Artist Residence Cornwall

Penzance, Cornwall, United Kingdom Book from £75

Fun and funky art hotel with good-value rooms and apartments, 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 room is utterly unique. A clutch of simpler house rooms and apartments, plus a cottage, have since joined the gang. Choose your favourite and stay in your own private masterpiece with all the comforts of top-notch bedding, ensuite shower rooms and eco-chic toiletries.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. The ground-floor is devoted to The Cornish Barn, a rustic meets industrial-style informal restaurant serving up tasty Cornish fare. Grab a booth, order a beer, and relax over an evening feast. Walk out of the chunky red front door and you’re moments from Penzance’s cafés, pubs and galleries.

Highs

  • A fresh vibe - from the imaginative rooms, to the fully-equipped 1- and 2-bedroom apartments and cottage
  • The affable young team can keep you up to speed on anything from the Cornish art scene to the nearest sandy beach
  • A buzzing informal restaurant and delicious breakfasts packed with local produce
  • A great base for exploring this gorgeous area 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 rooms and apartments are more understated
  • The soundproofing could be better in some rooms
  • Rooms are compact and some of the fittings are feeling a little tired
  • There's no car park

Best time to go

Historic Penzance is fascinating at any time of year. 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. Artist Residence Cornwall closes during January.

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
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 15 rooms + 5 apartments + 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
  • Courtyard
Room: Super Comfy Luxe Double

Rooms

In recent years the Artist Residence has evolved to be many things to many people. Primarily, it’s a hotel with 15 quirky guest rooms, many of which were designed by local artists.

Second to that, it has a clutch of 1- and 2-bedroom apartments and a 3-bedroom Cottage (which we’re yet to view). Located next door to the hotel, all are great for longer stays and families, with spacious living areas and full kitchens. We found the sea view apartment particularly charming.

Most of the playful hotel rooms are utterly unique. Choose one which suits your taste, and on arrival you’ll get to hear all about the relevant artist. Proportions are generally compact, although the lofts' high ceilings give an added sense of space. Our favourite was the Picture Loft, with its roll-top tub, though the Attic Loft has a handy kitchenette and a novel floating bed. The Gallery Loft is the biggest, with a mezzanine level holding extra beds.

Beyond the lofts, the Bigger Arty Double has a lovely bay window overlooking Chapel Street while the top-floor rooms boast distant sea views: Small Arty Double Ben Gray (with circular bed!) and Medium Arty Room Muju World (designed by the gallery in St Ives).

For those after something a little more understated, there are the cool and calming Comfy Luxe and Super Comfy Luxe rooms (added since our visit) and the ground-floor Comfy and Cosy House Doubles, though bear in mind that these are somewhat overlooked by the courtyard and car park.

Features include:

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

Eating

The Cornish Barn smokehouse and bar is the heart of the hotel, serving up social sharable dishes using local produce and cured meats and fish. We're yet to visit since they launched their current menu, but if the quality is anything like their past creations, it'll be fantastic.

Breakfast is excellent; many ingredients are locally sourced and it really shows. We started with cute jars of yoghurt and compote (everyone’s favourite) followed by an tasty full English and some (slightly tart) blueberry pancakes.

There's a lounge-bar next door open throughout the day for coffee... and then cocktails. Penzance has plenty of local cafés for light lunches, too - 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 have a basic kitchenette with a combination microwave/oven; apartment guests have full kitchens with everything from toasters to hobs, and full size fridges.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Explore Penzance’s faded architectural splendour and immerse yourself in its prospering art scene. Take a dip in the Jubilee Pool (open June-mid-September), Penzance’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 (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 with some of our Cornwall top tips - you’re within easy reach of Land’s End, The Eden Project, St Ives and Sennen Beach

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 2-bedroom apartments next door to the hotel are well set-up for families, with spacious living areas and fully equipped kitchens. Even better is the 3-bedroom Cottage which has a twin bedded bunk room and the option of another twin room (plus the master double bedroom).

Of the hotel rooms, the Gallery Loft is the best option for families with more than one older child. It has a mezzanine level with a small double bed and a single. The Bigger Arty Double and one of the Medium Arty Doubles have sofabeds. Be aware that most of the bathrooms have showers only.

Kids Activities nearby:

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

Distances:

  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly: 2-Bedroom Sea View Apartment

Our guests' ratings...

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

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