The St Moritz Hotel is situated on the North Cornish coast, and although it is but a stones throw from my own pace of work across the estuary in Padstow I had never visited. The area should be well know to anyone who has, in their youth, spent a family holiday or some debouched exam results week in the little villages of Rock or Polzeath. If this is the case, and you are now slightly older perhaps with a young family and more disposable income, the St Moritz could be a perfect place to visit.
The reason I preface this with such a seemingly odd sentiment is because there is no way around the fact that this hotel caters primarily to families. I was fortunate to go out of season but it was clear to see that during the high season one would expect the joyous (depends) tones of children rushing around. Therefore if you’re like me and spent a lot of time in Polzeath and now find yourself with a family or in my case some more disposable income meaning a luxury hotel is preferable to a friend’s floor, then you have found the perfect place in St Moritz.
Upon arrival I was immediately taken with the architecture, it was part old style cruise ship and part Art Deco, in fact I remarked to the perfect host at the desk that it was “Art Deco without rounded corners” she laughed, probably thinking the journey had taken its toll, in fact it hadn’t. The host the proceeded to show me around the hotel pointing out salient features such as the Cowshed Spa with array of therapies and products, being a chef naturally I asked to see the kitchen at this point! It is suffice as to say the St Moritz is very well appointed for spa, gym and swimming pools, and if you choose to visit you can be sure to find something to suit.
I was staying in a suite, which had a large dining area and fully equipped kitchen, with adjoining double and en suite. In this price range you know that everything will be of a high standard and I was not disappointed. My outdoor decking was an added bonus with a great view over the outside pool area, with quirky multi coloured beach huts.
I had a walk into Polzeath and a few beers in the Oystercatcher, a favourite haunt of Harry and William when they come down to stay, as well as the locals of which many are friends. A bout of trying to convince me to stay rather than go back for dinner ensued, but I knew one of the gems of the St. Mortiz was its food, so I naturally told them I would call when I had finished knowing by then I would be full and the pub would be closed.
The restaurant at the hotel is great, the open plan kitchen gave me chef envy which isn’t that easy, and the menu was simple with many great choices. The new chef there Jamie Porter is an ex colleague of mine, having trained with us at The Seafood Restaurant before leaving to work at such restaurants as The Waterside in Bray. However it was while working at the now defunct Custard diner in Padstow that he began a clear path towards becoming a head chef in his own right. This is the place for him to realise that ambition, and the food was great.
The lobster salad with citrus, tarragon and shellfish emulsion was perfect, I didn’t think the caviar added the saline note it perhaps was intended to, but that is a minor criticism on an impeccable starter. The monkfish was beautiful served with a roasted garlic mash, as smooth as I have tasted, and I tasted his mash when he worked with me! The dessert was a caramel parfait, which again was flawless, added to this a fabulous pre-dinner cocktail and very attentive service, there are definitely two reasons to go to the St. Moritz. Breakfast was something Jamie can be immensely proud of to, lots of provenance on the menu, but generally just a heart pumping way to start the day, with bits of pig to feast on!
In my last few hours at the hotel I wandered down to Daymer, past the house where Sir John Betjeman stayed and to an area of the beach I often used to frequent on a weekend evenings, trying as the local scruff to chat to girls who had no interest in my west country accent, or the fact that I went to Truro School “where?”.
Who knows, maybe you were one such person who has enjoyed this area of the north Cornish coast in your past to, and if you have the St Moritz is the perfect staging post from which to explore those memories, albeit with more money, a great hotel and wonderful food and service.
St Moritz Hotel
Cornwall, PL27 6SD