From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

This English Villa Has a Secret Cave That Brings You Right to the Water's Edge

It gives a whole new meaning to oceanfront accommodations.

The Power of Paradise


The Power of Paradise

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai cultivates the potency of the tiny island’s...

A Food Lover’s Guide to Phoenix


A Food Lover’s Guide to Phoenix

A former local, who discovered her deep love for food and hospitality in this...

How to Care for Winter Skin


How to Care for Winter Skin

Red-carpet facialist Joanna Vargas shares her tips for a lit-from-within glow come...

Travelers have all heard of overwater villas, and some have even experienced underwater ones. But, one English vacation rental decided to create something in between: a shoreline villa.

Black Moon, a one-bedroom Beachspoke portfolio holiday home in Cornwall, is perched right on the edge of the sea offering unobstructed panoramic views of St. Ives Bay. While that is charming enough, the owners decided to add a unique element to the home to help you truly feel one with nature. An Enid Blyton-style trap door leads down to the hidden cave below the living room where you can lie on the fur rugs and watch the waves roll in through the window that is built into the stone wall. The water is so close that at high tide, it crashes against the side of the house.

“I love the contrast of stepping from a bustling small cobbled road, closing the door to the world outside and entering a cave-like space, seeing nothing but the sea ahead,” Sarah Shearer, co-owner of Beachspoke and The Peligoni Club, told Departures. “Like the light at the end of a tunnel and hearing nothing but the rhythmic sound of the sea sloshing on the rocks below.”

The cave was a storeroom boxed in with shelving and cupboards and was once a fish cellar accessed from the rocks below. When renovating the property, Shearer saw the opportunity to add drama by opening up the fish cellar and using glass in the floor so that there is a double height view of the sea and rocks as you enter the property.

The “cave” is formed by hard granite, too hard to drill in to. So, the up-lighting had to be surface mounted, and she used an old anchor chain to keep the cables in place and made a concrete platform to lounge on. “I did not wish to detract from the feeling of being in a cave,” she said. “So, it is softened with only sheepskin rugs and a fur throw; it’s an atmospheric space for quiet contemplation and imagination.”

Elsewhere in the abode, you’ll find an open plan kitchen and living area with the bedroom and en-suite bathroom towards the rear of the home. The enter space—above and below ground—is outfitted with materials that reflect the surroundings bringing the outside in.

“I love creating a feeling of being at one with nature,” she said. “Whether it is a beautiful calm sunny day or the moonlight highlighting ferocious sea with spray hitting the windows and the sound of groaning boulders being pounded by the waves so close. It’s like being on a boat but feeling safe in the warm luxury that cocoons you.”


Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.