“A wave-lapped terrace, chilled music, cheery staff and 20 chic bedrooms: Cornwall’s new hotspot for a cool, moneyed, youthful crowd”
Karen has invested heavily in the bedrooms, and revealed an eye for design too. The look is understated nautical chic with tasteful pastel colours (dove greys, sky blues) offset by bright raspberry throws or bold bedheads. Salvaged glass bottles, giant sea urchin shells in a jar, hand-painted dressers and fresh tulips lend artistry. We liked the vintage Roberts radio and the flatscreen TV/browser cleverly disguised as a white-framed mirror.
Half of the 20 rooms look straight onto the harbour, with windowfuls of glorious blue sea. Some (Seaview) have balconettes, a few (Grand Seaview) are more like suites, with small sitting or dressing areas. Many of these have free-standing tubs in underfloor-heated bathrooms, with a separate wetroom too. All Village and most Harbour Rooms come with a shower only, but it’s a real deluge, with Aromatherapy Associates smellies to pep you up.
We saw all the rooms and #15 was our favourite: up on the 2nd floor, it feels as if you’re in your own tower, with fittingly grand sea views, plus an open tub and small trunk room. But you don’t need to go top of the range. The village-side Hideaway (#16) offers great value for floorspace, with a walk-through dressing room to boot. Harbour Room #2 stood out for its generous bathroom (tub and shower) and twin seaward windows; and L-shaped #12 for its cosily divided sleeping and sitting areas. None are huge, but even the smallest (#10) is adequate for a weekend away without too much luggage.
Mattresses are exquisitely comfy, pillows plentiful and goosedown duvets (almost overly) warm. All Seaview Rooms can be set up with kingsize or twin beds; the rest are kingsize only, apart from the attic twin which connects with a Harbour Room to make a lovely family suite.
Sea-facing guests should be prepared for some noise from the terrace until 11ish, while village-side rooms may hear passing cars. If you’re after more tranquility, request one of the 3 rooms in the separate annex next door: lower ceilings and smaller windows make them darker and more cottagey, but Seaview #20 feels rather cosy and special, while Grand Seaview #17 sleeps up to 4 in an open-plan living-sleeping space, using 2 fold-out armchair beds.
After evening cocktails on the terrace, we were led inside to a linen-clad, sea-facing table, in an atmosphere of fine-dining calm (younger children eat earlier). The menu has plenty of seafood, most of it local, some of it with a twist; plus a few rarities (sea lettuce, birch syrup) foraged by the young-but-unfazed chef, Mark. Over 2 nights, we tucked into a light and delicious foam of mussel soup, a smoky lemon sole buried in capers and flash-cooked in a Josper grill, and razor clams with aioli. There are also meatier options, such as rack of lamb with petit pois, steamed wild garlic, pancetta and shallots in a white wine jus (very tasty, quite rare); while a vegetarian neighbour raved about the butternut squash soup. Desserts, such as the citrusy St. Clements tart and the white-choc cheesecake with zesty raspberry ice cream, filled the gaps nicely.
There is room (and appetite) for improvement - my Thai-style squid on beansprouts and coconut shavings could have done with more spices and lime juice; our son’s mackerel burger with grilled peppers and doorstep chips felt somehow no more than the sum of its parts - but overall the food here is a light, tasty, upscale alternative to most local pubs and restaurants.
Breakfast is a combination of buffet - we loved the yog-strawberry-granola in small kilner jars - and fresh cooked menu items, which include porridge, kippers, thick pancakes with syrup, and eggs cooked to perfection (orangey yolks oozing out over spinach, creamy bearnaise and white muffins).
If you want to head out for a change of scene, try the Tresanton's restaurant just along the road, The Driftwood (9km) for Michelin-starred cuisine, or quirky Melinsey Mill (12km) for home-fired pizzas, light lunches and cream teas.
Kids of all ages are welcome. There are 3 family-friendly bedrooms (see below), and most rooms can fit a cot. DVD players can supplied on request; we had a great hand-picked selection of titles awaiting you in the room (how the devil did they know that our son loved The Wizard of Oz?). Staff are accommodating, but in all honesty the vibe is aimed more at young or young-at-heart adults.
For older children, we liked the pair of adjacent attic-level rooms: a kid-friendly village-side twin (#11) with pillarbox-red gingham bedclothes and life rings on the wall, and an adjacent harbour-facing double (#12) with a small sitting area. A more independent option is #17 in the cottage next door – its 2 armchairs extend into single beds – or it can link with double room #18 if you want more space and 2 bathrooms (this combo is classified as a Grand Seaview Family Room). Alternatively, Seaview Room #1 has an add-on bunk room, sharing a lovely tub-and-shower bathroom, but be aware that noise seeps in from the reception area
Available with 5 days advance notice
iPad video monitors are available so parents can eat downstairs while the kids are sleeping
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Separate high tea for children in the sea-facing restaurant served from 5.30 to 7pm. Menu choices include pasta with tomato choice, chicken burgers and fish goujons. Bottles can be warmed up at any time
The beach is rocky and there's no pool