The Old Quay House

Fowey, Cornwall, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Emily Preece
Serene hotel with delicious food and an idyllic seafront setting in the heart of pretty Fowey
With its beautiful views across Fowey’s famous estuary, relaxation is inevitable at The Old Quay House. We spent a lazy afternoon tucking into cream teas on the waterfront terrace, before wandering out to bask in sunshine on the town's little beach. Returning to our room, we opened the French doors and napped to the sound of waves and fishing boats chugging slowly past.

Perfectly placed among the bustle yet very quiet, this sophisticated hotel was once a refuge for sailors. Nowadays it's the ideal escape for walkers and couples in need of some fresh sea air - step out of the front door to find narrow streets packed with boutiques, antique sellers and the obligatory pasty shops, or head across the bay to spectacular coastal paths and the sleepy town of Polruan. The on-site restaurant is deservedly popular with guests and locals alike, and breakfast is plentiful. There are lots of unexpected extras to enjoy, too, including little tubs of popcorn with your drinks, rain macs to borrow in the wardrobes, and an afternoon ‘treat cupboard’ brimming with cakes and sweets.


  • An unbeatable location, with watery views from most of the 11 light and airy rooms
  • Sitting on the terrace with a drink, watching boats going about their business
  • Delicious food, with an emphasis on fresh seafood and local meat
  • Incredibly kind and helpful staff
  • A calming, tranquil ambiance (no overnight guests under 12 are allowed)


  • Refurbishments will be underway from late-2015, so guests may experience some disruption
  • It’s fairly pricey, but great views don’t come cheap
  • The nearest parking is 800 yards away, though you can drop bags at the door
  • Classic Rooms face the street and can be noisy, and seagull calls are a nuisance in all rooms in summer (earplugs are provided)
  • The wicker-heavy décor in a couple of rooms isn’t to everyone’s taste
  • We were disappointed by the small in-room TVs and lacklustre showers

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year. Each season has its charms, but Fowey can get very busy in the summer months. Spring and autumn stays would allow you to make the most of the outdoor terrace (with a blanket, if needed!), and enjoy the coast without the crowds. The area has plenty of appeal in winter, too, with ice skating at the Eden Project and a Christmas festival in Padstow.

Our top tips

If you’re staying for a few days and want a change of scene for meals, head to Sam’s on Fowey’s high street for huge platters of fresh, local seafood.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 11
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Aged 12+ only
  • 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
Room: Deluxe Room


Accommodation is split into 4 categories - see Rates for full details. Décor ranges from wicker-laden rustic in some rooms to sleek monochrome in others, but all are a good size, with large bathrooms, calming colours and lots of natural light. Amenities are hidden away to maintain an airy, uncluttered feel, so you’ll find small kettles and TVs in wardrobes, and milk in fridges out on the landings.

Prices vary according to view, and it’s definitely worth paying extra for one of the rooms at the back, which overlook the water. Our Deluxe Room had French doors opening onto a picturesque vista across the estuary, and we loved watching bobbing boats from our huge bed. Superior Rooms (some with small balconies) have partial estuary views, while Classic Rooms face the street. There’s also a Penthouse Suite, which has the feel of a New York loft with its separate lounge, panoramic views and decadent in-room tub, though low eaves mean the bed is a mattress on the floor.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Fan (on request)
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar in Penthouse Suite
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Umbrellas and rain macs to borrow
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


The restaurant was packed during our visit - a testimony to the quality of the food and the beauty of the setting. Large doors open onto the waterside terrace, and blankets mean you can drink and dine outside long into the evening. Menus fuse British and international influences, with plenty of fish and seafood, as well as meat and vegetarian options. Ingredients are local and seasonal, and some are even foraged by Head Chef Ben Bass. Delights for us included sweet and succulent scallops, smoked duck with shallot jam, pork loin, and a coconut and lemongrass panacotta - all very tasty indeed.

Breakfast is equally delicious, with a wide choice of continental options (including heavenly granola pots and mix-your-own muesli). Cooked dishes are also included in the price (eggs Benedict, the Full Cornish). Come afternoon, the breakfast bar is transformed into a ‘treat cupboard’ where you can indulge your inner child with all manner of cakes and sweets, and the bar is always open for cream tea, wine and cocktails.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Picnic lunches on request
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Restaurant


  • Browse Fowey’s many boutiques and antique shops, stopping along the way for Cornish pasties and cream teas, then soak up some sunshine (or take a dip) on the little beach
  • Head up to the ruins of St Catherine’s Castle on the edge of town, which occupy a spectacular position overlooking the harbour entrance
  • Go hiking along the area’s many trails and coastal paths. Particularly stunning is the Hall Walk, which starts a ferry-hop across the estuary in Bodinnick and ends in pretty Polruan (be warned - some of its inclines are steep)
  • Explore the estuary and its hidden creeks by kayak. Leisurely guided paddles are available from the village of Golant, a few miles upstream. Yacht hire, river cruises and mountain biking are all on offer nearby, too
  • Many of Cornwall’s major attractions are within a short drive, including the world-famous Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. See our destination guide for tips

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming


No children under the age of 12 are accepted, and no extra beds are available - this is a quiet, grown-up retreat.

Kid Friendly: St Catherine\\\'s Castle

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