Qualified in Ayurvedic massage, Chavutti Thirumal (which is applied by the feet), Thai massage and Indian Head Massage, journalist, Kathryn Hudson, knows what she’s looking for when it comes to spas, so we sent her to Trenython Manor in Cornwall, to find out her expert opinion!
Trenython is accessed up a long drive, bordered with hedges decorated with daffodils and primroses. The hotel itself looks like a setting for a BBC period drama. Two Egyptian pillars add a touch of grandeur; apparently these originate from the Temple of Ephesus and are thousands of years old. The palm trees announce that you have arrived at the Cornish Riviera.
The hotel has quite a past. Built in 1872 by an Italian architect, commissioned by Garibaldi, it was a way of saying thank you to Colonel Peard for his part in Garibaldi’s Italian campaign, winning back Italy for King Victor Emmanuel. After Peard, it was bought by a bishop, (who was responsible for the carved wood panelling in the dining room) and in the 1950s it became a Great Western Railway convalescent home
You enter into a massive double height lobby with a huge sweeping staircase which splits into two in the middle (think Sound of Music), the carved balustrades carry on all the way up the stairs and around the landing. Unsurprisingly, this has historically been a popular wedding and prom venue; any bride would want to sweep down that staircase or chuck her bouquet from the landing.
Judging by the traditional décor in the public areas – chandeliers, Chesterfields, and the wooden panelling – the bedrooms are a surprise. They have all been recently refurbished, in a tastefully contemporary fashion, using soothing earthy tones. My room was huge, with a beautiful bay window, capturing views of green fields stretching down to Par beach (or Parbados, as us locals like to call it) and St Austell Bay.
Part of the hotel, but with a separate entrance, the spa has two treatment rooms, a small gym with cardiovascular equipment, a pool, sauna, steam room and a hot tub. I opted for the mini spa ritual, which is a favourite at Trenython. It’s name doesn’t quite do it justice, as mini makes it sound slightly lacking. To me, this hour-long treatment felt complete and although I never want treatments to end, it didn’t feel like it was over too quickly. It begins with a relaxing back massage and the therapist made a good effort at tackling the knots in my shoulders which I have written about before on this blog. This was followed by a facial, and I lost count of the number of lotions and masks which were applied and then gently removed with comforting warm flannels.
Decorated from floor to (high) ceiling with the aforementioned carved oak, harvested from local churches, the dining room has a reverential air, so it feels right to dress up. The food was delicious. The menu states it’s all sourced as locally where possible. Even a pescatarian like me was spoilt for choice, with some interesting vegetarian options too. I went for smoked salmon frittata, followed by pesto cod with mash and bean and vegetable ragout, topped off with local cheeses.
At breakfast there is a buffet and a choice of either continental, cooked, or both, as well as a selection of fish, such as kippers or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. A two course lunch menu is available for day spa goers, which includes healthy, flavoursome options like wild mushroom and sun blushed tomato risotto with parmesan crisps and salad, or chicken tikka salad with warm potato salad. Desserts include chocolate, caramel and peanut cheesecake.
Located in Du Maurier country, close to the picturesque harbour village of Fowey and overlooking Par Beach, Trenython is conveniently located if you have a car, with lots to do a short drive away (Polkerris, Fowey, the Eden Project are less than a 10 minute drive) but if you wanted to come by public transport you would probably need to stay at the hotel, (or one of its self-catering chalets,) as other than the small village of Tywardreath, there isn’t much to be accessed on foot. Having said that, if you fancy a rest, there is plenty to keep you entertained on site: wonderful views, sofas in the lounge to cosy up with a book, treatments, the spa, walks around the 24-acre estate, a beautiful terrace for when the sun is out …
With just two treatment rooms and no relaxation room, this isn’t the place to go with a large group, of more than four, but a lovely place to go as a couple, or with a friend/mum/daughter. After your treatment you can pop downstairs and sit on the loungers by the pool. It’s also a great place to bring the kids: there is a kids club which will entertain your children while you spa (up to two hours a day). Mine were more than happy running around the gardens, tackling the obstacle course and cooing over the adorable giant bunnies. During the holidays it’s even better, there’s den building, archery and childrens’ entertainers. Also children are allowed in the pool for most of the day. The friendly, welcoming staff deserve a special mention, as I felt particularly well looked after.
– If you are looking for a place to go for a couples’ treat, book the bridal suite. Spacious, comfortable and with a view of big skies, you will thank yourself for it.
– If you are staying over, bring some flip flops, as to get to the spa you need to go outside the hotel and you might not want to be bothered putting on proper footwear if you are wearing your robe.
– Bring footwear which will allow you to enjoy a stroll through the woods. If you have enough time, walk the cliff path from Par beach round to Polkerris beach and have a drink in the Rashleigh, or lunch at Sam’s on the Beach (you may need to book). Both have terraces to hopefully enjoy the sun and take in the view.
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