coast editor-in-chief Alex Fisher tries a rejuvenating blue health break at the Scarlet Hotel & Spa in Cornwall

I lick my lips and taste salt. It’s in my hair and on my skin, carried by a fresh breeze that ripples through the grass and up the hill from the rolling waves below. The view is mesmerising. A vast expanse of sandy beach, framed by craggy rocks and green hills speckled with wild flowers. Every now and then a bird rises from the ocean or the hills – a Cornish chough makes an appearance, its red bill and legs contrasting with its black, silky feathers, then a gannet glides into the sky, preparing to dive into the sea, looking for some supper. As I watch the scene, my mind falls quiet and I slip into a meditative space: my heartbeat slows, my breath deepens, and I find myself smiling.


There are many fantastic spa hotels by the sea in the British Isles, but few are so dedicated to capturing the essence of the ocean as The Scarlet. Overlooking the North Cornwall coast just above Newquay, this adults-only hotel was designed to be a healing space with the seascape as the key player. Here, you can relax in a wooden hot tub, swim in the freshwater pool, steam up in a sauna, without taking your eyes off the ocean; everything points to the sea. Even my room has an added spiral staircase that leads to a snug area just big enough for a sofa, where, though the floor-to-ceiling window and over the sea thrift-covered roof, you can spend your day watching the tide rise and fall.


As well as offering complimentary yoga in the mornings, use of the sea-view spa facilities and dramatic coastal walks, the Scarlet has a host of therapies to deepen your levels of relaxation and rejuvenation during your stay. Its Ayurveda-based treatments are adapted to draw in the elements of the region. My ‘journey’, as the Scarlet calls its individually tailored signature treatments, included a salty scrub, a seaweed soak and full body massage, where the long toe-to-head strokes represented the waves of the ocean. Later, one of the spa team took me on a mindfulness walk along the beach, which culminated in an outdoor breathing and meditation exercise, a fitting conclusion to an extraordinary day.

When the time came to leave this quiet sanctuary, I felt like I had been away for a week, not just a couple of days. Calmer, clearer and invigorated, I re-entered the world, the taste of salt still on my lips.


A two-night spa break for two people sharing a sea-view room starts at £835, including dinner, bed and breakfast, use of the spa, morning yoga, a cliff-top hot tub and an individually tailored 60-minute therapeutic massage.

Call 01637 861800 or visit

Check out more coastal guides and places to stay by the sea here