showcasing the best of the south west

Top 10 Hotels in Cornwall

Pictured above: the relaxation lounge at The Scarlet Hotel

Hotel Tresanton, Cornwall

When Olga Polizzi opened the Hotel Tresanton in a former yacht club back in 1998 she pretty much set the benchmark for boutique hotels everywhere.

After all, what could be nicer than waking in one of the nautical chic bedrooms which all face onto St Mawes Bay or dining at night by candlelight on the open air terrace? Hotel Tresanton is a place of quietly lavish, pared down cool, whether you're sipping a perfectly made Bloody Mary in the bar (with its own highly secret recipe) or playing backgammon (and coveting the furniture) in the beautiful sitting room. Food is a high point with local ingredients and the freshest fish and breakfasts are legendary  (smoked haddock and gruyere omelette anyone?)  Popular with families Tresanton has a playroom with toys and DVDs etc, for older children there's fishing, kayaking and sailing - right outside the door. New to the hotel is Rock Cottage with family room, kitchen, suite and 2 balconies. The hotel also offers beauty treatments, a cinema and 48ft yacht for private charter.

Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall 

Set up as a traditional buckets and spades hotel on a stunning beach 30 years ago, Watergate Bay underwent a radical transformation a few years back and has become an uber-cool destination for families and surf-seeking couples alike. Nowhere better to bring your kids than this Cornish hotspot which shares the beach with Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall (read about the new anti-pasti bar here



 St Moritz Hotel, Trebetherick, Cornwall 

They've just got everything right at this gorgeous Art Deco style hotel from the rooms, apartments and villas with sea views to the choice of restaurants (one on the beach),  In summer there are swarms of families making the most of the great beach location, outdoor pool and but it works brilliantly in winter too, the go-to place for quiet pampering and bracing walks. There's enough space to make it a perfect destination for romancing couples too or, we think, the best spot for a girl's night. The Cowshed Spa is here with its fabulous treatments The food is utterly knock out from the to the best dinner we ate all year (review here). Padstow and Rock are close by for Steinsville excursions but we don't think you'll want to leave the uber comfort of St Moritz.

The Scarlet Hotel, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall  

Strictly for adults this one, loved up couples, celebrating with friends, girls' nights - we can't overemphasise the fabulousness of The Scarlet. Let's start with its clifftop location overlooking beautiful Mawgan Porth beach; some of the rooms have doors opening onto the lawn so you can stroll from bed to beach. It's a luxury eco hotel built to be as sustainable as possible, with an Ayurvedic spa and serving stunning food. The spa specialises in tailor-made treatments, stress-busting, energising, whatever you require and includes amazing features such as the shared hamman and rhassoul rooms for body scrubs and mud baths, the couples' suite with double bath, the clifftop hot tub overlooking the sea and the beautiful indoor pool with amazing sea views. Food is spectacular, chef Tom Hunter is passionate about locality and fish is a speciality.

The Bedruthan, Mawgan Porth  

And if you have kids in tow, the Bedruthan (sister hotel to The Scarlet) is the place to go. You still get those spectacular clifftop views of beautiful, craggy Mawgan Porth beach but here every child's whim is catered to and that means adults get pampering time too. It's been a family hotel for 50 years but now with a cool 21st century makeover which means state of the art spa for grown ups and an enormous indoor pool for children. There are 2 restaurants The Herring which has a hip 60s feel interior and wonderful food or The Wild Cafe which also has amazing views of the beach and serves more casual Ottolenghi and Hugh FW inspired dishes. You can book surfing lessons and Bedruthan specialises in activity weekends too - love the sound of the hula hooping weekend in May with tuition from the NoFit State Circus (believe me these girls are amazing). A perfect family retreat which works for all ages.

The Driftwood, Gerrans Bay

A stunning boutique hotel decorated to have a New England nautical feel - think blues, creams and natural woods - on a clifftop overlooking Gerrans Bay, close to the gorgeous, atmospheric fishing villages of Portscatho and St Mawes. It's very child-friendly set in 7 acres and right by the beach with early suppers from £10 a head (not a chicken nugget in sight of course) and then full blown amazing food for grown ups. Chef Chris Eden recently won a Michelin star for his stellar and inventive cooking, fish is a speciality here. In summer you'll want to collapse on a steamer chair with a glass of champagne and soak up the incredible views, pack a binocular and kite and your children will be happy. Some of the bedrooms open up onto the beach. This is a beautiful, romantic part of Cornwall with amazing beaches - Pendower, Carne and Porthbeor are a short hop away.

The Lugger, Portloe

The Lugger defines the seaside hotel experience, an old 17th coaching inn turned boutique hotel where you'll fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing against rocks. It has a suitably chequered past - in 1890, the inn's landlord, Black Dunstan, was sent to the gallows for smuggling French brandy - but these days it's a ridiculously comfortable retreat with a New England feel. White furniture and big cream sofas offset the dark beams, there is a wonderful, slightly sophorific sitting room where you'll want to curl up with a book.   Portloe is one of the prettiest fishing villages in Cornwall, steep and winding, set between cliffs, it has an ancient feel. Fishermen deliver their daily catch from the harbour to the hotel which is literally a stone's throw. Food is spectacularly good here - perfect steaks, possibly the freshest lobster and crab you'll ever eat. Walk along the cliffs, have a pint in The Ship, perhaps return to The Lugger for cream tea and a pre-dinner snooze  - returning to reality is tough.  












Boskerris Hotel, St Ives  

Boskerris was built in 1931 and has a romantic Agatha Christie sort of feel with its stunning location overlooking Carbis Bay Beach. It makes me think of pre-war artists' colonies, I can imagine Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West turning up sketchpads and notebooks in hand, for long contemplative sea walks. Boskerris has been recently revamped to have a boutiquey, mediterrean feel, the hotel has a sun deck with outrageous sea views. Wonderful bedrooms with double-ended baths, legendary breakfasts including kedgeree and owner Anna's home-made muesli which is so popular she packages it up for guests to take home. You can order cream teas with champagne if the mood strikes you, St Ives is a 20 minute amble away along the coast. One of those places you want to keep a secret.





St Enodoc Hotel, Rock  

Well it's in Rock so there's a certain type of customer to cater to and this hotel does it brilliantly with golf, Michelin starred food from Nathan Outlaw, a well-equipped gym (home from home for Harbour Club addicts), tennis courts, spa, indoor and outdoor pools. One of the first boutique family hotels on the block, it's pricey but you're guaranteed a good time. Children eat first then chill out with DVDs while grown ups indulge in Outlaw's spectacular food. Rick Stein's plethora of restaurants (all bases covered and then some) are a quick ferry ride to Padstow. Day-time surfing and a games room for nocturnal kids - ping pong, table football and a huge library of DVDs. A holiday where you don't have to think about anything. Tempting huh?





Fowey Hall  

Fowey Hall was one of the first hotels in Cornwall to make a virtue of catering to families. Rooms are designed to offer flexible sleeping arrangements, inter-connecting so kids have their own room, z beds and sofa beds in your room, deluxe family suites which can sleep up to 6. There's a huge indoor pool (early morning and evening swimming times reserved for adults only), a trampoline and play area and plenty of roaming chickens for the kids to feed. The hotel has a creche and a spa so adults can book in for facials, massages and some quality me-time. Fowey Hall offers high tea followed by dinner for grown ups with a baby listening service and babysitters. It's the perfect place to come when you've just had a baby and are numbly wondering how on earth you'll ever have a holiday again. The answer is here - a hotel designed to take you in and nurse you through the shattering reality of all those years ahead.

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