We are thrilled to share this review from Steve Backshall, BAFTA-winning wildlife TV presenter and naturalist who is a regular guest at Karma St. Martin’s with his wife Olympic rower Helen Glover and their kids.
‘I’ve never been one for fancy hotels. Nor for returning to the same place one year to the next. The first few times I came to the Isles of Scilly, I was in my sea kayak (literally)! We kayaked across the open sea all the way to Cornwall and we camped, cooked seaweed and I hand-caught scallops for supper! I didn’t change my pants for a week. So to come back to the islands I’d fallen in love with and stay at a luxury boutique hotel, well, it wasn’t really me at all.
But Karma St. Martin’s is a very special hotel and has changed our minds about so many things.
It has the finest setting of any hotel; the front lawn spills down onto a golden sand beach swept with the clearest seas on the continent. Curious seals spyhop and gaze at you with dark soulful eyes as you wander in the shallows. As the tide ebbs, autumnal coloured kelps hide bright orange starfish, giant crabs, and wriggling blennies. You can see across the straits to Tresco, rocky islands peppered with long-beaked curlew and clouds of an oystercatcher. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful.
I first came to Karma St. Martin’s with my wife Helen Glover (MBE – twice Olympic gold medallist) just after our first baby, Logan, was born. It was a last-minute decision but when I saw how beautiful the Karma Group resort looked I panicked. This wasn’t a hotel for the likes of us (Hels and I don’t wear shoes for six months of the year). We dress mostly in our PE kit and spend all day wild swimming or rock-pooling. You could make castles from the sand in our turn ups. Add to that a wailing baby, I thought we were about to become those nightmare guests…
But the hotel manager, Scott, didn’t bat an eyelid at our baby spew-soaked cardies. He and the staff welcomed us like a long lost family. If I could sum up Karma Group in a word it would be ‘unpretentious’. The guests at breakfast range from minor royalty to household names and TV personalities, yachties off their boats, birdwatchers and ramblers with their muddy dogs. The people at the table next to us at breakfast had a Great Dane named Zeus who was the size of a Shetland pony. Not only did no one care about our son whimpering through his breakfast, at one point one of the bar staff even offered to take him for a few hours during their day off!
Since then, Helen and I return every year. We added two more to our brood and Karma St. Martin’s has become our second home. It’s a place where we can take our foot off the gas, relax into the scenery and the serene pace of island life. We enjoy the luxury of being looked after, but never have to worry that we’ve left sandy footprints on the stairs. It means so much more to have a holiday at a place without the carbon footprint. Karma St. Martin’s has become our happy place; it’s genuinely our favourite place on the planet to bring our family.