Cornwall LivingIssue #83

The best of both worlds

We discuss the relative benefits of luxury hotel stays and self-catered accommodation in Cornwall.

What does a luxury holiday mean to you? For most of us it calls to mind the best of the best in terms of location, accommodation and facilities. Whether it’s a stunning hotel set above the cliffs of Cornwall’s wild surf or a high spec self-catered home with all the special features of incredible location coupled with those extra touches like hot tubs and private pools. Whatever luxury means to you, you’re sure to find it within Cornwall’s luxury holiday market and to make your life easier, we’ve weighed up the various differences between luxury hotel and self-catered accommodation in Cornwall, so that you can make an educated decision on what sector would suit you when booking your next coastal escape.

Luxury hotels

Many of Cornwall’s finest hotels are set in breathtaking coastal locations around the county. Take the Headland Hotel for example, which couldn’t be closer to the wild surf of the north coast (click here for more information). The St Mawes Hotel, located on the Roseland peninsula is also situated in a beautiful coastal location in St Mawes village, with surrounding pubs, shops and beaches to explore. Then there are grand hotels such as The Penventon Park Hotel, which is located in a gorgeous rural location surrounded by historic countryside rich with mining history.

When thinking about hotel stays the first thing that comes to mind is indulgence, as the hotel package provides everything you could need for an utterly relaxing escape. Indeed, for many of us it’s the luxury of not having to lift a finger that sways the balance in favour of a hotel stay. Hotels like Merchants Manor and Budock Vean (as seen in our wedding supplement) have exceptional onsite spa facilities, gyms and restaurants for you to enjoy. Not to mention that the hotel service means there’s no cleaning or cooking to worry about, so you can make the most of a hassle-free holiday.
Room service to me is the ultimate indulgence; knowing that when you return to your hotel at the end of the day you’ll be greeted by a beautifully made bed and a clean room makes a change to life at home, and it’s the small touches like this that really make you feel like you’re on holiday. Plus, if you don’t want to head to the restaurant, there’s always the glorious option of getting breakfast in bed or a cosy dinner for two in your room.

The onsite facilities often also include kids clubs, which The Esplanade Hotel in Newquay, and the Polurrian Bay Hotel on the Lizard excel at. Located right next to the epic surf of Fistral beach, The Esplanade provides a brilliant selection of kid’s activities, so that you can free up some time to spend with your other half – or maybe even book a relaxing spa treatment. Modern family life can be demanding so being able to take some time to yourself is a real treat. Similarly, the Polurrian offers a truly comprehensive childcare service with two hours of free childcare per day, a free baby listening service and a Sunday morning kids club so that you have the option to curl up under the duvet with your partner, a coffee and a newspaper, for an extra few hours of relaxation. Giving you the luxury of some free time to yourself.

Or, if you want a holiday that doesn’t revolve around children, there’s also the option to book into an adult-exclusive hotel. Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa is one such hotel, offering four-star facilities and complete peace and quiet from hectic family life. As the name suggests it also has stunning spa facilities, which will whisk you away to a state of utter calm.

Luxury self-catered accommodation

Cornwall benefits from having a wealth of holiday home companies with some of the Duchy’s most prestigious properties on their books. Spanning everything from idyllic cottages, which you’re sure to find with Cornish Traditional Cottages and Forever Cornwall (as seen here), to some of the most luxurious and impressive homes available in Cornwall, which Latitude 50 and Perfect Stays have in abundance. Think contemporary cliff-top homes with immaculate interior design and spacious rooms that will induce a sense of serenity and relaxation.

As incredible as Cornwall’s hotels are, if you’re looking for something quirky and unique you’re sure to find it within the self-catered market. From Cornish cottages overlooking beautiful creeks and coves with Creekside Cottages (click here for more information), to mansions sleeping twenty people, such as Cornish Gems’ property, Rosilian Hall – the diversity of self-catered accommodation makes it a great option for those who want to experience something truly unique and equally for those who have specific requirements. Take Charteroak for example, who specialise in stunning holiday lodges. Charteroak embraces the renowned Scandinavian way of life that’s all about enhancing wellbeing in beautiful natural surroundings, providing comfort, space and relaxation with rooms that include luxurious saunas and Jacuzzis; it doesn’t get much more indulgent than that.

One thing that often tips the balance in favour of self-catered accommodation is the beauty of staying in a home from home, allowing you to experience what life as a local is really like (if you happen to be a local with an immaculate and beautifully designed Cornish home, that is!). You can enjoy the convenience of your own kitchen with all the latest high spec appliances, living rooms with flat screen TVs and as many bedrooms as necessary. Then there’s the added benefit of private garden space, with the luxury market now also incorporating special features like hot tubs, private pools and high-spec barbecues. There’s also a lot to be said for being able to whip up some cheese on toast if you get peckish, and have a sofa to lounge on and enjoy a glass of wine when the kids have gone to bed, or maybe even sit out on the terrace and watch the sun go down below the rolling surf of the ocean. For a lot of families or friends, it’s the privacy and autonomy of self-catered that makes it so appealing, you can make your own rules, eat when you want and let the kids roam around the house or garden without worrying about disturbing other guests. However, this isolation does mean you have to come up with your own entertainment.

When it comes to choosing a holiday home company to book with, it’s important to bear in mind where you want to be based. Latitude 50 and John Bray Holidays specialise in properties in north Cornwall (to see one of John Bray’s stunning holiday homes click here), while Padstow Breaks deals exclusively with properties in Padstow, providing unique coastal escapes by the sea. Then there are the companies that have properties throughout Cornwall, so knowing where you want to spend your holiday will help narrow down your search.

Many hotels (such as the Polurrian and Budock Vean) are now choosing to capitalise on the influx of holidaymakers who may prefer self-catering accommodation, and in reaction to this are introducing apartments or cottages on hotel grounds, providing families with the privacy and autonomy of self-catered accommodation alongside all the excellent hotel facilities that are just a stone’s throw away.
Then there’s The Oceanic Suite Hotel, which provides the ultimate mix of five-star hotel facilities with stylish apartment living, exclusively for grown ups. Similarly, the self-catered sector are introducing additional luxuries like tailored concierge services and in-house catering options, which Latitude50 offer for their incredible property Carn Mar in Polzeath, so you don’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning dishes while staying in your home from home.

So we see a kind of merging between the two accommodation sectors occurring within the market, which nods towards the benefits that both options have and shows that the way forward for luxury accommodation in Cornwall could be to become a hybrid of the convenient luxury of a hotel and the cosy privacy of self-catered accommodation. And whatever you prefer, you’re sure to find it in abundance within Cornwall’s thriving accommodation market.

Discover more

Cornwall has so many fantastic hotels and superb self-catering options to choose from. Here are a few more that you should definitely check out!


Idle Rocks Hotel

Fowey Hall Hotel

St Enodoc

Star Castle

Talland Bay Hotel

The Falmouth Hotel


Aspects Holidays

Cornish Gems

Toad Hall Cottages

Cornish Horizons

Carbis Bay Holidays

Duchy Holidays

Unique Home Stays

"Whatever luxury means to you, you’re sure to find it within Cornwall’s luxury holiday market..."