“Fun and funky art hotel with good-value rooms and apartments, plus a sociable eatery”
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.
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.
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.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
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.