Jill Forbes, her husband and two children, headed to a new-look, old favourite in Cornwall for their first family holiday since Lockdown
After over 100 days of Lockdown there was much excitement as we set off for Fowey Hall. Was it the change of scene and the smell of the sea that was drawing us so strongly south to Bodmin, or just the fact that I wasn’t going to be cooking, cleaning or home schooling my two children for a few days? Either way, the sun was out and we were leaving home for our first post-Lockdown holiday, not quite sure how it was going to look!
We were slightly apprehensive at the thought of being greeted at the newly refurbished Fowey Hall by face masks, PPI and Perspex screens, but this couldn’t have been further from the reality. There are hand-sanitising stations at every door and gentle reminders all around the hotel to keep your distance and wash and sanitise your hands but nothing was hostile and it was reassuring to see that they are adhering to all the Government Covid guidelines in an impressively sympathetic way, letting us enjoy what Fowey has to offer without being compromised.
Fowey Hall has had a huge refurbishment over the past few months and WOW what a revamp! As a family, we have always loved the fact that it is a home away from home; it feels luxurious but relaxed and the revitalisation has only enhanced the wonders that the hotel has to offer. Nothing is too drastic, keeping its charm but with modern twists and quirky accessories. The sitting rooms are beautifully decorated, sleek and modern yet the lovely lighting makes them feel cosy and inviting - the library is wonderful too, a perfect place for bookworms of all ages to scan the shelves for their favourite book and get lost in its pages – all the books come from the local Fowey bookshop which is a nice touch too.
The old tea room has been transformed into a funky bar; when restrictions are lifted and the cooler evenings set in, this will be the place to be, with cool tunes and cocktails. The thing we love about this hotel is that whilst it is fundamentally a ‘family hotel’, they have cleverly created areas with an adult vibe so that even though you might all be having a happy family holiday, you can sit in these grown-up havens and be, ‘an adult on holiday’!
The bedrooms too are divine, all with their own unique vibe, luxuriously comfortable and if you manage to get a room with a view, it's one to remember.
Kids make friends almost immediately, there is so much to do. The table tennis, pool, table football and new retro arcade games in the games rooms were an immediate hit and the movie room is pretty cool too. When the sun is out, it's very definitely an outdoor hotel, my kids just love the garden and the legendary Fowey zip-wire. This too has had a makeover, a new wooden adventure play area and swings galore, what could be better? To top it off you can keep a watchful eye over them as you bask in the sun on the stunning terrace with a glass of rose and a view of Fowey and out to sea.
For the younger kids, the Bears' Den is a massive luxury. In Covid times, things are a bit different, no ‘drop and go childcare’ but an opportunity for families to do activities together, whether a trip down to the town for some crabbing or rock-pooling or some arts and crafts outside in the garden; we had a great time doing some name art graffiti with Laura on the terrace.
The spa and pool have now reopened offering a slightly reduced spa menu and timed swimming sessions. Covid won’t allow the changing rooms to open at the moment so it’s a question of dash across the lawn in your bathrobe post swim!
There is so much to explore and love in and around Fowey itself. It’s a steep walk down to the village (so a hike back up), but once there the crabbing and rock-pooling is a must and we love just wandering through the little streets, always stopped half way along by the smells wafting out of the fudge shop! and of course grabbing an ice cream en-route. The pace of life here slows down so there is no need to rush.
This year, we embarked on a scenic walk to Polkerris Beach, about 3 miles from Fowey by car. We took the Saints Way which is a pretty inland route, through woods and fields, it took us just over an hour (with 2 pairs of little legs) but the reward when we arrived was worth it. It’s a lovely beach, perfect for little kids and the restaurant Sam’s on the Beach has food that is worth the walk! On the way back, we took the coastal path, breathtaking views and a bit longer than the way there, but fuelled by pizza and ice cream it’s a breeze – especially when you’re rewarded with a dip in Readymoney Cove at the end.
We spent 2 nights in Fowey but we had had a proper holiday, leaving feeling relaxed, with sand in our shoes, shells in our pockets and bags of fudge and clotted cream stashed in the back!
The hotel has got it just right, the perfect balance of Luxury and Family – if 2020 is your year for staycations or just a weekend to get away, this one’s a winner.
Rooms from £249 b&b. Tel: 020 8076 5555 luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk
Jill Forbes 23 July 2020