This year-round getaway is tucked away down a long drive amid sheep-dotted fields and with views across hills and farmland.
Accommodation, sleeping from two to 12, sits mostly on the reedy banks of a collection of small, natural lakes. The resort is expanding with more luxury barns as it moves upmarket. There’s a good-sized indoor swimming pool, a gym and a spa.
One lake features watersports, open to non-guests – a collection of inflatable slides and things to clamber upon, and a wire drag for novice windsurfers and paddleboarders. It’s all supervised and there’s a café/bar from which parents can offer support. There’s also a restaurant/bar with stirring countryside views while a shop with local produce is promised for 2021.
Retallack’s secluded location is a bonus, only a few miles off the main A30 route that brings in most of the holiday traffic from the rest of the country
There are plenty of families with young children, extended family groups, friends on getaways and more mature couples enjoying the solitude. There seem to be lots of visitors from the West Country taking a short break and using Retallack as a base for exploring farther into Cornwall, while those with youngsters enjoy easy access to beaches only 10 miles away yet being able to return to an unhurried green and pleasant self-catering home.
Petite lakes, little slopes hide several types of accommodation sleeping up to 12. New for 2020 is the Meadows area, a collection of timber-clad ‘barns’ – chic, contemporary places with floor to ceiling windows, decks and hip furnishings.
They come with two, three four or six bedrooms – the ultimate being those with a rooftop terrace where sofas and a hot tub offer delicious sunset views across the fields.
Then there are the Lodges, built-in Alpine style, all polished wood and sloping roofs (but with rather more conventional interiors). On a gentle hillside, they form a veritable Tyrolean enclave, like being on an Austrian lake and mountains holiday. They also come with two, three four or six bedrooms. Barns and Lodges are available for three, four or seven-night stays.
For couples, there are Hotel Suites, not a hotel at all but a two-story collection of lakeside rooms either with decks amid the rushes or balconies. Each has the sleeping area largely divided from the living area by the very smart bathroom and the kitchen even includes dishwasher and washing machine. Available for two nights and up. All are at most a few minutes’ country stroll from reception, restaurant and pool. There’s excellent free wi-fi throughout.
Food and Drink
The Lookout Bar and Eatery, upstairs from the swimming pool, is roomy with views across the FlowRider and the Cornish scenery. The menu darts from burgers to curry, fish and chips to nachos.
On the banks of the Aqua Park is the Phat Pasty, a timber lodge that offers pasties and other treats, as well as a bar, and has indoor and outdoor seating.
The swimming pool is airy and modern, a place for swimming rather than simply splashing. There are swimming lessons for youngsters and aqua aerobics for grown-ups. There’s also a sauna and hot tub. The gym (upstairs with good views) has running machines and other equipment and there’s a weights room. There are year-round fitness classes with some outside during the summer. The Esya (Cornish for ‘at ease’) Spa’s treatments include facials and massage.
Big attractions are the water sports (which come at extra cost and are open to non-guests). The Aqua Park (closed winter) is a wipeout course of inflatable objects with slide, trampoline and towers. An adventure playground nearby features a zipline.
The FlowRider, an outdoor pool with artificial wave surf experience, is open year-round (and is apparently the only one in Cornwall).
Tucked down a country road, Retallack is perfect for exploring both sides of the Cornwall peninsula. It’s eight miles from the harbour town of Padstow (with its full menu of Rick Stein eateries, from the plush, waterfront Seafood Restaurant to the causal cafe/takeaway Stein’s Fish & Chips) and 10 to the seaside mecca of Newquay with its collection of cliff-backed beaches such as Watergate and Fistral.
On the south coast, it’s 13 miles from the quaint, historic harbour of Charlestown (immortalised in the TV series Poldark) and less to the Eden Project, with its rainforest domes, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan with their jungle of giant tree ferns. Land’s End is little over an hour’s drive.
Four nights in a Hotel Suite, sleeping two, start at £240. A six-bedroom barn, sleeping 12, starts at £796 for four nights (ariaresorts.co.uk)
Retallack is up and running and with its well-spaced accommodation is ideal for a winter getaway. The Aqua Park/Phat Pasty close for winter; everything else is open although the Lookout only offers takeaway food.