The Scarlet is a luxury eco hotel on a stunning cliff-top location in Cornwall. Their adult-only holistic spa has a freshwater outdoor pool filtered by reeds and heated cliff-top baths that look out across the bay. Whether you're on your own or with a loved one, this stylish spa is perfect for those who need balance in their life, care about the environment, and want something a bit different.
13m indoor swimming pool
Tented treatment zone
Outdoor swimming pool
Outdoor hot tubs
Our Spa Spy review
The Scarlet is an adults-only eco-hotel perched on a headland above Mawgan Porth beach on the north Cornwall coast; the terraces, pool, hot tubs and rooms look out over the sea. The spa uses Ayurvedic treatments with a focus on holistic wellbeing, and the entire property strives for a minimum eco-footprint.
What's on offer?
In the reception area, the staff warmly greeted us, urged us to stop and stare at the sea through floor-to-ceiling windows, then offered us a drink. We loved the brightly-coloured armchairs, eye-catching sculptures, and paintings produced by local artists.
The unisex changing rooms have six cubicles, each with shampoo, conditioner and body wash; there is sufficient space to get dry and dressed after showering, ensuring complete privacy. You put your clothes in fabric boxes which are stored on shelves, while valuables, such as phones and cash, can go in small, lockable boxes.
The bright pool area has two glass walls showing off the spectacular cliff top setting, swim lengths in the 13-metre indoor swimming pool gazing out over the sea. The small steam room and a sauna were both beautifully heated during our visit. On the terrace is an outdoor natural swimming pond cleansed by reeds, it’s unheated so a little chilly in the colder months but very dramatic.
Two large wooden hot tubs positioned on the headland are the property's pièce de résistance; sit in warm water and drink in the view while watching the waves roll in. Pre-booking is essential -- and there is an additional cost of £20 per half hour -- but it's a wonderful, relaxing way to start, or end, your spa day. You can also try the barrel cedar sauna outside, or book in for treatments using the hamman, rasul, or copper bath.
The main relaxation area is a large, light room in soft neutral colours with huge windows overlooking the sea (are you sensing the theme?). Here, there are comfortable, padded recliners to curl up in, and throws to snuggle under.
The darkened post treatment relaxation room has white hanging pods suspended from the ceiling. They're not very easy to get into elegantly but, once you're in, the gentle movement helps you drift off to sleep.
In the centre of the spa is a sheltered garden complete with sculptures and plants, where you can sit and soak up the sunshine.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the “Honest -- The Scarlet sensory massage and facial” (90 minutes, £130).
My therapist, Hannah, led me along a corridor to a softly-curved space separated with drapes which felt very cosy. I was worried that sounds would carry from room to room, but the soft curtains absorbed any unwanted noise.
While my feet soaked in warm water, Hannah talked me though the treatment, asking key questions about how I felt and how I wanted to feel. She also showed me all the products she was going to use so I could smell and feel them.
Hannah started with a back massage, using long, gentle flowing movements she took me into a relaxation so deep I only surfaced when she asked me to turn over for the facial. This included a targeted massage to help lift my drooping jawline, as well as exfoliation and moisturisation using organic, hand-blended oils from Natural Wisdom. Made in the South West using locally-grown rosehip, raspberry and pomegranate seeds, the products felt wonderful on my skin.
The final step of the treatment was to cover my face in thin strips of cucumber -- I was glad no one could see me -- and a foot massage.
My skin felt brighter and firmer afterwards, while my back (which usually aches from an old injury) felt more mobile. Once the treatment was complete, Hannah bought me a "fruit shot", which was sharp and invigorating.
Many of the treatments at The Scarlet combine to make "journeys" lasting four hours. They start with an in-depth consultation followed by a bathing ritual and a massage, or a combination of yoga, breath work and massage. The Re-discover Journey for couples includes time in the clifftop hot tub, followed by a synchronised marma abhyanga full body massage, then a scented bath with a glass of Champagne. The Scarlet also offers a range of facials inspired by Ayurveda, and several hand and foot treatments.
You can eat lunch in your robe in the main restaurant, where salads and hot dishes are on offer. I had a very colourful dish of smoked salmon with a range of coleslaws and salad leaves; my spa partner chose the twice-baked Cornish Yarg soufflé. Both dishes were so good we barely knew they were healthy. Try the breads from a local bakery including salted focaccia, sourdough and a nut bread.
Dinner is a grand affair produced via low lighting, proper tablecloths and sparkling glasses. There is a good choice of wines and the menu is resplendent in fish, game, meats and vegetarian options. We tried stone bass and Cornish hake with lobster ravioli followed by a dark chocolate marquis that was perfectly rich and creamy.
We loved / we didn't love
The serenity: Afforded via the wonderful views.
The passionate staff: They really believe in the "eco" ethos of the spa.
The genuine willingness to adjust treatments: Treatments are readily adapted to suit spa guests.
We didn't love
The "eco-compromises": The spa provides only one towel so you need to go back to the spa reception for a dry one. There are also, understandably, no plastic bags for damp costumes.
The minimum two-night stay policy: This makes a stay at The Scarlet on the pricier side.
Who do you think would like it?
Eco-warriors: Anyone who wishes to indulge while doing the minimum possible damage to the environment.
Overstretched, overstressed professionals: Head to The Scarlet to completely cut off from the world.
Couples: The setting makes the spa very romantic.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
The Scarlet spa is undoubtedly a 5 Bubble Spa with a real sense of "barefoot luxury"; there are no marble floors or pool-side butlers, instead it’s all about holistic wellness. The eco-credentials earn The Scarlet an upgrade to our 5 Bubble Luxury award -- although we are tempted to turn our bubbles green instead of gold to recognise their strong eco-thoughtfulness.