The perfect family-friendly getaway

JANET BRICE discovers why the family-friendly spa hotel of Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall has been welcoming generations of families for more than 50 years…

Images: courtesy Bedruthan Steps

Half a century ago it was almost unheard of to visit a luxury hotel en-famille and completely relax without fear of your little darlings creating too much noise, knocking over a valuable Chinese vase or careering into a guest who would not have been amused!


A unique hotel for its time was Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall which embraced the more modern-thinking swinging 60s theme of the time and opened one of the first family-friendly hotels that a generation of guests have become to regard as their second home.


I cannot think of another contemporary hotel and spa where I would have found a carton of baby milk in my mini fridge on arrival! This attention to details shows a complete understanding of the needs of busy parents – who usually forget something!


A warm welcome from the receptionist and quick lift ride to our room was the start of a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation which all families need from time-to-time.


And then there’s the view… resplendent at our feet was a picture-postcard, golden beach flanked by rolling cliffs and thrashed by white breakers from the deep blue Atlantic.


As you can imagine it was hard to leave the second-floor bedroom (with its floor to ceiling French window complete with baby safety bars) for the short schlep to the aptly-named Ocean Spa below.

But I needn’t have worried as this was most definitely a spa with a view - and a bit of a racy twist.


Who would have thought in a family-friendly hotel the sauna and Jacuzzi area was inspired by a visit to Hugh Hefner at the playboy mansion! But this is the wonderful thing about Bedruthan there is a surprise at every turn.


So this particular playgirl bunny made a hop, skip and jump from the changing room in the hydro spa and thermal suite to the treatment room. For the next 85 minutes I reclined on the warmed bed and drifted away as my intuitive therapist the spa’s signature massage, The Maharlika Ritual.


The treatment is unique to Ocean Spa and offers a deeply relaxing and therapeutic massage using ancient healing traditions from Asia. Aromatherapy oils are prescribed to suit our needs and I opted for the luscious bergamot and juniper which aims to detoxify.


During the massage elements of Shiatsu and Thai were combined to stretch and realign muscles and connective tissue - reliving all those deep-seated aches and pains. Acupressure points were also used to stimulate blood circulation and improve the flow of energy through the body, face and scalp.

The other treatments also on offer at the spa include REN, who is leading the way in natural facial skincare, VOYA, which offers organic seaweed wraps and Mama Mio to offer pre and post-natal treatments.


The wow factor of this particular spa was yet to come… on re-entering the hydro spa and thermal suit I turned the corner from the changing area and there was the most amazing view of the beach basking in the golden autumnal sunshine.


As unseasonal temperatures (not unusual in this part of the world) had hit 20 during the day bikini-clad girls actually lay outside on the sun terrace soaking in the last rays of the year before winter takes a grip.


There was no better way to relax after my Maharlika Ritual than taking a dip in the good-sized hydro-pool and gazing out to sea as the sun started to set – a sublime moment.


The SPA Traveller’s top tips

Location: Nestled in the bay of Mawgan Porth in North Cornwall. Conveniently close to Newquay Airport, Bedruthan Steps sits proudly on the hillside, watching the ebb and flow of the Atlantic Ocean.

Getting there: By plane: nearest airport is Newquay Airport (10 minutes drive), by train: Bodmin Parkway Station (30 minutes drive), by car: located between Padstow and Newquay.

What to do: Kids clubs, baby sitting, soft play areas, adventure playgrounds, and surf schools are all on offer. There are 101 bedrooms, villas, apartments and family rooms, restaurant and café, ice-cream parlour, two outside swimming pools, one inside swimming pool, children’s clubs, and teenager’s room.

The restaurant: The large dining area looks out over the cove - lovely at sunset. There is an excellent and varied menu: fresh seafood, beef, venison and lamb – but there lobster soup is a must.

Childcare: If it’s grown-up time you need, take advantage of the fantastic crèche or use our on-site babysitting service for a special night out.


Climate: Cornwall can expect well over 1,500 hours of sunshine annually and, whilst May is usually the sunniest month, May to July average around seven hours of sunshine and if it’s a good summer in the UK temperatures can reach around 20°C.

Surf Club: Anyone who winces at the thought of dipping their toe in the shivering surf should pay a visit to the Surf Club and ask to try out an ingenious heat pad that you slip into a waistband before struggling into those neoprene long johns. The result? Amazingly toasty wetsuits for year-round surfing lessons.

What is there to do nearby? Sail around the harbour town of Padstow, where Rick Stein's seafood restaurant is located; surf in Newquay and stuff yourself with pasties; stroll/cycle along the cliff tops; visit the Eden Project; play golf at Trevose links.


Contact The SPA Traveller