Mention St Moritz and, naturally, people nod at the prospect of a rather swanky skiing holiday, sipping schnapps and people watching in the Swiss Alps. In fact, the St Moritz I’m more inclined to list in any future travel plans is a deluxe hotel enjoying one of the finest of outlooks on the Cornish coastline – the only thing in common with its Swiss namesake being that lofty perch atop the cliffs in Trebetherick, one of the most scenic spots in the West Country.
To the tune of several million pounds the hotel was completely renovated four years ago and is deluxe in every way. The suites are a home-fromhome, with a cosy lounge, modern kitchen and dining area, fitted throughout with all of the state-of-the-art extras you could wish for. Even on the most glorious of mornings you’ll find it hard to roll out of the King-size bed, not just because the mattresses are incredibly soft and the linen luxurious, but because when you pull the curtains back you’re greeted with a sensational sea view.
The St Moritz is the ideal base for golfers, a stone’s throw from the championship links at St Enodoc, the Church course being an original James Braid layout that relishes its setting above the Camel Estuary. The roller-coaster opening par five is played directly towards the ocean, offering your first taste of the views that get even better as the round unfolds, and immediately sets the agenda for the test you’re about to encounter. There are so many highlights and several holes would grace any Open layout. The 3rd is one such example, a classic par-four, a semi-blind tee shot downhill to a generous fairway leaving a challenging approach to a contoured green guarded on either side by the ubiquitous humps and hollows.
Standing on the tee at the 4th, you next find yourself surveying one of those tempting but ohso- dangerous par fours, a hole big hitters may fancy taking a crack at in favourable conditions, but with out-of-bounds running all up the righthand side to the green, rough, reeds and a waterhazrd left. At times like this you find out what you’re made of!
After the first of a collection of glorious short holes at the 5th – a 170-yarder across a valley – comes St Enodoc’s most talked about and photographed hole: Himalaya. A new back tee was built here some years ago to add a few yards, but this hole is all about the second shot. If you can find the fairway off the tee – using the camber to funnel your shot into a gully – you are left facing one of the most spectacular second shots in links golf, blind over a towering sand dune to a green nestled in a natural amphitheatre.
St Enodoc’s stroke index 1 hole, Church, hits you at the turn, the 10th being a tough-as-they come dogleg par-four of some 457 yards, its name taken from the 12th century church located to the right of the approach to the green (the steeple being a decent line for the second for mortals who play this as a three-shotter). If the following group aren’t pressing take a peep inside, smell the flowers over the door and contemplate life for a moment in the quaint churchyard where Sir John Betjeman lies buried beside his favourite golf course.
Holes 12 through 15 play in a testing loop that brings you back to views of the ocean and what can best be described as a grandstand finish. The 16th is a rollicking par five flanking dunes that lead down to the beach along the estuary. The hole was lengthened relatively recently and a tough, undulating green is as testing to putt as it is to hit, even with just a wedge in your hands.
After the tough par-three 17th – the only saving grace at this 206-yarder being that the green is shaped like a bowl, and anything long enough will feed down towards the pin – you’ll climb to the 18th tee to enjoy those wonderful views of the coastal estuary. Better still, if you can muster the energy to hit one last straight drive, you’ll be well rewarded as your ball takes the fast track, over the humps and hollows like a startled hare, leaving you one final testing iron shot to a raised green – likely as not with an audience watching from the galleried clubhouse windows!
And so to the well-deserved relaxation at the end of the day. There’s no better place to unwind after a round on the links than in the St Moritz spa. The Cornish Cowshed, as it is known, is part of the global spa network founded at Babington House in Somerset, with sister spas in New York, Miami, London and Edinburgh, among others.
Within the restored 1950s-influenced leisure suite, the Cowshed at the St Moritz boasts a fullyfitted gym, indoor pool, sauna and a Hammanstyle steam room as well as six treatment rooms and a glamorous manicure and pedicure area. In other words, heaven. A team of therapists are on hand to soothe, calm, pamper, invigorate and delight you with a luxurious range of ‘cows’ and ‘bullocks’ treatments using the Cowshed’s own renowned product range.
No stay in the St Moritz would be complete without a meal in the hotel’s fantastic restaurant. Head Chef, James O’Connor, changes the menu daily and publishes the menu between 4 and 5pm after he’s purchased the fresh fish that have been brought ashore that day by the, local fishermen. Needless to say the freshly cooked local produce is delicious!
A weekend break at the St Moritz really does have universal appeal. It’s the perfect base for groups of golfing enthusiasts with St Enodoc on the doorstep and the Harry Colt links at Trevose not much further away. It’s a great family destination, with the old fishing town of Padstow to explore, just a ferry-ride across the estuary, and some spectacular coastal walks and beaches. The Camel Trail offers a scenic bike-ride excursion to nearby Wadebridge, while surfers can check out the world-class ‘break’ at Polzeath.
Me? I’m more than at home at the St Moritz, the perfect destination for a romantic retreat and the promise of truly memorable links golf at one of the finest clubs you could ever wish to visit.
“Saintly Break” package:
Links lovers package:
St Enodoc Golf Club,
Rock, Cornwall, PL27 6LD
St Moritz Hotel,
Trebetherick, Cornwall, PL27 6SD