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Review of Gwel an Mor, Cornwall

Posted by at 04:11 on Wednesday 02 December 2015

Gwel an Mor, thoughtfully done, ever-so green and run by a team of passionate local Cornish people - accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs alike, beach side and awash with friendly rescued wildlife. 

Super accessible, Gwel n Mor, Cornwall Residence Photo: Lucy SymonsSuper accessible, Gwel n Mor, Cornwall Residence Photo: Lucy SymonsThe Setting,
Gwel an Mor (“view of the sea” in Cornish) is perched on a hill top over looking the tiny coastal village of Portreath, Cornwall, with the Atlantic Ocean as a back drop.  Centred around the restaurant and spa, indoor pool and reception area, you will find a variety of lodges – 58 traditional A frame chalets or one of 20 residence eco-lodges sleeping from 4-6.

>> For availability and booking, see our full listing for Gwel an Mor

Luxury dressing gowns laid out on the beds at Gwel an Mor, Cornwall Photo: Lucy SymonsLuxury dressing gowns laid out on the beds at Gwel an Mor, Cornwall Photo: Lucy SymonsThe Rooms
Well thought out, spacious and airy the rooms are all fabulously appointed. A lot of thought has gone in to the interior design with a delicate hand on the choice of furniture, colour and fabric to unify everything and make it flow. Giant squishy sofas opposite the picture windows overlooking the sea, a deck area for sitting out to eat your meals or just enjoy a smart little cocktail as the sun sets, hot tubs and outdoor showers make it very easy to stay here. The lodges, all placed within carefully maintained grounds planted only with indigenous flora, are mostly “upside down” with the bedrooms downstairs and the view, best appreciated from the upper floors, where the living and kitchen areas are. The only exception are the wheelchair accessible ones which have all living and one bedroom on the ground floor and a deck on the level for easy access. Some lodges have private hot tubs and woodburners, as do the eco residence lodges. There are baby gates integrated where necessary and any extra equipment you require can be accommodated. There’s high speed wifi everywhere and even a telly in the bathroom…

Daily specials! Gwel an Mor, Cornwall Photo: Lucy SymonsDaily specials! Gwel an Mor, Cornwall Photo: Lucy SymonsThe Food
Order a breakfast pack to await you resplendant with local sausages, cornish butter, bacon and bread  – the eggs laid by the hens on the farm, are available for purchase in an honesty box near their coop. The on-site restaurant, The Terrace, is open to the public as well as guests and prides itself on its Mediterranean cuisine – serving local Cornish produce, they serve daily specials using the freshest of seafood recently winkled out of the ocean just feet from your door. They deliver to the lodges, should you find yourself too enrapt with your view for even hunger to prompt you to venture out.

Chunk, the Owl, Gwel an Mor, Cornwall Photo: Lucy SymonsChunk, the Owl, Gwel an Mor, Cornwall Photo: Lucy SymonsThe Activities
Portreath is well placed for most of the highlights for Cornwall, so if you wanted to spend a day at the Eden Project or National Trust properties nearby, this would be the perfect jumping off spot for you. However, I doubt you would even need to strike out from the resort, so enticing is it to just lurk here. The beach is a short walk away down a dedicated and peaceful accessible wooded path, through the grounds carefully managed by the farm. The tennis court and putting green are at the centre of the estate, the club house has an indoor pool, jaccuzzi and spa (book your treatments in advance or see what is available when you arrive – ask for Beth if you can, she has the hands of an angel). Hire lovely bikes (delivered to your door) and follow one of the six trails recommended or just have a pootle around the area. There is a full golf course and fishing lake scheduled to be opened in the near future, along with more eco-lodges. The resort has its own wildlife and conservation centre – Feadon Farm – which runs a programme of guided and hands-on experiences led by ranger Gary Zammit. The wildlife sanctuary hosts sessions for badger watching (in their hide – book for a hot chocolate and an opportunity to see the resident brocks do their thing), fly the rescued hawks and owl, or follow Gary through the woods, spotting the fat bottomed teasey voles and tame robin (“Sweet Cheeks”), as Gary passionately describes his love of the indigenous fauna and flora Cornwall is bursting with. You can get close and personal: handling the snakes, hand feeding the tame rescue foxes, pat a reindeer. Have a go at flying Chunk the owl and admire the close-to-extinct red squirrels as Gary details the in-house badger inoculation programme, his formeries (ant houses to you and me) and his vole breeding endeavors. His dedication, knowledge and obvious affection are totally infectious. His goal is to spark an equal passion in his visitors and encourage them to appreciate creatures they can find in their own gardens, hoping to steer them away from exotic pet shop purchases, and even I am now seeing the role of the urban fox with a slightly less jaundiced eye. Book ahead, but really don’t miss this. 

Gwel n Mor, Cornwall. Woodland wak to beach Photo: Lucy SymonsGwel n Mor, Cornwall. Woodland wak to beach Photo: Lucy SymonsThe Green
You are greeted by a roof display of pv solar panels over the reception area as you arrive which should tell you all you need to know – this place has “eco” running through its very heart like a stick of rock. Waste water is recycled in the Wildlife Experience; all residence eco-lodges, made from Thermowood cladding sustainably sourced from managed pine forests, are highly insulated and energy efficient with air source heat pumps to provide heating, via underfloor pipes, blown air, and hot water; the external condenser units are sited under the decking. In winter months you can fire up the log burning stove if you need to. But you wouldn’t know any of that if I hadn’t told you – because it is all just gorgeous and just works and that is what you notice.

How to get there by Public Transport:
Take the train to Redruth station from Paddington and transfer to the local bus (line 46 or 47) to Portreath, Forth Vean. Gwel an Mor is a short walk from the village.

Top Tip
My father is partially mobile and uses a scooter for ease – we booked the accessible lodge and couldn’t fault it. The opposite end of the spectrum from practical and utilitarian, this was a subtle and thoughtful deployment of all things helpful – winches and slings, adapted light switches and a drop down wardrobe, a wetroom and loads of turning space – but all so sub fusc you wouldn’t know they were there unless you needed them. Brilliant! My dad felt spoilt and was able to enjoy the little luxuries on offer (fluffy bathrobes and luxury soaps) without having to doss down in a hospital style bed or use any unfortunate industrial handicapped facilities (we were all queuing up, elbowing him out of the way so we could use his wetroom, truth be told). And remember – if somewhere can easily accommodate a wheelchair, you know it will be perfect for a pushchair, so book this lodge confident that you can traverse the entire place and you will never have to lift a sleeping baby as you wheel them straight up the ramp and through the front door with barely a bump. Indoor pool at Gwel an Mor, Cornwall pool Photo: Lucy SymonsIndoor pool at Gwel an Mor, Cornwall pool Photo: Lucy Symons

Verdict
Self-catering is always a bit of a punt – you are never sure you have booked a gem or a stinker until you arrive. As closely as you may look at the website, you can never truly tell until you walk through the door and get a sense of the attention to detail. This, and a heartfelt and generous approach are immediately evident and you really won’t be disappointed here – as nice as the ponsiest five star hotel I have stayed in, the staff are just delightful, I believed they cared that we had a lovely stay and as a consequence we really did. Sea view Gwel an Mor, Cornwall Photo: Lucy SymonsSea view Gwel an Mor, Cornwall Photo: Lucy Symons

>> For availability and booking, see our full listing for Gwel an Mor

Posted by Lucy Symons

Disclosure

Blogs posts categorised as 'Reviews' have been written with the support of one or more of the following: accommodation owner, activity provider, operator, equipment supplier, tourist board, protected landscape authority or other destination-focussed authority. The reviewer retains full editorial control of the work, which has been written in the reviewer's own words based on their experience of the accommodation, activity, equipment or destination.

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