Situated in the village Tywardreath, two miles from the port of Fowey, Trenython Manor was built on the Little Pinnock estate. It was a gift from the famous Italian General Garibaldi to Cornwall’s John Peard. It became home to the Bishop of Truro at the turn of the 20th century for 15 years before providing a convalescent home for Great Western Railwaymen for several decades into the middle of the last century.
It was ultimately restored to its former glory and transformed into the luxury spa resort it is today, complete with sweeping Italianate staircases, marble columns and intricately carved oak panelling.
It retains the air of a grand, carefully maintained manor house but its combination of family-friendly activities, diverse leisure facilities and unstuffy service make it the ideal location for a laid-back country break where there’s plenty to occupy you on site and even more to explore on your doorstep.
Trenython pulls off the trick of appealing to families and couples seamlessly. The grand main house – the hotel – has sumptuous furnishings, a fine-dining restaurant, a cocktail bar and a TV and games lounge and offers fabulous views out to sea. While the lodges make the perfect home-from-home for families.
The mansion house has 22 hotel bedrooms – all ensuite with Eco Boutique products and finished with subdued contemporary tone. All mod cons are present. Some have views over St Austell Bay.
The lodges are decorated neutrally with some contemporary abstract art on the walls, the two en-suite double bedrooms – the kids’ room has two twin beds; the adults’ has a generous king size – are large enough to stretch out in, with enough space for a game of Twister and plenty of clothes storage space, plus TVs in both.
More importantly though, they’re completely separated by a large central living space with a dining area, full kitchen and a spacious sofa area so when the kids (eventually) run out of energy there’s enough distance for the parents to kick back and relax without fear of waking them up.
There are also mod cons galore with a surround sound, six-speaker DVD system in the lounge (with hundreds of DVDs available to borrow for free from reception), plus a full oven, hob, fridge freezer and microwave in the kitchen, and a BBQ and dining table on the terrace if you’re visiting in warmer weather.
Rather than cramming too many facilities into too small a space, the lodge feels comfortably spacious; like a decent-sized urban apartment but with country views.
Facilities for children
Top draw for my eight-year-old daughter Aoife was the over-sized quartet of decidedly prosperous-looking giant rabbits, Blossom, Bubbles, Betsy and Boomer, who appeared to have been grazing on leftovers from the hotel’s restaurant.
Next to the cuddly bunnies on the terraced lawns was the archery area, where I rediscovered my teenage arrow ineptitude, but winning top marks from my four-year-old son Art was the woodland adventure playground leading onto a stick-rich woodland walk complete with bee and butterfly sanctuary, bird hide and a kids’ vegetable garden.
With the changeable weather, we missed the opportunity to take full advantage of the kids’ den building or lawn croquet – and sadly Mr. Wacky the clown was ill during our visit – but the craft morning at the kids’ club was a big hit, as was a matinee performance of Planes at
the afternoon cellar film club.
Facilities for adults
No spa resort is complete without a pool and although Trenython’s heated indoor 12m swimming pool (open seven days a week, 7am-9pm) won’t satisfy Olympic racers, for a leisurely dip it’s perfect, and for further relaxation – and no additional cost – there’s a cedar-clad sauna, steam room and poolside Jacuzzi, not to mention a fully equipped gymnasium which, pre-new year’s resolutions, I politely declined.
Treatment addicts are also well catered for at the Elemis spa, where you can emerge looking cleansed, toned and moisturized to within an inch of your life.
Among the more unusual pampering treatments on offer include a Deluxe Zen spa pedicure (£40, plus 40p for extra Swarovski crystals on your toes), an Indian head massage (£25) or the Elemis aroma-stone massage (£60) but if you’d rather just sit and relax with a drink in front of a roaring log fire, the wood panelled bar and games room (with pool table, giant TV, dozens of board games and daily newspapers) is the perfect place to just sit back and unwind.
The lodges are well set up for self-catering and there is an atmospheric restaurant, with its 16th ambience has that in spades, although you’ll need to book in advance. Don’t miss the opportunity to order the mouth-watering slow-braised pork belly.
There are also less formal bar snacks, sandwiches and Cornish cream tea and homemade scones available at the bar and although there’s no room service, you can order food and take orders back to your lodge.
Cornwall is blessed with amazing coastline and there are eight beaches within 30 minutes drive. Though the landscape beckons ramblers and to take advantage just step out of the front door and you will be in the woodlands or steps away from footpaths that hug the coast.
It’s lovely to walk around the ancient ports of Mevagissey and Charleston, or the Lost Gardens of Heligan where you can be at one with nature.
Hotel: double rooms from £70b&b per room per night
Superior Lodge: two beds, two baths, recently refurbished to a high standard, self-catering, sleeps 6, from £115 per night
Standard Lodge: two beds, one bath, sleeps 6, self-catering, from £80 per night
Value for money
For this level of luxury, bearing in mind the indoor swimming pool and endless activities, it is hard to see how you might beat these prices. The real bargain is the Standard Lodges, from just £80 per night. OK, they are not as cutting-edge or luxurious as the Superior Lodges, but at this price, they are pretty much within everyone’s budget.
How to get there
If you decide to drive, Trenython Manor is around a 90-minute drive down the A38 from the M5 at Exeter, from where you can join the major UK motorway network. Alternatively, do as we did, and let the train take the strain for an infinitely more relaxing way to arrive. Advance single fares from London Paddington to nearby Par (two miles from Trenython Manor, though do ask the hotel to organise a car for you) are available from £22.50 each way.
It is sometimes possible to upgrade to First-Class for a nominal fee, especially at weekends. For the best value tickets and offers, buy before you board at www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk