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

The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth

All ethical sustainability and youthful vibrancy, this grown-ups-only retreat on the north Cornwall coast is somewhere to feel young and cool – even if you’re not, discovers Jo Rees when she visits The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth

It’s all about balance at The Scarlet. Not the ripped abs and core strength type demonstrated by the surfers carving through waves beyond the terrace, but the delicate harmony and tension between pure indulgence and ethical sustainability.The Scarlet was groundbreaking when it launched as a boutique eco hotel in 2009 and it continues to lead the field, providing a sophisticated but earthy experience where you can luxuriate in low-impact lazing and feasting.

VISIT to re-energise in a vibey environment. Funky interiors, wooden hot tubs overlooking the sea, ayurvedic treatments and youthful hosts with rainbow coloured hair and piercings are a refreshing alternative to the seaside hotel standard.

With a clear aim of making guests feel good, dishes are light, low in carbs and come with pleasing plant-based options.

Crisply roasted and well-spiced cauliflower, served with cooling ricotta and studded with jewel-like pomegranate seeds and plump golden raisins, makes a perfect starter while overlooking the natural pool and the beautiful bods sunbathing around it. You’d only feel guilty scoffing a plate of chips in this environment.

DON’T VISIT in blazer and tie. This is relaxed and laid back; half the lunching crowd are fresh from the pool and wrapped in bath robes.

WE LIKED the zesty wine list. Loads of raw and organic wines (tonnes by the glass) as well as classic cocktails, sherries, madeira, port and loads of stickies suggest this is somewhere to let your hair down while exploring carefully crafted vintages from Cornish vineyards and further afield.

Insider's tip

Menus are written every day to make best use of the seasonal, hyperlocal produce and to keep food waste to an absolute minimum.

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