There is no reception desk at The Scarlet. No trays of coffee or tea in your room*. This is a hotel that does things differently. And slightly better.
Instead of a reception meet-and-greet, guests enter a vast glass-clad entrance looking out to an infinity pool with views to the beach below. The lack of formality and accountability is refreshing and with it comes a sense of laissez-faire that is anything but laissez.
Having lost my dad in the spa below, we were already late for our lunch but service floated around us, accommodated and left us, even as were faffed from one table to the next, trying to get that stunning view into our faces.
Lunch starts at a very reasonable £22.50 for three-courses (those marked in bold) and even if the portions were visibly small, we were full afterwards. I started with green vegetable soup with a beautifully plump duck’s egg and D tried the pan-fried silver mullet with January King’s, caramelised shallot puree and salami. The mullet was fantastic and it was great to see a lesser-known fish on the menu.
Our mains were: me – spiced and roasted aubergine with courgette fritters, yoghurt and mint. D went for more fish (his favourite when we eat out): wild sea bass with roasted leek, saffron potatoes, golden broccoli, brown shrimps and capers. The aubergine and courgette looked like a summer picnic on the plate, courgettes tucked into light tempura-style batter, chunky roasted aubergine sprinkled with micro herbs. The bass was bijou but delicious.
For dessert I went treacle tart with banana sorbet and clotted cream, a classic executed accordingly and D went chocolate truffle tart with honeycomb and vanilla ice cream. Both, especially the ice creams and the pert bottoms of the tarts, were annihilated with no evidence left on the plates.
Whether it’s the views which are six-star, the food or the light which crashes in from the coast outside or just the fact that this is adults only taking some time out, The Scarlet Hotel is a place to be recommended. Highly.