We don’t have a huge amount of childcare available to us, our families live far away or are permanently on holiday (I often wonder how different – and easier – our lives would be if we did) so, in early October, we brought the kids with us to celebrate our wedding anniversary weekend at family-friendly Cornwall hotel and spa, Bedruthan.
How is that in ANY way relaxing you might ask? Well Bedruthan has managed to pull off the luxury/family-friendly combo that results in ACTUAL relaxation for parents. If you’re looking for somewhere special to stay where you can recharge your batteries, connect as a family AND entertain the kids, here’s why you should consider a stay at Bedruthan Hotel and Spa.
How we came to choose this family-friendly Cornwall hotel and spa
Bedruthan has long been on my bucket-list of hotels ever since I spotted its kid-free sister (The Scarlet) in a Sawday’s guidebook back when I used to work for them. Since then I’ve watched Mother of Daughters’ gang take advantage of the hotel’s parent-tending ways and give it their full stamp of approval, and it’s always cropping up on ‘best family-friendly hotel’ lists.
As a parent of young kids, it’s hard not to be drawn to somewhere by the sea offering two hours of inclusive childcare per day you stay, a babysitting/listening service, ton of kids facilities, plus a spa, roaring fires and some blinking good Cornish views for adults to indulge in while the little chinchillas are entertained!
Bedruthan Hotel and Spa boutique style
While not the most aesthetically-pleasing hotel on the outside (it’s white exterior looks not dissimilar to a white Magaluf-style apartment block), inside is chic, stylish, comfy and perfumed with incense. Big windows make the most of the gorgeous sea views, steep Cornish cliffs and small village of Mawgan Porth. It’s a great storm watching spot and I was actually glad that we visited in autumn as we could get fully cosy inside, tucked up in an armchair with a glass of Prosecco, gazing out at the wind whipping up waves crashing against the rocks.
For extra snuggle factor, you’ll find a roaring fire with towering stone surround – reminiscent of a North American lodge – and plenty of plush armchairs in the lounge as well as a wood-burner in the ‘tranquility room’ (worth a gander without the kids just to experience a rare moment of silence in the middle of the day). For sunnier days, there’s a cocktail bar that opens onto a grassy deck with views over the ocean.
Padded sections in the walls and dangling cushioned-clouds take the echo out of rooms and bring cheery colour to white walls. Along with the pom poms, vibrant art (there’s a whole corridor exhibition of artists’ paintings) and bright furniture, there’s a touch of fun and quirkiness in the hotel decor.
The bedrooms at Bedruthan Hotel and Spa
We booked a family sea view room on the ‘Young family package’. It was light and bright with ingenious touches, such as a wind-down blind between the adults and children’s beds for a greater illusion of privacy. All rooms also come with an intercom on the wall – which, when turned on, becomes a baby listening service – a major plus for adults who want to go and eat dinner in the hotel in peace while the children sleep. We also had a TV, DVD player (you can borrow movies from reception), fridge with a carton of milk and bottle of water, plus two armchairs looking out over the ocean.
Depending on the age of your kids, some bedrooms have inter-connecting children’s rooms, others overlook the car park, or there are sea villas which come with their own outdoor space.
Swimming pools and spa at Bedruthan
There are two outdoor pools, one is solar-panel heated with an even warmer toddler pool, and one is not (make sure in autumn weather you work out which one is which before you take a dip!) Both are surrounded by bright purple and orange sun loungers and we had them to ourselves during our October stay. If braving the elements isn’t your thing, there’s a warm indoor pool in the spa which kids can splash around in for most of the day apart from one hour in the evening when it’s dedicated to adults only.
Although there is the option to have a family spa first thing in the morning, I’d highly recommend booking them into kids’ club and going off to enjoy it on your own. Be aware that treatments do book up quickly so try and reserve well in advance.
If you’re going to choose just one thing, opt for the ‘Sensory Spa Garden’ as a couple. Located outdoors, it’s here you’ll find a magical seven steps to revitalising heaven: first a salt scrub, followed by a sea-gazing hobbit-style sauna, cold bucket shower, hot tub (two are kept at 39 degrees and one at 36 so pregnant women and people with circulation issues need not miss out), their divine wet scrub (my skin has never felt so silky or smelt so good), finishing with a foot bath beside a crackling fire pit and delicious herbal tea.
There’s also an indoor sea-view, kid-free spa with sauna, steam room, giant jacuzzi and lounging cushions where hot herbal tea is brought throughout the day. And feel free to traipse down to the spa in your robe and flip flops.
Inclusive childcare at Bedruthan Hotel and Spa
Cornwall hotel and spa, Bedruthan, offers all kinds of special offers and family breaks which can make your break pretty good value. We went for the ‘Young family break’ which gave us, two adults and two children, a three-course dinner at either the Wild Cafe or Herring Restaurant each night, plus breakfast each morning for £546. This also included two hours inclusive childcare per day we stayed as part of the package and a babysitter/listening service. Considering the amount we would have paid a babysitter at home, the included meals and unlimited access to the spa, we thought this was pretty good value.
The two hours of Ofsted-registered childcare come in the form of kids clubs, which need to be booked in advance and are dependent on their age (Beehive Club for under 8s and Z Club for over 8s). Choose from a morning session (9.30-11.30am) or afternoon (12.30-2.30pm). If they’re loving it, or you want more time to yourself, you can also buy extra sessions for £15 for two hours for children over three. There are variations on this during school holidays. If you want a babysitter in the evening, make sure you let the hotel know at least two weeks in advance. As our kids are five and three, we were happy to use the listening service.
Facilities for families at this Cornwall hotel and spa
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a more family-friendly, kid-thought-out hotel. From the colouring station in the restaurant, to the outdoor obstacle course, playground, tennis courts and football pitch, there is endless amounts of entertainment for kids and even our two-day stay was not enough to get through it all! What I didn’t know I needed from a luxury Cornwall hotel and spa, was a massive indoor soft play! Sure enough, Bedruthan has one, and wow, what a difference comfy armchairs, a mere handful of kids and some natural light make to those adult-repelling places. It was, dare I say it…enjoyable!
There’s also a miniature cinema room with big comfy chairs – borrow a film from reception and kick back in here (this doubled as a haven for Rugby World Cup fans during our stay).
Of course, the golden sand bay of Mawgan Porth sits just below and is just a short stroll down the hill from the hotel. Wide, sheltered and fringed with caves, it’s hours of entertainment for little ones at any time of year. And If the Atlantic is calling, over sixes can have a try at surfing – lessons are offered all year-round at The Surf Shack, a family-friendly surf school based in the hotel’s grounds.
Dining at Bedruthan Hotel and Spa
There are two restaurants at Bedruthan, the Wild Cafe – a more relaxed, informal setting and The Herring, where children are welcome but which tends to be a quieter, fancier eating affair. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Wild Cafe and Kids tea starts from 4.30pm, so parents can feed the little ones early and then head back later (thanks to the baby listening service) for an uninterrupted slap-up meal.
We chose to eat altogether in the Wild Cafe on the first night, tucking into steak for us, sausages and mash for the smaller ones. The food was tasty, and the service was impeccably friendly, although a little slow – we’d eaten half our meal before our wine arrived…
Breakfast is a buffet affair, with bacon and eggs, fruit salad and design-your-own granola, banana chocolate muffins, pastries and a variety of milk on offer. There are also specials on the board, should you wish for your eggs to be whipped up your preferred way.
The second night was a tiny bit disappointing as, with kids fed and in bed, we returned for our romantic meal and half of what I ordered had sold out. It was excruciatingly slow service and there was a mix-up with the package we were on, meaning the staff wanted to charge us for the meals which should have all been free (there’s not a chance in hell I would have opted for a kids’ soup starter if I had to pay!) They waived the cost of our wine to make up for the confusion and it was all sorted the next day, but it wasn’t quite the dining experience we were after.
Things to do near Bedruthan
There was an entire booklet of suggested things to do in this area of Cornwall provided by the hotel in the bedroom. This included suggestions for visits to nearby Bedruthan Steps, Padstow and St Ives. For us, there was so much to do in the hotel and Mawgan Porth during our two-day stay, that we didn’t actually have time to do a ton of exploring! Very unlike us, and goes to show a good proportion of our time was spent chilling out and enjoying the hotel’s facilities.
Who is Bedruthan Hotel and Spa best for?
While there were couples here on a romantic break away, if I was wanting a kid-free hotel stay I’d definitely head next door to sister hotel The Scarlet, where there’s no chance of dinnertime tantrums and kids running wild. The hotel does try and separate the couples from the families with kids in the restaurants, but really, this place is far better geared up for parents wanting a luxury break with children.
Eco-friendly ethos at the hotel
Bedruthan Hotel and Spa are committed to reducing their environmental footprint and being as sustainable as possible. From recycling bins placed around the hotel for guests, to their own food composting heaps, garden landscaping made to mimic the sand dunes and key card-controlled electricity and using locally-sourced food in the restaurants, it’s one more huge bonus to staying at this hotel.
Final thoughts on Bedruthan Hotel and Spa
If a family-friendly hotel stay with the kids conjures in your mind tired, stained furniture and food-encrusted carpets, then let me reassure you that this Cornwall hotel and spa is the total opposite. Clean, funky and cosy, not only is it appealing to the eye inside, it leaves you smelling beautiful! Our kids loved their time here, and us parents felt 20 years younger thanks to our spa soaking and adult time together. Rather than be a hindrance, the experience made us enjoy our time with the kids even more. Stunning views, children’s entertainment, an eco-friendly ethos, friendly service and boutique-y quirk, this was a really special weekend.
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