As all my followers will know, we recently took a short trip (very short) to sunny cornwall. I had spent almost two weeks online checking out what hotels, B&B’s, etc. were family friendly enough for my young brood. All I knew was that we wanted to stay in cornwall, preferably St Ives and be really close to the beach. I just fancied getting away somewhere as a family for a weekend and was feeling rather brave, I thought, when even considering a hotel for my 4 year old and 10 month old! I carefully scoured the net, reading all the trip advisor reviews. Then one morning, whilst my baby girl napped, I took the plunge and booked! I chose the Tregenna Castle Hotel in Cornwall. From the outset this hotel looked perfect, large enough that hopefully noisy little ones wouldn’t stand out too much, with plenty of amenities, close to the beach, reasonably priced and with good reviews.
The first thing I will say is that my experience of actually making the booking was excellent. I had unfortunately lost my voice at the time so everything was done via email. I was unsure which room to book online so I emailed the hotel and they emailed me back within the hour with a response. We continued exchanging emails throughout the day, with quick and helpful replies. Nothing seemed too much trouble and I got a little money off too. I booked a family room, with a double bed, a single bed and room for a cot. I arranged for them to set up a cot for us, to save us taking our travel cot, which was very convenient. We were also able to pre-book a table in the hotel restaurant so we didn’t have to worry about finding anywhere to eat. In hindsight I wished I hadn’t done that (will explain later).
On arrival the hotel looked grand and welcoming. Not quite as bright and flowery as in the glossy picture online, but grand non the less. My hubby said to me ‘are you sure this is the right place?’ as he thought it looked too grand for us! My little boy was in ore ‘a castle? We’re staying in a castle?’. It really was magical from his point of view. On arrival we met a lovely lady at reception who was very welcoming and gave us our keys. As we walked through the hotel to find our room my little boy kept saying ‘wow’ and ‘Ooh’. ‘This is a beautiful place’ he said, and I agreed. I have to admit I was quite impressed for the price. Our room was not as cramped as I was expecting and there was plenty of room for all of us and a lovely view out across the front of the hotel. The room was very clean and the ensuite was huge! The double bed was the biggest bed I had ever seen!
The hotel overlooked St Ives and was only a short walk to St Ives beach. It took us about 10 minutes to get to the beach. We walked down the hill, part through the hotel grounds, across a very busy road and down a narrow lane on to the beach. It was stunning. I had forgotten how lovely St Ives is. We had a lovely picnic on the beach and then walked round the beach to the town. We were lucky with the weather so we spent the whole afternoon either on the beach or pottering round the cobbled streets. It took us a bit longer to walk back up to to the hotel, about 30 minutes. It was a slightly longer route from the shops and it was all up hill, so I was a little worried about my boy managing it, but he actually managed it well and with no complaints other than he was cold. My baby girl was in the sling (we took our excellent Boba 4g) all afternoon and seemed quite happy. I would say the walk to and from the beach from the hotel is ok for a 4 year old but maybe a bit much (specifically going back up) for smaller ones.
The hotel had its own swimming pool, which I thought was great, an added bonus if it rains. We used it a couple of times and the kids loved it. To get to the pool you had to walk through the gym, which wasn’t ideal and there were no baby change facilities! So I had to change my little girl on the bench. Not ideal but we managed. The pool was so warm it was like getting in a bath (lovely), but it was quite merky (not sure why). I think they could do with updating the pool area and especially the changing rooms, a baby change is a must! Still, it served its purpose and the kids enjoyed it.
We ate in the Brausserie restaurant which was lovely. I was slightly confused in that we had pre-booked a table for 5.30 but was then told it didn’t open until 6. Luckily we had been for a swim which made us late! The food was good, but boy was it expensive. The cost of dinner was as much as the actual cost of our room and breakfast. So next time we’ll do two nights and just have fish and chips! Next time I would definitely eat out in St Ives and not at the hotel. Especially with kids, it is not worth spending that much on dinner.
Breakfast was a buffet, help your self affair, which my boy loved as he could have a bit of everything and could keep going back. There was a very good selection of cereals, pastries, fruit, yogurt and cooked breakfast. The coffee and pastries were delicious but I was not over keen on the cooked breakfast. I think you lose a lot of quality when you cook breakfast on mass in this way. But I can understand in a hotel with 90 rooms, this is the most efficient way.
The grounds of the hotel are quite vast, with a lovely children’s playground, tennis courts, golf course and woodland walks. The outdoor space is perfect for families with little ones and there’s always the pool if it’s raining. There’s also a kids club, didn’t look like anything was happening whilst we were there, but I can imagine quite useful if your staying for longer.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Tregenna Castle Hotel. The hotel and grounds are perfect for families. We were made to feel very welcome and didn’t feel out of place. My advise would be to look at eating in St Ives itself as the hotel is quite expensive and the cheapest family room which we stayed in had ample room for a family of four. I thought the Tregenna was a real find and we will definitely be returning with the family. Cornwall is a beautiful place and I always enjoy going there and want the kids to experience it as much as I have been lucky enough to.