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“The Clearing Spa - very disappointing and not recommended”

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The Cornwall Hotel, Spa & Estate
Ranked #5 of 9 Hotels in St Austell
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 30, 2012

Came as a day spa guest with my husband on a special offer at the end of September 2012 which included use of the spa and also a treatment, and had been looking forward to the visit. The upfront booking team were excellent and very professional and I had high hopes of the visit. I am an experienced spa visitor and have been fortunate enough to visit some of the the best spas in the UK - this is not one of them. The spa building itself is very nice, a lot of effort has gone into the design, and it was very clean, so credit to the housekeeping staff, however the lack of care and attention, noise and poor management really let this place down.

On arrival, we were expecting a warm spa greeting in line with the excellent pre arrival service, instead we were greeted in a very brusque manner by the receptionist who gave us a single towel and took our vouchers with little or no explanation of the layout or treatments etc. We had to ask for robes, slippers were not offered and the towels were of poor quality, very thin and when I asked for a second towel I was told it was strictly one towel per person or I could pay £2.50 for another towel - this was reinforced with notices in the changing rooms. We were told very dismissively to go and fill in a form on a separate table - no explanation and very DIY - overall not a good start, and we were very taken aback, especially after the very good pre arrival booking service. Reception was also full of people chatting and gossiping - mainly men who seemed to know the receptionists and be talking about cars and local stuff - not customers, and we were made to feel like they wanted to deal with us as quickly as possible so they could go back to chatting.

We made our way down to the pool only to be greeted by a screaming baby for the next 20 minutes, and at that point we found out that they let children and babies in - not what is usual in an upmarket spa. Nothing against children or babies, but not in a luxury spa. This is when we realised that this is more of a hotel leisure facility with treatment rooms than a proper luxury spa. To add to the 'family values' there was also a very unsavoury health warning sign on the ladies changing room door before you enter the pool warning about the health risks of both adults and children swimming with diarrhoea- again not quite in the spirit of a luxury spa - made one wonder why the sign was there - yeuck. The pool itself is nice, and well designed, looking out onto a pretty walled garden and there is a small sauna and a larger steam room on poolside, but the jacuzzi part of the pool was too cold to sit in. It was also very noisy as sound carried, and there were no spa staff in sight, and no signs asking patrons to keep the noise down. Changing rooms were OK - again nothing special. Overall we were disappointed as the reality did not quite match up to the web descriptions.

However we decided to go with the flow and head off for our treatments - something we had been really looking forward to. Unfortunately due to the design of the spa you have to leave the pool area, walk up stairs, go past reception and then up again to a spa waiting area on a mezzanine floor directly above reception. The waiting area was a miserable space - nasty green 'trendy' plastic chairs, opposite a nail bar, the floor of which was covered in red laundry bags and no refreshments (in fact no water coolers in the pool area, changing rooms or waiting area), and no one to help or direct you. It was also in a corridor so people walking past, there were DIY consultation forms (never referred to once filled in), and as it was a mezzanine (with a glass wall so very 'exposed') above reception, all we could hear was the reception staff gossiping below with a series of their friends and generally being very noisy - not remotely relaxing - in fact really fustrating. There was one receptionist who was trying to be professional and who kindly got me a glass of water, but she was the exception. It was clear there was no management in place to make the space quiet and serene and also the staff still seemed to have huge amounts of time to chatter.

Due to the layout, I choose not to wear my robe as it felt too public so I had to get dressed all over again which was a total pest. When we were finally called for our massage (10 minutes late) then the girls were very nice, but it was impossible to fully enjoy the massage due to the continual noise from the reception and also the corridor outside the spa rooms as every time a member of staff went past it sounded like a herd of elephants on the laminate floor - not what you want when having a relaxing treatment - one member of staff was continually backwards and forwards and seemed very flat footed. Such a shame as the massage rooms were actually quite nice and the treatments nice.

When the massage was finished, we were ushered into a relaxation room to help ourselves to drinks and to relax. No chance of this - there was no chilled water, tea bags were still in their twinings cardboard boxes, it was a DIY kettle (empty) and no water source in sight and the beds were covered in towels that looked pre used and yet again you could hear the noise from reception. Eventually, totally frustrated we decided to cut our losses and leave. As part of this offer we should have also got a glass of prosecco, at no time was it offered and by that time we did not even want it. Usually by this time at the spa I am relaxed and happy and wanting to spend a fortune and purchase oils and lotions - not this time. When we left, nearly 3 hours after we had arrived, the same chaps were still chatting at the reception desk and the same amount of noise was present. We did consider complaining but by that point we just wanted to leave. This is not a cheap place and it is clear that a lot of effort has gone into the design, but it is the little things and the management which let it down.

Good spas should be welcoming, quiet, very professional and a relaxing space. The only good things I can say for this establishment is that it was very clean and the pool was a nice design, however the management need to focus on making this into a customer orientated and quiet/relaxing space. We had been looking forward to this for weeks and left very annoyed and feeling like we had wasted our money. My normally liad back husband was incensed we had even visited and wished we had not.

Overall, we were exceedingly disappointed and won't be back - we don't live near by so we had made a 100 mile detour to visit for our spa day on the way back from holiday. I would imagine if you just want to use the leisure facilities it is fine, however after my experience I would not recommend the spa. Which is a real shame as they use Aromatherapy Associates products which are excellent and they usually vet the spas that use them - what is more frustrating is with good management and a few refinements this could be really nice. The only benefit of the visit is that as it was an offer then it as a reduced price, however even this was too much. On a more positive note, the spa at Trelowarren on the Lizard in South Cornwall is excellent as are the holiday cottages. The other spa I would recommend is The Carrick in Scotland which is the same price and so much better if you are seeking a destination spa.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank vicki1812
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,725 - 1,731 of 2,136 reviews

Reviewed September 30, 2012

My husband and I went to the spa at The Cornwall Hotel where we spent £200 on spa treatments as a honeymoon indulgence. On arrival we were asked to go and wait upstairs where somebody would come and collect us. We waited half an hour without anybody speaking to us and then eventually we were collected and shown to the treatment room. Rather than been shown to the changing room and given robes and slippers we were told to get changed in the treatment room and then wait for the staff to come back. This meant our clothes were left in a heap on the floor.
The staff came back and we had our massages. The treatment was actually very nice but it did include a facial and we weren't asked about our skin types and my husband wasn't asked about the pressure of his massage.
When it was finished we were told to go and sit in the relaxation room and have a cup of tea while our creams sank in. I asked if we could then use the spa facilities and was told "after you've sat down for a few minutes you can do whatever you like." Still with no offer of a robe or changing room! We therefore had to carry our armfuls of clothes with us and when we got there we couldn't see where there was water to fill the kettle and as the staff had just wandered off we had nobody to ask about it so couldn't even have the cup of tea
I eventually went to the main reception with a towel wrapped around me to ask for a robe. The woman there asked if I was on a package and when I told her we'd just had treatments she reluctantly handed over 2 robes (still no slippers) and told me to "make sure I bring them back to reception afterwards".
We then had a swim (the only positive was the lovely view from the swimming pool), and quickly used the sauna but were so unrelaxed by then we just wanted to leave. It was a waste of £200 and a real disappointment on our honeymoon. I would strongly recommend getting spa treatments elsewhere unless you like being treated like an inconvenience. The whole experience made the massage forgettable and all we went away remembering was the terrible service.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
2  Thank Carrie27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2012

I'm lucky enough to have friends who own one of the Lodges and so have stayed at the Cornwall a couple of times. I found the spa to be excellent and the setting and grounds improving all the time. The service in the bar can be a little slow but the staff are all very friendly and efficient and the reception staff couldn't have been more helpful when I experienced a few difficulties on the transport front when I was last there.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank JemmaB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2012

Stayed here for 2 nights hotel and spa were brilliant. Clean spacious rooms with free wifi.

Breakfast was the standard buffet but with the usual hot breakfast option - all locally sourced - really good food

Ate in both the fine dining and standard restaurant - food was excellent.

Spa is ok - but not enough facilities - the usual pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room. Overlooks a nice garden. The lockers need new batteries - free to use but only half of them worked (locks)

Hotel rooms have a great view (if you upgrade to an executive - standard rooms overlook the hotel back).

Good for a base to see the eden project and local attractions.

The hotel is a drive to anywhere - so unless you dont drink or want to pay for a taxi your eating in the hotel (which isn't a bad thing)

St. Austell is a dump - worth avoiding - only worthwhile thing trying is lunch at the eden project cafe - good value and very tasty!

Probably won't stay again but only for a better location for evening entertainment/choice - probably Fowey next time - that was very nice.

Room Tip: Try to get a room upgrade so you get a view - otherwise you are overlooking the back of the hotel
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank NantwichGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2012

Booked a luxury Woodland Room for 2 nights for our wedding anniversary. Gorgeous room, huge comfy bed. Everywhere spotless, lovely view across the grounds. Food quite expensive but absolutely worth it, restaurants, bar and terrace beautifully decorated with lovely atmosphere. Definitely stay in and eat in the Brasserie or Restaurant, you won't find better food anywhere.

Had a couple of treatments while husband went off to play golf (choice of 3 golf courses within few minutes drive to keep him happy). Had amazing massage and pedicure. Great base in the heart of Cornwall, but no need to leave the hotel if you don't want to! Go for a stroll around the grounds, have a swim in the infinity pool, use the steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and gym, eat wonderful food, have some treatments, read a book on the balcony, sit in the bar and play board games, total therapy for body and mind.

The Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan are very close and thoroughly recommended if you insist on getting out for the day. Charlestown is a tiny place but worth a visit, totally unspoilt and charming. Fowey and Padstow both lovely but don't bother going into St Austell, unless you desperately need to go to Asda or Tk Maxx! It's got all the shops you need but definitely not picturesque.

Staff always helpful and friendly, they all seem to love the place and their jobs, can't blame them! Cannot wait to go again - booked for Valentines Day as soon as we got home. Real retreat for special occasions or just need to chill and be spoilt.

Just make sure you book your meals and treatments in advance to avoid disappointment. When you're wandering around the place seems very quiet and tranquil, but you'd be amazed how many people are in the restaurants. Even when they're full they aren't noisy if you're looking for a romantic meal. Can be cheaper to book a room only, and pay for meals separately, depending on deals available, make sure you check this out carefully.

Room Tip: Upgraded to luxury room, this gives you a fridge and clear view across the grounds, otherwise all Wo...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Caroline594
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

We just spent two nights here and we look forward to returning in the future. The hotel is bright and clean and all the staff are cheerful and very helpful. A small problem with our room became an insignificance as it was fixed immediately. It was great having a fridge and fresh milk available for the room. The six-foot bed was very comfortable.

We ate in the brasserie on both nights. The food was good and the mushroom gnocchi was delicious! However, the staff ought to have been able to sample everything on the menu so that they can recommend dishes with authority. Having read other reviews, we did not have any problems with the breakfast i.e. no delays with delivering tea and toast etc. The breakfast buffet had plenty of choices and was all very tempting. Try the figs... they are super.

We loved the swimming pool with its beautiful view and enjoyed the whirlpool, steamroom, sauna etc.

The location is convenient for lots of local attractions, beaches etc. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend this hotel and can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: Second-floor luxury double had good view but was quite warm.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Emma D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2012

Visited the Clearing Spa to have some treatments.

Pool is nice, good temperature, with great views but obscured by lime scale on windows. Reminded me of our local run-down council pool. They need to get some hydrophobic glass polish.

Only 8 loungers on poolside so i couldnt read my book as all had towels laid on them. Two loungers make size of kingsize bed, its a shame, if they had standard size loungers more people could enjoy the space. Need reading light by the six loungers in the corner. The pool side is very wet and slippery so be careful. No children under 12 allowed in pool-temperature whirlpool or sauna / steam room.

Only water point is in gym past reception. Surely for health and safety there should be a water point by the sauna?

Asked to wait upstairs for treatment. No one around. Sat at nail bar opposite a towel with nail clippings on it. Yuk!

Treatments were fine. Nothing notable. Friendly efficient staff.

Relaxation room is a bit of a joke. Dark colours, not warm enough to be comfortable. Loungers face towards bright down-lights on opposite side of room which blind you if you try to lie down and there is no light on your side of the room making it impossible to read without perching on the foot end of the lounger.

It's a shame I can't be more positive about this place. The architecture and paint work lends itself to be a fantastic place but the management do not seem to apply any attention to detail.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Service
1  Thank HolidayfunABC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Cornwall Hotel, Spa & Estate

Address: Pentewan Road | Tregorrick, St Austell PL26 7AB, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > St Austell
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in St Austell
#2 Romantic Hotel in St Austell
Price Range: $101 - $277 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Cornwall Hotel, Spa & Estate 4*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Relax, unwind and rejuvenate in the luxurious surroundings of The Cornwall Hotel, Spa & Estate; an exquisite 4* hotel & spa set in 43 acres of tranquil, wooded parkland in St Austell. Just a breath away from many of Cornwall’s most popular sandy beaches and attractions; The Cornwall Hotel is the perfect base to explore the best of Cornwall. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Cornwall Hotel, Spa & Estate St Austell

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