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27 August 2021

Forbes: It’s Global Glamour Meets Laid-Back Vibes

by Angelina Villa-Clarke

At Cornwall’s New Three Mile Beach!

It’s a bumpy drive towards the latest – and hippest – opening in Cornwall. As you slowly approach along the narrow, twisting lane, you’ll inhale salt air, sea grasses and sea-pinks swaying alongside you in the breeze – and then you’ll spot streaks of turquoise beyond the dunes. This is Three Mile Beach, an eclectic collection of 15 barefoot-luxe beach houses, found on the edge of Gwithian Beach in west Cornwall.

Inside each house, it’s a joyful mix-match of styles. White-washed, clapper-board walls are brightened with an interesting mix of finds and treasures from afar: from a star-embossed, mint-green surfboard to jaunty West African woven baskets. Candy-floss pink Berber rugs, sourced from Moroccan souks, and cushions, fashioned out of repurposed Indian rice bags, add a kaleidoscope of colour. A glossy cream wood-burner in the corner is perfect for cool Cornish nights, while a burnished-silver standalone bath-tub at the end of the bed, in the master-bedroom, is just the thing to soak in after a day on the beach.

Outside, the houses are painted in a rainbow of paintbox-colours – think: bubblegum pink, sapphire blue and sunshine yellow – and are named after pop songs – Purple Rain, Careless Whisper and Champagne Supernova, for instance. The first impression you get is that this is far removed from holiday rentals of old – it’s out with the chintz and in with the cool.

Yet, houses are as practical as they are colourfully cheerful. Kitchens have top-spec dishwashers, Smeg appliances and induction hobs. Beautifully-made, speckled pastel, Cornish crockery (you’ll be tempted to buy your own collection to take home) and cocktail making kits (found in a repurposed gasoline can) add an extra level of luxury and give a true point of difference, so you feel like no expense (or thought) has been spared.

In fact, this attention to detail is noticeable throughout – from the Samsung flat-screen Frame TV – so you can look at art while it’s switched off – to the fact that every hanging light fitting has a bespoke pink or mint-green cord (instead of just a bog-standard one).

In the open-plan kitchen-living area, sets of bi-fold French doors merge the inside with the outside wraparound deck. It’s just want you want from a beachside retreat. Step outside to find your own sunken cedar hot tub and barrel sauna, Fat Boy bean bags and sausage-dog seats, which all add to the fun-factor.

The feel is a little bit Miami with a touch of Marrakech underlaid with a Cornish heart – so it’s no surprise to learn that Three Mile Beach was created by Audley Travel founder, Craig Burkinshaw and his partner, Joanne Le Bon. It really feels like the magical essence of travel has been sewn into the fabric of the place.

“We wanted it to evoke the carefree fun and nostalgia of childhood seaside holidays,” Craig says. While Jo’s penchant for eclectic artworks and Cornish artisanship can be seen everywhere – from the vintage tin signs hung on one of the bedroom’s walls to the oversized rattan lampshades; from the hand-woven bed throws to the cactus-embossed glass in the bathroom window.

Little elements of surprise are found throughout and also spark joy – like the tiny mezzanine floors housing an extra bed in some of the bedrooms, ideal for little ones to sleep in – and the surprisingly good mini-library of books for guests to dip into (consisting or recent releases). Meanwhile, full-size bath products by natural and ethical brand Land & Water and eco cleaning products by Splosh are also nice touches and feel ‘on-point’.

When it comes to food, dining at Three Mile Beach is also raising the bar. There’s a food truck and mobile bar offering a Cornish take on street food, with a menu that changes every five days. Forget burgers and fish and chips (although the latter does occasionally make an appearance), this is meant to be ‘inventive and interesting’, says Oli, the resident chef. So, expect clams in a hake and pea broth; green bean salad with confit garlic and charred courgette or halloumi fries with a gooseberry sweet chilli. You can also book your own chef to rustle you up a bespoke tasting or a feasting menu – whatever suits your mood – in your own home, so you can truly kick back.

Rob Michael from Flavour and Wine is one of the chefs collaborating with Three Mile Beach and offers soulful Cornish menus with a South Asian twist (inspired by his travels around Asia and Australia). As you sip a glass of bubbles, he’ll conjure up Cornish steamed mussels infused with lemongrass, garlic, ginger and coconut; pulled-pork tacos; Asian salads and mackerel with labneh and samphire, finished with a home-made sticky-toffee pudding and Cornish clotted cream.

To work this off, thankfully on the doorstep is Gwithian Beach – one of west Cornwall’s best beaches, framed by sand dunes and tall coastal grasses. It is loved as much by surfers, due to its rollers, as it is by families and friends due to its wide expanse of sand and rock pools. Early morning walks will find it empty of tourists – the sea glassy and the sand dotted with shells.

From surf lessons to yoga on the beach, Three Mile Beach makes much of its destination, offering a wide choice of activities to do in the surf and sand. By evening it’s also one of the finest spots to watch the sun go down – Godrevy Lighthouse looking resplendent agains the last of the rays. It’s Cornwall but reinvented.

This article was originally published online, Forbes August 2021.

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