he fishing village of Mevagissey, Cornwall

The Best Hotels in Cornwall

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Beaches, ice-cream and first-class lodging...

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Colourfully nostalgic seaside towns, golden sands and rolling farmland; it’s no wonder that Cornwall has captured the hearts of authors, foodies and city families looking for a brief respite from the smog and traffic of London. With a growing tourism scene, there’s no shortage of hotels to choose from when visiting the land of beaches and cream, but as with anything, not all are made equal so here’s our pick of the crème de la crème.

The Best Hotels in Cornwall

Some reviews are taken from this year’s Great British & Irish Hotels Guide. You can read the full reviews online or purchase your print Hotels Guide here

 

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Una St Ives

Una St Ives, St Ives

Just outside St Ives in gorgeous, sandy Carbis Bay, Una Resort is a collection of wood-clad lodges and luxury villas, each with chic coastal-inspired interiors, a cosy log burner for chilly evenings, a well-equipped kitchen and a private garden or terrace (the best also come with their own hot tub). When guests don’t feel like cooking, there’s Una Kitchen, previously the Cornwall Tourism Awards’ Restaurant of the Year.

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+44 (0)1736 257000 / unastives.co.uk

Hotel Meudon

Hotel Meudon, Falmouth

Steeped in history thanks to its association with the Fox family, who were influential in the development of Falmouth in the 19th-century, this Cornish hidden gem has eight and a half acres of unique sub-tropical gardens that stretch down to a private beach, Bream Cove. An unspoilt paradise, it’s ideal for swimming, snorkelling, paddle boarding or picking up the South West Coast Path to go hiking. The hotel itself is fresh from an extensive, sympathetic refurbishment: expect contemporary light-filled rooms with comfy beds, aromatic bath products and gorgeous views.

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+44 (0)1326 250541 / meudon.co.uk

The Old Coastguard

The Old Coastguard, Mousehole

Of Charlie and Edmund Inkin’s collection of effortlessly laid-back places to stay, this has the best location: overlooking the sea in the enchanting fishing village of Mousehole, noted for its artists, Christmas illuminations and invention of stargazy pie. A hotel since Victorian times, the 14 attractive sea-facing bedrooms have superb beds, Roberts radios, Bramley products, auction room finds and striped curtains (the best come with a balcony with knockout views).

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+44 (0)1736 731222 / oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk

The Pig at Harlyn Bay

The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Padstow

‘Which is your favourite Pig?’ I am often asked. That’s a tough question because I love them all, but it’s the last in the litter that comes leaping to mind first. The latest hotel is this brooding, mysterious beauty overlooking sweeping Harlyn Bay near Padstow. It’s another hit, with gorgeous, rich, dark, velvety interiors behind Cornish slate walls and heavy oak doors that were inspired, designer Judy Hutson says, by the stillness of Mark Rylance in Wolf Hall.

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+44 (0)345 225 9494 / thepighotel.com

Fowey Hall Afternoon Tea

Fowey Hall, Fowey

Above the town of Fowey, which famously inspired author Daphne du Maurier, stands the handsome country house that was also said to be an inspiration for Toad Hall in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Inside, as in every Luxury Family Hotel, the ingredients of a perfect grown-up establishment – heralded by a hall with open fires, inviting sofas and twinkling chandeliers – are mixed with the essentials of a children’s paradise: play areas, an indoor pool, an Ofsted-registered crèche, audio and visual child monitoring system and more.

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+44 (0)1726 833866 / foweyhallhotel.co.uk

Review: Family Staycation at Fowey Hall Hotel, Cornwall

The Nare Hotel Cornwall

The Nare, Veryan

Opened in 1989 by Bettye Gray, The Nare is Cornwall’s highest-rated hotel. It’s a five-star country house renowned for its genuine comfort and stunning sea views over Carne Beach on Cornwall’s idyllic south coast. Owner Toby Ashworth upholds his grandmother’s vision of warm, traditional hospitality and his many regular guests are drawn in by the enveloping kindness, door-to-door chauffeur service and the fine food served in the hotel’s two sea-view restaurants.

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+44 (0)1872 501111 / narehotel.co.uk

Polurrian on the Lizard Pool

Polurrian on the Lizard, Mullion

Standing proud on the Lizard Peninsula, this one-time Victorian railway hotel has stunning, unspoilt views of the coastline. Previously known as the Polurrian Bay Hotel, in 2019 it was re-named and all the communal spaces given a fresh new look; now it feels coastal and quirky, and there’s an emphasis on great service and relaxation.

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+44 (0)1326 240421 /  polurrianhotel.com

The Seafood Restaurant

The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow 

Padstow is synonymous with Rick and Jill Stein. And if a restaurant can be a hub, then Rick’s famous Seafood Restaurant is just that, where red-aproned waiters whizz about in the airy, colourful dining room and a chandelier made of bobbing white fish creates an eye-catching start to a memorable meal. Alternatively, you can eat more simply at Rick Stein’s Café, St Petroc’s Bistro or Stein’s Fish & Chips, or spend the day at Rick’s cookery school, which offers a perfect balance of chef demonstrations and hands-on learning. As for sleeping, choose from a variety of stylish lodgings, each designed by Jill and set in charming, whitewashed village houses.

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+44 (0)1841 532700 / rickstein.com

The Gurnards Head Cornwall

The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor

‘It’s about the simple things in life done well,’ say brothers Edmund and Charlie Inkin about their three delightful hostelries, the Gurnard’s Head and the Old Coastguard here in Cornwall, and the Felin Fach Griffin in Wales. Nothing could be closer to the truth nor more perfectly exemplified than at this sunshine-yellow dining pub with rooms, its name writ large on the long, tiled roof. Set in the wild landscape of Cornwall’s Atlantic coast between artsy St Ives and pretty St Just, it’s an unpretentious haven where, in the brightly-painted bedrooms, you’ll find luxurious beds, jam jars filled with fresh flowers and Roberts radios.

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+44 (0)1736 796928 / gurnardshead.co.uk

Artist Residence Penzance

It’s unsurprising that Justin and Charlie Salisbury turned to Cornwall with its vibrant art scene for their second venture after Brighton’s Artist Residence. In the charming old quarter of Penzance they have converted a handsome Georgian manor house into a delightfully eclectic hotel, decorated with works of art and a quirky collection of furniture (packing crate tables, sleigh beds) throughout. New in 2020 was the Chapel Suite, which comes with a brass bathtub in the living area. This spring, three new rooms and the Sail Loft launched; the latter is an open-plan apartment for three, tucked away in the eaves with sea views (ideal for families).

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+44 (0)1736 365664 / artistresidence.co.uk

carbis bay hotel

Carbis Bay Hotel, St Ives

Overlooking one of the world’s most picturesque bays, with its own palm-flanked golden stretch of Blue Flag sandy beach, Carbis Bay Hotel takes prime position on the English Riviera. This summer the world’s leaders will congregate at the 125-acre estate for the G7 summit, such is its wow-factor. There are 36 individually designed rooms in the original Victorian hotel, as well as an array of self-catering accommodation including serviced apartments and beach cottages. Eight timber clad luxury beach lodges are the newest additions with jaw-dropping sea vistas (perfect for spotting seals), direct beach access, hot tubs and personal butler service.

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+44 (0)1736 795311 / carbisbayhotel.co.uk

THE SCARLET - MAR 2019 0002

The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth

Overlooking the sweeping, romantic Mawgan Porth beach, this scintillating eco-hotel blurs the boundaries between inside and out, with glass walls, flat roofs covered in sea thrift and infinity pools that seem to reach to the sea. At the heart of The Scarlet is the womb-like Ayurveda-inspired spa, with tented pods suspended in the dark for deep relaxation. There’s an indoor pool and a reed-fringed, rock-strewn outdoor one, plus two clifftop hot tubs and a cedar barrel sauna perched overlooking the ocean.

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+44(0)1637 861800 / scarlethotel.co.uk

The Best Things To Do In Cornwall

the Driftwood

Driftwood, Roseland

As hotels in Cornwall go, there’s no more fabulous vista than from clifftop Driftwood. More Mediterranean than Cornish, it overlooks Gerrans Bay on the Roseland Peninsula and includes seven acres of gardens full of secluded, shady spots that lead to a perfect crescent of private beach. Halfway down is a restored cabin with two bedrooms and a sitting room, a magical place to stay in summer. A wildflower garden is home to bees that produce honey for the restaurant. The house itself, a 1930s building transformed with the aid of dusky blue clapboard, makes the most of the views. Whether relaxing in the bedrooms, drinking on the generous terrace or indulging in the Michelin-starred cooking of chef Chris Eden in the chic dining room, you’ll find yourself wanting to stay forever. When Paul and Fiona Robinson opened Driftwood 16 years ago neither had hotel experience, but Fiona’s skill as an interior designer, plus their hands-on approach and ease with guests, have created a delightful Cornish haven, stylish and seaside-fresh but devoid of pretension.

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+44 (0)1872 580644 / driftwoodhotel.co.uk

The Chapel Bedroom Bath

Chapel House

Sea views and sea breeze are the standard at this gorgeous town house in the middle of Penzance, where simple and elegant interiors invite you to unwind with a book and blanket. The two suites (which will be available to rent self-catered later this year) offer comfort and style in the form of colossal walk-in showers with shower heads the size of Cornwall itself. Taking its cue from the rest of the hotel’s homely style and wonderfully friendly service, meals are informal and intimate where one feels like a house-guest rather than a tourist. Down to earth, unpretentious and beautiful, it’s a hotel to match the city itself.

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+44 (0)1736362024 / chapelhousepz.co.uk

4 Coastguard Cottages, Coverack near Helston

4 Coastguard Cottages, Coverack near Helston

Check out Sykes Cottages collection of family-friendly rentals if you’re planning a Cornish escape. (Check out our Newquay guide for a great child-friendly apartment No.5. overlooking Fistral Beach.) Traditional end-terrace cottage 4 Coastguard Cottages boasts a truly spectacular coastal location on the famous South West Coastal Path, making it great jumping off point for a host of family walks that end in beach picnics. The property is a short walk from the beach and picturesque fishing village of Coverack on the Lizard Peninsula, and has gorgeous sea views from all rooms.

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sykescottages.co.uk

Hotel Tresanton

Hotel Tresanton, St. Mawes

With fabulous views over Falmouth Bay, Tresanton became a landmark when hotelier Olga Polizzi created the first truly fashionable and chic British seaside bolthole. It effortlessly continues to hold its own without any of the pretension of more recent, glossier addresses. Indeed, with its new Beach Club for lounging in the sun or eating gourmet burgers, it has never been better.

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+44 (0)1326 270055 / thepolizzicollection.com

Cornwall: 3 Family-Friendly Walks on the Roseland Peninsula

Talland Bay Hotel – Porthallow, Cornwall gardens room with view

Talland Bay Hotel

On the south Cornish coast between Polperro and Looe, Talland Bay Hotel is set in two lush acres of subtropical gardens, a pebble’s skim from the beach. From the outside it’s a quite conventional, long, low, white-painted building, but the interior packs a cool punch. You’ll find sofas covered in zany zebra stripes, extravagantly high-backed chairs and quirky contemporary paintings and objets d’art. The gorgeous, panelled dining room is more classic, an appropriate setting for Nick Hawke’s top-notch Cornish cooking. A large terrace provides plenty of space for summer dining, while the brasserie-style Conservatory offers a more laid-back alternative. The hotel prides itself on being dog-friendly, with pooches welcome in most bedrooms as well as in the garden suites in the grounds. Choose to stay in one of the beach-chic rooms, perhaps one with a sleigh bed or four-poster draped in white fabric. For more space and privacy, the garden suites are ideal.

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+44 (0)1503 272667 / tallandbayhotel.co.uk

St Enodoc Hotel Review

St Enodoc, Rock

Well-heeled British families have flocked to Rock for their bucket-and-spade holidays for generations, but it wasn’t until the emergence, in the late 1990s, of classic seaside hotel St Enodoc, following a total makeover, that they had somewhere to stay that was both stylish and relaxed, as well as just right for all ages. Today, James Nathan is in charge of the food at the brasserie-style restaurant and its Mediterranean feel, clean lines, easy-going comfort and wide terrace for outdoor dining are in perfect harmony with its location. Modern European dishes are fresh, healthy and locally sourced. Upstairs, the bedrooms – many with views across the water – are brightly painted, with original art on the walls. St Enodoc Hotel and Spa makes the ideal seaside base, with surrounding sandy beaches, the ferry to Padstow and St Enodoc golf course on the doorstep. There’s fine walking too: don’t miss hidden St Enodoc Church, resting place of Sir John Betjeman, who loved this area.

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+44 (0)1208 863394 / enodoc-hotel.co.uk 

Greenbank Hotel, Cornwall

The Greenbank Hotel, Falmouth

Just a stone’s throw from the winding streets of Falmouth’s town centre, The Greenbank Hotel is located atop a private pier, with an impressive seafront location overlooking Falmouth Harbour. Offering panoramic views and traditional charm, the nautical décor and spacious rooms are just the ticket for a seaside holiday with all the family. Cots are available on request, and friendly staff are happy to help with storing bottles, food and milk for little ones. The pub downstairs is bustling and lively enough for an enjoyable meal with even the most spirited of children…

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+44 (0)1326 312440 / greenbank-hotel.co.uk

Bryher-HellBay-Hotel-2

Hell Bay

California meets the Atlantic Ocean at this terrific hotel on Bryher, in the Isles of Scilly. Awaiting you is nothing but grass, golden sand, a jumble of rocks and the vast ocean stretching all the way to America. It’s the creation of Robert Dorrien-Smith (he also owns Tresco) who has filled the waterfront hotel with modern art, all with a regional connection. There are 25 beautiful, airy suites, most with stunning sea views. You’ll also find a swimming pool, tennis court and fitness rooms, as well as a sumptuous spa treatment room and a yoga studio.

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+44 (0)1720 422947 / hellbay.co.uk

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Photo: the fishing village of Mevagissey, Cornwall by Nick Fewings