Swiss style at the St Moritz Hotel in Cornwall
A long walk on a deserted beach after breakfast, relaxing on the sofa with the Sunday papers, eating at a bistro while looking out over the sea . . . .
These are all things that holidays are made of and something a stay at the St Moritz, in north Cornwall, will heap on you in bucketfuls.
The dramatic Art Deco-inspired building is located off the beaten track in the village of Trebetherick, near Rock, and used to be an imposing private house before it was turned into an upmarket hotel post-war. History has it that on trips to St Moritz in Switzerland, former owner Richard Underwood admired the cuisine, service and attention to detail so much, he decided to name the hotel after his beloved Swiss town.
Over the years it has attracted politicians, film stars and writers. Now everyone is welcome from couples and families to bridal parties.
One of the St Moritz's main attractions these days, as well as its stunning coastal location, is its trendy Cowshed Spa which opened five years ago and is the only one in Cornwall. The Cowshed brand was originally created at Babington House, in Somerset, and has four spas in London as well as New York and Miami.
Its products are all made with organic plant extracts and essential oils and are stocked at House of Fraser and Pod in Cheltenham. Their playful names always raise a laugh – it takes a brave boyfriend to buy something from the ranges which include lazy cow, saucy cow, grumpy cow and knackered cow.
There are bottles in your bathroom to enjoy during your stay, but a trip to the St Moritz wouldn't be the same without an hour or two spent in the spa too.
There are six perfectly-formed treatment rooms where I enjoyed a two-hour St Moritz Sun & Sea Signature Treatment which involved full body brushing, exfoliation using a spearmint sea salt scrub and a deep sea detoxifying wrap.
I was declared most suited to 'moody cow' – an uplifting fragrance which includes essential oils of mandarin, petitgrain and grapefruit. This body oil was used for a full body massage to round off the deeply relaxing treatment.
Even if you're not into spa treatments, the St Moritz is a great place for a long weekend.
Despite its luxury tag, the atmosphere at the hotel couldn't be more relaxed, with children welcomed in the bar and restaurant, colourful poolside beach huts to get changed in and games of Scrabble and noughts and crosses to play in your room. We stayed in a suite which had a quirky porthole with views of the sea, as well as a balcony looking out over the gardens, a stylish lounge and an immaculately glossy kitchen.
It's all geared up for being sociable with a dining table for six, but if you don't fancy self catering the restaurant specialises in dishes with local ingredients including Cornish hake and Porthilly mussels.
During the day you can eat at SeaSide by the outdoor swimming pool which has relaxed sharing plates, pasta, sandwiches and a kids' menu.
With a great beach for rockpooling in walking distance and Padstow and Watergate Bay a short drive away, who needs to go to Switzerland?