Inside Mullion Cove Spa: a new Cornish spa making the most of its coastal setting

Arriving for her interview on a blustery Cornish day, spa manager Hannah Martin was literally blown away by her first glimpse of the wild beauty surrounding Mullion Cove Hotel and Spa

Located on the west coast of Cornwall’s stunning Lizard Penninsula, Mullion Cove is perched high above its eponymous harbour, offering spectacular vistas of white sand and calm turquoise waters which can give way to equally dramatic dark, stormy seas. 

“I could see the potential immediately,” says Martin. “My first thought was that this would be the most incredible project to get involved with.”

The spa, which had its soft opening in July and will launch officially in September, is the latest addition to the Mullion Cove Hotel, which has been owned by the Grose family since 2009. At the helm of the popular Thurlestone Hotel in Devon for four generations, the family has been investing heavily in Mullion Cove since its purchase, already building up a significant client base. 

The hotel houses 30 rooms, as well as luxurious apartment accommodation where guests can access all the facilities of the hotel, including the spa.

Spa facts

Opening: September 2019

Size: 3,500sq ft

Brands: Voya, Made for Life Organics, Jessica

Treatment rooms: Three (two single, one double)

Staff: Five

What to expect from the spa?

“The hotel already had an award-winning restaurant and is very well established with a loyal customer base. Now we’re expanding into wellness,” says Martin.

“Historically, the hotel’s clients are from the older demographic so we’re looking to reach out to local people and the younger market, especially with the spa. “We’ve already seen a lot of interest on the south coast from people who are interested in spa days with us.” 

The spa offers a full range of facilities including three treatment rooms, indoor hydrotherapy infinity pool, sea-view steam rooms, saunas, salt laconicum, experience showers and gym.

Outside, decking sweeps around the periphery of the building, leading to the hotel’s refurbished outdoor heated swimming pool and more relaxation spaces, including a hot tub and outdoor seating area – all facing the Atlantic and bordered by the South West Coast Path.

Martin, a qualified yoga teacher and holistic therapist with vast experience in spa and retreat management, both in Cornwall and abroad, says that her appointment heralded a commitment to using sustainable, ecoconscious products and practices throughout the spa.

“We have a seeded rooftop and a wall of living herbs that can be hand picked for guests’ herbal teas, and I’m very keen to use minimal plastic, if any,” she says.

“We use wooden bowls for hand and foot rituals and there are no single-use plastic cups or crockery.” Even the cleaning products used in the spa are eco-friendly and designed to have a low impact on the environment.

Coming from the local area, the whole spa team is very conscious of the environment and the impact of unsustainable practices on the ocean. “We all ocean swim and are involved in local beach cleanups. We want to protect the coastline that we’re on, as well as the wider world,” says Martin. 

How is it harnessing local and natural sources?

Fittingly, Martin chose Made for Life Organics and Irish seaweed brand Voya as the two main product houses for the spa, both eco-friendly, Soil Association-certified brands. “Made For Life Organics is made in Truro so products don’t have to travel far to get to us,” says Martin.

“Every single product is handmade in the county using herbs, flowers and oils. The company uses only recyclable glass bottles, even for its professional sizes, and they don’t add any synthetic chemicals, including parabens.

“Because of Mullion Cove’s location, right on the sea, I first thought of Voya at my interview. The seaweed is hand foraged from the Atlantic Ocean, which we share, and it seemed apt to bring elements of an ingredient found on our coastline into the spa.”

The Cornish Coastline and its tin-mining history also inspired the spa’s design. “We’ve used lots of bronze, copper, brass, granite, slate and local serpentine stone in the design. There’s also a gorgeous wave sculpture in the entrance which was created by a local artist,” says Martin.

Inside the spa, the sounds of waves crashing against the shore in Mullion harbour, recorded by a local sound engineer, will be played to lull guests into relaxation.

Outside, Martin says they will also install two copper baths in a private area later this year, so guests can enjoy the healing properties of seaweed baths outside in the elements.

What facilities and treatments does it offer?

The spa’s signature treatment, Mullion Ocean Essence, combines Japanese Shiatsu with Western body massage techniques. Using Made for Life Organics massage oil, warmed Jade Wave stones target areas of tightness, while serpentine hot stones from the Lizard Peninsula are placed along key points of the body to support stress relief. The treatment finishes with a Japanese scalp massage and healing reiki session to rebalance body and mind.

Martin says the spa’s price point is mid-range for the area, with the Catch Your Breath four-hour spa morning or afternoon, which includes one 30-minute treatment and use of all the facilities, costing £75 per person.

Other packages include the Romantic Day Escape for couples, priced at £199 for a 60-minute treatment in the Couples Suite, a glass of bubbly, access to all facilities and a two-course lunch at the hotel’s two-AA-rosette Atlantic Restaurant.

Drawing on her experience managing yoga retreats abroad, Martin hopes to offer longer retreats in the near future.

“Once the spa breaks and days are fully established, we can expand even further into health and wellbeing and host retreats,” she says.

“The outdoor decking, with breathtaking views, could be used for yoga, and there’s a gym and studio in the hotel that we could use for indoor practice. So there’s definitely the opportunity, space and capacity to be able to offer yoga and other retreats.”

During the first year, Martin says she will prioritise getting to know the spa’s customer base. “I believe that most of our business will be hotel based but I am also expecting local people to travel from slightly beyond Truro for our spa days,” she says.

“There are lots of other holiday lets nearby so I think we’ll pick up clients from those. Other than that we’ll be finding our feet and ensuring things run smoothly. It’s never going to be a superpacked spa; the aim is to keep it exclusive.”

There's been a lot of big salon and spa openings in the UK this year, including Urban Retreat at The White House, The Spa at South Lodge and the soon to open Carden Park Spa