On the picturesque Cornish coastline, Carbis Bay Hotel has a dramatic spa setting. With pebble-lined walls, white-wash woods and cool, earth furnishings, C-Bay Spa is a serene place for a seaside spa escape. The spa is set over two levels, each with views over the Atlantic Ocean. There's an outdoor pool and hot tub, sauna pod, relaxation lounge and a VIP treatment suite on the beach. The treatment menu uses Voya and Aromatherapy Associates products to deliver a range of holistic and beauty-based spa therapies.
- Single sex facilities
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- 15-metre pool
- Sauna pod
- Relaxation lounge
- 2 single treatment rooms (1 with a bath)
- 1 double treatment room
- 1 VIP treatment suite for couples on the beach
- Luxury Sunseeker yacht
- Aromatherapy Associates
- Lava Shells
Our Spa Spy review
Carbis Bay Hotel is set against a hillside overlooking a golden, sandy Blue Flag beach. It's a family-owned hotel with 47 rooms, as well as beach houses and cottages. C Bay Spa is a modern addition to the hotel, set over two levels, and designed to take advantage of the views with picture windows onto the bay. The spa design is in keeping with the seaside feel: many blues, greys and white, and finishing touches of wood and pebbles. The tone is modern, comfortable, relaxed.
C Bay Spa is a dinky spa but its views bring a sense of space into the environment. Looking from many vantage points -- the relaxation room, the hot tub, the sauna -- you see the sea and the far horizon; the spa often feels larger than it is.
What's on offer?
You reach the spa via some steps and a walkway at the front of the hotel, or through the restaurant if service is not taking place. Spa reception is a desk surrounded by seating, a nail bar and a champagne bar.
The ground-floor changing rooms are small. There are just six wooden lockers, one loo, and one shower with Aromatherapy Associates shampoo and conditioner. If there were more than two of you in there, you'd consider the space crowded, with little scope for privacy. Plenty of extra stripey towels are available, and your locker holds your robe, some surprisingly comfortable white spa flip-flops, and a laundry bag to haul your wet swimsuit home; there is no spin dryer as there is no space to put one.
The 15-metre free-form outdoor pool is the spa's main water feature. It is heated to 22 degrees and open year-round but can feel chilly when you first set your toes in the water. Once you are in and swimming, the water feels pleasant. We thought it absolute bliss to swim beneath a blue sky with the birds calling and the sun warming us at every turn. If you need to feel a little toastier, the hydro-pool is heated to a much warmer temperature and feels instantly soothing. At the press of a button, the back jets are surprisingly powerful and the lounging bench suitably bubbly.
When we visited, it was springtime in the gardens around the pool, so we enjoyed lying on one of the many loungers and taking in the sunshine and the primroses.
Up some steps in the garden is a sauna that you will find ideal if you have ever wanted to visit a sauna that looks like a hobbit house. The round wooden cabin, which could seat four to six, has a window in the front door so that you can stare out to sea while you simmer.
Upstairs inside the spa are three treatment rooms which are elegant and comfortable. The relaxation room has shimmering sofas, soft cushions, wicker baskets, a wooden floor, a warming fire for the winter, water and magazines to help yourself to, and, of course, views of the sea at every turn.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the spa's signature treatment, Serenity by the Sea (120 minutes, £130). As the treatment encompasses two whole glorious hours of pampering, you have time to relax, time to enjoy, and time to drift...
My therapist, Sarah, took me through to a treatment room with soft music playing. First, she checked my consultation form and asked me to do a sensory test: to smell three Aromatherapy Associates essential oils and to choose the one to which I responded most strongly. I chose the Light Relax, a mixture of lavender, ylang-ylang and petitgrain.
The treatment began with a footbath. While Sarah exfoliated my feet with an olive scrub, she explained what would happen during our time together, and how I needed to say at any point if something was not quite right. The treatment felt personalised and Sarah, whispering instructions to me as necessary, kept the atmosphere calm throughout, and predisposed to letting go. I very much enjoyed the foot massage that soothed before I got under the purple towels of the treatment bed for the main event.
The Serenity by the Sea involves a lava-shell massage, and the smooth, heated shells gliding up and down my back were a recipe for de-stressing all by themselves. Sarah worked at knots in my lower back and across my shoulders, and along the backs of my legs.
The facial element saw Sarah cleansing, exfoliating and toning; the fresh scent of the rosewater toner was enough to rouse me from near oblivion, so relaxed had I become. Sarah incorporated a mask, careful facial massage, and an uplifting scalp massage to complete the therapy. As far as I was concerned, the scalp massage could have gone on all day.
Afterwards, my skin felt soft, my shoulders unrecognisable as belonging to me, and I could have happily had a small nap. Sarah took me through to the relaxation room and I relaxed even more with a cup of Earl Grey tea and another gaze at the views. Sea so often equals serenity and my Serenity By The Sea had left me very serene indeed.
The C Bay Spa treatment menu offers Aromatherapy Associates and Voya massages, facials, scrubs and wraps. Voya contains Irish seaweed for natural detoxification, while Aromatherapy Associates offer a palette of scents to help balance body and mind. You can book lava-shell massages, too. Treatments for men use The Refinery range of products. You can also enjoy bathing rituals, some complementary therapies such as reflexology, OPI manicures and pedicures, and Mii make-up.
My spa lunch was two courses of fresh-fish delight: a pan-fried St Ives mackerel with olives followed by flaked salmon and noodles: light enough, healthy enough, but filling enough to keep you going through the rigours of your spa day. We could have had Falmouth Bay mussels, chilli and roasted butternut squash, chicken or salad. With gluten-free as well as veggie options, you have a good choice.
We ate in our robe in a secluded corner of the restaurant; you could also eat in the spa reception area looking out to sea or, if the weather is kind, outside by the pool (just watch for seagulls) or on the terrace.
In the evening, we ate at the hotel's Sands restaurant (need we mention another sea view?) where the locally landed sea-bass was crisped to perfection and the selection of home-made breads staggeringly fresh. Vegetarian options, such as the tagine, also tempted.
We loved / we didn't love
You won't have guessed this, but we loved the way the glass brings the sea into the spa.
We also loved our personalised treatment and the friendly, helpful and professional spa team. Customer service through Carbis Bay Hotel and Spa was excellent.
We didn't mind but those with mobility problems may find C Bay Spa hard to negotiate: there are steps into the pool, up to the relaxation room, up to the sauna.
There was no moisturiser in the changing rooms on our visit; in our opinion, you really need some lotion after you have been for a swim and rinsed the chlorine away (but they have promised to put this right).
Who do you think would like it?
Couples would enjoy the beach-side treatments with the added romance of the waves.
Single spa-goers can feel right at home. C Bay Spa is idea for a solo pick-me up with an indulgent treatment, a tasty lunch, and perhaps a glass of champagne. Schedule your treatment for children's swim time in the summer season.
Walkers: Carbis Bay Hotel and Spa is right on the Cornish coastal path; if you've had a healthy day striding up and down, the spa offers a "Coastal Foot Reviver" just for you.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We're pleased to say that C Bay Spa retains its 5 bubbles. There aren't many spas in the UK where you can sit in a sauna and watch a pod of dolphins swim across a bay, but this is one of them. We loved our treatment, enjoyed the food, and couldn't stop gazing at the sea. C Bay Spa may be small but it delivers relaxation and refreshment in spades.
There are four dining options at Carbis Bay. The Sands Restaurant offers fine dining, The Beach Club is a relaxed space just off the beach to enjoy a cocktail and heartier food, The Lower Deck has a tapas-style menu and The Conservatory offers informal dining include lots of chilren's options.
47 hotel rooms next to the Hotel's blue flag beach.
Open seven days a week from 9am to 7.30pm. Treatments are available from 10am to 5pm.