Words: Charlotte Philby

Perched on the clifftops at the edge of the village of Mullion in Cornwall, Polurrian Bay combines new world amenities (spa, sleek design, free creche) with an old world setting inside a sprawling white Edwardian cliff-top hotel. Since being taken over by Halcyon Hotels Group’s Nigel Chapman two years ago, there has been a re-glossing of the original building with a new glass extension – the “Vista wing” – forming a fabulous open living room with wood-burning stove, massive sofas and bean-bags for proper kick-your-shoes-off relaxation as you look out over the wind-battered Cornish coastline.

Aimed firmly at families, with kids of all ages catered for (and a strict dogs-allowed policy), there is something for everyone with a cinema, DVD library, spa, games rooms, Bumbos… Yep, that’s right, a supply of Bumbo baby seats is part of the endless store of kid-related paraphernalia provided in case you forget to pack your entire house, as is required when travelling with children.

With dramatic views of beautiful grounds stretching across towards the unspoilt Lizard Peninsula, and the crashing waves beyond, at Polurrian Bay parents can actually enjoy the facilities rather than stare on mournfully from afar. Each family is provided with a baby monitor which works anywhere in the hotel (including the spa), and for slightly older kids there is a brilliantly-equipped free creche. So good our daughter didn’t want to leave it (thank God).

While little ones are distracted in the creche – or perhaps utilising the X-Box or flatscreen TV in the bedroom – it’s a holiday, so whatever buys you some peace and quiet – you get to luxuriate in the spa, or try out the tennis courts, which have a magnificent backdrop of the ocean. If you’d rather savour the rare sound of silence in your room, there are Elemis toiletries and a seriously comfortable bed.

Each family is provided with a baby monitor which works anywhere in the hotel (including the spa)

There are plenty of family activities in the surrounding area, too. Surfing is a big draw, with a nearby surf school offering short courses. For us the best day was spent exploring the landscape with a no-cobwebs-will-be-left-unblown walk, with the South West Coast Path on the hotel’s doorstep. Turn left for Mullion Cove or right for Polurrian and Poldhu Coves. The exercise made an evening of working through the extensive wine list and collection of board games, overlooking the clifftops, all the more rewarding.

If you fancy a low-key supper, the Vista menu, focusing on local seafood, is great. There is also an extensive kids’ selection with snacks available most of the day and night. If you want to take advantage of the hotel’s free baby-listening service – and you should – opt for the candlelit dining menu in the restored restaurant, which delivers on its promise of “a relaxed, yet sophisticated vibe”.

The only potential drawback is the journey, depending on where you’re coming from. With kids in tow, for us the likely tailbacks around weaving Cornish roads made the car was a less attractive option. We took the train to Redruth (or you can alight at Truro) and asked the hotel to book our cab in advance, which took 45 minutes and cost £35. Otherwise, it is three buses from Truro to Mullion. Without a seat on the train, which took a few hours, we started to regret the enthusiastic no-car decision. In any case, we guarantee once you arrive at this splendid spot you’ll see it was worth the shlep.

Polurrian Road, Mullion, Cornwall TR12 7EN; polurrianhotel.com

Journey – 2

Ease – 5

Value – 4

Kids’ rating – 4

Adults’ rating – 4

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