If you’re in the third trimester of pregnancy, a no-fly holiday is the only option. Expecting her first baby this summer, the writer Katie Antoniou was keen to try a babymoon at the Scarlet, Cornwall.
I don’t know who came up with the idea of the “babymoon” but it’s a concept I can wholeheartedly get behind. If you’ve reached your third trimester, so can no longer fly but are looking for a lovely, luxurious beach break in the UK, then the babymoon break at The Scarlet in Cornwall could be just what you’re looking for.
This break is designed for couples; the luxury hotel is an adults-only bolthole boasting stunning design features, a breathtaking cliff top location, a gourmet restaurant and exceptional service – but I actually went with my mum. We’ve always been close, but my pregnancy has brought us even closer. I know she’ll be around lots when the baby arrives, but it’s probably going to be a while before we get any quality time together again, just the two of us.
Driving down from London was all very straightforward. We arrived late but were greeted personally by hotel staff. There’s no reception desk as such, instead, someone comes to meet you and show you to your room. This is just one of the many carefully considered touches, unique to the hotel. Instead of tea and coffee making facilities, for example, the hotel’s policy is to bring you complimentary tea or coffee in the morning or evening, ensuring that every cup you enjoy during your stay is top quality. Pregnant ladies avoiding caffeine will be happy to know they stock Pukka’s full range of herbal teas (the Three Cinnamon blend has become my go-to bedtime drink).
The room was spacious and full of great design touches – as well as the obligatory fluffy bathrobes. We stayed in a twin room where the beds were comfortable and there was a wonderful, free-standing bath, big enough to accommodate my bump (a real luxury for me since my own bath stopped covering more than half my bump about two months ago!) There was even a little upstairs area, with a love seat, where you could watch the sun rise over the sea view.
As ever in Cornwall, the climate was varied. One day we were snuggling up in a hot tub under overcast skies, the next it was over 20 degrees with clear blue skies and sunshine so strong we had to slather ourselves in suncream.
The hotel boasts incredible views over Mawgan Porth bay. Enjoy them from the comfort of the restaurant, the gorgeous natural pool or one of the cliff top hot tubs. The staff made a point of turning down the temperature in a hot tub, so it was safe for me to get in, and my mum and I enjoyed a glass of champagne and a mug of hot chocolate respectively. Later we went for a stroll down on the bay; burying your toes in the sand is so therapeutic it’s totally worth the short climb down the cliffside – and walkers in need of a companion can borrow the hotel’s resident whippet!
Breakfast was a joy. Using local ingredients is really important to chef Tom Hunter, so expect lots of fish, duck eggs, fresh apple juice and exceptional bread, baked on site. At the spa, you can eat from a lunchtime menu which includes great smoothies and healthy sharing platters full of guilt-free treats like houmous and salad. A more substantial set lunch is available at the hotel or you can indulge in the signature afternoon tea. A trip to Cornwall isn’t complete without trying a cream tea, is it?
I ended the stay with my “pregnancy journey” spa treatment, including a thorough consultation with a therapist who talked me through the Ayurveda system the spa follows. I received good advice with yoga, pilates and lots of breathing exercises recommended. After having a body scrub with a delicious Pai coconut product, I practised some deep breathing in an irresistible “hanging pod” and promptly nodded off. Upon waking, I was brought a bowl of fresh fruit and water to re-hydrate before moving on (with considerable help getting out of that pod, I might add) to enjoy the rest of my treatment; a “beautiful bump” massage, where my bump was actually wrapped up to help the products absorb effectively, followed by a scalp and body massage.
I must also make a mention of the great range of non-pregnancy spa treatments available at The Scarlet that your other half/mum/sister/best friend or whoever you choose to “babymoon” with may enjoy. My mum opted for a seaweed bath in one of the hotel’s huge copper baths. Honestly, if I could choose to labour anywhere, it’d be in one of those baths; bigger than a birthing pool and infinitely more luxurious. Even just knowing they were on site made me feel entirely reassured as to what I would do if my offspring decided to make an early appearance!
How to get to the Scarlet, Cornwall, without flying:
If you’re driving, come off the A30 at the Highgate Hill exit signposted for Newquay and follow signs to the airport on the A39. Take a right turn towards Mawgan Porth and then pass Newquay Airport on your right. When you get to the T-Junction turn right and then follow the road down into Mawgan Porth. Keep following the road back up the hill and you will see a red sign for the Scarlet.
There is a regular rail service from all parts of the country to Bodmin Parkway Station, which is only a 25 minute drive from the hotel. It is possible to connect with trains for Newquay Station, which is closer to the hotel, but requires a change at Par. Taxis can be arranged to meet guests travelling by rail (Coastline Taxis provide a convenient and environmentally friendly taxi service).
Words: Katie Antoniou for Feet on the Ground
Images: Scarlet/Katie Antoniou