Saturday 25 July 2015

Bedruthan Hotel, Cornwall

Last week we headed off to Cornwall for our first trip away as a family of four.

We were kindly invited along to the Bedruthan hotel in Mawgan Porth (Around a 20 minute drive from Newquay) to spend a couple of days trying out their Don't Forget Your Teddy break.

We filmed a short video of our time at the Bedruthan which you can see below:

As any parent knows, travelling with children isn't always easy and travelling with a baby under 3 months old even less so - we were concerned about whether Noah waking in the night would bother other guests, we worried about the sheer amount of "stuff" newborns require that we would have to squeeze into the car, we worried about how he'd react to being away from home bombarded by new smells and sounds - as usual for new parents, it was worry worry worry.

But then we read the details of the Bedruthan break....

"Remember before you became parents? The relaxing lie-ins and time to yourselves? Our Don’t Forget Your Teddy break is designed to pamper mums and dads a little bit so you can all relax and really enjoy your time away as a family.
There’s no need to squash highchairs, pushchairs and sterilizers into the car. This break gives you free use of all our hire equipment (including baby backpacks, all terrain pushchairs, microwaves and sterilisers, plus breakfast in bed one morning, one complimentary childcare session per day, one complimentary night’s babysitting, and £30 for each adult to spend on Bedruthan food each day"
HOW amazing does that sound?
Our fears were put at ease, and we booked ourselves in for the two day break when Noah was 9 weeks old.

We found Mawgan Porth easily, as it is such a short  drive from Newquay, and we were immediately struck by the beauty of the little beach - we made a mental note to come back and spend some time there - we did get a little lost trying to find the hotel however, and ended up at their sister hotel The Scarlett who kindly directed us on - The Scarlett is an adult only hotel and from the glimpse I had of the reception area it looked stunning!! We arrived at Bedruthan mid afternoon, got our things out of the car and made out way to reception.

The member of staff on duty was very pleasant, she checked us in with no problems and advised us of the additional services on offer such as babysitting and baby listening and the baby items available to us.

We made our way up to our room to get settled.

The Room

The room itself was very pleasant - the most appealing point being the GIGANTIC bed and flatscreen TV - there was also two single beds in the room, and a cot for Noah (We didn't use this as he's a bit too little for a proper cot yet so we used his travel cot, but the presence of the cot was a nice idea).

There were floor to ceiling windows allowing us to make the most of the beautiful view of the beach and sea below, two comfortable armchairs and a good amount of free floor space which is certainly handy when you have a toddler wanting to play!

The bathroom was quite small but functional & clean, and the complimentary toiletries were locally sourced and very funky - I particularly enjoyed the addition of the shampoo bars!

We noticed that sterilisers were mentioned in the welcome pack, so called down to enquire about using one and a very helpful man kindly brought one up to our room for us along with a microwave to allow us to heat bottles if need be which I thought was very thoughtful and accommodating.

On our first evening we were quite tired from travelling, so we didn't fancy going off site...instead we headed down for some dinner in the Wild cafe.


The Wild Cafe is the child friendly dining venue within the Bedruthan, there is also The Herring restaurant downstairs but this is only open to grown-ups.

The Wild Cafe's decor was very fresh & colourful - I personally prefer something a little more grand when it comes to hotel dining but I completely appreciate that the look is in keeping with the beachside theme and that the simple & functional decor is more along the child-friendly lines than the indulgent & decadent you might usually expect in a high end hotel.

The menu was quite varied for the grown ups, and I was pleased to see the offering of gluten-free pizza bases - however I did note that no other mention of gluten-free offerings were made (such as bread, etc) - the menu stated that allergies could be discussed with the staff, but I always prefer to see gluten-free options clearly stated on the menu - I hate having to ask.

The childrens menu was pretty standard and included things like fish & chips, pizza, sandwhiches, jacket potatoes, and pasta. 

We ate at the Wild Cafe on two other occasions, and each time the meal was pleasant - I did feel that perhaps a little more effort could be made with the childrens main courses, as Tyne's pizza was served alone rather than with a side salad & the cheese sandwhich we ordered for his lunch one day was served with branston pickle despite this not being mentioned on the menu and was presented simply cut in half - considering the child-friendly nature of the hotel I would have expected them to be cut in quarters at least & just made more appealing & accessible for little hands.

However, one thing I did find very impressive was the childrens high tea which is offered for young diners between 4-6pm each day.

Parents can choose to dine with the children or they can simply help themselves to a complimentary tea or coffee while their little ones feast!

There is a help-yourself buffet of cheese bites, bread & butter (Cut into crustless triangles this time which was a big improvement!), pre-cut fruit, yoghurts, jellies, and some delicious looking rice krispie treats!

There is also cordial ready to pour, and a selection of plastic bibs, cutlery and beakers on hand.

The children are welcome to snack from the buffet as an appetiser and desert, and also order a main meal from the menu all for under £8- which is a great price considering the main meals alone are £5.

Another big plus point to dining at the Wild Cafe was that whenever the staff saw us coming in with Noah, they fetched a little rocking chair for him to sit in while we ate - this was a lovely touch and certainly made for a more pleasant dining experience.

There were also booster cushions available for little ones like Tyne who consider themselves "Too big" for highchairs but can't quite reach the table!

As for breakfast, this was a help yourself buffet with some items available to order from the menu. We all had the Cornish Breakfast and it was certainly one of the better hotel breakfasts I've had - nothing was greasy, everything was high quality and kept suitably hot which makes a nice change!

On the second day we had breakfast in bed which was a lovely treat!

Things To Do For Children

On our first evening, after dinner, we headed to the soft play area  - I wasn't expecting it to be quite so big and was very impressed by it!

It was equal in size to most soft play centres that we pay to visit locally, and also had some coin operated rides and a lovely beanbag area which I enjoyed relaxing in with Noah.

Tyne absolutely loved the soft play area, and we used it a lot during our stay - it was also a lovely place to meet the other families who were staying, I got chatting to a few other mums in there which is always nice.

There is a little toy area in the main sitting area of the hotel which had some ride on toys and little things to keep toddlers entertained which was nice, although we only found this on our last morning.

And outside there is a fantastic play park which has a small wooden boat, a large wooden ship with a slide and climbing nets, two rockers, a wooden lifeguard truck and a wooden ice cream truck which Tyne LOVED playing in, dishing out his imaginary ice creams to everyone!

There was also a lovely wooden two level playhouse which had a little kitchen inside.

We did see a large trampoline too which Tyne was keen to play on but unfortunately it was closed off while we were there.

We visited the pool one day too - this was a very simple pool with a very small toddler/baby pool section, unfortunately the water in the toddler/baby pool was very cold and Noah went hysterical as soon as we tried to put him in so we had to get back out after just a couple of minutes but Tyne was happy to stay and swim about for a while - I do think perhaps more could be done to make the pool appealing for children, even simply providing some water play equipment would be a nice touch.

The changing rooms and shower area were lovely, very very clean and very functional with plenty of space for family use.

As for entertainment, there was none on offer whilst we were staying although I have read online that childrens entertainers and discos etc are sometimes laid on during peak seasons.

Things To Do For Adults

As Jon & I don't choose to use babysitters or baby listening while on holiday we didn't really make use of any of the adult things on offer but there was a beautiful cocktail lounge, some adult-only relaxation areas, and a spa.

You could also book to have certain treatments carried out in your room.

The adult only areas are marketed as a selling point but I must say that I personally didn't really think this worked as it seemed a little contradictory to the child-friendly ethos of the hotel - I didn't like having to check whether or not each room was one where children were allowed to be before we went in.

Admittedly these areas were few & far between, but having visited many hotels over the years it's not something I have come across before and I was surprised to find it at a hotel who market themselves as particularly child friendly.

Around The Area

Whilst visiting the Bedruthan, we enjoyed a lovely day out on Mawgan Porth beach which is just a stones throw from the hotel.

We did drive down as we didn't fancy the uphill walk back with both children, bags, bucket spades and the pram but there was ample parking next to the beach.

The beach itself was lovely, and there were some little shops just by it selling ice creams, food and beach equipment - I would highly recommend popping down there if you're visiting the Bedruthan.

Padstow is also just a short drive away and is a beautiful little harbour town which is well worth a look. We had a lovely afternoon browsing the eclectic mix of shops (everything from beautiful homewares, antiques, bakeries & a shop specialising in christmas decorations!).

Padstow has the nickname of "Padstein" as celebrity chef Rick Stein has opened numerous eateries throughout the town which all have fantastic reputations - we always make sure we have fish & chips from his takeaway and it's exceptional! They even do gluten-free!

We also always make sure to visit Harbour Ices ice cream shop , they are lovely people and their selection of weird & wonderful ice creams is fantastic - they also offer gluten free cones which is brilliant for me, and we love to get ourselves an ice cream and sit on their outside tables watching the boats on the harbour.

Overall experience

Can you spot Tyne in this GIGANTIC bed?!

Our stay at the Bedruthan was very relaxing, they have thought of everything when it comes to providing everything parents need when travelling with young children, and the cleanliness and relaxed vibe of the hotel are major plus points.

There is a lot on offer for young children, with the impressive soft play area and play park being high on my list of favourite features to the hotel.

The children's high tea is also a fantastic idea, and the provision of bibs, cutlery and chairs for young babies is fantastic. Every piece of equipment we used was also high quality and very clean.

If I was to suggest any areas for improvement, it would be the addition of a gluten-free menu (Or clearly marked gluten free items) and perhaps a re-consideration of the adult-only areas as I personally felt this wasn't in keeping with the theme of the breaks on offer, particularly with a sister adult-only hotel in such close proximity for any guests not wanting to be disturbed by children.
The Don't Forget Your Teddy Break is priced from £458 for two nights, or room only prices at the Bedruthan start from £135 per room per night.

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