St Ives Boutique Hideaways

St. Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom Book from Book from £95 per night

A quartet of seriously stylish little cottages (3 for a couple, 1 for a family) in beachy St. Ives; plus a bolthole-for-2 in nearby Mousehole
St. Ives is surely the most picturesque and painterly town in Cornwall: a horseshoe harbour bobbing with boats, 3 perfect sandy beaches, chic shops and restaurants galore, a hotly anticipated Tate offshoot, and a quality of light that beguiles every artist who comes. But it's hard to find self-catering accommodation to match. So imagine our delight when we unearthed not one but 4 gorgeous little cottages, decorated with real panache, in the heart of town.

Three of them are gorgeous boltholes for a couple, each with an indulgent bedroom, a cosy (but perfectly comfortable) living space, and a small kitchen for preparing romantic suppers or lazy breakfasts in bed. Finished in sensuous textures - slate, driftwood, pebbles - and pepped up with exotic touches - Buddha statues, sultry prints of Bardot - they are the kind of place you could imagine holing up very happily for a long weekend or more in the company of a loved one, come rain or shine. The fourth, a 3-bedroom terraced cottage with a TV-snug, homely kitchen-diner and the unexpected bonus of a steam room, is ideal for a family seeking boutique-British style within easy reach of the beach. And if you're done with St. Ives, or just fancy experiencing a smaller (but equally quaint) Cornish fishing village, there's another one-bedroom hideaway right on the harbourfront of nearby Mousehole. Bonus.

Highs

  • Excellent value for St. Ives, especially the cheaper 1-bedrooms
  • We loved the lofty, arty bedrooms, with exposed beams, huge artworks and (in most cases) pebbly walk-in wetrooms
  • You can book them for 2 or 3 nights and upwards (not just weekly stays)
  • All 4 St. Ives places have an allocated parking space - gold dust in a town whose real estate is on a par with central London
  • When we say 'beach in reach', it's 60 seconds' walk to the broad white sands of Porthmeor (we timed it)

Lows

  • These are very compact cottages, but clever design maximises the limited space
  • Only one St. Ives property ('Black') has beach views; the others are tucked into terraces
  • The 3-bedroom cottage has less panache, but its clean nautical chic perfectly suits a family
  • Some might find the 'Black' hideaway too boudoir-ish; and it's twice the price of the others
  • St. Ives gets extremely busy in summer

Best time to go

Spring, summer and early autumn are the most popular times, offering beach days, gallery pottering and coastal walks. Weekends are always popular, and get booked up early, so if you can come midweek then do (it's a bit cheaper, too). A winter stay would also be cosy and fun: the 3-bedroom cottage has a steam room, the Mousehole place has a woodburner, and all have toasty heating (underfloor, in some cases).

If you're in St. Ives on a Thursday evening, pop along to the Tinners' Arms in nearby Zennor for one of their legendary music jams: with timeless folk songs, firelight and free-flowing ale, it feels as if you've gone back in time.

Our top tips

For basic breakfast, grocery and picnic supplies, there's a lovely deli called Norway Stores 2 minutes away on Back Road West. In the cottage you'll find a few basics (salt, pepper, oil, tea, coffee, bread and milk). For anything more, you'd need to drive across town to a supermarket, which is a faff - so bring them from home. And beach towels too, as these are not provided.

When booking, it's a good idea to state what size car you'll have, as 2 cottages have narrow parking spaces (suitable for a Golf but nothing much bigger); however they may be able to swop you round with another parking space if necessary.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Cottages
  • 5 cottages for 2-6
  • Self-catering (restaurants nearby)
  • Children welcome in 3-bedroom cottage
  • 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
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

All 1-bedroom hideaways have an open-plan living-dining-sitting area, and a separate bedroom with its own bathroom. The St. Ives trio come in 3 palettes, black, blue and silver (aka Shadow), though you may find limited availablity dictates which one you choose.

Black is the largest and, by some margin, the most expensive of these, mainly because of its glorious views straight onto little Bamaluz beach and across the ever-changing blue-grey seas - which at high tide lap almost at the foot of the building - to Gwithian lighthouse. White beams and sofas offset the dark granite wall tiles, and a portion of glass floor lets you look into a 'private cave' which you can access by trapdoor and ladder. The bedroom is dark and boudoir-ish, with chunky candlesticks, a panoply of spotlights, embossed Karma Sutra scenes on the super-kingsize bed, and a sliding mirrored wall to replace the sea view with your own. The ensuite bathroom has a 'starlit' shower and a tub watched over by Buddha heads and tinkling chimes.

Blue is the cheapest and, in a sense, the most cheerful, with a windswept Brigitte Bardot gazing down over a snug sitting area adorned with with arty driftwood, potted plants and lavender rugs. The happy maritime vibe continues up to the lofty, open-eaved bedroom, with its smooth pebble stacks, salvaged Anglepoise lamps and huge artwork of breaking waves. We liked it, though the next-door dressing room felt a bit under-used.

Right next door, and similar in layout, is Shadow, whose slightly superior spec (underfloor heating, walk-in pebbled wetroom upstairs) is reflected in a slightly higher price. The mixed textures -
rough granite tiles, timber planks, pressed steel wardrobe doors in the loft bedroom - give it an urban-chic twist. The super-kingsize bed is super-comfy - we slept like hibernating dormice - and, as in all cottages, there's ample storage and plenty of mirrors to make it feel larger than it is.

The 3-bedroom cottage has a cleaner, brighter look, with white walls offset by patches of exposed stone and maritime prints. We liked the whimsical touches - fishing lanterns as bedside lights, floral paper lampshades - which elevate what is essentially a compact terrace house into a truly boutique bolthole. The through sitting room has a huge sofa - with no fewer than 18 cushions! - and a TV tucked into the (decorative) fireplace. Downstairs is a lovely, welcoming kitchen with a table for 4-6, and plenty of space and gadgetry to whip up family meals. The adjoining steam room is a novel way to take the sting out of rainy days.

Over in Mousehole, we loved the 1-bedroom hideaway, which looks straight onto the harbour's red-baubled boats and small tidal beach (though it does mean plenty of people passing by your sitting room). A patch of glass ceiling lets you look up into the loft-style bedroom, hung with fishing nets and a bronze lantern; here too is a walk-in wetroom with pebbled strips, and a serried grid of wicker storage baskets. It all feels nicely nautical and a bit more spacious than the others, plus there's a woodburner downstairs for cosy winter stays.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Oven
  • Satellite tv
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

The 3-bedroom cottage has a lovely, homely kitchen-diner, Shaker-style but pepped up with fresh flowers, chic pendant lamps and jazzy black-white cushions on the banquettes. We can imagine evenings gravitating here rather than the sitting room, and you can even eat outside on a diminutive patio if the weather permits. There's everything a family needs, from 4-slot toaster to tall fridge-freezer, full-size dishwasher, and microwave (the only cottage to have this).

The 1-bedroom hideaways have a smaller but still well-equipped kitchen, open-plan with the sitting area. Hob, oven, slim dishwasher, toaster, Nespresso machine, fridge and sink are all present and correct, as are sharp knives, pots and pans for basic suppers. It's a miracle how they have fitted it all in, and actually we rather liked the ship's-galley compactness. The only drawback is the bar-style seating which feels somewhat perchy; but being able to self-cater in St. Ives is a real boon, not just for the lazy breakfasts-in-bed and the ease of making picnics, but also for the money it saves.

If you do want to eat out, there is no shortage of options, from chic beachside restaurants (book a cubby-hole at the gorgeous Porthmeor Café) to classic Cornish tea rooms and pubs. Or you can't beat takeaway fish and chips fresh from the sea; just make sure the seagulls don't nab your chips on the way home! Before arrival, you'll be sent a handy list of recommended eateries, both in and out of town.

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
Eating: Coxswains (3br cottage, St Ives)
Activity:

Activities

  • Wander to St Ives' pretty harbour, and explore cobbled Fore Street's quirky boutiques and independent artist studios
  • Head to Porthmeor beach for a paddle-board lesson, or sit and watch the surfers while you drink hot chocolate in the café
  • The Tate St Ives is a magnificent building showcasing British talent, with a brand-new gallery in 2017; we also liked the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Gardens, dedicated to her life's work
  • If the weather's good, stroll up to Porthminster beach, a golden flat expanse with safe swimming
  • Hike the South West Coastal Path; we love the stretch that leads to Zennor
  • Historic St Michael's Mount makes a good day trip, as does Cornwall's famous open-air Minack Theatre, a 30-minute drive away
  • Pop over to the lovely fishing village of Mousehole (or if you're staying there, pop over to St. Ives!)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming

Kids

St. Ives is a wonderful place for families. You have 3 town beaches (all sandy and safe) within a few minutes' walk, shops and restaurants on your doorstep, and a supermarket on the other side of town (a short but fiddly drive away).

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 3-bedroom cottage in St. Ives is a perfect base for a summer family holiday. It has 1 twin room and 2 doubles, a well-equipped kitchen and a sitting room with huge TV/DVD for those rainy days. 'Blue' hideaway in St. Ives can take one additional child on a rollaway bed by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot
  • High chair

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

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Bucket-and-spade beaches
  • Boat trips to Seal Island
  • Surf school
  • St. Ives Treasure Trail
  • St Michael's Mount
  • Paradise Park (6km away): adventure play, miniature railway, animals and birds

Families Should Know:

The steam room in the 3-bedroom cottage is only for adults' use. Please be aware that the cottage does not have much outdoor space, and that it is a terraced cottage with immediate neighbours.

Distances:

  • Shop: 2 minutes' walk
  • Supermarket: 1km (edge of St. Ives)
  • Hospital with A&E: 10km (Penzance)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 0 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Rooms
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Service
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Value
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Overall

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