When you think of Cornwall, it’s often the picturesque town of St Ives that springs to mind first with its gorgeous beaches, cobbled streets and heritage-rich pubs. Home to a thriving art scene, a holiday in this little corner of England offers a perfect blend of culture and adventure. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to the best hotels in St Ives.
St Ives Harbour Hotel and Spa
Courtesy of St Ives Harbour Hotel and Spa / Expedia
Bright colours and curious artworks sum up the St Ives Harbour Hotel, setting it apart from the usual seaside residence. From the whimsical ‘shhh’ cushions in the boutique bedrooms to the gold-embossed bar and panoramic view down in the lounge, everything about this hotel gets you in the mood for adventure. We’d recommend a hot stone massage in the spa followed by the hotel’s signature ‘fizz & chips’ out on the terrace for a truly indulgent experience.
Beautiful blues are dotted throughout this nautical boutique hotel that you’ll find by the beach of St Ives. With six uniquely decorated guest rooms to choose from, you’ll feel right at home in this beautiful Georgian gem. The food scene is, unsurprisingly, second to none thanks to the abundance of local produce and fresh fish on offer. With wood burners, armchairs and spectacular views, Trevose Harbour House is as much a spot for the winter as it is for the summer.
With the sea lapping the shore just 30 feet (9.1m) below, you couldn’t get closer to the beach than at The Pedn Olva – an independent hotel in the heart of St Ives. Surfers can take their boards straight from the hotel without having to load them in the car first, and it’s also a great base for exploring West Cornwall. Stop by the Tate gallery and have a wander along the South West Coast Path before settling down to a hearty fish dish and a pint of local ale in the downstairs restaurant.
Old travelling trunks, exposed brick walls, claw-foot baths and squashy bedstead ottomans give The Gannet Inn a distinct boutique feel, with all the thoughtful decorative touches adding up to create a place that feels like a home from home. In the winter, you’ll love nothing more than cosying up beside its fireplaces and enjoying a glass of local beer. In the summer, it’s perfectly situated for you to get out on the water or a coastal walking trail. As it’s a pub with rooms, expect your evening meals down in the fray to be lively, atmospheric and hearty.
There are few places in St Ives where you can stay practically on the sand, and Carbis Bay Hotel is one of them. It helps that it just so happens to be perched on one of the most spectacular beaches in the UK. Accommodation ranges from the grandiose main house, bedecked in luxe interiors, to the ocean-side beach suites where you can practically roll out of bed and into the water. There are an excellent spa and five drinking and dining options, including the sleek 1894, which comes with views of the beach, and the sand-side laid-back Beach Club Restaurant.
The clue is in the name here – Headland House can unsurprisingly be found on a headland, sitting just above Carbis Bay. Just a few minutes from St Ives, and yet removed from the holiday-town bustle, Headland House is everything you could want a bed and breakfast to be. Rooms have subtle and tasteful beachy decor, and many come with roll-top baths. Breakfast is a low-key but delicious affair, and, in the summertime, the hotel opens the conservatory doors so you can eat al fresco.
With just 15 bedrooms, Boskerris Hotel is a boutique bolthole sitting above St Ives town. With its elevated position come elevated views – uninterrupted vistas over the ocean to the horizon. Breakfast is a relaxed and convivial affair, and you can choose from pastries and fruit or a cooked meal to keep you energised for a day of exploring St Ives’ beaches and creative scene.
What used to be The Regent hotel was taken over in February 2020 by Georgia and Ant – a young couple who spent their childhoods holidaying in St Ives – and turned into Harbour View House. Working to revive the hotel, they’ve refreshed the decor and given it a modern boho-beachy spin, with a collection of vintage pieces and rattan furnishings that make the decor reminiscent of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Breakfast – included in the price of your room – feels similarly Aussie. Chef Coco serves up plates like smashed avo on fresh sourdough topped with crispy halloumi and nutty pesto – perfect to wash down with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Featuring a beautiful collection of six suites that are as unique as they are equally stunning, the Blue Hayes Private Hotel adds a kind of regal presence to St Ives Harbour. Now around a hundred years old, the house enjoys all the grandeur of Georgian design while still offering modern amenities. The gardens, filled with botanicals and palm trees, offer a perfect spot from which to appreciate the stunning view over the cliffs and down into the bay, while the rooms – three of which come with outdoor areas – offer an even better vantage point. With decor inspired by local artist John Miller’s tropical landscapes and Molten Brown treasures in the bathroom, this is an excellent spot to celebrate the best of nature while also indulging.