The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

Carlyon Bay Hotel, near St Austell

Dramatically perched on a cliff edge, Carlyon Bay Hotel is a windswept, gaze-out-to-sea haven for golfing gadabouts, spa seekers and foodies, discovers Abi Manning

Those seeking the charm of a traditional, glamorous hideaway that fuses fine dining, dramatic Cornish surroundings and indulgence in abundance need look no further than the timeless elegance of Carlyon Bay.

VISIT if you’re a golfing enthusiast. The hotel’s unique clifftop championship course intersects with the South West Coast Path, making it all too easy to take your eye off the ball in favour of those shimmering bay views.

However, there’s also plenty to occupy golf widows and widowers. While away the day on a hot stone lounger by the poolside (indoor or outdoor), relax in the sauna or steam room, and treat yourself to a pampering spa treatment.

DON’T VISIT expecting a bustling town break. Although it’s not far from St Austell and lots of other attractions, this clifftop sanctum is a haven of tranquillity. Take windswept walks along the coast path (accessible direct from the garden) to Poldark-famous Charlestown, wander the extensive gardens, take advantage of the golf course, or simply sink into a cosy nook in the lounge with a spot of afternoon tea while enjoying that captivating backdrop (if you’re lucky you’ll have accompaniment from the house pianist). And if you’re still hankering after distraction, the Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan are just a stone’s throw away.

WE LIKED the treasures of the local larder featured in Paul Leakey’s ever-changing menu of fine dining delights. Piscatorial pleasures were enjoyed in the trio of seafood morsels to start, followed by the briny tang of capers with succulent sea bass – accompanied by stunning sea views.

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