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Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa 3.0

St Ives, Cornwall, England

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Review Summary

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  • Tastefully-modernized Victorian hotel retains period elegance
  • Set on beautiful sandy Cornish beach, two miles from St Ives via coastal footpath
  • Many rooms open to balconies with sea views
  • Guest rooms are individually furnished with charming wallpaper and textile prints
  • Heated outdoor swimming pool with loungers
  • Spa facilities include outdoor sauna pod, spa pool, and couples rooms
  • Stylish restaurant, champagne bar, and beachside eatery
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking
  • Summer entertainment program for kids and adults


  • Popular with wedding parties
  • No elevator
  • Some rooms are small
  • No air-conditioning in rooms
  • Guests complaints of noise from nearby construction

Bottom Line

The Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa is a 47-room, mid-range B&B-style property set on one of the finest beaches in the UK, if not the world. Most of the facilities -- restaurants, spa, heated pool, and many rooms -- overlook this golden Cornish beach which actually belongs to the hotel. The hotel's Victorian period elements are a lovely counterpoint to eclectic modern decor seen throughout. Special features include the spa's barrel-shaped outdoor sauna, and chic weathered-white champagne bar. A coastal footpath leads directly from the hotel to the Cornish town of St Ives. Higher rates tend to reflect the location and not always the quality of the rooms, and frequent wedding parties can be disruptive, but these bay views are still some of the best money can buy.

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Immaculately modernized Victorian beach hotel retaining period elegance

Built in 1894, by the famous Cornish architect Sylvanus Trevail, as vacation accommodations in the Victorian era, the family-run Carbis Bay Hotel has been providing lodgings for holiday makers for well over a hundred years. Its history isn't immediately obvious from the outside, which has been kept pristinely maintained and includes a number of modern extensions and add-ons. Entering the bright and immaculately presented lobby area, however, visitors are met with an elegant blend of contemporary and traditional touches, such as gilded mirrors, wood-paneled walls, and modern takes on period furnishings. Stepping into the hallways, the Victorian heritage is further revealed, with polished white marble, ornate cornices, and decorative crystal chandeliers as well as numerous sepia-tinted turn-of-the-century holiday snaps. The pretty sub-tropical gardens surrounding the hotel are testament to the area's temperate climate, while a small grassy incline slopes down the hotel's private Blue Flag Carbis Bay Beach -- internationally recognized as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.


Set overlooking stunning Carbis Bay, two miles from St Ives

The hotel is situated at the bottom of a winding road on the beautiful north coast of Cornwall, overlooking the stunning Carbis Bay. Carbis Bay train station is just a few minutes walk east, while the bustling but Bijou Cornish town of St Ives is about three miles away by car, or a 35-minute (two-mile) walk along the coast. Carbis Bay town itself is mainly residential and very small, though with a few excellent restaurants and cozy pubs -- all about a half-mile walk from the hotel. Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa is also surrounded by scenic coastal walks, while the surfing hotspot of Newquay is about 45 minutes away by car.


Tastefully decorated rooms, many with balconies overlooking the sea

The hotel has 47 rooms in total, all of which are tastefully (and individually) decorated in muted tones with floral or nautical accents and antique-style furnishings. Many rooms open to balconies with amazing sea views, though some are just of the rear gardens. Standard amenities include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and tea and coffee facilities. Some bathrooms are equipped with wet rooms with rain-head showers, body jets, and under-floor heating. Cheaper rooms, however, tend to be on the small side. The hotel also offers apartments, cottages, and beach houses a few minutes away.


Candle-lit treatment rooms, champagne bar, and heated sea-view pool

Opened in 2013, the hotel's C Bay Spa impresses on many levels and offers an outdoor sauna pod, spa pool, champagne bar, and candle-lit treatments rooms for couples. The outdoor heated pool surrounded by loungers and overlooking the sea is a real highlight, while the beautiful private beach is a minute or two away on foot. Eating options include The Sands restaurant for breakfast and seasonally inspired fine dining, and The Conservatory for lunch and afternoon tea -- both with ocean views -- as well as Beach Club Restaurant, a chic spot serving Mediterranean fare with terrace seating on the beach. There's plenty of entertainment on offer during the summer, including kids' activities (water sports, beach exploring, crafts) and live music in the evening. The hotel even has its own motor yacht available for chartering day trips along the Cornish coast. Wi-Fi and parking are free. 

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Carbis Bay, St Ives TR26 2NP, United Kingdom

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