Take advantage of your child-free existence with a long, indulgent weekend at The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth – adults only, this luxurious Cornish eco-hotel caters just as well for expectant mothers as it does for couples just looking to get away from it all
Saying you’re going on a ‘babymoon’ is quite divisive. Pregnant friends respond enthusiastically, sharing details of their own pre-baby breaks. Others wrinkle their noses at this modern portmanteau – ‘is that like a honeymoon..?’ At 24 weeks pregnant and ever heavier, let me assure you that a weekend by the sea, when all that’s on the cards is to sleep, eat, have a treatment and repeat, sounds like heaven – whether you call it a babymoon or not. Husbands/partners, you’ll get serious brownie points if you treat your other half, pregnant or otherwise, to a break like this.
After an early start to make the most of our stay, my husband dutifully drives the 260-odd-miles from London and, when we arrive, confronted by the theatrically wild sight of tempestuous seas and churning clouds, we know the journey was worth it. The views at The Scarlet provide an ever-changing backdrop; the 37 bedrooms all have a sea view – and balcony or terrace – and so do the communal spaces across the five levels (except the tucked-away treatment rooms and meditation spaces).
Light floods into the hotel and the design vibe is best summed up as elementally vibrant – natural tones and materials, which complement the landscape outside, are livened up with splashes of colour, be it furniture, bright paintings or eclectic artwork. Our room – Just Right (the most affordable) – is nicer than its categorisation implies, with the requisite comfy bed and large bath, as well as easy-to-use lighting (not always to be expected in luxury hotels, surprisingly). A pregnancy pillow is a lovely touch, as are slippers with a note that says Please take me home, I am made from recycled plastic bottles. We order tea to our room – a pot of tea whenever and wherever you want is complimentary – before I shuffle to the spa for an indulgent afternoon.
“At 24 weeks pregnant and ever heavier, let me assure you that a weekend by the sea, when all that’s on the cards is to sleep, eat, have a treatment and repeat, sounds like heaven”
The Scarlet’s Pregnancy Journey has been created with skincare expert Pai; its products are certified organic and free from synthetics, irritants and essentials oils so they’re suitable for even the most sensitive skin and throughout all three trimesters. My therapist Natasha takes me through an Ayurvedic consultation – my dosha (body type) is currently pitta, although it can change when you’re pregnant – and administers a full body scrub. I’m warm and comfortable on my side – invigorating dry brush strokes are balanced by gentle stroking and after a shower my skin feels super-smooth.
I spend half an hour in the relaxation room by the indoor pool, gazing out over the outdoor, reed-filtered pool, and refueling on fresh fruit. I watch couples venturing outside when their name is called to fling off robes and climb into a cliff-top hot tub – they’re popular so make sure you book in advance. Next is a blissful bespoke massage – be specific about what you do and don’t like, and ask your therapist to adjust the temperature as often as you need. I float past the steam and meditation rooms, past the hammam and rhassoul, feeling lighter than I have done in weeks, back to our room for a doze before supper.
And it’s lucky we’re hungry for it – the food at The Scarlet is fantastic. Three courses are priced at a reasonable £45.50 and over two evenings, we enjoy every one we try. There’s a big focus, as you’d expect in an eco-hotel, on quality or sustainability; the kitchen team has relationships with many small local artisan producers, farmers and fishermen. My highlight is the beef loin with ox cheek pastille and even though my husband loves the lighter dish of silver mullet with potted shrimp sauce, he does order the beef the following evening.
Vegetarians are very well catered for; both courses have three considered options and my vegetable salad is as beautifully presented as it is delicious. If you’re drinking, there are cocktails and an extensive wine list; if not, mocktails and more room for a satisfying pudding (try the dark chocolate delice or ginger cake). The team is young and friendly; flashes of turquoise hair and tattoos nod to the local surf scene and add personality to the service. We wind down after supper with mint tea and pool in the Library – it ain’t rock and roll… etc – and sleep like proverbial babies.
“I watch couples venturing outside when their name is called to fling off robes and climb into a cliff-top hot tub”
We wake – bright and early – to atmospheric stormy skies and call for tea to drink in bed while watching frothy, shape-shifting clouds roll across the sky. We’re soon roused, though, by the thought of breakfasting like kings in the restaurant, with even better views of the vast, horse-shoe-shaped beach. Apple juice and toast is followed by a smoothie, porridge, bircher muesli or a chocolate croissant then a cooked dish; you’ll be well fed, whether you opt for scrambled eggs, salmon, pancakes or the full works.
After yet another time-out in one of the hanging pods by the pool (tricky to get in, but once you are, hard to drag yourself out), I ready myself for a private yoga class while my husband heads out for a run along the craggy cliffs. I get a lot out of my hour with Hannah – at my request, she helps me work on stretching and strength work I can do at home. I end the class breathing more deeply and it’s a feeling that persists, even as we drive away a few hours later, proving just how restorative even 48 hours away from city life can be.