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Wednesday 22 August 2012

Sluttery Travels: The Cornwall, St. Austell

Recently I got to stay a couple of nights at The Cornwall Hotel, Spa and Estate in beautiful St. Austell.

They've kind of thought of everything. A glorious manor house set in 43 acres of woodlands and parkland, you get a lot of nice views for your buck. There's also lots of owls, and bats who have their own little bat-hotel (it's adorable). The spa is in the same grounds, and the hotel has two swish restaurants to choose from. That, and the lounge has a very impressive selection of books to curl up and read in their super-comfy chairs.

When it comes to your stay, there's three swanky options to choose from.

The nine Whitehouse rooms - set in the main part of the hotel (the rest of the rooms are a new building attached to the old manor) - are individually themed on historical inhabitants of the manor house. They're all about luxury and Victorian sophistication. Prices start from £119 a night for bed and breakfast. My eye is on the Gwendolyn room - it has a fairytale written on the ceiling.

The woodland rooms are themed on a more modern, minimalist elegance. They're gorgeous and very, very comfy. That bed is massive, which makes me even more reluctant to share. And the balcony has a lovely view of the grounds. Prices here start at as little as £99 a night for bed and breakfast in one of the deluxe rooms.

The self-catering woodland homes are more suited to groups, but they're ace for social shenanigans. There's access to a barbecue area, the dining area is lush and they're all well-equipped with everything you could possibly need (except the booze). You also get access to the spa facilities, and you can book in at the restaurant if you can't be bothered (or are too tipsy) to cook.

My favourite of these is the Cornwall Cottage. I want a wine-filled weekend here with friends, and I want it now. The decor is to die for, and it's the perfect size for cozy gatherings.

Prices for rental start at £85 a night for the 2-bed and £114 for the 3-bed homes (not bad when you split that between up to 6 or 8 people respectively), and if you really fall in love then you can even buy the homes for your very own. For reasonable charges, The Cornwall will also organise renting it out while you're not there and keeping it shipshape for you all year round. I'm saving my pennies already.

You might not want to leave the grounds during your stay (I didn't), but ridiculously close by is a pretty beach, a river to wander along, some forests to frolic through, and the pretty seaside town of Pentewan which has a handy bicycle hire place that delivers to the hotel. There's also the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Helligan.

If sailing is your thing, the local Pentewan Sailing Club - run by two lovely ladies who have been sailing all over the world - have various options with the hotel. They offer kids, couples and groups packages - I'd like to imagine the Domestic Sluts would capsize in record time. For specific details of packages and dates, contact the club direct.

Then there's the foraging. Oh yes. Ever wanted to amble through pretty woodland and seasidey places and pick stuff you can eat? The smiley, lovely Rachel Lambert will show you how. We discovered how to identify elderflowers from their poisonous lookalikes, we nearly fell into rivers competing to find the best sorrel, and we couldn't stop eating black mustard leaves. It was the best kind of fun: LEARNY FUN.

We then got to see our spoils turned into a six course menu of some of the best food I've ever eaten. That there is smoked chicken with gnocchi and black mustard pesto. It makes you make ooh-noises when you eat it.

We also had scallops, salmon, nettle soup and elderflower sorbet. They then gave us a selection of their desserts (that oxi-daisy? I PICKED IT!) By this point I was stuffed, yet I still managed to squeeze every last morsel down.

You can do a 2-night foraging weekend stay from £275 per person. They even throw in your breakfasts and a spa treatment. It's an easy, picturesque train ride away and I can't wait to go back soon.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I am soooo there! Just looking for an excuse to go back to Cornwall. Now, throw in a 'haunted moors' tour and a real ale pub crawl, and you have pretty much hit all my obsessions.


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