Cornwall holds a special place in my heart, it was the place of many happy family holidays as a child and one that holds the same memories for my husband. When we started chatting to the team at Una St Ives a few months ago about possibly coming to stay we were both thrilled – St Ives is a beautiful place we’ve been to as a couple but never with the girls so we were keen to see what it had to offer us a family.
We travelled to St Ives early on a Friday morning hoping to be there just after lunch for an afternoon in the resort or at the beach. After a fairly good journey from Dorset (where my parents live), we arrived just after lunchtime.
Una St Ives was built in 2015 with the 29 eco-lodges built first, soon followed by the Atrium building creating a spa, leisure club and restaurant. The vision behind Una St Ives was to create great accommodation with on-site dining and leisure facilities which would work as a year-round, sustainable destination for short or longer stays.
Una is in a rural location which we loved. It’s 10 minutes off the A30 at the edge of Carbis Bay and nearby St Ives with two train stations also 10 minutes away (Carbis Bay and Lelant).
The two-bedroom eco-lodge at Una St Ives was our home for the weekend…
Our two-bedroom eco-lodge
We absolutely loved our two-bedroom eco-lodge. It was perfect for families with a big kitchen stocked with all the utensils we needed and a few essentials to get us started (coffee, delicious biscuits, milk, tea, orange juice, dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid, tea towels, washing machine tablets, and cloths). It was so useful to have so much provided as it meant we just had to buy a few essential supplies of food and didn’t need to buy lots of washing up liquid etc. We didn’t use things like the dishwasher or washing machine, but if we had stayed a few more days this would have proved really useful with two little ones.
The rest of the lodge was beautifully decorated with a large open plan living area adjacent to the kitchen with TV a wood burner for cooler days and a big comfortable sofa. We also found a few board games, perfect for evenings in the lodge.
We had two bedrooms, which was brilliant for us as a family. It meant that when the girls had gone to bed Nick and I could watch TV or chat, rather than when we stay in a hotel and have to sit in the dark!
The rooms had the most comfortable beds I think I’ve ever slept in on holiday and we both slept so well! The girls had two beds which were pushed next to each other so they enjoyed a sleepover. Each bedroom had an en-suite bathroom; the girls with a bath and ours with a shower. Una provided soap in all the bathrooms, so you’d just need to bring shower gel and hair shampoos etc.
My only slight complaint about the rooms was the blinds. We found on a sunny summers evening they let in a lot of light so we struggled a little bit to get the girls to settle. Having spoken to Una about this they let me know that they are changing these due to previous feedback from families so this should be better in the future.
Finally, the outside of the property was stunning and perfect to enjoy dinner or drinks on a sunny evening. The decked area looked onto a grass area, which the girls loved running around on.
What is an Eco Lodge?
When the 29 lodges at Una were constructed many ecological features were incorporated into the build. On or in each lodge, there are solar PV panels, sedum roofs, cedar cladding, lamb’s wool insulation, triple glazed windows, induction hobs and natural log burners.
The main building was also built in the same way and the leisure facility incorporates a heat recovery system. The beautiful grounds around the resort have incorporated traditional Cornish stonewalls and planting which is designed to be sustainable and not require watering.
Around the Una resort
The Una St Ives resort is beautiful, with lots of open space and surrounded by wildflowers, well-kept gardens, and countryside. We really felt we were away from reality and in holiday mode when we were there and the girls really enjoyed riding their scooters from the lodge to the playground.
There is one main building and area in Una where you’ll find a brilliant restaurant (Una Kitchen), reception, an outdoor play area and dining area, a spa and the amazing swimming pool. There were a few toys (for both little ones and grown-ups) for outdoor play like footballs and a croquet set.
We spent most of our mornings in the infinity swimming pool, as the girls just loved it. The pool area is modern, clean and has amazing views overlooking the gardens. The infinity pool was a perfect pool for lengths and I really enjoyed having some time to swim. The girls enjoyed splashing in the shallow children’s pool, which was the perfect depth for them to practice their swimming. There was also a sauna, steam, and whirlpool, which unfortunately I couldn’t use due to being pregnant but Nick enjoyed whilst I got the girls changed.
Una St Ives also has a wonderful restaurant based next to reception in the main atrium building which serves Mediterranean-inspired wood-fired cuisine that champions local, seasonal produce. Whether you’re in need of a good breakfast before a day on the beach, a lunch or a special dinner Una Kitchen caters for every meal and occasion.
We were invited to sample both dinner and breakfast and were really impressed with both the adults and children’s options.
The dinner we had on our first night was delicious. My seafood platter starter was hands down some of the best seafood I’ve had. The salmon, mackerel pate and potted crab were prepared beautifully and I would really, really recommend trying their seafood when you’re there!
Amelie and Evie were spoilt with the kid’s menu. They shared a pizza, halloumi bites, and some chips which they both gave a big thumbs up to! We were sat very close to the wood-fired oven so we took the girls over to see their pizza being made and were so interested to hear how much of the food at Una Kitchen was cooked in the oven. From the chicken burgers to the pizzas the oven cooks food quickly and deliciously. (Amelie and Evie also loved telling the chef what food they could see, thanks to Glenn for letting us watch)!
Our mains were equally as yummy as my starter. I had pork belly with polenta and Nick had the chicken burger (cooked in the wood-fired oven). The pork belly was tender, yet crisp and the polenta side was so tasty. I’ve never had anything like it before so it was really good to try something new.
Nicks burger was also enjoyed before he went outside to the playground to play with the girls! We would expect the restaurant to be really busy in the high season and would have loved to had sat outside (with views of the park) had it been warmer. It would be a great spot to have dinner and watch the children play.
The girls ended their dinner with ice cream and I had a chocolate pot – yum! The perfect end to a delicious meal.
Una Kitchen also offers takeaways which we decided to do on the second night as it was just so convenient when the little ones are tired! We both had one of the wood-fired pizzas and a salad to share. It was so nice to be able to eat it back at the lodge with the girls happy in their room.
We also had breakfast booked on our second to last day at Una and if there is one thing I love on holiday it’s not having to cook so having breakfast out was a real treat!
We started our breakfast with coffee, always essential with two under 5 years old and tried to make our decision on the menu…
After some deliberating (as it all sounded yummy) we decided on smoked salmon for Nick, a Cornish cooked breakfast for me and waffles for Amelie and Evie.
The waffles were (I can confirm as I tried a tiny bit) delicious! Amelie wasn’t so keen on the sauce, amazingly, but ate the whole waffle. Evie tried a bit of everything but loved the banana with the waffle.
My breakfast was yummy, with fresh (and local) produce. I really enjoyed it, especially the home-made hash browns.
Nicks smoked salmon and scrambled eggs also looked delicious.
Who is Una St Ives for? Is it family-friendly?
We found Una St Ives to be a modern, well designed, homely, family-friendly holiday home away from home. We felt it was the perfect base to feel like you’ve got away from it all but at the same time are close to beaches and the hustle and bustle of St Ives harbour.
We really enjoyed our two-bedroom lodge as a family of four, for all the practical reasons mentioned above, but also due to the swimming facilities, open spaces, and restaurant. Although we enjoyed it as a four, we could also see ourselves visiting here with extended family. The lodges are in perfect proximity to each other to enable a family break where you could all meet up for meals or for little ones to play in the open green space.
Una St Ives also offers family-friendly activities in the school holidays from Easter treasure hunts, waterslides in Summer and Indoor Water games over the festive period.
In terms of equipment for younger guests, I checked with Una and they do not specifically supply cots, as many of their guests like to bring their own due to stays being a 7 days, however, they work closely with a local company that have a range of equipment that can be hired prior or during arrival so this can be arranged when booking.
We would highly recommend Una to families, it was such a relaxing break for us and the girls absolutely loved their holiday home, we also saw lots of other families and groups there so children or toddlers were not a rare sight!
What we did in St Ives
Una is situated just a few minutes drive from beautiful Carbis Bay beach and about a 7-10 minute drive from St Ives harbour. We thought the location was fantastic as it allowed us to explore the area but retreat to a quiet, remote location which we loved with the girls.
We loved St Ives Harbour and spent a lovely afternoon on the beach there. We hired two deck chairs, remembered our buckets and spades and loved watching the girls splash in the calm, clear sea. There were toilet facilities within easy reach and lots of places to eat – just be aware of the seagulls when eating in St Ives! (You’ll either need to cover your food or eat with a wall behind you as they try to take food from behind)!
We found some great places for ice cream and food in the harbour area. We’d really recommend Thai Tapas for dinner which has amazing views over the harbour and underneath you’ll find a yummy ice cream shop (which was all pink inside) – perfect!
We also spent the day on Carbis Bay beach. Be aware that the closer to the beach you park, the higher the cost. We decided to park right next to the beach as I was feeling a little unwell the day we went with morning sickness and didn’t fancy the walk back up the hill and this cost £10 for the day. We rented deck chairs and a windbreak and absolutely loved our day on the beach! When the sun shone it felt like being in the Caribbean! We’d really recommend Carbis Bay for a day out.
We loved our time in Cornwall and will definitely be back, possibly with the baby next time!
*We were gifted a stay and two meals at Una St Ives in exchange for coverage. All words and opinions in this blog post are our own*