Love me some Nature….Love me a Retreat…
Lucky me, I am Chief Holiday Researcher in our house. This year we decided against going on a European sun holiday and chose to discover Cornwall……Natural Retreats was one of the reasons. I read about Natural Retreats last year whilst looking for our Summer holiday, I am now wondering why I did not actively book it then. They have two sites in Cornwall – Trewhiddle on the south coast and Fistral Beach in the north. I actually struggled to decide which one to stay at. I decided on Trewhiddle near St Austell.
The booking process was great, I started off online and ended up booking over the phone as I had some question and found it super easy. Lauren, on the other end of the phone was superb and her subsequent booking confirmation email included a load of top tips for our visit. This felt like it had been personalised to us. We were called before our arrival to see if we needed anything in advance and also to confirm our room requests. It was at this point that we started to feel like we were heading for a different kind of holiday. We liked it…..our own concierge!
As soon as we arrived I got a great vibe off this place. Our villa was awesome. To be fair they all looked great. We were given an upgrade to a 4 bedroom which included a wrap around balcony in the master suite. I actually don’t know where to start in my rant about how fab these places are. If you want the super short review…..I loved it, get on line at www.naturalretreats.com and book…plain and simple. We managed to get a deal when we booked in April for a June visit. During my trip I was already trying to work out how I could come back. This company is doing something really great.
As soon as we walked in, I was taken aback by the spec of the place. It was luxury mixed with tranquillity. Don’t me wrong on the website and on TripAdvisor it looked very nice…..but sometimes in the flesh things are not as great. Not the case here. It looked nicer in the flesh, as we were greeted by a bright and airy villa that actually looked like it had not long been fitted out. (my pictures do really not do it justice). Awaiting us on the table was a gorgeous hamper basket that included local bread, scones, sausages, eggs, mushroom, tomato, milk, butter, clotted cream, jam, bacon, wine and local beer. Most were from a local farm shop. (Top tip from my daughter….don’t ever dismiss having clotted cream, local strawberry jam and scone for breakfast…..it is a great way to start the day). We also had a letter from the Natural Retreats CEO describing their vision and how a holiday with them is about what we want as individual holidaymakers and not what they want us to experience. Loved their ethos. On the coffee table there was enough literature to help us find our bearings of the local area.
Downstairs we had two bedrooms, HUGE shower room and the kitchen/living/dinning area. The windows in the living area cover two of the walls and had two sets if doors that opened out to large decking area. The decking area was enclosed by a wooden fence and safe for kids. The outside table lent itself well to eating outside and BBQs. We hired a gas BBQ on site for the week and bought some great local produce, including fresh scallops, to cook on it. We also bought some great sausages and meat from Lobbs the Farm Shop at Heligan www.lobbsfarmshop.com. The deckchairs were great for chilling in the sun with some local brew (we got a great flagon of cider at the Eden Project and also from Lobbs). The white wine in the hamper was really nice too.
The kitchen was really well fitted out……even down to the freezer packs to take out on picnics and tupperware containers in the cupboards. Everything you could want…..including natural Ecover cleaning products. I was planning on a no cleaning or laundry holiday….luckily there was a dishwasher on hand and if I wanted it, there was a washing machine……along with a clothes horse. This villa is pretty much set up for everything. Finally in the living room there was a huge comfy sofa, TV, DVD/cdplayer/mp3/ radio system. In case you did not bring any there were a range of DVDs that could be borrowed from reception.
Upstairs we had two en-suite rooms. The double came with a bath en-suite. The bath itself was MASSIVE. It was a retreat in itself!!! The master bedroom was a great size and had a large walk in shower. The high ceilings upstairs really added a lovely airiness to the rooms. My favourite bit of the master room was the wrap around balcony. Like the living room, there were two walls with windows and doors that opened to the balcony with a table and chairs. Awesome space to relax in the evenings. My son enjoyed the leather seats every morning and would sit and stare out the sliding doors as he wakened up.
The beds were one area I would slightly consider marking down on and only slightly. I think given the spec of the rest of the villa I was expecting something a bit more sumptuous. Comfortable to sleep but not sumptuous enough to look forward to if you know what I mean. The Egyptian Cotton sheets and fluffy towels got top marks though. All the bathrooms had The White Company products (contrary to what the website says). They smelt divine.
Concierge/reception – This is another area Natural Retreats come into their own. Andrew and Joey were our main contacts in reception. Beyond helpful, friendly, not imposing and genuinely will get you anything you want for your holiday. They gave us loads of great tips and sorted any queries super quick. You can hire bikes and BBQ from them along with a multitude of other things. Massive thank you to them!!! They left some Natural Retreat bags for the kids which included an adventure pack, bubbles, balloons, crayons and a squirrel soft toy….as you can imagine this went down very well. 5* Fifi friendly for Andrew and Joey themselves.
The Villa itself was located in a beautiful green area. You can choose the villa size you require from 2-4 bedroom. There was also a great play park for the kids. Although the villas are side by side we did not really see or hear any of our neighbours. Very tranquil.
I decided that after nearly 9 hours off driving we ( Mr Fifi Friendly and I ) deserved a massage. We asked about a local spa and Andrew pointed us in the direction of Rachel at Innate Life Massage. I have never had a massage on day 1 of a holiday…..actually I can’t ever recall having a massage on holiday full stop. It is now officially on my to do list. She came to our Villa, along with her own super comfy massage table. I had a back, neck and shoulder massage along with a face lift facial. It was unbelievable. I felt brand new afterwards. She used some local organic products by Trevarno, which I will review soon. Mr Fifi Friendly had a deep tissue massage and looked half asleep afterwards…. I think it worked. That said two hours later he said he felt revived. Me on the other hand, I was ready for my bed at 8pm……I had the best nights sleep!!! I personally think Innate Life Massage should be a must for everyone visiting.
I started writing this review on day 2 of my holiday and excited to see what was in store. My enthusiasm for Natural Retreats did not waiver throughout the rest of the week. I am bursting to go back there and to Cornwall. One week was not enough!!! We hired a BBQ, stocked up with goods from Lobbs farm shop, visited the Eden Project, Mevagissey, Roskilly’s Farm, RNAS Culdrose, Charlestown, Falmouth Maritime Museum, Fistral Beach, St Ives and still had time to veg out. We felt very much at home there and were very disappointed to leave. My daughter is still saying she misses her Cornwall house.
I am embarrassed to say I had never been to Cornwall before as I had always favoured somewhere further afield. I would put it at the top of a list of places to recommend. The Natural Retreats at Trewhiddle was amazing. Very welcoming, great extras and beautifully recharging. 5* Fifi Friendly awarded to it. This has been one of our favourite holidays ever. Contrary to some of these pictures the weather was very sunny. Great place for all ages and I have been dropping massive hints to my parents/family/friends/anyone who will listen that they need to come with us next time.
I was interested to see all the other Natural Retreats they own and look forward to review them at some point very soon. Get your self booked to go, you will not regret it.