Stay here: Polurrian Bay Hotel (Cornwall)
Just before Christmas I was so tired all I wanted to do was sleep until 2015. But Mr Muddy gets a bit stir-crazy betwixtmas, so we ended up heading off to Cornwall to the Polurrian Bay Hotel, down on the Lizard peninsula on the southern tip of the county, for a change of scene.
I review a lot of hotels on Muddy but I have to tell you I think you will love this place. Think a bit of luxury without being posh or uptight, in a stonkingly gorgeous spot right on the coast, with its own beach a couple of minutes walk away, and massively family friendly. It was exactly what I needed. The children were in raptures here and didn’t want to leave. I think they loved the safety and freedom of the hotel, running around almost as if it was our own house, zipping up and down to the hotel rooms (which were modern, clean, stylish in a safe way, great bathrooms).
Actually, the atmosphere was so informal and relaxed that it reminded me of a ski chalet after a day on the slopes, particularly in the amazing lounge area, with its panoramic views and comfy slouchy sofas, where you could be with other families but somehow retain your own space too. It was just great.
Mr Muddy and I would order a couple of G&Ts (and um maybe another couple too – tis true, we were quite the Home Counties lushes), then read the papers lying on the sofas, or play mah jong with the kids. Then wander in for some dinner, bung the kids to bed in an interconnecting room to ours and then do what any hot-blooded middle-aged couple do – fall asleep to the erotic whisperings of Huw Edwards at News at 10.
We’d chosen this hotel because, aside from the family friendly bit, there were good facilities. Going to Cornwall in winter you need to know that you have options when the weather decides to tank down, or you can’t quite be bothered to hop in the car and drive off somewhere. I didn’t want to cook so there was a main eating area (the food was good, rather than brilliant, but fine for our purposes), plus a more practical, more modern formica-style space for parents who wanted to feed the animals away from other.
There’s also a decent pool with a small jacussi, gym and two treatment rooms just opposite the main hotel, a tennis court, a good playground for smaller children, fishing nets and buckets and spades ready to be borrowed at reception, a cinema room and play room for kids, a creche that we didn’t use (though in earlier years would have wept with gratitude for it), and the list goes on.
As it happened we were exceptionally lucky with the weather, it was bright sunshine nearly every day, and that was the other great thing about the hotel – the coastal path basically cut through it, so you could pick up a beautiful walk straight from breakfast.
We were planning to do a big walk the first day but in their excitement at being on the Polurrian Bay beach, both my younger kids went into the sea with their wellies on and got their socks completely soaked, so we ended up just hanging out on the beach. Not too much of a trauma frankly, with views like this.
In the spring/summer this is a phenomenal asset for the hotel and even now it was just fab to be able to meander to it. The kids skimmed stones and searched for shells, and I actually stopped for a minute and just soaked up the fresh air and sun.
In terms of days out, there’s loads to do in the area. Lizard Point, the most southerly tip of the UK, is a couple of miles down the road, so we drove to that and then did a fantastic coastal walk for a couple of hours, doubling back on ourselves to end up at the Lizard Point cafe, and a pastie that should surely be in a record book somewhere.
The third day we went to St Ives to see the Tate down there, but I think we were a bit unlucky with the exhibition – it was an super-arty photography one that left us all a bit perplexed. But the building is cool and the town is attractive with its own sandy beach and higgledy-piggledy streets.
On our last day we took a fab day trip out on a ferry from Falmouth (about 40 mins in the car) to St Mawes to visit its Tudor castle which we then discovered was closed GRRRRRRR.
Then it was time to leave, and we’d barely scratched the surface really, and I could have easily stayed for a week rather than than the four nights, to do more walking, see the National Trust Mullion Harbour (not sure how we didn’t manage that, we were only a mile away), visit the Eden Project, Penzance, Pendennis Castle. I’m definitely coming back.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Anyone with children, particularly those under 12 who still suck the energy from your very marrow. Great for big family gatherings (there are 44 rooms with family suites, interconnecting rooms and dogs allowed ), exhausted parents, anyone wanting to a great base from which to explore Cornwall
Not for: Romantic couples looking for some lurrrrve time might not appreciate the more relaxed, child-friendly ethos of the hotel. Dedicated foodies may get sniffy at dinner, though the breakfasts are awesome. Those who want a quick getaway – it took about 4.5 hours from mid Bucks (though I’d recommend The Ley Arms in Kenn, nr Exeter, and Hestercombe gardens near Taunton as good child-friendly stop offs).
£££: At the moment, you can stay from £299 for 2 nights (with B&B and two course dinner each night), or £399 for a 3 night stay (same extras). Money well spent in my opinion.
Polurrian Road, Mullion, Cornwall TR12 7EN. Tel: 01326 240421 polurrianhotel.com