Sunday, 1 November 2020

Una St Ives - A weekend escape

If you are looking for a bolt hole home from home, this could be what you are looking for. Perfectly situated away from the hustle and bustle of St Ives but close enough to walk to Carbis Bay, Una offers a great location to really relax and escape. 

At the time of visiting we were out of "lockdown", however sadly we find ourselves back in a month of restrictions. Additionally Una are running a competition, head over to their Instagram HERE for a chance of winning!

Those who follow me on Instagram will know that Matt and I escaped alone with just the dog in tow, however don't be fooled as the villas vary in size and even have a spa & pool on site. We stayed in a 2 bedroom villa but they vary in size from one beds to four... in fact if you want to get an idea head over to my Instagram where I showed them all on site. Some even have the option to add a hot tub, but for us the best feature was easily the log fires. 

Some people only like to have staycations if the weather is on their side, however we truly love it in all weathers so a winters escape is still very much heaven! We love to watch the children surf and swim on the beach as much as we love to wrap up warm, have a long dog walk and watch stormy seas from pubs such as the Ship Inn. In fact being in Cornwall as winter approaches is one of my favourite times. The crowds begin to ease off and Cornwall comes alive with its rugged and dramatic beauty.

For anyone that have more money than I do to invest, Una is expanding and has big plans which included being able to buy your own holiday home! 

So what do you need to know?

The resort:

Located in Carbis Bay, you are about 20-25 mins walk to the beach and a 10-15min drive into central St Ives. You will be surprised at how close but yet so secluded you are to the hustle and bustle. Its peaceful.

The Villas are decorated in an calming scandi style and spare no expense on offering home comforts. The Tempur mattress was super comfy! The Wood burner is perfect to give a wintery night a cosy feel, there is something hypnotic about watching and hearing a fire cackle and burn.



To stock up on food and goodies you actually have a couple of options, in Hayle (about 20 min drive) you have a large ASDA and just down the road in Carbis Bay you have a Tesco. We have always found buying fire wood far easier in the local stores & petrol stations, I am yet to find it in the larger supermarkets. 

On site at St Una you will find that they are currently operating a self check in, ahead of your arrival they will send you all the details that you need and they are super friendly on the phone. Your car will be registered for the gate and you will be given a code to access your villa key which is beside the door - much like most holiday cottages.

Now here is where things get tasty - Una Kitchen. They have a the renowned chef Glenn Gatland and it shows. Food here is showy without being pretentious and tastes amazing. Using fresh and locally sourced ingredients you can really taste the difference. 

One night we made the most of cocktails in the restaurant and the next we ordered take away pizza to take back to the Villa. We also made use of breakfast on two of the mornings, the smoothie bowl was superb!!









If like me you are needing lots of time to switch off and lets face it who doesn't, then the spa areas are well worth a look at. I had such a lovely facial and I definitely had a snooze. Whilst the rooms are large, they are decorated in a really calming way, the super warm and cozy bed and Elemis products used were all just so perfect. Even now writing this a few weeks later I can close my eyes and think of how relaxing that was and that is a good sign!


































We didn't use the pool ourselves, but its a lovely infinity pool and due to Covid you get booked slots. So if you are taking children in, you have plenty of space for them to really enjoy themselves and if its a quiet dip that you are after you have that sorted perfectly too! 

St Ives

Of course this is a given, but if you have not experienced the small winding lanes and the variety of beaches that St Ives has to offer, make this a place to visit. In the peak times St Ives is heaving, even with Covid and its now when you can really take in all the scenes and have some space. 

















Porthleven

Well this small town needs to no introduction and again if you follow me on Instagram you will know that this is where we love to be at any given opportunity. I can't ever really explain it as well as I would like to, but this is where my body and soul feel most at peace than anywhere else. 

Una is only a 25 min drive away and you should absolutely stop by here, grab a lunch after a walk around and pick up some firewood from the Costcutter before heading back to your villa for a hot bath, take away pizza and a cuddle on the sofa whilst the fire roars.

If you are looking to grab food whilst in Porthleven we can absolutely recommend the Ship Inn for an authentic Cornish pub experience and the new restaurant the Harbourside Refuge is absolutely worth a try. If you are after a relaxed lunch with a tasty ale the the Ship is where you need to be and if you want to have some really tasty food washed down with a brilliant wine and roll out the restaurant from eating so much, the Harbourside Refuge is your destination. 































Newlyn

This is a town that very much is still a working harbour. Steeped in history you can only but wonder how the sights have changed over the many years that fishermen have come and go. Only 10-15mins from Una its worth driving through and taking a look. You can sometimes grab a parking spot along the harbour walls and then from there follow the road around the coast and end up in Mousehole. 


Mousehole 

If like us you like a walk whilst taking in views, Mousehole is perfectly reachable from Newlyn by foot. This is a very small village, but it has the cutest lanes and houses to mooch around. Mousehole is very quiet and dogs are never allowed on the beach or in the harbour, but there is plenty to walk about and see. Christmas is especially pretty as each year the small village comes a light.


St Michael's Mount

We have visited here many times before and can thoroughly recommend a visit. Sadly due to Covid the "castle" is currently closed, hopefully it is able to safely open again soon as its a lovely walk and place to visit. Try and time it that you arrive at low tide so you can walk over to the island and then boat it back. We have seen dolphins swimming around the coast here many times. 

The island aside, park up your car at the very far end and take a lovely walk into the village. 

Our stay at Una St Ives was a PR gift. We topped up our stay by one night and paid for our own food one evening and my facial.




Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Polurrian on the Lizard


It's no secret that I have a long running obsession with being by the Cornish sea and we try and get back there as frequently as we can, but returning after a weeks holiday only to head back the following weekend for one night was an interesting turn of events even for me!

You could call us crazy and once upon a time I probably would have agreed with you, however if there is one thing to come out of this year for me, its to live life to the full and take ever opportunity you can. 

In order to make the most of the night that we had we left at 3am Saturday to beat any traffic and left at 6pm the Sunday to miss any evening traffic. It worked an absolute treat and I don't know why we didn't do it sooner! I don't mind driving at all and it meant that everyone else including the dog snoozed most of the journey. We managed each way in about 4.5hours which is good going, it helps that no one is on the road!

The Polurrian on the Lizard is where you may expect it - pretty damn close to the Lizard in Cornwall. Only a very short walk will take you to the small village of Mullion, which houses its own small harbour between the rocky cliffs. 

This area of Cornwall is what is known as Mounts Bay, its an area that is steeped in naval history and if you have been down this way when a storm is in, its easy to see why a great deal of that history surrounds shipwrecks. 

The hotel is positioned on one of said high rocky cliffs, but don't let that put you off... it has its own special beach and the walk isn't treacherous, with either steps down or a more gentle slope option. Put it this way, I had us getting up as quick as we could and we managed 2 mins - yes it had the blood pumping, but man it felt good.

Trust me, once you set eyes on this beach you will soon forget any walk down or up, in fact you'll forget a lot that has been going through your mind and will be transfixed. I have seen many beaches in Cornwall and this is truly a hidden gem especially at sunrise and sunset because its not packed! (for any other doggy owners, the beach is currently dog free 10am - 6 pm - July and August)


Another of our favourite beaches to visit when staying in Porthleven is Poldhu, they have a superb cafe that is run by a hardworking team and it took us only 25-30 mins to walk across the cliff tops - if that to walk from the hotel to the beach where we sat and had breakfast as the cafe was opening. Their hot chocolates are legendary and it's absolutely worth the walk. 


We named the cow Jeff.




Since having Dixie finding a beach that is suitable to enjoy waves and have her with us is tricky in the summer period, however we have figured that if we sit further back on Poldhu among the higher grass dunes by the road we are abiding by the dog rules during July and August and the children get to get some body boarding or surfing in. It works for us as our children are older...



After breakfast on the beach we headed back to the hotel in time for our spa treatments and we were treated to an amazing massage, of course the Covid19 precautions are taken seriously here too and if you followed my trip on Instagram stories (these are saved as highlights on my profile) you will have seen the separate box to store my items, the hand gel everywhere and the PPE that the staff wore. 


I would love to have known the story behind the chest in the spa! You can't beat history...

During this massage I was so relaxed I dozed off a couple of times and it was exactly what I needed! 

Within the spa you will also find a private indoor pool and a jacuzzi, the sauna was not but the pool was controlled via set 30 min time slots that you could book at reception, this actually worked really well for us and my kids loved having free reign of the pool! I would recommend you do this before visiting during peak times.

The outdoor terrace where we enjoyed tea, played cards and had lunch has one of the best views that I have sat and enjoyed in Cornwall. 

The weather was kind to us and I was transfixed watching the sailing boats pass around in the sea which in places quite honestly looked Mediterranean. If the weather hadn't been so kind the indoor area gives 360 views and would make for a great spot to storm watch. Whilst the building is old, there living areas are bright airy and have a retro cool feel. It certainly impressed the kids!





The hotel menus were either available online or by a print out copy. It's at this point that I really need to point out just how great the staff were, not only were they incredibly helpful and great to chat with, they did not stop smiling. Given that we are currently in a very different world living with the adaption of Covid19, they were courteous and polite even when they were not fully up to full staffing levels post furloughing and running around to keep everyone happy. They were very dog friendly and happy to chat about the area and the hotel. In fact one young guy (please forgive me for forgetting your name!!) had a great chat with us and it was through him that we found out that the hotel once upon a time was actually sat further forward and it was moved back from the cliff. Matt actually had figured it out before hand as the original steps can be sat on and walked over down by the tennis courts...

So of course I delved deeper...

Originally built in 1890, the Polurrian was a fashionable railway hotel appealing to distinguished guests. In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi stayed here while sending the first ever transatlantic radio messages from nearby Poldhu Cove.

In 1909, a fire devastated the original hotel, destroying everything but the terraces and steps near the tennis courts (which you can still see today). Soon after, a new hotel was built and Polurrian became a hive of activity once again. During the Second World War, the hotel was an officers’ mess for nearby RAF Predannack, and in 1953, Hollywood stars Clark Gable and Gene Tierney stayed while filming the romance adventure Never Let Me Go.

... can we please appreciate the history, I am a total sucker for it! Clark Gable!? I mean seriously! 

On our walk to Poldhu there is a monument documenting the the first ever transatlantic messages that were exchanged.

Our Meal in the evening and indeed our breakfast and Afternoon Tea meals proved to be very good, as we had the dog we were in the living areas rather than dedicated restaurant. You certainly get a relaxed laid back vibe in these areas which worked perfectly for us. It made for a great place to enjoy a gin after a busy day... 

All of our meals were tasty and well cooked, the Pork Belly was superb and the children's portions were perfect sized for our kids which is rare!

 

Our room was a family room that had a separate bedroom attached for the children, which meant we  had our own space too. The ESPA shower gel & shampoo were a great touch too! I shared a walk around on my saved instastories...

If you are like us and quite like a walk with the dog you also are able to wander to the small Mullion harbour, the below photos are Love Rock and you are spoiled for views. In fact on a clear day you can see St Micheals Mount along the bay past Porthleven.

If you fancy a drive whilst we did not do it this time, another favourite haunt of ours is Kynance Cove, but as I tell everyone - go when its low tide to really appreciate the beauty!

The grounds of this hotel shouldn't be taken for granted either, not only were they beautiful, they also gave the children space to roam and play. There was plenty of spots for you to relax and read a book, swim, play chess and the children even had a game of table tennis. 


 

Before making the journey home I couldn't not stop by Porthleven, we made the decision to leave later on the Sunday and grab a pizza for dinner in one of our fave haunts Nauti but Ice. If you haven't visited Porthleven and do make the plunge to stay at the Polurrian, its another must visit and only 20 mins drive away. The further end of the beach is dog friendly all year.


Overall I can thoroughly recommend the Polurrian... if you are looking for some laid back but contemporary relaxation either as a family or a couple this place has you covered. Slightly more affordable than some of its competition, but not lacking in experience. The staff and the management were brilliant, the location is perfect and the activities that are available are impressive. The adjustments that they have put in place for Covid left us feeling safe and considered. 

It always breaks my heart to leave Cornwall, it really is a special place to us but one thing is for sure, we absolutely will return to Polurrian. One day Matt and I hope to renew our wedding vows and this place is absolutely on the list.

You never know maybe next time it will be kids free and making the most of all the yoga and walking opportunities. 

Please do go back and take a look at the insta-stories from our visit, they are saved on my profile and I would be happy to answer any questions!  

*Our stay at the Polurrian on the Lizard was partly a PR trip, however all views are my own and truthful to our experience.