St Michaels Resort, Falmouth, Cornwall
St Michaels Resort is a Cornish haven nestled within a beautiful sub-tropical landscape like no other. In prime position, beside the idyllic coastal vistas of Falmouth’s shoreline, the resort has been lovingly restored by the owner, Nigel Carpenter, in 2001, shifting to joint ownership with BH Hotels, founded by James Houlston, in 2017. This seaside escape also holds a rich past, evolving across several decades, having been built in the 1920s…
“The original St Michaels was a private residence built in the 1920s with gardens going down to the sea. It became a hotel in 1940, hosting a wedding and its first guests, before helping with the war effort. After the war, hotel service resumed, and St Michaels was always owned and developed by passionate individuals until 1994.
The hotel suffered a lack of investment from 1994 until we bought the hotel in 2001. St Michaels then had a lot of love and investment, which eventually took the hotel to being Cornwall’s Hotel of the Year in 2009, with promotion to AA 4 star and two AA Rosettes for food in the same year.”
With characterful and stylish rooms influenced by Cornish design, a delectable variety of fine dining to indulge in and spa facilities with an endless choice of relaxation and rejuvenation such as the replenishing hydrotherapy session or the Rhassoul experience, it’s impossible to deny that this tranquil retreat brings the utmost luxury to one of England’s finest destinations.
We asked Nigel about the reasons behind restoring St Michaels Resort, as he explained:
“My wife, Julie, and I wanted to live in the most beautiful part of Britain and bring our two daughters up in such a special place. We were so lucky to discover St Michaels in its beautiful sub-tropical gardens facing south and looking out to sea with just a 10-minute walk from such a vibrant and up and coming place as Falmouth.
Poor St Michaels was down at heel and neglected but we had the enthusiasm, support and vision to bring it back to life!”
St Michaels Resort provides a refreshing focus on revitalisation while its stunning location offers an abundance of opportunities for guests to explore the expansive shore views that unravel alongside Gllyngvase Beach and Falmouth Bay, allowing you to take in the cool sea breeze and breathtaking landscape. You might wish to finish your day of beach walks and sightseeing by indulging in an irresistible afternoon Cornish cream tea accompanied by a sip of prosecco or champagne back at the resort. Whatever it is you choose, it’s clear that a true labour of love has gone into making the resort the success it is today.
“There were two driving philosophies behind the resort we planned to create…
Firstly, we wanted St Michaels to be very reflective of everything that was unique about this special place in Cornwall and share this through the food, drink, interiors, art and experiences that we liked to be offered. We were excited to help our guests get the most out of their visit and “live like a local”.
Secondly, we embraced the “wellness” movement very early on and created one of the first spas in Cornwall, which augmented our successful health club. We wanted to help our guests re-energise and restore by embracing ever-improving wellness facilities.”
Surrounded by unbelievable views, the resort’s Brasserie on the Bay is a culinary highlight. Working together with the local fisherman, the Brasserie’s menu is not only a fine dining experience to never be forgotten, but also showcases the resort’s passion to celebrate the local produce that Falmouth is proudly home to, so you can expect to indulge in the local morning catch! It’s not only the food that’s impressive, but the resort also has a talented team behind the mouth-watering menu…
“Polly Dent heads up our food and drinks division. She’s a stalwart of the industry and has better connections in Cornwall than anyone. Having founded Rick Stein’s in Padstow and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen on the north coast, she’s extremely knowledgeable and we’re excited to have her bring her magic touch to St Michaels, building an ambitious young team headed by head chef, Darren Millgate, an exciting chef on the rise, Cornish born and bred, just like his ingredients.
Our Brasserie on the Bay flagship restaurant enjoys beautiful views across Falmouth Bay and offers 2 AA rosette award-winning dining in a relaxed and informal setting. We source everything as locally as we can, using fresh, honest ingredients and cater for all requirements, ensuring there’s a healthy mix of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes on our menus.”
For the health-conscious foodies, the resort also has the Mediterranean inspired Garden Kitchen accompanied by a menu filled with fresh and nutritious snacks or dishes, proving the perfect choice for a mid-spa break or a lazy, relaxing lunch.
“Alongside the brasserie, we have the Garden Kitchen. This more health-focused eatery offers all-day casual dining. It’s the perfect choice for guests enjoying a spa day (with a staircase connecting directly to the spa to avoid any awkward feelings of walking through the main parts of the hotel in your robes), and offers a fantastic range of salads, flatbreads and sharing boards, alongside a touch of indulgence: think chocolate gateau or strawberry meringue, and exquisite smoothies. It’s a favourite post-workout spot for our health club members seeking a quick caffeine hit and a pain au chocolat!”
There is a superb selection of things to enjoy whilst retreating to the luxury of St Michaels Resort. Whether it’s replenishing with the many different spa treatments on offer, sweating out the gourmet indulgence from the night before with a workout or capturing some picture-perfect snaps whilst admiring the expansive views of Cornwall’s endless shoreline, there is plenty to choose from.
“St Michaels is fortunate to have lots to offer. Wellness and well-being are at the heart of our offering. We seek to make all our guests feel good again. To offer respite from their daily lives. To have a break from reality. But the thing that makes us extra special is our unrivalled location. We overlook Falmouth Blue Flag Gyllyngvase Beach, recently named the UK’s best town beach by the Sunday Times, and to have this magnificent location and the beautiful Cornish coast path on our doorstep is really the cherry on top.
Falmouth is also a working town, with a buzz all year round. There are countless festivals, a vibrant arts scene and great industry thanks to the port, so there’s always something going on.
I used to advise every guest to cross over to the sands of Gyllyngvase Beach opposite. Take off your shoes and socks and wriggle your naked feet in the sand. Breathe deep and take many lung-fulls of fresh sea air. If possible, build just one sandcastle. Close your eyes and listen to the breaking waves and plaintiff seagulls. Remember your joy as a child and wriggle your toes once more. Smile and enjoy the moment!
The secret is to appreciate the stunning scenery and coastal life; to never take a moment for granted and always appreciate every day – that’s living like a local!”
Staying at St Michaels Resort …
Not only are Nigel and Julie owners of the resort but they also designed each room’s cosy and stylish interior, along with a helping hand from other talented designers, creating an aesthetic where the soft blue hues of the seaside blend with modern furnishings, giving each room their own dose of Cornish charm.
“The interiors were inspired by everything that it is outside our windows: the beauty and spirit that is Falmouth, Cornwall. We aimed to bring the outside in. To feature all the special crafts, materials, art, food, traditions, plants and the like in our interior design.
Falmouth has always been linked to the sea throughout its history and is home to the deepest natural harbour in western Europe. We seek to reflect this.”
We also wanted to know which room is a winning favourite and why …
“Looking out the window of Room 85: This is not a large room and it is not one of our newest but it is at the top of the hotel and has a lovely cosy bay window that has a magnificent view, looking out on the sea, coastline, our gardens and the horizon beyond. It feels like you are in a secret attic at the same time as being in the lookout up the mast of an old-fashioned ship.”
At the core of St Michaels Resort’s passion is the guest. Whether it’s the world-class service provided by the diligent team of staff or the smaller touches that are never forgotten, you’ll always be treated as a number one priority…
“Our vision is to be the best well-being resort in the south-west, and while we have many unrivalled facilities, the secret is our crew, who are on a daily mission to wow our guests. They go above and beyond each day to get to know their guests, understand what makes them tick and then deliver whatever that extra little something is to make their stay memorable. Sometimes it’s the classic card and bottle to mark an anniversary, but more often, it’s about knowing their children’s names, recommending and arranging the perfect excursion, or getting the perfect doggy treat for their four-legged friend.
A staff member to meet is Lewis, our head porter. He’s the man in the know. Ready to arrange an exciting excursion, replace your missing toothbrush, or book you a table for dinner. Nothing is too much trouble.”
We asked Nigel why he decided to partner with Chic Retreats and what’s different about us?
“St Michaels today is truly a chic retreat, and we owe it to those that love hotels with a special charm to know about us. What better way than through Chic Retreats.”