With harbour towns dotted along the coastline, Cornwall has some of the best surfing and sailing spots in the world. Art and food feature heavily too, with a huge focus put on celebrating local talent and making the most of local produce. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to the best hotels in Cornwall.
The Artist Residence hotels have made a name for themselves by enlisting local artists to design their spaces. As Cornwall is well known for its thriving art scene, the outpost in Penzance is a particular favourite. Rustic reclaimed furniture and artful clutter manage to give it an energy that is both homely and on-trend. The rooms convey the kind of quirky cosiness that makes them difficult to leave – think wood burners, mini SMEG fridges, reclaimed doors and oversized armchairs. Book a spot at the hotel’s restaurant, The Cornish Barn, for a warming bowl of smoked haddock kedgeree and a rum-infused crème brûlée, followed by a mean espresso martini in the garden terrace.
If you want an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Fowey’s busy Fore Street, then step into The Old Quay House. Spread over three floors, the rooms are decorated with muted tones that really highlight the space. If you can, opt for the Penthouse, which has perfect views over the Fowey Estuary from a private balcony. Even the smaller rooms have excellent sea views, so you can watch the sailboats from your bed whilst sipping your morning coffee. Local mussels, goat’s cheese mousse and wild garlic risotto are just some of the gorgeous dishes on the menu in the restaurant, which has a terrace jutting out over the estuary.
Much like a collection of precious jewels, Antonia’s Pearls is a boutique collection of six cottages and villas in UNESCO-protected Charlestown. Each bolthole has been thoughtfully decorated with naval artwork alongside beautifully crafted woodwork, long draped curtains and plenty of natural light. There are cavernous bathtubs, rustic kitchens with scrubbed work tables and Belfast sinks, working fireplaces and piles of books giving this hotel a true home-from-home feel. Family owned and run, Antonia’s Pearls aims to use eco-friendly and organic products and produce wherever possible. If you can drag yourself outside, a bracing coastal walk or visit to the local Eden Project is well worth it.
What could be better than a nautical boutique hotel in the heart of Cornwall? Beautiful blues feature throughout Trevose Harbour House, which presides over the beach at St Ives. With only six guest rooms, the staff are wonderfully attentive at this beautiful Georgian gem, and your visit will feel tailor-made. Famous for its world-class surf and local art, St Ives is also a foodie haven, thanks to the abundance of local produce and fresh fish on offer. With wood burners, armchairs and spectacular views, Trevose Harbour House is a cosy corner of St Ives that’s perfect for putting your feet up after a day of riding the waves or cruising the local galleries.
Simplicity is the name of the game here, with well-chosen antique pieces, bright whites and gold finishes lending a Scandinavian feel. Each of the seven bedrooms is a haven of Egyptian cotton sheets and Hypnos beds, homemade treats and Meraki toiletries. Carefully curated art and book collections feature in the living room, where plenty of soft furnishings and sunlit corners allow you to enjoy them in peace. Breakfast showcases the best of local produce in the form of a full English, homemade granola and sourdough.
A simple white house on top of a hill in Falmouth, Merchants Manor is fairly unassuming from the outside; however, as you step through the door, you’ll be greeted by a world of roaring fires, cosy corners and Cornish feasts. Whether you choose to stay in one of their modern double rooms or newly opened timber-framed luxury residences, this modern hotel offers a relaxing weekend away. Head for a massage and a spot of surfing before sinking into the fireside armchairs. Merchants Manor truly is a home away from home – the kind of place that perfect Sundays are made of. Work up an appetite before retiring to the in-house restaurant, Rastella, because you’ll want everything on the menu. Designed by chef Patron Hylton, the recipes are a celebration of local ingredients that will leave you truly satiated.
Pops of bright colour interrupt the primarily white colour palette in each of the six bedrooms at Chapel House, designed to celebrate and enhance this Georgian gem’s original features – whether that be a vaulted ceiling with wooden beams or a gorgeous marble fireplace. Right in the middle of Penzance – Cornwall’s most far-flung town – you can enjoy views of Mount’s Bay whilst sampling the restaurant’s gloriously fresh menu, which is a delectable display of the best produce in the county.
This hotel is perfectly set up for families, with complimentary childcare services, kids’ clubs and activities such as zip wiring and swimming all available onsite. It’s not all for the little ones, though. The onsite spa offering facials and massages is strictly for adults, and the hot tub with a sea view is an ideally peaceful sanctuary after a day out on the water. The rooms are sophisticated too, with plush red carpets, gilt mirrors and velvet antique sofas, offering a bit of luxury to return to at the end of the day.
If it’s a rest that you need, look no further than the Watergate Bay Hotel. Each room has been artfully designed to feel like a serene haven with cool colours, in-room roll-top baths and collections of books to get lost in; however, the view is the real star. Run by the same family for generations, it’s not just an escape for couples – there’s an Extreme Academy for water sports, which will help you make the most of the Bay’s excellent surf, too.
Jutting out on a clifftop over Fistral Beach, the majestic Headland Hotel looks like something out of a Jane Austen novel. Not surprising then, it was once used as the location for Roald Dahl’s The Witches film. These days, though, this dog-friendly Victorian house blends old with new. The property’s 95 rooms and 39 self-catering cottages feature bespoke furniture, a Nespresso machine and Elemis products and express a kind of Old-English charm, honouring the hotel’s grand beginnings, but with enough modern comforts to offer a luxurious experience.