Hotel Tresanton

St Mawes, Cornwall, United Kingdom Book from

Polished perfection from famed hotelier Olga Polizzi - an elegant coastal hotel with uplifting views and a lovely restaurant
St Mawes invigorates you with its fresh sea air, warm micro-climate and a clarity of light cherished by visiting artists. This is probably the smartest hotel in Cornwall, not because of formality or grandeur (in fact, quite the opposite), but because of how it makes you feel - wonderful! Originally a sailing club in the 1940s, then glamorous hotel in the '60s, it has evolved into a collection of buildings with a common heart. There's The Nook on the seafront, the beautiful Rock Cottage up a lane (a great option for groups or families), plus the main buildings stretching up a steep hillside. At the bottom there's a cosy bar and games room (with their bespoke St Mawes version of Monopoly!), then step up to the dining room and terraces with joyful views across the bay.

Most of the 30 rooms have views, so your eyes are constantly drawn to the sea. Everywhere strokes your nautical senses: be it a mosaic of Poseidon underfoot, crisp blue and white fabrics or seascape paintings, all chosen by Olga Polizzi to blend you into the surroundings. There's even a yacht with skipper you can charter. Well managed and striking a perfect note between friendliness, charm and glamour, it's one of our all-time favourites.


  • Beautifully styled rooms with spectacular sea views - all extremely comfortable
  • The delightful restaurant and super fresh seafood make meals here a true pleasure
  • Great for couples and friends, but also very welcoming to children, with a cinema, playroom and a summer kids club
  • We felt very well looked after during our 2015 stay - nothing is too much trouble
  • Lots within walking distance: St Mawes' charming harbour and boutiques, plus plenty of coastal pathways and boat trips nearby


  • Set on south Cornwall's Roseland Peninsula (5-hours from London), but worth the effort
  • It's pricey, but for what it is, we think it's good value
  • The buildings feel slightly disjointed and spread apart - there are lots of steps and no lift
  • The car park is a steep hike up behind the hotel, but on arrival you can park immediately outside and they will valet park for you
  • No pool or spa but excellent treatments are available in the massage room

Best time to go

Tresanton is open all year round and in each season there's plenty to do. Cornwall is especially lovely in spring and autumn when the crowds have eased, but the beaches cry out for summer holidays and buckets and spades.

Our top tips

  • Catch the ferry across to Place (4 mins) and walk around the headland to St Anthony's lighthouse. We eventually found ourselves at the lovely Hidden Hut overlooking Porthcurnick Beach, and The Tresanton kindly sent a car round to pick us up
  • Book ahead to dine in the restaurant
  • Great for...

    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 30 rooms
    • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • 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
    • Games room
    • Board games


    Most of the 30 rooms are in Main Tresanton and Upper Tresanton (the body of the hotel and part that spans up the hillside), but there are some down by the seafront in Little Tresanton and The Nook, plus more in Rock Cottage (up a narrow lane behind the children's playroom). Despite being dotted around the property, whichever you take you're never more than a minute's walk from the heart of the hotel.

    Different categories there may be - but duff rooms there simply are not. Olga Polizzi's elegant, understated interiors are regularly updated with well-chosen fabrics and furnishings; expect Farrow & Ball colours, seagrass and wood floors, big comfy beds with exceptional linen, calm lighting, and Cornish art from the likes of Barbara Hepworth. Nice extra touches include decent hardbacks (Olga's husband is writer William Shawcross), and beach bags with towels and picnic rugs.

    Rates inevitably climb as you get more footage or a terrace but none are claustrophobic and all (except Rock Cottage Garden Room 31 and Small Room 30) have sea views looking across to St Anthony's lighthouse. Wardrobe space isn't an issue. We especially liked our Junior Suite 29 in The Nook with its cushioned bay window, and the terrace in Spacious Room 5 (Main Tresanton). The rooms in Upper Tresanton have the best views, but there are quite a few steps to get to them. In Rock Cottage, the Garden Room is unique in having a private garden and the fabulous Master Suite has a homely wood-burning stove and crow's nest terrace overlooking St Mawes bay.

    Family options include dedicated suites, interconnecting rooms and the option to exclusively book one of the smaller wings.

    Bathrooms have Ren toiletries, marble or fresh mosaic tiling, and traditional baths with overhead showers (or a separate walk-in rainfall).

    See Rates for full room details.

    Features include:

    • Bathrobes
    • Beach towels & picnic rug
    • Cd player
    • Cots Available
    • Dvd player
    • Extra beds
    • Phone
    • Radio
    • Satellite tv
    • Tea making tray (on request)
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi
    • Wifi internet


    On a sunny day, Tresanton's dining room is one of the loveliest places to eat in England. Mosaic flooring underfoot, magnificent sea views, starched white tablecloths, fine seafood and great wine: we couldn't have been happier. In warmer months, the wood-decked terraces are spot on for dining alfresco.

    At breakfast, a round table groans with fresh berries and fruits, delicious granola, creamy yoghurts and warm pastries; from the cooked menu we ordered fluffy pancakes and eggs Benedict on muffins. We particularly liked green smoothies and insanely aromatic fresh mint teas.

    At lunchtime, enjoy delicious crab and cucumber sandwiches on the sunny terrace (there’s an all-day menu), and don't miss the afternoon teas - we loved the Tunisian orange cake and the homemade yoghurt sorbet. For day trips, rucksack picnics can be prepared.

    Dinner is more of an occasion (book ahead) but thankfully the menu never gets pretentious. It's well presented straightforward cooking with an emphasis on fresh local seafood and a hint of Italian. Whilst you could splash out on the freshest Dover sole or linguine with lobster (as we did), there's enough to keep veggies or meat eaters delighted, too: perhaps a tasty tagliatelle with ricotta, lemon and sage, or a decent sirloin with Béarnaise sauce. And for those staying more than a couple of nights, there are comfort dishes like bangers and mash.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Children meals
    • Organic produce
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service


    • Nip down to the tidal beach below or forage in the rock pools beneath the sea wall
    • Stroll the cafes, galleries and boutique shops of St Mawes harbour. Tresanton's shop, Onda, stands out for its enticing clothing and accessories
    • St Mawes is a sailing mecca and the hotel’s 26ft-yacht, Pinuccia (built in 1938), can be rented for the day or half day (for up to 6), with an experienced skipper. Or take their 6-seater RIB speedboat along the coast and creeks
    • For a lovely 2-mile stroll from the hotel, take the coastal path along the river Fal to the picturesque 14th-century church of St Just-in-Roseland. In summer, a regular ferry will take you across the harbour where longer walks pass the lighthouse, to Porthcurnick beach and beyond
    • Built by Henry VIII in 1542, the impressive St Mawes Castle is just a hop from the hotel and overlooks the Fal Estuary
    • There are dozens of beautiful gardens nearby, including the meticulously restored Lost Gardens of Heligan (30 mins' drive) and the world-famous Eden Project (45 min's drive)
    • Catch the ferry across to Falmouth (20 mins) - once the busiest port outside London – where there's a maritime museum and plenty of teashops
    • Book a massage at the hotel: visiting experts can administer therapies from Indian Head Massage to Reflexology in their treatment room
    • Reception can organise sailing lessons, cycling, horse riding, fishing trips and kayak hire, or golf (the St Enodoc links course is an hour away)

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Kayaking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Picnics
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Sailing
    • Well being


    Although ostensibly a grown-up hotel, Tresanton makes real effort to welcome children and the team are very kind towards them.

    Best for:

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

    Family friendly accommodation:

    A 3-bedroom Family Suite (in Upper Tresanton), suitable for 2 adults and up to 4 children, with spectacular views from its private terrace, 2 big bathrooms and a living room, plus one bedroom styled as a ship’s cabin with built-in bunks. Two 2-bedroom Family Suites (in Upper Tresanton or Rock Cottage), sleeping 2 adults and 1-3 children; the Rock Cottage suite has a kitchenette, too.

    The Nook and Rock Cottage are divided into individual rooms but each can also be rented as a whole to accommodate families of 6-9 (on request). The hotel has 12 interconnecting rooms and most rooms can take either an extra bed or baby cot.


    Babysitting is available by arrangement. Our daughter thought the babysitter was fantastic and couldn't wait to get rid of us

    Baby listening:

    A baby-listening service throughout

    Baby equipment:

    • Baby cots
    • Highchairs

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Creche/Kid's Club:

    During the summer holidays, there's a children's club with CRB-checked child carers, at which kids do arts and crafts, and beach activities including crabbing

    Children's meals:

    Kids' high tea from 5.30-6.30pm (pasta, fresh fish, sausages and ice cream). Children over the age of 6 are welcome to eat dinner with their parents in the restaurant, though they are encouraged to book an early table. There is also room service. The Rock Cottage's Family Suite has a small kitchenette including hob (but no microwave)

    Kids Activities on site:

    • A well-stocked children's games room (table football)
    • Art materials and games consoles
    • A small garden with immaculate Wendy house (perfect for under 6)
    • Children's DVDs and cinema room
    • Toys and books for 12 months+

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Small beach opposite with rockpooling (nets to borrow)
    • St Mawes Castle (just down the road)
    • Falmouth Maritime Museum (a ferry-ride away)

    Families Should Know:

    The restaurant has a smart ambiance at night so other diners might frown if children are noisy. The steep steps to the Upper Tresanton rooms are more difficult to manoeuvre with buggies, but there is a storage area in a locked garage on the street area and porters can fetch them whenever you want


    • Airport: 45 minutes' drive (Newquay)
    • Hospital: 40 minutes' drive
    • Nearest chemist, grocery store and doctor's surgery: 5 minutes' walk
    Kid Friendly:

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