Cornwall LivingIssue #62

Time to treat yourself

Cornwall is the perfect place to experience a relaxing spa in an incredible location. From clifftop retreats to countryside wellbeing, we visit some of our favourite places to unwind and tune out.

We are so lucky, here in Cornwall, to have such a choice when it comes to spas and treatments venues. We have adult-only spas ideal for couples or if you want to indulge in some me-time away from the children. Others cater for families so you can chill out while the children are happy playing in the pool. Many are part of luxury hotels so you can extend your experience from a relaxing day to a decadent weekend or combine with lunch or afternoon tea for a foodie treat. More and more, Cornish spas are becoming the destination of choice for those wanting to switch off but still enjoy a spectacular location, and there is a significant amount of investment being made to ensure our spas are up there with the very best.

“Cornish spas are becoming the destination of choice…”

Merchants Manor in Falmouth has recently undergone a large refurbishment, including the addition of a new swimming pool, gym and wellbeing area. You can let all your cares slip away with a treatment in one of the Linen Rooms. Moroccon-inspired tiled floors cover underfloor heating and heated beds radiate that ever-important warmth during your treatment while treatment products from local company Inlight fill the room with the heavenly scent of palmarosa and lavender. Treatments at Merchants are based on centuries-old techniques, drawn from the experience of their world-travelled therapists. For the more energetic, there is a brand new gym and a decent sized swimming pool. A charming barrel sauna sits outside in a pretty courtyard area with a menthol-infused steam room just off the pool. Children are allowed to use the pool during certain times, which means those who want a gentle swim can avoid any exuberant splashing, but families can enjoy themselves as well.


If a town location doesn’t appeal then Cornwall is home to some splendid countryside retreats – think lush green gardens, still lakes and tree canopies in which to lie back and relax. Amongst our favourites is the Budock Vean, near Mawnan Smith. The swimming pool is housed in a cavernous conservatory with a large open fire at one end that gives a warming focal point on winter days as you rest back on one of the steamer loungers. For warmer days an outdoor hot tub means you can bask in blissful bubbles while watching the clouds scud by. The pamper day at Budock Vean is one of the best we have experienced. Envelope yourself in a sumptuous robe, experience a superb treatment and then sit down to a delicious lunch overlooking the 65-acre estate. If you have enough energy you can even stroll through the grounds down to the Helford river.

Further along the south coast, you’ll find The Cornwall Hotel and Clearing Spa. Set amongst natural parkland the infinity pool has a panoramic landscape that changes from a palette of lush greens during the spring and summer months through to the gentle russets of autumn and winter. A fully equipped gym coupled with a dry sauna and a steam room, enriched with essential oils, means you can’t fail to leave here feeling relaxed. The Cornwall also offers a range of spa breaks so you can totally unwind, putting off returning to reality for that little bit longer.

To the north, in St Columb, Retallack Resort and Spa offers a unique experience. Its luxury, self-catering lodges are a brilliant place to stay with family or friends and with an onsite Wake and Aqua Park, and a FlowRider, children can’t fail to be entertained. So, with the small ones happy, what more of an excuse do you need to pamper yourself? The ESYA spa includes a swimming pool, gym and even fitness classes – at Retallack you can work up a sweat before winding down with one of the transformative treatments.


If you’re looking for an adults-only spa then the ultra chic, purpose-built and environmentally conscious hotel and spa, perched on the cliff on Mawgan Porth, the Scarlet, should be your destination of choice. In this setting, you can’t help but unwind and forget about the rest of the world. The way the site interacts with the landscape it occupies is a master stroke. Smooth curves and straight lines seamlessly blend inside and out, while an internal uncovered courtyard echoes a Roman villa from the future. The pool is chemical free, cleaned by the reeds. The whole place has been perfectly realised with luxury and comfort in mind, down to the very last detail. Sat on the clifftop, a stay here feels almost like a spiritual experience, heightened by the array of treatments on offer. The spa focuses on holistic wellbeing and every person’s experience is unique. Our favourite is the Hammam. If you’ve never tried this unique treatment then you should – an invigorating, rehydrating scrub is rinsed off in warm water leaving your skin soft and your muscles relaxed.

For a family-friendly, coastal hotel and spa the Polurrian Bay Hotel is hard to beat. The views from the hotel, which stands majestically on the clifftop in Mullion, are just breathtaking and you have the benefit here of both an indoor and outdoor pool (in summer months). The spa area is well thought out and the pool is surrounded by giant bean bags so you can relax with a book while older children swim, or indulge in the adjacent hot tub. If you have smaller children then you can take advantage of the excellent childcare facilities on site, which include an Ofsted-registered crèche. So much easier to relax when you know your children are being well looked after close by.

From clifftop to beachside, the St Michaels Hotel and Spa is truly stunning. You’re literally just a stone’s throw from the beach at Gyllyngvase for morning runs and a brand new spa and gym has opened as we go to print. The state-of-the-art gym has been designed with an industrial feel to reflect the nearby Falmouth Docks. Equipment here is all ‘best in class’ so if exercise is your relaxation then you’ll be in seventh heaven as Concept 2 rowing machines sit alongside Matrix treadmills and Keiser spin bikes. A dedicated fitness suite, with on-demand classes, means you can workout whenever you want, a unique Gig Club room offers rowing programmes and there is also a spinning room – the choice is endless!

The pool area is liquid luxury at its best with a sauna and heated chill out area, Changing rooms (wet and dry) are vast and the new treatment area, complete with nail bar, exudes coastal elegance.

More of our favourites

The Cowshed Spa

Best for… countryside charm in a clifftop setting and part of a stunning ‘Art Deco’ style hotel.


Crantock Bay Spa

Best for… a day spa using award-winning Spieizia Organics products, hand-blended in Cornwall, with views over Crantock Beach and the ocean beyond.

Kernow Springs

Best for… wild spa rentals. You can either hire one of the beautiful wooden hot tubs or rent a full Roaming Eco Spa Site, complete with hot tubs, showers, changing rooms and relaxation lounge.

Sands Resort Hotel and Spa

Best for… a new, Moorish spa experience. The Ocean Breeze spa is inspired by the scents and atmosphere of a Moroccan indoor garden, including a cedar hot tub and barrel heat room.

St Ives Harbour Hotel and Spa

Best for… amazing views across the crystal clear waters of St Ives bay to the town beyond. A spa break here includes dinner at The Terrace Bar and Restaurant making your stay as relaxing as possible.

The Walled Garden Spa 

Best for… an glorious, outdoor, heated ozone swimming pool surrounded by loungers. At the heart of the historic Trelowarren estate, the walled garden has an almost Mediterranean feel.

Holistic Health

Best for… a range of stress management courses and therapies, including advice on lifestyle and wellbeing choices.

"Cornish spas are becoming the destination of choice..."