For the British traveller intent on finding that holy trinity of sun, sea and surf, Spain, the Caribbean and even Australia used to be the most popular destinations, but now more and more of us are opting for beach breaks in the UK.
'Staycationing', that awkward portmanteau that emerged in the wake of the financial crisis, is still on the rise. Staycation searches and bookings have increased by almost a quarter in the UK compared to last year, according to recent research by the travel marketing group Sojern.
But does travelling without passports mean we have to forgo beaches and luxury? The good news is no. Pentire Penthouse on Fistral Beach in Cornwall is a fantastic home not so very far from home that offers plenty of both.
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Arriving at the penthouse
Newquay may be infamous for hen parties and weekend revellers, but just to the west of the town centre sits the surprisingly tranquil Pentire Point.
Right next door to Newquay Golf Club, the point offers uninterrupted views of Fistral Beach, widely regarded as one of the world's top surfing destinations and home to nearly all the UK's major surf competitions including Boardmasters, the Quicksilver Skins and the UK Pro Surf Tour.
Pentire Penthouse is at the top of a cylindrical apartment block on the corner of the golf course. The apartment stretches across two floors, with three generous bedrooms, plus a vast master bedroom, which almost constitutes another apartment in its own right.
The standout space, however, is unquestionably the upper floor – a sprawling open-plan room that incorporates a kitchen, dining room and lounge into one sun-drenched communal area.
The penthouse's decoration looks like it's come straight out of Wallpaper* magazine, with mid-century modern loungers, cow skin rugs and art deco-inspired coffee tables. A mahogany leather and turquoise palette glows beneath the sunlight that streams in from the panoramic windows from dawn to dusk.
The room opens up on to an equally huge balcony, perfect for sundowners, or an evening dip in the eight-person hot tub.
Pentire Penthouse is an excellent spot from which to mount a raid on Cornwall's food and drink scene.
Start locally with a visit to Rick Stein Fistral, which is just a short walk from the penthouse across Fistral Beach. These days Stein seems to own almost half of Cornwall's restaurants but the proliferation of branded and unbranded Rick Stein eateries fortunately hasn't diminished the quality of the food. Highlights include proper fish and chip staples, including a good selection of fish (haddock, lemon sole, cod and scampi) and good ol' fashioned sides like onion rings, chip butties and more. Unexpectedly however, the restaurant also offers curries cherry-picked from Stein's travels – lamb karahi, beef rendang and nasi goreng. It works.
A short drive north lies Jamie Oliver's Fifteen. Very little introduction is necessary for Oliver's award-winning restaurant cum social enterprise, which opened its doors in 2002, but the Cornish branch is still packed out most Friday and Saturday nights with diners in their glad rags. It's possibly a touch overpriced for the sometimes not terribly adventurous food on show, but the views are spectacular and the service is fantastic.
High above Mawgan Forth, the immaculately designed Scarlet Hotel is the ultimate lookout, regardless of the weather. Portfolio visited twice in two days, once for drinks on the hotel's deck in the blazing sunshine, and again for lunch the very next day in the midst of a gale – this is still Cornwall after all. The restaurant offers modern European fare, showcasing all the spectacular ingredients Cornwall has to offer – delicious fresh seafood, rich clotted cream and high-quality meat.
Many happy returns
If you tire of eating out, why not dine in your own penthouse, which, after all, has one of the best views in Cornwall?
Fresh seafood, including local crab and lobster, is available from E Rawle and Co or there is an extensive selection of local produce available in the Trevilley farm shop which will deliver a hamper of pasties, cakes, quality meat and veg straight to your door.
If you can't be bothered to cook for yourself, bring in your own chef. Chef Fiona NZ, once named as one of the ten best chefs in the UK, can create Michelin-star quality food for you and your travel companions.
Alternatively Vicky from Cornish Delicacies will whip you up a convivial dinner party or simply fill your freezer with home-cooked meals ready whenever you want them.
Pentire Penthouse prices start at £1,200 for four nights (low season) increasing to £4,800 for a week (high season) for the whole penthouse sleeping eight guests. Bookings for 2017 made before the end of July will be subject to a 20 per cent discount.
To book, visit tregullandandco.co.uk or 01566 770 880
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