If your idea of the perfect escape includes a beach, winding cobbled streets, rugged landscape, some eccentric local lingo and a gorgeous cream tea, then Cornwall is a great choice.
Add the exhilerating surfs, the superb Tate Gallery and a thriving art culture that includes a colony of artists, Turner and Barbara Hepworth, and St Ives stands out as a superb activity-cum cultural break.
I holidayed there recently and though St Ives has its fair share of hotels and B&Bs, another couple and two kids also came along for the jolly so it made sense to look for self-catering accommodation.
To really make the most of our break we wanted to be near the beach, within walking distance of the harbour (where the best restaurants are) and close enough to the shops for those last minute provisions and the odd bottle of the local scrumpy. We were also on the look out for a little luxury and as many mod cons as possible.
With this in mind the five star rated Sail Lofts Apartments (so called because these were the sail lofts where local fishermen used to clean their nets), located on the soft-sand wide-brimmed Porthemeor beach, ticked all the boxes.
This brand new development comprises twelve houses and apartments of various sizes clustered around a garden courtyard that has its own wet room to store wet suits and surf boards.
As there were six of us, we chose the Slipway House because it offered three double bedrooms, two with en-suite bathrooms and 1 with twin beds (for the kids) and an en-suite shower. There is a large fully equipped kitchen / diner where all six of us could breakfast comfortably and a huge living room with gabled celings and exposed beams on the third floor.
Décor is elegant with white walls and light wood floorings with extra colours added by the furnishings. The most beautiful aspect was in the living room where an integral terrace framed a dazzling view over the beach especially as the sun set throwing pink hues over the Atlantic. A swinging sixties style chair hangs from the ceiling where I enjoyed a few blissful moments of quiet contemplation.
A thoughtful welcome pack of bread, butter, jam, fruit juice, eggs and tea, coffee and hot chocolate to start us off was a lovely touch and the kids enjoyed MP3 speaker units, while (hate to admit it) I made use of the free WiFi.
There were also fluffly towels and flush-with-the-wall TVs in the bathroom so it came as quite a surprise that there were no other toiletries (apart from a gorgeous locally made soap) to complete the luxury experience and there was no hair dryer.
But most importantly the beds are wonderfully comfy with soft bed linens that made slipping under the duvet after a hard day of bracing walks and frolicks on beach, pure joy.