Retallack Resort and Spa, Cornwall – Review

Lussorian has long been a fan of the Cornish coast, it`s dramatic scenery and spectacular beaches have formed the backdrop of many a restaurant and hotel review over the years and so far 2014 has proved to be no exception. This month we battled through the storms to reach new luxury Retallack Resort & Spa situated just a short drive away from Newquay airport. The central location of the Spa is one of it`s many attractions, you can leave the city just after breakfast and be sitting down to lunch at Retallack with minimum fuss, then once unpacked it`s easy to venture out to Watergate Bay and catch some of those Atlantic waves or head to picture perfect Padstow for an indulgent afternoon tea. Due to the gales whistling outside we decided to buckle down the first day and enjoy what the sheltered resort had to offer.

In fact it`s easy to remain within the safe haven of Retallack itself as restaurant, spa and all the mod cons you expect of a five star hotel are catered for.


Our lakeside cottage came equipped with flat screen TV, fully fitted kitchen and luxury bathroom as well as freshly laundered towels and linen. After a hectic week it was enough to surrender to the kings size bed for a restorative nap before a gentle stroll around the lakes surrounding the apartments, taking in a bit of fresh air before heading up to the star attraction: The Green room Restaurant and lounge.

Despite stiff competition, The Green Room has already become one of Cornwall`s top dining destinations, offering quality food at reasonable prices in a relaxed and friendly environment. Headed up by master-chef winner James Nathan it relies upon local produce, nearby farmland is `nature`s larder` to this chef and makes eating in his restaurant a truly Cornish experience. Drawing upon experience from a career spent in some of the Europe`s most famous kitchens (Michel Roux Jr’s, Michael Caines’, Michel and Sebastian Bras’ and Rick Stein’s. to name but a few), you can expect food to be deceptively simple and dishes flavorsome.


Nathan prefers to celebrate each ingredient rather then `disguise` them and quality is brought to attention by clever combinations, light seasoning and delicate dressings. For example my seafood starter combined rich scallops with spicy chorizo on a bed of creamy butternut squash- the perfect bittersweet combination. Mains were similarly considered: an exotic Indonesian monkfish curry cooked in lemongrass, coconut and chilli with crispy shallots, these tastes and aromas summoned the far east to our little dinner table. Of course if all this sounds a tad too fancy for some you can rely upon classic deserts (new york cheesecake anyone?), a simple steak, a steaming bowl of garlic moules or in the morning a hearty bacon sandwich! Variety is part of Retallack`s charm, so if`s it full blown decadence you want there`s a spa to book into and seafood and champagne on hand, yet if it`s a friendly environment where the children can run riot there are kind helpful staff, kids clubs and wholesome dinners on offer.

It`s not just the kids who run riot of course, there are plenty of stag parties and hen do`s that make their way to Retallack to experience it`s famous `Florider`, an artificial surf machine that generates a stream of rushing water where the brave (or foolish) can safely learn to ride the waves. In reality the experience is closer to snowboarding than surfing, and watching the instructors carve up the jet stream makes the sport look pretty damn cool. It`s different of course when you throw yourself into the icy waters and get tossed around, all dignity lost somewhere under the waves! All this tumbling about makes for big laughs though, making bearing those bruises much easier. Fortunately Retallack also has a warm pool, sauna and steam room at the ready where muscles can relax and repair, we found it easy to spend a whole day in there cocooned away from the wintery weather outside.

After all that exercise a tax ride into charming Padstow village seemed very attractive so we booked in to Rick Stein`s St Petroc`s bistro for a last hearty dinner before our flight home. Food at Petroc is rustic Mediterranean, expect chunky soups and crusty bread, classics like Toulouse sausage, duck confit and Bayonne ham. I opted for delicate lemon sole with buttery brown shrimps and garlic mushrooms while my partner tried one of their matured steaks, tender and juicy. I`d also tried gunard for the first time, served on a bed of nutty rocket with a sweet red pepper dressing- utterly delicious! The wine list is extensive and as well as a cosy restaurant there is a snug little bar adjacent where you can extend your evening with after dinner drinks and strong black coffee. Rick`s place feels like a family home (only with better food and classier décor) so it`s easier to settle in- no wonder locals advise booking ahead, it`s definitely worth an excursion from the resort.

Back on the road we made a quick detour and stopped off for a last minute cliff top walk at Watergate bay to witness the famous storms battering our favourite coastline and considered how lovely our weekend had been. Wide awake we then headed back to the Big Smoke via Newquay airport, refreshed, revived and batteries fully restored. Thank you Retallack!


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