The lowdown This scenic spa resort is tucked away in 43 acres of ancient parkland, close to Cornwall’s idyllic Lost Gardens of Heligan. You can walk or cycle to the coast along an old railway track, take in a game of tennis or visit the spa. Choose from a bedroom in the 19th-century manor house, a woodland cabin (linked to the building via corridors), or even a house in the grounds – these are also available to buy!
The spa The Clearing Spa sits within the converted stable block and features a great gym (complete with personal trainer), treatment rooms and an infinity pool – the glass walls retract in warm weather – that overlooks the sub-tropical Victorian walled garden. I had the Ultimate Cornish Trilogy, a body scrub and massage with Cornish salt, clay and plant oils – 140 mins of pure heaven (£120); and the amazing Coffee & Frankincense Foot Ritual (1 hour; £40). My legs were treated with hydrating gels oils and shea butter then wrapped in hot towels – all topped off with a chic pedicure.
On the menu Sumptuous breakfasts and lunches are served on the Parkland Terrace or the lawns, while dinner at the Aboretum restaurant features organic and locally sourced food. My rump of venison with potatoes and celeriac (£20) was divine, as was a sea bass and fennel salad starter (£8) and chocolate brownie caramel (£7).
The details Standard hotel rooms, £109 per room per night, b&b; and 2-bed Woodland Homes, from £110 per night (November-mid December 2010).
Get there The Cornwall Hotel Spa & Estate, Pentewan Road, St Austell. T: 01726 874 050. W: thecornwall.com
By Wendy Hinton