England, UK, Wanderlust

Review: Tregarthen’s hotel, Isles of Scilly

I’ve wanted to go to the Isles of Scilly for years now, since seeing photos of the stunning islands. And as you’ll know from my own posts of our trip, we had the most wonderful time.

But it might well still be languishing on my bucket list if Tregarthen’s Hotel hadn’t invited us along to stay, discover Scilly and review their hotel.

Sign for Tregarthen's Hotel Isles of Scilly - my review of Tregarthen's hotel with kids

And if you are planning to visit the islands on a family holiday, this is definitely somewhere you should consider for travelling to the Scilly Isles with kids. Here’s why…

Tregarthen’s Hotel Isles of Scilly: Vital statistics

Located in Hugh Town on St Mary’s, the hotel has 33 bedrooms. The first hotel on the islands, it was once a steamer captain’s home and has welcomed royalty and a poet laureate among its guests.

Some rooms have sea views, and there are also interconnecting family rooms and a garden suite. Most have room for a travel cot and/or child bed as well. Rates start from £120 per person per night, based on two sharing. Under twos stay free, three to 12s are £30 per night including breakfast, plus discounted rates for 13-15-year-olds.

The hotel can also arrange train journeys and flights at a discount.

The good
The staff – nothing ever seemed too much trouble, from booking trips to answering questions about toddler paraphernalia. Most of the staff were on first name terms with my daughter within hours, they sent useful tips on what to do and I doubt we’d have been able to plan as well without their help and knowledge. After a slight mixup, they even whisked the cot from our room and had replaced it with a child bed in the space of about 10 minutes. Bar one slightly grumpy waitress, I’d have cloned them all.

Family-friendly facilities – there is everything you might need available to borrow (and give enough notice and they can get extras), so we had a baby monitor, nightlight, booster seat, even a buggy to borrow. Ideal with a strict weight limit on the planes. We even briefly got a Bumbo, rocking baby chair and changing mat among the baby essentials left in our room. There’s also a separate games room off the lounge with a huge cupboard full of toys – we relaxed in a comfy chair, Minnie made friends and tried to play with everything at once…

Boats in the harbour - exploring the islands by boat is one of my 16 things to do in the Isles of Scilly with kids

The location – on the main island, St Mary’s, we were just minutes from the quay, so no long treks to get boats for a day out (or afterwards with a tired small girl). The hotel also posts the times of the day’s boats to other islands at reception, as well as booking boat tours for us in advance. There’s beaches nearby, shops and cafes if you want them and airport shuttles drop off and pick up very nearby.

The food – oh the food. How I didn’t come back a stone heavier is frankly inexplicable as their restaurant is simply fantastic. Our stay included a three-course meal in the evening and breakfast (including lavish cooked options along with cereal, fruit, yoghurt and pastries). There are great wines by the glass, and even the biscuits in the room were more special than usual. I had great steak, loads of seafood and fish, plus equally fantastic desserts (salted caramel, my favourite). Check out the menus and drool…

There’s also two options if you’re travelling with kids – either high tea from 5.30 or they can book families in to eat at 6.30 if you’d rather have dinner together. The portions are gigantic, and my daughter was such a fan of the cheesy chicken pasta (sticky pasta, as she dubbed it), she had it every night…

The little extras – lots of little touches really helped make the stay seem special. For example, kids could paint shells from the beach and the hotel would varnish them and stick them to the shell wall in the garden. Or they created treasure trails to help explore the islands, two focusing on St Mary’s itself. Porters pick up luggage from the airport shuttle and ferry, and they can even put together picnic hampers for your days out.

My daughter looks at the painted shells and stone decorating the wall at Tregarthen's Hotel Isles of Scilly - my review of Tregarthen's hotel with kids

The not so good
The decor – well, tiny bits of it. The chairs in the lounge are comfy, the bathrooms are stylishly monochrome, and as Tregarthen’s doesn’t sell itself as a boutique design hotel, it seems unfair to focus on. But some of the corridor carpets were starting to look a little tired, for example. A problem? Really, no.

Occasionally too laid-back – another very minor niggle. Going to the Isles of Scilly really is all about relaxing, and the whole atmosphere is very laid-back. Which did translate into the occasional wait at breakfast for cooked dishes to appear, especially when busy. And when I spoke to a fellow guest with two children, we discovered she didn’t know about the extra baby and child kit to borrow – with such a great service on offer, she said she’d have left a few things at home if she’d known.

The verdict
Would I go back? Tomorrow, if they’ll have me… Failing that, if I can pack all the staff to arrange my trips and generally look after me wherever I go, plus the chef, I’ll be very happy indeed.

Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Tregarthen’s Hotel Isles of Scilly. All opinions and greedyguts tendencies are my own.

Images and video copyright MummyTravels