We spent a week at Carn Ithen in October half term, peak of the birding season. Danni was very helpful from the start with advice about travel and the Scilly Isles. In the event we arrived early, but were made to feel welcome despite being three hours ahead of schedule. The rooms were clean and compact, with a good range of facilities - we were able to control both the temperature and ventilation of our room (outside it ranged from very warm and sunny to unpleasantly cold and windy, so this was extremely helpful). The property is tastefully decorated with original artwork.
There is a large guest TV/sitting/breakfast room with a spectacular view of the rocky coastline. This had a useful fridge and several interesting books about the locality. Carn Ithen is on a small cul-de-sac that leads into a footpath and nature trail popular with birdwatchers at one end, and to the beach at the other. It is an extremely peaceful location, aided by the general lack of cars on the islands (our hosts used a golf buggy to get around). There is a village shop and a pub with good food and real ale within a short stroll, but it is also an easy walk into Hugh Town where there are more pubs and facilities. It took us less than 20 minutes to walk from from Carn Ithen to the quay, which is at the far end of Hugh Town, and about 25 minutes to Star Castle, where there is a nice restaurant. There are alternative walking routes to Hugh Town by way of the coastal path and the nature trail, both of which are worth exploring. There is also a gym at the nearby school that is open to visitors for £5 per session.
Breakfasts were excellent. Danni cooks (demonstrating clearly that you can't beat an Aga for cooked breakfasts!) and Nigel serves. There was a good choice - we particularly enjoyed the prunes, Greek yoghurt, full English....and the smoked salmon and scrambled egg! You decide what you would like the night before, and it is all wonderfully and freshly cooked. Nigel was a mine of information about all aspects of life on the island, and especially about birds (he has co-authored two books on Scilly birdlife, one with Danni, and is an expert who has the ability to make his enthusiasm and knowledge interesting to non-experts - we learnt quite a lot from him, and laughed a lot too!).
Visitors who are desperate for mobile phone usage should note that coverage is patchy on the island. However, Carn Ithen has wireless internet, and we got a phone signal on the beach!
We will definitely return - we fell in love with the Scilly Isles, and Carn Ithen is a perfect base to explore them from.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Carn Ithen is a luxury self-catering property which sleeps 2-4 people. It is available for weekly Friday-to-Friday rental and also for shorter breaks outside the April to October season. Perfectly located in Old Town, 80m from one of the best beaches on St Mary's and 100m from a nature trail, it is the ideal base for your holiday in Scilly. Facilities include large lounge/dining room, fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms (both with ensuite showers) and a utility room. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Carn Ithen Isles Of Scilly, England