stunning hotel! You are so lucky!
    *kisses* HH

  2. I’m visiting next month, really looking forward to it!

  3. My blog is going to be stalking yours – I’ll be staying at the Scarlet next week, and looking forward to those gorgeous views and red hot tubs! That cream tea looks great too.

  4. I’m going to the Scarlet in November! SOOOO EXCITED it looks beautiful! 🙂

  5. I’m not going to stay at the scarlet soon! but after reading this I soon will be!

    Cheese and the cream tea looks heavenly!


  6. I love your posts…, just the thing when a getaway is in order but alas…., no time to fly. Cornwall is wonderful, only been there once, but didn’t know about the outdoor hot tubs…, I’d go just for them 🙂

  7. Looks like a nice place for a weekend visit GC! I’ve heard a lot about Cornwall!

  8. Looks amazing. Definitely going to add it on my things to do.

  9. Sigh, I really need a break! Love the design of that hot tub!

  10. my god, this looks so beautiful, makes you want to go straight away…

  11. Heavenly Housewife – You must make amends quickly if you have never been to Cornwall- the scenery is so beautiful and the cream tea to die for.

    Kavey – lucky you, I look forward to hearing about it

    Greedy Diva – think you will love the hot tubs – enjoy!

    Catty – lucky you as well, sounds like the Scarlet is very popular at the moment!

    DNA – I actually loved it and am scheming as to how to get back there as soon as possible (perhaps I can convince MTV boyfriend for our anniversary!?)

    Anna – yes I had been to Cornwall before as well but not to The Scarlet and not with hot tubs – both elements improved the visit immensely!

    Lorraine – It has the nicest beaches in the UK in my view, sadly not Sydney’s weather though…

    Eat, Drink, Sleep – you should!

    Graphic foodie – I think there is a lot about The Scarlet’s design that you would love

    Ute – I know…

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