I am not ashamed to admit that I am a bit of a travel snob, with a huge taste for the finer things in life; so much so that my idea of ‘roughing it’ during a round-the-world trip was a Hilton on Waikiki Beach(!). For real. Whether I’m travelling abroad to destinations such as Dubai, Mexico or a little closer to home, I’m all about the luxury.. well, as much as my wallet will realistically allow.
So you can therefore imagine my desire to find a comfortable and luxurious boutique hotel in North Cornwall for a recent short visit to Bude – did I find this in The Beach at Bude?
The Beach at Bude Hotel, Cornwall
First impressions were very positive; clearly no run-of-the-mill hotel, this boutique establishment is located just off the gorgeous sands of Bude’s Summerleaze Beach. I found the decor contemporary, clean and inviting, particularly the industrial looking bar, fine-dining restaurant with gourmet offering (more on this later) and a stunning terrace overlooking the coast, a perfect setting for a pre (or post) dinner drink.
The scene from the terrace, also viewable from the road just outside the hotel, was also rather breathtaking..
The Beach at Bude – Room
Booking fairly late limited my options somewhat so I took the last room available; the ‘classic’. Whilst a sea-view and a slightly larger room would have been pleasant (a rear-view of a storage area wasn’t the most exciting), I needn’t have worried as it was more then ample in size, a comfy king-size bed and plenty of storage space, tastefully decorated in a New England seaside style with cooling oak limed furniture. Very calming. All the usual amenities were of course provided in the form of free Wi-Fi, a flatscreen TV and DVD player, iPod dock, plus mini fridge and free fresh milk, bottled water, tea and coffee. I liked that the management had opted to leave fresh milk over that rather horrid capsule UHT stuff.
The bathroom was equally as plush as the room itself, with a large heated towel-rail, walk-in shower with rainfall shower head. Rather lovely, it has to be said, to return to after a day on the beach!
The Ebony London bath and body toiletries were a nice touch, as was the guest towels which were amusingly laid out as crabs on the bed each day by housekeeping. Often you find boutique hotels are merely a soulless vacuum, a pleasant-enough but drab template that could be picked up and dropped anywhere – but not here in Bude. The Beach at Bude is clearly distinct in it’s personality and execution, right from the finer touches as previously mentioned through to the service on the front-desk, bar and restaurant.
The Beach at Bude – Food
The high standard at The Beach at Bude is very much extended to it’s gourmet restaurant, a locally-inspired and well-executed menu by Head Chef Joe Simmonds, who in a previous life trained under Excecutive Head Chef Sam Moody of Michelin Star Restaurant, The Priory. Dining here proved to be a very pleasant experience on a number of occasions.
The breakfast options, included in my room-rate, were as to be expected; a full English, various pastries, cereals, juices and hot beverages (no instant here!). The full English, as seen in the series of photos above, was absolutely delicious, the highlight being the creamy scrambled eggs. I also enjoyed the pancakes and maple syrup with crispy bacon on my final morning, which was divine, although maybe an extra drizzle of maple syrup would have really completed the dish to my liking. Still though, a good B&B or even a hotel can live or die by the quality of it’s breakfast offer and I’m pleased to say that The Beach at Bude does a great job.
The evening food is really where the restaurant excels itself.
I ate here one evening and started my meal with seared king scallops with cripsy chicken wings and shallot puree. This was quickly followed by a main of 8oz Moorland sirloin steak with tarragon butter, crispy onion rings and chunky chips. Both courses were excellent, and whilst the steak was more medium than my ordered medium-rare, absolutely gorgeous and mouthwatering. The photos do neither plate justice.
Dessert was a quirky concoction; cookie-dough parfait, dark chocolate brownie pieces, salted caramel sauce, honey comb and toasted hazelnuts. Whilst obviously frozen, the consistency of the parfait and temperature it must have been sat at in the freezer made this dish very difficult to eat, although the kitchen deserve recognition for it’s excellent taste – certainly a very enjoyable way to round off the evening. The guests I dined with on this particular evening also all commented on how good the food had been. I was also impressed with the well paired wine menu, very reasonably priced and catering for even the most varied of wine drinkers (apart from the Blue Nun types… but then you should take a look at yourself in the mirror).
Unfortunately I found the service a little lacking on the evening I ate in the restaurant; I was forgotten about having been seated and hadn’t ordered drinks until twenty-five minutes into my time at the table and I waited another thirty minutes for the bill to arrive and pay (having chased). On the positive, the view was spectacular as I looked out over high-tide AND I wasn’t in a rush, but it felt a little disappointing given how great the food turned out. Despite this, I still enjoyed the food at The Beach at Bude; the presentation, taste and stunning setting more than made up for the shortfall in service.
The Beach at Bude Luxury Boutique Hotel, North Cornwall: Review Verdict
So, did The Beach at Bude live up to my lofty expectation of providing me with a comfortable, clean and enjoyable stay in chic, contemporary and pleasant surroundings? With maximum credit, yes. Yes it did.
The team here have done a great job in injecting some personality into the business whilst upholding a strong eye for good design in the hotel’s rooms and guest areas; the industrial bar or outside terrace are both very pleasant locations to enjoy a sunny afternoon or late evening with a drink with friends, and the restaurant, despite a few niggles, provides excellent food using locally sourced and inspired ingredients.
Bude itself is gorgeous, a lovely North-Cornwall small seaside town and The Beach at Bude hotel provides it’s guests with a lovely base from which to explore the local surroundings.
At £125.00 a night (excluding VAT) it isn’t a cheap-stay, but the attention to detail and luxury make it worth it. The standard of decor, amenities, (almost) beach-front location and food options make this a Cornish gem and with tweaks to the service levels in the restaurant, has potential to take the crown as the best boutique hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in.