Sea Road, St. Austell, Cornwall, PL25 3RD. Tel: +44(0)1726 812304.
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Having read the last review on the above hotel I couldnt help but add my opinion to the debate! I have stayed many times at this hotel since I was very young, several times with my family, a few times with a couple of boyfriends (!) and with a small group of friends. I know when you get older you tend to view things through rose-tinted spectacles but I remember absolutely loving this hotel when I was little (mid-1980's!). There is no doubt that the general standard is great. The overall position astride the cliff top is pretty breathtaking, but St Austell is not the most fabulous town, nor the most picturesque. I have heard through the grapevine that alot of money is being ploughed into St Austell to regenerate the town centre, and I hope that this is the case. "Seedy" is the best word that described it last time I was there. The hotel is well placed with regards to road links to various attractions including some lovely countryside, NT properties, and of course the infamous Eden project. I can't help thinking that the Eden Project has a lot to do with the success of the hotel as it is quite possibly the highest rated hotel within easy striking distance. If you are planning a visit to the Eden project (do - it's amazing - but that's another review!) then this hotel is literally 5-10minutes down the road. At the bottom of Sea Road, which is within a short walk of the hotel, is a pleasant beach but this is or was marred by an unused ugly 1980's building / crazy golf / car park which by now may have been demolished to make way for a huge, rather plush housing development. I am not usually in favour of new housing for it's own sake but here it will be a vast improvement as long as they keep the beach open for local visitors to admire the lovely south facing bay. So - the location is up and coming but what about the hotel itself? Well, having almost grown up with the hotel I feel I am well placed to
comment. The staff are in general superb, although they ought to be taught to smile a little more. They are so professional some of them forget to be friendly, but you can forgive that I guess. The entrance is impressive, the dining I would never fault, espcially if you have a flambee'd desert which is cooked at your table. The bar and lounge are lovely, very calming. I think they have put a fair amount of money into improving the bedrooms and I have had varying experiences. A sea facing room being small but perfectly presented, and a cheaper inland facing room clean and tidy but dated, in need of a new bathroom suite, ill-fitting carpet in the bathroom and generally not up to much. If you can I would opt for a sea facing room, they are more expensive of course but in the grand scheme of things it's worth the extra money. The only thing I would say is if you plan on being out and about sightseeing and only being in your room when it's dark then a redurbished inland facing room will save you pennies! Maybe by the time I write this all of the rooms have been refurbished. The views from the sea facing rooms are quite incredible, looking out across the bay and you feel like you are on top of the world. There are tea and coffee making facilities, and a lovely little gift box with items such as a shower cap(!), stain remover (!) and mini needle and thread kit which I have to say can be quite useful! As for leisure facilities, I feel that a large proportion of this hotels credibility comes from it's excellent golf course - and I don't even play golf. This is worth noting if you have no interest in the game as it seems to me like 90% of residents go to this hotel because of it and maybe the hotel are getting a little too used to relying on the trade the golf course brings in. Last time I stayed there, the indoor pool heater had broken down, as had the jacuzzi, and the pool changing rooms had not been updated since I first went th
ere a t t he age of 7 or 8. Bearing in mind that was nearly 20 years ago this is the least impressive part of the hotel. All the money seems to have been spent on certain parts of the hotel whilst others have been neglected. For me, I always went to the Carlyon Bay hotel for a short break as I live in Somerset anyway and the hotel is within a couple of hours drive, I have recommended many friends to the hotel in the past, but the telling sign for me was that after my last break I wrote to the hotel to give them some feedback on how disappointed I was with my stay ( this was the 8th or 9th time I has been there) and they didn't even acknowledge my e-mail or letter. By all means, if you are going to the area anyway, stay at the hotel as it's quite possibly the best you'll find in the area, but I would not go there especially as I do not feel that it matches some other 4 or 5 star hotels. It used to, but not any more. I am sure if you have a lot of money (which I don't!) a suite would be beautiful, and from what I hear the PM has stayed their on a few occasions! But if you are saving up for a special treat I would spend your money on one of Cornwall's smaller "hip" hotels - less facilities but they don't take you for granted. Carlyon Bay Hotel - smarten up your act and I'll come back....
Upon arriving at the carlyon bay hotel, we were greeted by the doorman, and were asked if we needed any assistance with our luggage. The porter loaded our luggage onto the trolly, and then whisked it away, whilst we checked in, with the assistance of the lovely reception staff. before unpacking, we decided to relax with a drink and a bite of lunch in the comfortable cocktail lounge. After unpacking, we decided to walk down the sea road to the beach-less than 10 minutes away. Although the cleanliness of the privatly owned beach left much to desire, on further visits, this has been improved, although this may be due to he new development on the beach! The following day, after a relaxing breakfast in the aptly-named bay view resaurant, the youngest child went off to the playroom, with the friendly, helpful assistance, whilst the rest of us went off to play tennis. In a nutshell, the ACCOMODATION was comfortable, roomy, and, above all, clean. The MENU was varied, and delicious, and the STAFF were extremely pleasent and friendly. The outdoor and INDOOR swimming pools were clean, but there did seem to be an absence of lifeguarding staff at various points during the day. The CHILDRENS PLAYROOM had friendly staff, alothough there does seem to have been a few cutbacks in straff in this particular area. There was also a OUTDOOR CHILDRENS PLAY AREA, which our five-year old spent many happy hours in. If I had one piece of advice about going to the Carlyon bay, I would say don't-it might get too booked up for us to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm not normally the sort of person who would be writing about a hotel which specialises in "Luxury Breaks". Lucky breaks, yes, because last year I was invited to a function at The Carlyon Bay Hotel... Our first impressions on driving up to the entrance were that we were very definitely in the wrong place - this hotel has liveried doormen, for heavens sake. We were also a little early, since the hotel has a strict policy that rooms will not be ready for handover until 1.00pm. However, having been speedily checked in by a very friendly and efficient receptionist, we were shown to a comfortable lounge where we were able to buy a cafetiere of coffee at a very reasonable price whilst we waited.The hotel has a mixture of public rooms which cater for both smokers and non smokers,most of which have beautiful views out to the sea. Once our room was declared ready, our keys were handed over. I was disappointed not to be offered the assistance of a porter - but perhaps this was not surprising since I only had an overnight bag. (There was a choice of lift or stairs, so it was hardly a tragedy.) Our room was superb. Beautifully decorated, clean and comfortable and, for an extra £10, we had an incredible view of the sea. The beverage tray was piled high with coffee,tea, milk and drinking chocolate and also packets of very nice biscuits. There were bottles of mineral water, good quality free toiletries, and all sorts of other goodies including a free local daily newspaper, a nailbrush and shoe cleaning pad. The most impressive thing for a country bumpkin like me was that the TV was showing a personal welcome message...they'd spelled our name wrong, but, hey, it can't all be perfection. The room had everything you could need - telephone,stationery,hairdryer,trouser press, good lighting and an en suite bathroom with plenty of towels and hot water. The satellite TV had an additional feature, in that you could view local attra
ctions - ideal for strangers to the area. The luxury went to my head and I decided to try out room service. A huge plate of smoked salmon sandwiches with something better decribed as a salad than a garnish delivered to my door for £4.50. (even my husband didn't pale at the cost of the extensive room service menu which featured a variety of hot and cold dishes!) The hotel has an 18 hole golf course, so no prizes for guessing where my husband disappeared to for the rest of the afternnon.One round of golf per day is included in the price of the hotel and tuition can be arranged. There is also a 9 hole 'approach course' for the less serious golfer. Me, I had a look round the hotel's facilities which include heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools,spa bath,sauna, solarium, two full sized snooker tables, tennis courts,putting green, croquet lawn and table tennis. Most are free but there are nominal charges for the snooker,sauna, solarium and spa bath. There is also a Beauty Room where you can enjoy a variety of different beauty treatments. I chose to walk through the gardens and out onto the Cornish coast path which runs next to the hotel. The food was good - not spectacular, but then again we were having a set meal at a function rather than eating from the hotel's own menu which sounded excellent. (Men are requested to wear a jacket and tie in the evenings). Breakfast, though, was very good.Help yourself to a variety of fruit juices, cereals and fresh fruit, followed by the full English breakfast, and unlimited toast and coffee. A newspaper of your choice is delivered to the bedroom door. The hotel run a variety of special packages from golf holidays to beauty breaks. They are extremely child friendly and run entertainment for children throughout all the school holidays ranging from Arts and Crafts to Treasure Hunts. The cost varies depending on the season and the type of room (Inland Facing, Sea
Facing, Superior Sea, Deluxe or State!). It's not cheap - B& B starts at £75.00 per person in the low season (twin or double room) with an extra £12 for dinner and rises to £82 / £94 in the high season. However the facilities and standards are excellent, so it's well worth treating yourself on a special occasion, particularly if you know that the children are being looked after and entertained. Persoanlly, if I can ever save up enough money for a repeat visit, I would probably not want to leave the hotel at all.If you're more adventurous, then the North Cornish coast is literally a stones throw away, The Eden Project, Flambards Theme Park, National Trust properties and Lands End are all within easy driving distance. The hotel will also arrange other activities for you such as deep sea fishing,pony trekking and fly fishing. The Carlyon Bay Hotel - part of the Brend Group - has 4 ****'s from both the AA and the RAC. It's getting 5 *****'s from me. Carlyon Bay Hotel, Sea Road, St. Austell, Cornwall, PL25 3RD Tel: 01726 812304.