Artist Residence Cornwall

Penzance, Cornwall, United Kingdom Book from

Fun and funky art hotel with good-value rooms and a 3-bedroom cottage, plus a sociable eatery
The London and Brighton branches may be cooking up a storm, but head towards Land's End and you'll find this funky Grade II-listed townhouse has plenty to shout about, too. Here in Penzance, local artists were given guest rooms as blank canvases and the freedom to fill them with flair - each is utterly unique. A clutch of more understated but no less appealing 'House' and 'Comfy' rooms plus a 3-bedroom cottage have since joined the gang. Choose your favourite and stay in your own private masterpiece with all the comforts of top-notch bedding, Roberts radios and eco-chic toiletries.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. The ground floor is devoted to The Cornish Barn, an informal rustic-meets-industrial restaurant serving up tasty Cornish fare. Grab a booth, order a beer, and relax over an evening feast. There's also a lounge-bar with cocktails, candles and a crackling wood-burner. Or walk out of the chunky red front door and you’re moments from Penzance’s cafés, pubs and galleries.

Highs

  • Well-designed, imaginative rooms; we particularly liked the Comfy Luxe, Super Comfy Luxe and Lookout options with their roll-top tubs
  • A buzzing restaurant, delicious breakfasts packed with local produce, a fire-warmed lounge-bar, and a sunny courtyard for summer drinks
  • The affable young team can keep you up to speed on anything from the Cornish art scene to the nearest sandy beach
  • A great base for exploring this gorgeous corner of Cornwall, and minutes from the Scilly Isles ferry
  • Fantastic value for money

Lows

  • Some might find the art a little too off-the-wall, but the 'House' and 'Comfy' rooms are more restrained
  • The soundproofing could be better between rooms, and those at the front might experience some street noise
  • Some of the carpets and fittings look a little tired, though they're gradually being spruced up
  • No car park, though you can park for free on the streets nearby

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year round, and historic Penzance is fascinating in any season. Beaches and the surf beckon in summer; blustery coastal walks and gallery-hopping without the crowds are the main attractions in winter. An annual highlight is the town’s Golowan Festival at the end of June, with performances, exhibitions and parades.

Our top tips

A lovely - and unusual - way to explore this area is to combine your stay with a foraging course. The Fat Hen Cookery School, run by ecologist Caroline Davey, offers wild food weekends near St Buryan.

If you’re into the gastronomic good life, stock up on meat to take home with you at the Higher Trenowin farm shop, north of Penzance on the road to St Ives.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 21 rooms + 1 cottage
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Gallery Loft

Rooms

Many of the playful rooms were decorated by local artists and are utterly unique. Select one which suits your taste – perhaps Small Arty Double ‘Ben Gray’ with its circular bed, or Medium Arty Double ‘Admiral Benbow’ with its colourful mural of the pub opposite - and on arrival you’ll get to hear all about the story behind it. They're compact with showers only, but you'll feel like you're staying in a private gallery.

If you want a bit more luxury then opt for one of the newer Comfy Luxe and Super Comfy Luxe rooms, which have decadent tubs, bathrobes, Nespresso machines and walk-in rainfall showers. They’re a little more understated in terms of décor, but you’ll still find eclectic touches such as lights made from old fishing baskets and crates for bedside tables. There’s also a trio of loft rooms – the Picture Loft with its roll-top bath, the Scandi-style Attic Loft with its handy kitchenette, and the Gallery Loft with a mezzanine level holding extra beds – as well as small Cosy House Doubles on the ground and first floors. Top of the house - and top of the range - is The Lookout, which consists of a bedroom, a separate living room with a log-burner and kitchenette, a freestanding copper tub, and a terrace looking out over the rooftops to sea.

For those seeking independence, there's a 3-bedroom cottage next door to the hotel. It's ideal for longer stays and families, with a spacious fire-warmed living and kitchen area, 2 double bedrooms, a snug bunk-bed room, and a bathroom with a copper tub and separate shower.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player (on request)
  • Extra beds
  • Fan (on request)
  • Hairdryer
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The Cornish Barn is the heart of the hotel, serving up sharable dishes using local produce. The menu has a particular focus on cured meats and fish, much of them smoked on site - we tucked into delicious pulled pork with oak-smoked cheddar and pickled apple, grilled prawns with lemon and garlic, and enormous smoked steaks that were cooked to perfection. Vegetarian options are also available, and there are occasional Mediterranean influences - perhaps octopus with chorizo, or honey-roasted beets with feta.

Breakfast is just as tasty, with a few unusual options alongside the normal Full Cornish and smoked salmon. We started with cute jars of yoghurt and compote, before moving onto scrambled eggs with spinach, Cornish blue cheese and sourdough toast.

The lounge-bar is open throughout the day for coffee and cocktails, and Penzance has plenty of local cafés for light lunches - just ask for recommendations. If you don’t mind a short drive to Mousehole, chic little harbourside bistro 2 Fore Street does fantastic seafood.

The Attic Loft and The Lookout both have basic kitchenettes with a combination microwave/oven; cottage guests get a kitchen area with all you need for simple meals.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Penzance’s faded architectural splendour and immerse yourself in its prospering art scene
  • Take a dip in the Jubilee Pool (open June-September), the town's stunning Art Deco outdoor lido - or watch the action from its café
  • Venture across the granite causeway at low tide to the fairytale island castle of St Michael’s Mount
  • Pop southwest along Mount’s Bay to the picturesque harbour of Mousehole
  • Laze on the lovely beach at Porthcurno (a 20-minute drive), then catch a performance at the open-air Minack Theatre, hewn from the cliffs above the sand
  • Treat yourself to a bracing hike (and mind-clearing views) along the South West Coastal Path, or cycle to Marazion along the Cornish Way Cycle Path (the team can advise on bike hire)
  • Explore the wider area - you’re within easy reach of Land’s End, St Ives and Sennen Cove

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Art classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Theatre
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome and will enjoy the eye-catching and playful décor. That said, there’s not much space to run around, nor are there any dedicated facilities.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 3-bedroom cottage next door to the hotel is well set-up for families, with a spacious living area and kitchen, a master double, another double/twin and a bunk room.

Of the hotel rooms, the Gallery Loft is the best option for families - it has a mezzanine level with a small double bed and a single, though the stairs are steep with open treads. The Lookout, the Bigger Arty Double and one of the Medium Arty Doubles have sofabeds. Be aware that many bathrooms have showers only.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • St Michael's Mount
  • Land's End
  • Mousehole
  • Beaches including Sennen Cove
  • The cinema in Newlyn for rainy days
  • Jubilee Pool (June-September)
  • Tin mines
  • St Ives
  • Birding at Hayle

Distances:

  • Hospital: 10 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly: The Cottage

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
9/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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