“All you need from a seaside getaway: excellent food, comfy rooms, a warm welcome, and a stunning setting by one of Cornwall’s prettiest harbours”
The 14 rooms blend tongue-and-groove panelling, checked fabrics and the odd antique with jolly shades of mustard yellow, brick red and sky blue. They’re not exactly stylish, but they are extremely comfortable and packed with homely touches: bathrobes, blankets, Roberts radios, White Company toiletries, tea- and coffee-making kit, homemade biscuits, even books to browse.
Most have sea views, and many come with outdoor space - it’s certainly worth grabbing both if you can. We stayed in Island View, which overlooks craggy St Clement’s Isle just offshore. It’s one of the largest rooms, with armchairs, a huge bathroom with a spa tub, and patio doors opening onto a long balcony. We slept very well despite leaving the curtains open to make the most of the setting, dozing off to moonlight glinting off the sea and waking to the rosy glow of dawn above the waves.
Similarly spoiling is Coastguard’s Watch, perched at the top of the hotel. It has an in-room tub where you can stare out over the harbour as you soak, plus a shower room and a terrace with views all around. Other good bets are The Lookout (also on the top floor with a balcony) and The Four Poster, which, as the name suggests, is a favourite with romantics. St Clement's is a handy option for families, as it has 2 adjoining bedrooms (a double and a double/twin). The cheaper Smaller Doubles and Terrace Doubles are definitely cosy, but most offer glimpses of the water and the latter have terraces with pretty picket fences.
Note that bed types (double, twin or kingsize) vary across rooms, as do bathroom set-ups (shower only or tub with overhead shower). For full descriptions, see Rates.
The focus here is simple, tasty food done well. The lunch and dinner menus change regularly but always feature an excellent selection of surf and turf, together with a few tempting veggie options. Ingredients are mostly local (meat and dairy from Cornish farms, fish straight from the boats in Newlyn) and always seasonal.
The relaxed atmosphere is ideal for long, lazy meals, and you can eat inside or out. We kicked off with Kir Royales and olives on the terrace as the sun sank into the sea, before moving to a cosy candlelit nook in the main restaurant. Everything we sampled was delicious: sweet scallops with pearl barley and pea purée, squid with chorizo and pickled cucumber, a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak with polenta chips, chargrilled courgettes sprinkled with mint, and a decadent dark chocolate and salted caramel torte.
Breakfast (included in the rates) was just as good - a buffet of fresh fruit, Cornish apple juice, cereal, still-warm soda bread, local honey and homemade marmalade, together with a choice of cooked options (the Full Cornish, kedgeree with soft-poached eggs, and more unusual dishes such as grilled field mushrooms topped with Welsh rarebit).
There are plenty of treats on offer from the bar, too: home-baked cakes, teas and cappuccinos, local ales, wines, a few carefully crafted cocktails - all best enjoyed in a fireside armchair or under the sun outside.
If you’re here for a few nights and want some variety, you’ll find a couple of good restaurants in the village, including the bistro-style 2 Fore Street. You can also drive out to The Old Coastguard’s sister property, The Gurnards Head, just across the moors - those on a dinner, bed and breakfast deal can transfer their table reservation at no extra cost.
Children of all ages are welcome, and the hotel’s relaxed, inclusive atmosphere is perfect for families. Parents can kick back with a drink while their kids play in the garden (separated from the waves by hedges and a gate), and the sea beyond is ripe for rock pooling. What's more, every Wednesday at 10.30am sees 'Storytelling by the Sea’, when Cornish tales are read to gathered little ones by the hotel staff (and sometimes even by the authors themselves).
Most rooms have space for 1 or 2 rollaway beds or baby cots, and children under 5 stay for free (there’s a small charge for older kids). St Clement's is particularly useful for families, as it’s made up of 2 adjoining bedrooms (one double, the other a double or twin). Note that some rooms have showers only, so if you want a tub, request when booking
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The restaurant has special menus for little ones and slightly older kids. All children get a free glass of unsweetened Cornish apple juice with their meals