“A clutch of stylish beach houses with indoor pool, spa, bar and restaurant on the stunning island of Tresco (each sleeps 6-10)”
The Flying Boat Cottages comprise 12 beachfront houses each sleeping 6-10 people. Most have 3 bedrooms (1 master double, plus 2 twin rooms). Some have extra sofabeds and a couple have a 4th bedroom. All are fabulous and we think calling them cottages is a bit mean: there's plenty of space to swing a cat and they're far from cramped. We were completely sold on being able to wander down our steps and be on the beach in seconds. All face the bay and neighbouring island of Bryher. Half of them have cedar wood cladding with lofty "A" frame roofs which gives a New England appearance; the rest have rough cast exteriors, giving a more traditional look, and with lower ceilings a slightly cosier feel. See links at bottom for details of the different options.
Inside they're all of similar style: oak floors downstairs and cream and blue painted walls. Upstairs you'll tread on 40oz carpets and Designer's Guild cushions and curtains splash some vibrant colour (perhaps too much for some). Original paintings are showcased throughout courtesy of the Dorrien-Smith collection and many are by acclaimed contemporary artists renowned for capturing Cornwall and the Islands. The Master Bedrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning sea views, a plasma screen TV and plenty of cupboard space. The second and third smaller bedrooms face the back and each has twin beds that can be zipped together. Half of the houses have a downstairs snug/TV room with a sofabed for two; the rest have a separate dining room instead.
For summer there's a terrace with table and chairs and a small patch of lawn as well as folding doors that open to a balcony off the master bedroom. In cooler months there's a log burning fire to keep you warm and snug; there are also wall heaters which are charged according to usage. If you want to keep connected, each house has at least 3 flat screen digital/satellite TVs, and free WiFi too.
Bathrooms are more functional than designer: you won't get Philippe Starck fittings, but the baths are spotless and the showers strong. There are lots of fluffy white towels but you'll need to bring your own toiletries, bathrobe and beach towels.
Every cottage has an extremely well kitted out kitchen - every pot, pan and gadget imaginable from garlic crusher, cake-making tins and weighing scales to electric tin opener, designer crockery and calculator. For evening cocktails we found the large fridge's crushed ice maker invaluable. We also thought the bin with its inbuilt colour coded recycling compartments clever and very practical.
Your choice of house may depend on the changeover day which varies (see below).
Wood-clad Beach Houses for 6 (changeover day)
Click here for more details and photos
Rough Cast Beach Cottages for 6-8 (changeover day)
Click here for more details and photos
Larger FBC Cottages for 8+ (changeover day)
Endeavour (8-9) (Wednesday)
Colossus (8-10) (Thursday)
Click here for more details and photos
For more cottages on Tresco with a Saturday changeover day see the Sea Garden Cottages on the other side of the island.
Eating in: if you plan to eat at home, don't worry about not being able to carry enough provisions with you (flights have strict baggage limits), the Tresco Stores has an excellent selection of essentials as well as a deli, lots of local produce (including Tresco beef) and a decent selection of wines and beers. Think mini "Wholefoods Market" rather than your local Spar. Naturally, being so cut off, prices will be a little dearer than the mainland but not excessively so and foodies will be impressed with the range of unusual ingredients. Ring up before and they'll stock your fridge prior to your arrival.
Your kitchen is amazingly well equipped with a range-style cooker, microwave, big fridge-freezer, dishwasher, stylish Sophie Conran Portmerion crockery and lots of pots and pans, as well as cleaning pack and barbecue. The array of baking equipment might just bring out the 'Nigella' in you. Order fresh lobster or crab from the local fishermen and you'll even find special stick forks for eating them. And there's plenty of room to eat either in the dining room or on the terrace.
Eating Out: it may be self-catering, but you don't have to do any cooking: the Flying Boat Restaurant and Bar is next door and open from February to mid November (closed Sunday evenings), plus Christmas/New Year. The atmosphere is laid-back and comfortable with red and blue Lloyd Loom chairs, daily papers, original paintings throughout and views across New Grimsby harbour. There's an outdoor terrace with tables resembling a ship's bough and indoors a log fire for winter. Pop in for coffee or a tasty bowl of boullabaise with fresh sourdough at lunch. With Glen Gatland (formerly Hell Bay) now at the helm, the emphasis is firmly on showcasing the region's best seafood. The dinner menu offers a mix and match approach (similar to Nathan Outlaw's Seafood Grill in Rock) where you select your fish, lobster or steak, followed by the sauce or dressing, then side orders, allowing you to explore different combinations.
Further afield: the menu at the new Ruin Beach Cafe on the other side of the island (25 min walk, less if you cycle) has more of a Mediterranean focus, including delicious wood-fired pizzas, and a stunning seaside location. Packed with locals and nautical memorabilia, the New Inn (5 minute walk, open all year round) serves fine ales and good pub grub. Or take a 5-10 minute boat ride to Bryher island and head for the hotel restaurant at Hell Bay (open end March - end October) - for a light lunch or fine dining in the evening (special dinner boats go across a couple of evenings a week). All are under the same ownership as the FBC.
Car-free Tresco is just 2 miles long by 1 mile wide but has an extremely diverse landscape with rugged cliffs and wild moorland in the north and lush farmland, manicured gardens and palms in the south.
i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2013
Winner: Island Adventure category
Say hello to freedom! With no cars and plenty of places to explore, this is heaven for kids. Hire children's bikes and helmets from the bike shop and let them go. Older kids can join the sailing club in summer and island hop in small yachts, and if it's raining, the heated indoor pool is ideal.
The island's sole shop Tresco Stores is just behind the cottages and stocks baby and toddler essentials (nappies, wipes, Calpol, suncream, buckets and spades, balls, baby food), though you might want to check in advance about preferred brands of formula.
Take your pick - they're all good. Most houses have 3 double/twin bedrooms, some also have a sofabed in a small TV room which would be good for children. Larger families opt for Colossus (sleeps 8-10) or Endeavour (sleeps 8-9), each with 4 double/twin rooms and a sofa bed. See Rooms.
Available with prior notice
Bring your own monitor. They should work from Colossus, Friendship or Fearless to the restaurant/clubhouse and maybe more
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Children's menus are available at the FBC restaurant (closed in winter and Sundays throughout the year) and kids love the pizzas at the Ruin Beach Cafe and icecreams at the New Inn. The kitchens are well stocked and have microwaves; you'll find everything you need at the local store
Children under 14 years must be accompanied by an adult in the FBC restaurant and bar and the swimming pool. Houses don't have washing machines but service washes are available at an extra cost