GOING AWAY ON HOLIDAY NEEDN’T BE UNHEALTHY:
Miss Eco Glam stays at the Scarlet, the UK’s only luxury eco hotel and stays raw!
My husband and I had been in desperate need of a short holiday that was in the UK and was quite easy to get to and was of course enjoyable, even in the winter. We wanted to treat ourselves in a way that was guilt free. Lots of our previous holidays were about eating and drinking way too much and actually coming back feeling worse than when we left. I am sure many of you can relate to this! It’s one thing to take time off work or a busy life and we may be relaxed when on a holiday but if we stuff ourselves silly with the wrong kind of foods, it just doesn’t give us the break that we need. Why go on a holiday, and need to come back and go on a health kick? It doesn’t really make sense.
We decided that we wanted to go on an ‘eco holiday’ and wondered if this even existed in the UK. When looking for eco holidays in the UK, I immediately came across the Scarlet Hotel. Based in North Cornwall, just outside Newquay, it is a luxury eco hotel and really is true to its word. It boasts a list a mile long of carbon neutral purpose-built design features and an incredible Ayurvedic spa. After previously tossing up between going camping somewhere, it didn’t take me long to scrap that option! We booked the three day New Years Eve package.
The Scarlet is situated in beautiful picturesque Cornwall, and sits high up overlooking the gorgeous beaches and cliffs at Mawgan Porth.
The Scarlet really cares about its impact and incorporates lots of eco features. Our room guide had a 101 list of its eco features, these are some my favourites:
*The original site building was taken apart very carefully and the Scarlet sent the insulation to a monkey sanctuary so as to keep them warm during winter!
*For the Scarlet’s outside areas, they have conscientiously selected plants that should entice and support Britain’s dwindling bumble bee population.
*They recycle the large amounts of waste water from showers and baths and then use it to flush the toilets, which is a fabulous way to keep water consumption down.
* The slippers provided in the spa are made from recycled tyres.
*They also harvest rainwater (which I think we should all look into doing) and use it to top up the natural pool, wash cars, irrigate the sea thrift roof and provide rinsing and washing facilities for wetsuits and outdoor kit.
*For energy, the Scarlet uses a Biomass boiler which is fired on wood rather than gas, coal or oil products. They get the woodchips from a local company which regards it as waste. This produces the hotels hot water for the kitchens, bathrooms and for general heating. (I noticed in our room that the tiles on the floor were heated, it was comforting to know how it was made.)
*The building’s Co2 emission rate is 73% less than that of a typical building of its size.
* They provide discounts to guests who have reduced their carbon footprint by travelling to the hotel by bike, foot, bus or train.
* The Scarlet helps to organise and assist in quarterly beach cleans. The data is reported to the Marine Conservation Society.
* Any paper used by the hotel is made from 100% Forest Stewardship Council post-consumer recycled paper.
* The room folders have been made with recycled leather.
* If the Scarlet ever needed to be torn down in the future every part of the buildings infrastructure can be recycled.
* When building into the mountainside, they took rock by rock away, very carefully and re-housed any animals they found.
*The Scarlet uses solar panels to heat the indoor pool and with their thermal solar panels, this means they can heat the pool even in winter and sometimes brings the temperature to over 50 degrees. I had a quick swim on New Year’s Day and I can vouch that the pool was lovely and warm! They also avoid using chlorine and use bromine instead which is less harmful.
HOW TO GET THERE:
We decided against driving (that would have been about 5-6 hours!) and took a train from London’s Paddington station and took a pleasant 3 hour 45 minutes journey to Bodmin Parkway. We then hired an ‘Eco Taxi’ for the 30 minute drive, run by the bio travel company who use bio fuel instead of regular fuel, making the emissions far less toxic. Coming around the corner down into Mawgon Porth is a truly magnificent sight, you immediately see the Scarlet rising up but also blending into the mountain side.
We were immediately struck by the design of the inside, the views out to the sea from pretty much every room, the beautiful artworks designed by local artists, and the sumptuous furnishings. What also was apparent, were the incredibly friendly and genuine staff. You really feel like you are a guest and not ‘just a customer’ at the Scarlet.
After being shown our room, which had a breathtaking view of the beach and ocean, I took notice of the eco features in the room. Fair-trade soft cotton sheets, organic cotton towels and bathrobes and also lovely hair and body care by the Ayurvedic brand Tridosha. There was even a bar of locally-made organic soap that smelt of luxurious lavender. There is also a high-tech lighting system that lets you change the lighting to a few different moods and areas and you can easily turn it all off when you leave the room so as not to waste electricity.
Food is a huge part of a good holiday for me and whilst the Scarlet is not a ‘raw hotel’ (are there any raw hotels even existing anywhere out there I wonder?), I liked the chef’s (who happens to be an award winning Michelin-starred chef by the way) description of his food, which has a strong emphasis on healthy, organic and locally-sourced produce which goes into all their dishes. I contacted the hotel prior to our weekend away, and mentioned that I ate a mostly raw diet and that I really wanted to try and eat this way whilst there. I was happy to hear that this was no problem and that they could easily make me delicious fruit platters, smoothies and great big salads, even using the fresh organic herbs which they grow themselves in the garden in front of the hotel.
Another great feature of the detailed menu was that the wine list mainly consists of organic and biodynamic. I wondered though, that even with the salads and smoothies etc, what would I do if I had a craving for something that they couldn’t make me? Would I have to cave in and have something that wasn’t raw and then would it be all downhill from there? I told Shazzie my concerns that my trip away would be difficult to stay raw. She said, easy solution Anna, take these things with you! Shazzie goes away quite a bit herself and obviously has all the best tips for this subject. She gave me a whole bunch of yummy treats so that I wouldn’t be tempted to fall of the raw wagon. I have wanted to try out more things from Detox Your World so this was a perfect solution. This is what I took with me:
Fruit and Coconut Balls: these were perfect to have after my dinner and the hotel arranged them on a plate and brought out when the rest of the table were having their desserts. I had quite a few people try and pinch some of my coconut balls!
Truly Juicy Apricot and Almond Bar: I took a few of these with me on some of the stunning walks we did around the coastline; there are some beautiful little treks to take that are very close to the Scarlet and these bars were a welcome treat after climbing quite a few steps. It was so worth it though, the view from the top was just amazing and to have a nice treat up there made it even better.
Shazzie’s Naked Chocolate cacao and almond spread: this spread was wonderful with some chopped banana for dessert. It was so funny, friends at my table were tucking into their desserts and saying ‘ooooh I will have to go for an extra long walk tomorrow’ and I said ‘you guys should be having something like this, same decadent taste but without the guilt!’
Deeply Dense Raw Pitta bread: these were so handy when I didn’t want to have just a salad for lunch and instead topped these crackers with some pesto and tomatoes and rocket.
Intensely Italian raw crispbread: I also had these pre-dinner with some dip and olives that the kitchen made for us.
Dr Martin’s Coco Milk: I just adore coconut milk and took a few with me. It’s just the most gorgeous drink and perfect to drink on holiday. I have a confession to make— on New Year’s Eve I had some organic champagne (one must have champagne occasionally!) mixed in with one of my coconut milks. The verdict? Utterly delicious! I think I may have started a new trend!
My secret stash of chocolate was my most favorite thing: I have a real sweet tooth and always seem to crave something sweet after everything I eat. This was perfect! And Shazzie was right, if you have the correct foods on hand, you really can stay raw whilst being away from home, without the precious Vitamix or dehydrator.
So to stay raw for a short break is really not that hard. If you have a wonderful hotel like the Scarlet, whose staff really want you to be happy with their food and will accommodate you and whatever you prefer to eat, and if you take along a few prepared things, you don’t have to miss out on eating raw and yet you will still enjoy yourself. Just plan a little bit ahead and you will be fine!
The Scarlet focuses on relaxation and has quite a few features throughout the complex dedicated to this. One of my favourites was the relaxation room with an oh-so-perfect view. It had a dug out section just for meditation. There were beanbags chairs (ultra comfortable) and guided meditation was available with some of the spa treatments.
Also I absolutely loved these custom-made hanging canvas pods. You sit in them after a spa treatment and they gently rock back and forth, creating a similar motion to the womb. It’s very soothing and calming. I am manifesting that I get one for my home this year! The Scarlet have several around the hotel which must be tried! Some have room for two people in there!
The views from the rooms are immediately calming and there is plenty of open spaced areas that would be perfect (in more warmer weather) for some yoga or pilates. The Scarlet offered morning sessions of yoga in the relaxation area.
Our highlight of the weekend was having a hot tub just as it was getting dark overlooking the cliffs and beaches. You are given the option to include some organic Seaweed harvested in Ireland in the tub to make it an extra special treat. To be in a beautifully warm hot tub whilst its freezing outside is just so wonderful. You can have a glass of champagne brought to you if you wish!
I knew that I had to try out some of the Spas treatments whilst there, and as an ex therapist myself, was greatly impressed with the extensive choices on the spa menu. They have a rassul and a Hammam, steam room and the lovely ranges of Tri-Dosha and Voya products to buy.
You can choose individual treatments or ‘Spa Journeys’ either long (4 hours) or short (1 hour). I chose a short journey and had a in depth consultation to determine my Ayervadic Dosha. I was taken through to the spa and I nearly gasped at what I saw. It is just like Aladdins Cave!
The treatment area and individual rooms are completely made out of canvas and creates a wonderful tent like atmopshere. I have never seen anything like it, the Spa has a wonderful soothing energy about it.
I then had an amazing one hour Ayervadic body massage. I was so relaxed afterwards and felt like I was literally walking on a cloud. I was so relaxed I had to go in one of the Hanging Canvas pods to wake up!
On our last day, I also wanted to test out the Tri-Dosha skincare products and booked in for one of their signature facials.
Wow! Without a doubt, the best facial I have ever had. The Tri Dosha facial, is a one hour facial with the whole time dedicated to massage and also involves a very relaxing scalp massage. The therapists hands are on you for the entire duration. I personally believe that it’s the massage-in treatments that are the best things for us. Lots of people have regular facials but do not really do much else to it and they tend to think that a regular facial will keep their skin healthy. Not me, I believe in raw diet, combined with regular massage.
The Scarlet hotel is a really amazing place. I have never had a holiday where we were looked after so well, in pure eco luxury and we enjoyed every minute. We even came away with new friends. The Scarlet is like that, it has a wonderful vibe that brings people together.