I *could* write a long rambling post, extolling the virtues and successes of the family-owned Bedruthan Steps Hotel in Mawgan Porth, North Cornwall. I could go into the minutiae of our three day trip – the highs (getting drunk by a log fire with my husband) and the lows (a baby with a fever at 2am) but I thought I’d concisely convey the 10 best things about the place instead:
1/ Bedruthan Steps was made for parents. In particular, first timers who are looking to be eased into the ‘family holiday’ genre gently. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is there waiting for you. If you asked reception for a wet nurse they’d probably rustle you one up. We had a three-wheeler buggie, steam steriliser, cot and night light there waiting for us but you could ask for anything, from reusable nappies to a microwave in your room.
2/ The Ocean Spa. Where Bedruthan wins hands down for me is that it realises that parents are people, too. There are spaces that are cherished as ‘child-free zones’ – the bar, a cosy lounge with the weekend’s papers and a roaring fire – and the Ocean Spa. While kids can use the indoor pool with their parents, the spa is out of bounds. HURRAH. We languished in the hydro pool watching the storm roll in off the Atlantic, then after a quick circuit of the steam/sauna/monsoon shower, holed ourselves up in our very own hammam, complete with a full-sized heated stone bed. The hour-long treatment is designed for couples. You are left to your own devices to firstly scrub each other down with a minty salt scrub, then slather yourselves up with a chocolate mud body mask. It was nurturing, bonding and deeply relaxing.
3/ The Beehive is the OFSTED-registered on-site nursery for under 2s. There were a few tears as we dropped Country Bebe off for his two afternoons of complimentary childcare but fortunately they were all ours. I think the undivided attention of the fantastic staff and a mountain of un-tapped toys won out over any concerns over our whereabouts.
4/ The complimentary listening service is built into every room. Activate the monitor in your room, kiss your little darlings good night and run, whooping with joy to the bar (or maybe that’s just me). You can be safe in the knowledge that the reception staff are listening in and, if they hear them pipe up, your handheld pager will let you know they need your attention. Other than that you can sit back and enjoy your martini.
5/ The restaurant with children. Trust me, you don’t need to pack A THING for your kids to eat. The bibs, baby cutlery, highchairs, beakers… even HIPP Organic jars and fresh fruit purees are all there waiting for your hungry little mite to dive in. For the older ones there is a dedicated children’s tea from 4pm-6pm with a fantastic home-cooked menu (salmon and broccoli crumble was a HUGE hit) and the recently opened Wild Cafe is a great, relaxed environment with completely unfaze-able staff.
6/ The restaurant without children. Come 7pm and the same restaurant that had 50+ toddlers smearing jam up the walls at breakfast is transformed into a grown-up haven of Cornwall-centric, brassiere-style fare. From fantastic fish and chips, homemade burgers to stone-baked pizzas and an inventive daily specials board making the most of the daily catch.
7/ The courses. Bedruthan run the most fantastic array of courses. I partook in the Knitting with Erica Knight course last year which was amazing (I went from fumblingly hopeless to wool whizz kid in three days). This time it was OH’s turn and he was booked on to the cob oven course. He spent two days learning the skills of working with cob and built a miniature pizza oven which he is ridiculously proud of. I’m desperate to try the preserve making, Bread making with the Baker Brothers and shoe making!
8/ The location is pretty impressive. Overlook the vast sandy beach at Mawgan Porth and only a couple of miles from the family friendly, Watergate Bay and foodie mecca that is Padstow.
9/ The staff. From the waitress who offered to sit with Country Bebe whilst we perused the breakfast buffet, to the fantastic nursery staff and knowledgable (and rather dishy) Liam who ran the cob-oven course. Bedruthan really do hire the most laid back, intuitive, kindest staff.
10/ The memory I have of sitting here until the wee small hours nursing a pair of good bourbons with the OH and catching up on the last eight months whilst we’ve been busy being parents. Thank you Bedruthan, it’s been swell.
Details: A two night break, including the cob oven course for one, all food (breakfast, lunch, dinner and COPIOUS cocktails/whiskeys) in a Family Suite and spa treatments cost around £700. bedruthan.com