Muddy stays: The Lodge at Penleaze, Marhamchurch
Ah Marhamchurch! I’ve driven past you on the Atlantic highway like a million times without knowing you were even there. And that’s sort of the point of The Lodge at Penleaze – it’s a totally secret bolt hole on the outskirts of this charming village- oops there goes my big mouth. Well it was a secret – but still secluded, with private views for miles (1.5 to be exact, which is how far away it is from the bodacious Bude) and no nosy neighbours. The only other accommodation on site is the Farmhouse, also run as a holiday let and the Salon (more on that here) – both separated by a discrete fence affording The Lodge its own rather large private garden and separate gated entrance.
Owner-manager Stefan met partner Richard, a farmer from Marhamchurch on holiday a few years back. Since Richard had ties (the farm, the holiday let and some great kids) Stefan sold his flat and made the move from Germany to join him running the farm. After looking for a new venture, The Lodge and the The Salon at Penleaze were born and Bude’s luxe credentials went through the roof.
Situated on Richard’s farm, The Lodge was purpose built to super high spec in 2015. Stefans style is an awesome blend of luxe-vintage-industrial, with strong pieces. His attention and eye for design is obvious everywhere.
On arrival, Stefan personally showed us around, where to find everything and how things worked. The place really is a home from home – if your home has Grand Designs worthy good looks.
A swanky American style fridge freezer with ice maker and chilled water dispenser came in tres handy after waking up a tad parched from the previous nights cocktail assault.
A fully stocked kitchen – and I mean uber stocked – Delia, Nigella and Mary B could happy come for a girlie weekend bake-off and not have to fight over a spatula. Stefan is into cooking himself and sees the items provided as a necessity if you decide to stay in and cook. If you don’t want to though, previous guests have arranged their own caterers which would work equally well here, or there are dining options near by.
There was fizzy waiting for us in a wine cooler, a good selection of tea and the same pod coffee we have at home and a bloody marvellous chocolate cake made by local cake faeries ‘Cornwall Cakes’.
There was also a handy list of recommended local attractions and businesses (including taxis) on a chalk board. Extra touches in every room – from the Aromaworks reed diffusers, to piles of blankets to cosy up in, flowers, water and roses in bedrooms plus a sweetie jar of chocolates (polished off by Mr MC) made us feel so welcome. Don’t worry – there’s the boring but essential utility things; a washing machine, separate dryer, iron and board etc for your utility needs too.
Mr MC, who still harks on about the virtues of his 12 year old Bose was so impressed with the Sonos system, he ordered one from Amazon while we were there. Welcome to 2016 Mr MC! We played our music really loud.
Each bedroom has an individual design. Two rooms have direct access to their own patio area and all rooms are ensuite.
How many holiday homes can boast their own onsite spa style salon? Well The Lodge can. This heavenly holistic hideaway offers a comprehensive range of treatments from massage to botox. So you can be totally spoilt and beautified while you stay. The Salon was fully booked while we were there, so I just had to come back and try their gentle Lycon waxing (that’s another story).
Oh my lordy I nearly forgot to tell you about the hot tub! This was toasty hot and at my service when we got there. A cheeky dip with fizz and a book apres dins, and another before breakfast. The view was amazing. You can see the sea!
Marhamchurch is a measily 1 Cornish mile from the A39 – the Atlantic highway! So within minutes you can immerse yourself in the delights of the north coast – Padstow is about 35 miles, Wadebridge , Tintagel and Boscastle under 30 minutes, and Bude and North Devon on your door step.
On Stefan’s suggestion we checked out Bude’s nightlife. Worth a mention are The North Coast Wine Co (for wine, obvs – and also cocktails), Life’s a Beach for great seafood – though they were fully booked so I can’t vouch, and The Beach at The Bude Hotel (for more cocktails) – warning – their passion fruit martini is dangerous.
You don’t even need to have a car – Nearest airport and train station are at Newquay, but if you are driving/ biking/riding a handcart, Marhamchurch is a sneeze off the A39 and there’s plenty of parking.
Flybe are operating up to 3 flights daily all year round from London Gatwick for about £30 (April, one way) – I know! Crazy! From Newquay, there are a number of taxi firms will get you to the lodge for around £75 (quoted March 2016) – do call and check beforehand though.
The Lodge is utterly breathtaking. There’s nothing I didn’t like or would change – except perhaps to stay longer. Stefan has thought of everything – there’s even little touches that wouldn’t be out of place in a hotel. One of my girlfriends is getting married in October and hasn’t booked her hen do yet. This place would be perfect for a classy lady get together. Equally, I can see my inlaws popping down for the weekend and totally getting it.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Those who value privacy wanting uninterrupted R&R. Spa retreaters. Peace lovers. Tranquillity hunters. Those who fancy a sordid getaway. Sea views without the seagulls. Great for family gatherings, big birthday celebrations, small birthday celebrations, classy hen dos, weekend away with your girl friends, anyone wanting a great base from which to explore our north coast. All the bedrooms are on the ground floor and totally accessible, so great for disabled or movement restricted guests. Its kid friendly too.
Not for: Ok this is a genuine toughy. The Lodge really gives you the best of both worlds – privacy when you want it, a toe in Bude’s heady nightlife if you’re yearning for a buzzy cocktail beachy vibe. Nope. I honestly can’t say who wouldn’t like it. Sorry about that. Try harder? Alright. Those looking for basic accommodation? Those who want their sea view a bit nearer? Er.. on wet days, you might get a bit of mud on your helicopter skids if you attempt to land(?) in Richard’s neighbouring field, so if that might be an issue, make alternative transport arrangements.
Care to disagree? Try The Lodge for yourself and let me know what you think.
£££: From £610 per week (Jan-mid March), weekend breaks available all year with the exception of summer hols. Check out prices and availability here.