Muddy Reviews: Scarlet Spa, Mawgan Porth
The heavenly eco-spa at the Scarlet overlooking Mawgan Porth is open for locals for shorter treatments. Cliff top hot tub, outdoor swim and a massage? Yes please.
For the first time, visitors to Cornwall can visit the Scarlet Spa for just a treatment or shorter spa experience – of course Muddy was up to trying it out – and it’s not a spoiler to say the Scarlet isn’t Muddy award-winning for nothing…
Inspired by the Ayurvedic tradition, with an emphasis on holistic wellness, the Scarlet Spa is an absolute haven of tranquility that wraps you up in a bubble of eco-decadence for the day.
Originally set up by three sisters and adults only, the spa is set into the cliff top overlooking the secluded surfing beach of Mawgan Porth, with the hotel itself behind – meaning uninterrupted garden and beach views from both inside and outside.
As you’d expect from an eco-spa, they take their credentials seriously. Unbleached robes and towels are provided as well as grey felt slippers made from recycled bottles, which you can take away afterwards. I use my previous pair as travel slippers as they pack flat. Their own Oula range of eco-friendly toiletries are also provided in refillable wall bottles and smell divine.
The building itself is made from sustainable and recyclable materials and the hot tubs heated by a wood chipped fired biomass boiler which also services the hotel. Solar energy is key, and the outside pool reed filtered with the indoor one low-bromide.
The interiors are super stylish, with quirky modern sculptures and some of the comfiest loungers, swing seats and bean bags I’ve ever had the pleasure of sinking into. But it’s the exterior that’s the real treat.
Floor-to-ceiling windows and glorious outdoor spaces allow guests to enjoy the incredible views of the beach, surf, the cliffs and the ocean throughout the spa. When it is sunny, it’s Cornwall at its most glorious. On a cloudy or rainy day, the vista turns even more magical and mystical (and the hot tubs feel even warmer).
It’s the spa’s attention to detail that makes it feel most decadent though, and even with extensive COVID safe procedures in place, none of the detail has been lost. No clock watching here, its the waves you sit back and look at instead, or get lost in your own thoughts. When it’s time to move to your treatment or back inside, one of the staff seamlessly materialises. No conveyer belt style movement of people here either, numbers are deliberately low so it feels intimate and private.
We were booked in for the Rebalance treatment which began with half an hour in the clifftop hot tub, which have got to be some of the most perfectly positioned in England. Even better, we were served a glass of fizz to drink whilst we sat back in the gloriously warm water and surveyed the view.
Surprisingly the subsequent swim in the cold outdoor natural reed pool was as much a highlight of the treatment as the hot tubs and massage. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been swimming in cold water all winter or whether it was just beautifully cold after the hot tub but it was bracing and refreshing at 8c! Good for the circulation you know.
The cedar-wood barrel sauna in the garden, whose circular windows usually offer a perfectly framed view of Mawgan Porth, was closed due to COVID guidance but the indoor swimming pool was open and my goodness did that swim feel welcome after no swimming for months.
There was then a choice of a 60 minute Attuned Massage or 60 minute Tula Facial – despite the strangeness of wearing a face mask for a treatment I soon forgot about that and relaxed in to the massage, so much so that I fell asleep. Once your treatment is finished you are invited to relax in womb-like cocoon resting pods.
The usual treatments at the spa are a day journey with multiple parts and lasting four hours, so these shorter visits are a great opportunity for locals to pop in and enjoy a shorter or individual treatment rather than committing to a whole day spa trip – and, let’s face it, they are also more affordable for trying out one of Cornwall’s loveliest spas.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Fresh water and endless pots of Pukka tea are dotted around the spa to keep you hydrated, although for the time being you should bring your own water bottle, and that alongside the fizz in the hot tub, all that is on offer in the spa at the moment.
BUT, you can book lunch or afternoon tea on the terrace, under the direction of new head chef Craig Davies, which when the hotel re-opens in May, a lighter version of which will also form part of the spa day (and with this being the view from your table, why wouldn’t you!).
It’s hard work bringing you these reviews(!) but in the interests of being thorough we not only tried all three courses but also spoke to Craig himself – it was his first week so he’s still finding his feet a little but the food was seasonal, Cornish and not just the ordinary run of the mill salads you’d expect from a spa. This is a restaurant which takes it food seriously and it was very enjoyable, helped no doubt by a really well chosen wine list by someone who clearly knows their stuff, and of course the aforementioned view.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Anyone who needs some time out from their everyday lives and a chance to rest, dream and be revitalised with some luxury mainly in the salty sea air, as well as anyone tempted by a shorter visit to the spa.
Not for: The treatments are inside and require a face mask to be worn, so if you’re not comfortable with that you can book a simple hot tub and swim session instead.
The damage: From £90 for a swim and hot tub, up to £140 per person for the full Rebalanced treatment – from 17 May the spa journeys will be reintroduced.