Gwel an Mor is Cornish for 'view of the sea.' High on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the grand Scandinavian style wooden holiday lodges are set in beautiful landscaped gardens in the harbour and beach town of Portreath on Cornwall’s north coast.
Chosen as one of The Guardian's top 10 Coastal Holidays in the UK as well as voted one of the Top 20 Great Family Getaways in Europe by The Times Newspaper, this holiday retreat offers a selection of 60 fully equipped lodges along with onsite dining and extensive leisure facilities.
Setting off in first class from Paddington Station on the Great Western train to Penzance, I had made previous journeys to the Duchy by car. The train trip made a fantastic change, the first class lounge at Paddington offering beverages, snacks, reading material and privacy before you embark. On board, the first class carriages were specious, extremely comfortable with reclining seats and tables. Refreshments arrived throughout the journey and there was a dining carriage for meals. On arrival at Redruth there was a 15-minute taxi drive to Gwel an Mor.
Entrepreneur and owner Bill Haslam created Gwel an Mor in 2001 as a green holiday destination, based on ethical, energy efficient principles. Spending £10 million on the first two phases and now planning to spend an additional £30 million for further developments Bill’s dream to build something really special is well underway.
The lodges available meet all requirements and group sizes, with a selection of assisted living lodges for those with reduced mobility, allowing the resort to cater for everyone. And they are very family friendly, with all kitchens being well equipped with washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, fridge and freezer.
The onsite Terrace restaurant located is an informal bistro style venue, which also offers a delivery menu. Chef Stephane’s fare is created from an abundance of delicious, locally sourced produce including freshly caught seafood and organically grown vegetables. " I love creating fantastic fresh food that is full of flavour" he says " and excited to share my culinary knowledge in the restaurant"
It was also great to discover a herb garden where residents are encouraged to help themselves to flavour their own culinary efforts.
There are local shops in Portreath, as well as the excellent service of the Cornish food box company – bringing fresh, food straight to your door. For those wanting to eat healthily and support the local farmers and producers food boxes delivered to the resort start at £8. I tried a seasonal box with a mixed selection of goodies and it was all fantastic.
If you want leisure activities, the Gwel an Mor club house, has a fully equipped gym, indoor pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna and there’s as a children's play area, putting and croquet green in the resort' s ground.
The Wellbeing Spa’s treatments range from manicures and pedicures to facials and waxing. Eva the resident beauty therapist soon put me at ease and gave me a glowing rejuvenated look and feel with the help of the marine inspired range called Thalion. Eva's skin care knowledge and after care advice were excellent.
Whether you like walking or cycling, Gwel an Mor can supply a range of maps and guides for local jaunts and have a great range of trek bikes for hire - the same brand as those ridden by seven- time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
Feadon Farm, located on site allows families to experience British wildlife up close. Celebrity wildlife expert Gary Zammit and his wife Aly, lead a host of fascinating activities at the farm, including close encounters with everything from tame foxes and friendly snakes to owls, rabbits, pigs and even the Gwel an Mor reindeer.
For 2012 - The Residence development of Eco- friendly 5 star holiday retreats offer the chance to buy to buy a holiday home with all the facilities of a luxury resort. For sale on a freehold basis, there are various ownership options available, allowing buyers to become a part of the continuing Gwel an Mor success story.
The buildings are highly energy efficient and finished in Thermowood, chosen for its many environmental benefits and to blend into the landscaped surroundings.
With the option of two or three bedrooms, open plan living, spectacular views and the opportunity to stargaze from the comfort of your very own hot tub what could be more relaxing?
With tennis courts, fishing, horse riding, rock climbing, golf, conference and wedding facilities and much more, The Residence will continue to evolve to provide a year- round enjoyment.
So why not lower your carbon footprint this year and head for England's stunning peninsula. I found Gwel an Mor a haven of peace, beauty and luxury. All the staff were really friendly and made me feel part of the extended family.
For more information visit www.gwelanmor.com/womentalk