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Travel, Weekends away in UK

A Perfect Stay in Polzeath, Cornwall

December 5, 2014

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Cornwall is fast becoming a favourite of my partner and I. The last time we visited was in the summer staying at The Scarlet Hotel near Newquay. This time for our second trip we decided to pick somewhere a bit more homely and private. After a bit of googling we discovered Perfect Stays luxury holiday rentals.  I don’t have an exhaustive list of essentials for the perfect holiday let, but it does help to have a cracking fireplace and a modern kitchen. The house we chose ticked all these boxes and more.  The house we eventually decided on was called Seagrass in Polzeath,  a large newly built luxury house with all the mod cons you can think of from a fully equipped gym to Sonos surround sound and even a nespresso machine. Everything we would need to make this our home away from home. A nice touch was that when we arrived we were greeted with some essentials like eggs and milk and of course some Cornish scones and cream. Happy days! The house had five bedrooms which would be perfect for a large family looking for somewhere to go away.

Our Perfect stay apartment in Cornwall We instantly fell in love with the house, and at the end of the week it was really hard to say goodbye (especially to the kitchen). As well as the house being catered to our every whim Perfect Stays also provided a book of essentials like numbers for taxis, nearest supermarkets, recommendations for places to visit and a number for their around the clock concierge service. We were very impressed by their concierge service who were able to secure a hard to book last-minute table at Rick Stein’s Seafood restaurant.

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If you love surfing then you will love Polzeath, the waves are wild and the water is cold! Personally I’m more of a land lubber so we spent much of our stay going on coastal walks and exercising those muscles that we forgot we had. We took a two-hour hike upon the gently sloping cliffs, saying hi too a few sheep as we passed by. When we reached the peak of the cliff we were rewarded with the most stunning view of the atlantic. The clean air and exercise really helped me really relax and unwind. We had thought that by choosing to visit in Autumn we wouldn’t have good weather but we were lucky as while we were there we only had a couple of days of rain and most mornings we had wonderful sunshine to wake up to. I would recommend visiting Cornwall at this time of year if you’re not too bothered about sunbathing as it’s a lot quieter. Most of the holiday homes around us were empty and when we went to sleep it was in perfect silence.

polzeath-cornwallSome images from the coastline in Polzeath….

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cornish flowerIt was lovely to see flowers like the specimen above still blooming in this cold and windy season.

photo 15As you can see from the pictures Polzeath, has wild unspoilt beaches, it was very romantic watching the sunset everyday. photo 8

A beautiful sunset

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After spending a couple of days exploring the beaches of Polzeath, Cornwall we were ready to journey a bit further afield. Ten minutes walk from the house was the St Moritz Hotel. I enjoyed a luxurious massage in the Cowshed Spa whilst my partner enjoyed a glass of spiced rum and ginger ale in the bar upstairs.

For our next trip out of Polzeath we took the ferry across to Padstow, a little fishing village, famous for its fresh fish and famous chefs. Read about that in part two!

Hotels, Travel, Weekends away in UK

A stay at The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall

October 18, 2014

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I’ve discovered a secret oasis, a place that makes you feel instantly at home and provides you with first class luxury and it’ s right here in the UK. I had heard about the beauty of the Northern Cornish coast before but this summer was the first time I got the chance to experience it.

My partner and I stayed a week at the ultimate couple’s retreat – The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. The hotel is owned by three Cornish sisters and they have managed to create a hotel that is not only completely eco-friendly but also first class in service and food.

Situated on a cliff top the hotel had beautiful views of the coast. We opted for one of the larger suites and our room at the Scarlet was the epitome of luxury. Our large and plush bed faced the sea view so each morning we were awoken to a glorious stream of daylight and lovely breeze from the sea.

We also had a lovely deep bath (perfect for two) and a monsoon shower filled with spa goodies. I especially enjoyed the large terrace which afforded us the privacy to relax in the sun without fear of being overlooked.

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We knew that we had discovered somewhere very special when we arrived at the hotel and found that the Scarlet doesn’t have a reception desk – they want all guests to receive a personal experience and so check in happens while you enjoy view from the terrace. Followed by a guided tour of the hotel and its facilities.

Each day we went down to enjoy a varied breakfast menu filled with locally sourced food, which tasted fresh and delicious. I am quite fond of mint tea and one of the waiters remembered and every morning brought fresh mint in from his garden. That is true service!

Dinner was also amazing – every evening we had a different menu and each course was beautifully prepared and tasted exquisite. Dessert offerings at the hotel were to die for – we enjoyed the most delicious white chocolate mousse served in a honeycomb ball. Which I have been craving since we returned home.

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If you do visit The Scarlet you must also indulge in their spa experiences. My partner and I went on holistic “journey” together this consisted of us having full body massages, a couple’s rhassoul treatment where clay is applied to your body before steam and heat is administered to purify the skin. After that came a salt scrub to exfoliate away all the dead skin. We finished the experience lying in a hammock to relax and unwind.

We also enjoyed some of the other wonderful facilities that the hotel had on offer such as sipping champagne in one of their lovely hot tubs overlooking the ocean and taking a dip in their top-rated chemical-free, self cleaning outdoor pool.

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matchlessWe also enjoyed walking around the hotel and looking at all the original artwork by local Cornish artists, also available to buy.  Experiencing The Scarlet is not only about the hotel, Mawgan Porth itself is wild and beautiful and we enjoyed many walks along the cliff tops taking in the stunning scenery. The beach was quiet and clean and perfect for those who love to surf. The blue waters of Mawgan Porth and warm climate of the bay made us forget we were still in the UK.

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footprints in the sand

If you’re looking for somewhere to escape the pressures of city life then – The Scarlet hotel is the place to visit, we ended the week feeling rejuvenated and relaxed making arrangements to visit very soon!

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Hotels, Travel, UK mini breaks, Weekends away in UK

A weekend in the city of Bath at The Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

April 23, 2014

This is the second post in a sequence of posts about escaping London for the weekend. In my last post I told you about how I was whisked away for the weekend to Marlow in Bucks.  I’ve always loved the city of Bath after reading Jane Austen’s book Persuasion and recently I had the chance to visit Bath for the second time. After finishing work on a Friday evening the boyfriend and I hopped on the fast train from Paddington up to Bath. After reading many reviews about the best hotels to stay in Bath we decided on the Bath Priory Hotel. We chose the hotel mainly because because of its beautiful gardens and spa. I have to apologise as this post maybe a tad on the long side, I had some many pretty pictures I couldn’t decide what to pick!

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Pulling into the driveway of the hotel I was already pretty impressed. Bath is famous for this Georgian architecture and the hotel a beautiful example of this. I especially loved the beautiful arched windows and landscaped facade. After we arrived, a porter came and collected our bags and we were given a quick tour of the hotel. After this we were taken to our suite in order to be checked in. For the next 2 days we had booked ourselves into the Cavendish Master Suite. The pictures below don’t quite do it justice as it had beautiful views overlooking the landscaped garden and the bathroom was huge! The suite included a separate seating area for sitting with a coffee machine, TV, DVD player, iPod dock and telephone. Touches that we were particularly impressed with was a hand written note from the hotel welcoming us and a bottle of madeira wine. I have to also add that although the suite was not cheap we managed to get 400 quid off because it wasn’t high season. 

Cavendish Suite at The Bath Priory

Cavendish Suite at The Bath Priory

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Cavendish Bathroom at The Bath Priory

We arrived too late to dine in the restaurant so instead we decided to order from the room service menu. I went for the steak and salad while my boyfriend chose the club sandwich.

steak and club sandwich

steak and club sandwich

The next day it was time to discover the city of Bath! We got up early in the morning and went down for a bit of breakfast in the Bath Priory Restaurant. photo 2

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After breakfast we headed into Bath town centre, both of us are budding photographers and I had read about a photography tour of Bath that runs on Saturdays outside the tourist office. I was quite disappointed to discover that the tour would not be running that day. However, we were told by the kind lady in the tour office that we would be able to go on one of the free walking tours of bath. If you visit Bath I recommend that you take one of the tours, we found it very informative and we learned lots of about the history of Bath.

Here are some highlights of the tour:

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River Avon

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Pulteney Bridge which crosses the River Avon in Bath

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Morris dancers in Bath town centre

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The iconic Royal Crescent in Bath

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Baths oldest house – where Sally Lunn lived

If you get the chance make sure you try a Sally Lunn bun!

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A bit of history about Bath’s Georgian architecture

A trip to Bath would not be complete without a trip to the Thermae Bath to relax, I strongly recommend that you buy spa passes in advance as the queue for this was ridiculously long!

I also discovered that Bath is fantastic for shopping, they have a lot of very pretty boutiques and home furnishing shops. I came home with a quite few nice goodies from Joe Malone and new pair of leather boots from Ecco.

In the evening we dined at the Michelin starred Bath Priory Restaurant, both my boyfriend and I are big foodies so we were excited to learn that the chef here was Sam Moody  who has quite the reputation for coming up with interesting combinations, exciting flavours and who has a passion for fresh, local ingredients. We both were feeling quite brave so were opted for the 7 course chef tasting menu, which meant we had no idea what we would be eating until it arrived at our table.

I have to say that were blown away by both the knowledge and service provided by the staff, which was faultless and the food really did live up to its reputation. I didn’t get a chance to write the names of each of the dishes down but you can see what we had below.

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By the time we finished eating it was nearly midnight and we were the last ones in the restaurant, so if you are feeling inspired to do the same – maybe try eating earlier around 6. Then it was time to sleep off our food coma ready to head home the next morning.

The next day before we left we took the time to look around the gardens, luckily for us we had lovely sunny weather which highlighted the beauty of the place even more. photo-6 photo-7

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Bath priory Gardens

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A stunning mini waterfall

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A sleepy bee came to rest

We loved our weekend getaway in Bath, we just wish we had spent more time in the Spa! However, I am sure we will be back sometime soon. We really enjoyed staying at The Bath Priory Hotel, the staff couldn’t do enough to make sure our every wish was granted, the views from our suite were spectacular and the food in the restaurant was to die for.

 

Hotels, Travel, Weekends away in UK

A weekend in Marlow, Bucks at Danesfield House And Hotel

April 10, 2014
Danesfield House

Danesfield House

As much as I love living in London, sometimes it is nice to explore what else the UK has to offer. Getting away for the weekend can be a lovely way to escape the rat race and recharge your batteries. This post is the first in a series of posts about weekend mini breaks in the UK that I have recently taken. Back in February, I found myself whisked away for a romantic Valentines Day weekend getaway. Marlow in Buckinghamshire is a picturesque little town situated on the River Thames about 33 miles from London.

For our weekend we chose to stay at Danesfield House and Spa a luxury country house hotel which is situated within 65 acres of land, high in the Chiltern Hills and overlooking the River Thames. The hotel has a total of 87 rooms and suites. For the weekend we chose to stay in one the hotel’s Junior suites, unfortunately I didn’t remember to take a picture of our room but the pictures you will find on the website are pretty accurate.

The drive up to Danesfield House was pretty spectacular as you can see below, and we were pretty lucky that the weather was pretty mild. Danesfield House used to be a RAF base back in 1940’s and has retained much of its previous character, it’s a turreted white country house framed by crisp landscaped gardens, which give it a fairytale quality.

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Daanesfield House and Spa Courtyard

Danesfield House and Spa Courtyard

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Danesfield House

After arriving on the Friday evening we took a light dinner in the drawing room which was decorated in a traditional style and had military artefacts. Our room was located in one of the turrets of the hotel and was spacious with a large four poster bed and a little seated area by the window for relaxing. Unfortunately the room was also very cold! I’m not sure if this is common with old country house hotels but for some reason the heating only came on sporadically for a couple of hours each day. Fortunately we had thick covers under which to snuggle to keep ourselves warm.

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In the morning we woke up and took breakfast in the Orangery restaurant which is overlooks Danesfield’s beautiful landscaped gardens, some of which you can see below.

The Orangery at Danesfield House

The Orangery at Danesfield House

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Beautiful landscaped gardens

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A lot of people visit Danesfield House for the Spa, unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try it out whilst we were there. After breakfast we decided to go for a long walk in the lovely grounds that surround the hotel.

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Beautiful snowdrops

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Lanky Girl hanging out in the field

After waiting what seemed like an eternity, we took a short bus ride into Marlow. The weekend we were there was also the weekend parts of the UK were heavily flooded and Marlow being on the Thames didn’t escape unscathed. Luckily for us Danesfield House is on a hill which meant we weren’t affected.

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The River Thames

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Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Marlow itself is a small town, with pretty little boutiques and cafes. We had a walk around and visited the suspension bridge which overlooks All Saints Church which you must see if you visit. After all that exploring we stopped for a spot of afternoon tea.
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First time I spotted a red telephone box outside London

In the evening we returned back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. As it was Valentines Day the hotel had put on a special Valentines Day menu. All the ladies each received a lovely rose.

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We both opted for a lovely fillet of beef with fondant potato, it was delicious. A lovely end to the day. In the morning we took one last stroll around the grounds before setting off for home.

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If you like weekends away that involve walking and relaxation a visit to Marlow is recommended.