Our summer road trip ended with a five day stay at Karma St Martin’s on the Isles of Scilly. As you can imagine, our campervan trip was adventurous, fun and well…chaotic. We spent the evenings in a camping chair, with our coffee bubbling away on the camping stove, watching the sunsets while the kids played happily in front of us. We enjoyed the best of both worlds staying in a countryside Holiday park in Devon, followed by a seaview campsite in Cornwall. Our cheeks were weathered, our hair windswept, our campervan full of sand, and our clothes tinged with mud. I won’t lie, we were really looking forward to our visit to the Isles of Scilly. A place where the islands have very few cars, the sunsets are spectacular, and the beaches are supposedly amongst the most beautiful in the World.
I am sorry Otis the Camper – sometimes we just have to leave you behind….
Isles Of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly is around 28 miles off the Coast of Cornwall. Hop on the Scillonian III or the SkyBus with Isles of Scilly Travel, and you will soon be transported to a place that you are sure to fall in love with. With unspoilt white sandy beaches that leave a hint of glitter on your skin and crystal clear waters that turn turquoise under the sun, you could be fooled into thinking you are somewhere far, far away….
We had a five day stay planned on the island of St Martin’s. The Isles of Scilly consists of a large number of uninhabited islands, and five inhabited islands: St Mary’s, Tresco, Bryher, St Agnes, and St Martin’s. All so different, yet equally spectacular. St Martin’s is around two miles long, and has less than 150 people living on the island. It has a rugged beauty about it, yet has some of the most spectacular beaches you have ever seen. It actually reminded me of when we visited the West Coast of Scotland. It is laid back, quiet, and the moment you arrive it feels like you are stepping back in time.
Karma St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly
Karma St Martin’s is set overlooking the waters of Tean, Sound and Tresco. Looking from the outside it reminds me of a set of large, charming stone cottages that are in keeping with the few cottages and buildings dotted about the island. Step inside and there is a stylish, contemporary feel to it. The bar area has a number of leather sofas and modern lights hanging from the ceiling above the bar. There are lanterns with candles flickering in the air, a grand piano in the corner and a table with a chess set in the library area. On the wall of the library I spotted a ‘Wine Emotion’ dispensing system, and on arrival you are provided with a card giving you an option to sample by taste, glass or bottle. The hotel has a lounge with a TV and books and games to make you feel at home. The interior has a neutral colour scheme, with a nautical nod and an eclectic twist.
The grounds are immaculate and well maintained, with a number of sun loungers dotted about on the edge of the expanse of lawn amongst the abundance of blooms. There are a few garden chairs and tables for those who want to eat or drink alfresco, whilst making the most of those spectacular sea views. Despite the elegance and charm associated with a luxury hotel, I love how my children were welcomed with open arms. The girls knew everyone on first name basis, and they couldn’t wait to draw a picture for Pippa, or paint a seashell for Scott and Fynn. The staff chatted to the little ones every day, always getting a smile out of our little man, and genuinely seemed interested in what we had planned and teaching the girls about all the islands. When our middle daughter’s bottom lipped wobbled on learning that we hadn’t packed any beach toys, the staff quickly showed her their secret stash of buckets and spades and beach games for the young visitors. A storage box outside on the lawn housing balls, bowls and croquet mallets occupied our little ones while we sipped coffee and tea whilst breathing in the sea air. This place, and the staff was really something special.
The hotel has recently been refurbished, offering 27 ocean view rooms, and three suites. We stayed in two interconnecting doubles with stunning sea views and a private balcony. The rooms were modern and spacious and ideal for us, as a family of five. We didn’t disturb the little ones as they snoozed, and we had plenty of space without getting under each other’s feet.
The Cloudesley Shovell restaurant is really something special. We dined whilst enjoying breathtaking views of Tean and beyond. There are specials options daily, with sourced local produce and there is a separate children’s menu. Booking is recommended as it does get busy, and on arrival to dinner our table was allocated with the highchair already set at the table. The restaurant is open all day for breakfast, snacks, drinks, light bites and evening dinner, and despite being open to the general public, it still managed to keep its ‘exclusive’ feel. The food was phenomenal, cooked to individual requirements, and the sample sizes great – so much so I often struggled to squeeze in desert. Dinner was served from 6pm, so we did sometimes have a rather noisy and tired baby, but the staff were amazing and even occupied the little man for a few minutes to allow us to eat our dinner sitting down without indigestion.
After dinner we often took a stroll along the sandy beach just 40 metres from the hotel. There is a bench over looking the quay where we watched those talked about incredible sunsets.
There are two quays on the island, Lower Town Quay directly outside the hotel and Higher Town Quay on the other side of the island. It took us around 30 minutes – maybe a bit longer with tired legs and a baby carrier to walk across to Higher Town Quay. You can hop on a boat from either Quay (timetable dependent) and explore the other islands. We took the boat over to Tresco for the day, enjoyed a boat trip to spot the seal colonies, and tried our hand at kayaking from Par Beach. We also enjoyed a day or two sitting on the beach and taking in the wonderful views..
My girls still talk about the abundance of sea shells and the dusting of glitter on their skin that the sand leaves behind. They loved the ‘honesty stalls’ where they could purchase a ring, or painted shell, and most of all they loved having the undivided attention that quality family time brings. Our little boy…well he just loved eating the glittery sand. St Martin’s has stolen our hearts, and I am so glad that we were able to experience this truly special place together as a family.
For more information, or to book head over to Karma St Martin’s Website
To find out more about the Isles of Scilly head over to Visit Isles of Scilly
For further information and to book travel, head over to Isles of Scilly Travel Website
Have you ever visited the Isles of Scilly?
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**Disclosure – We were invited as guests at Karma St Martin’s for three nights of our stay. All opinions and honest thoughts are of mine and my family. **
Images – Copyright Otis and Us