Online Editor, Simon Wittenberg, stops off in the picturesque village of St Mawes during his luxury tour of Cornwall and the South West of the UK.
Opened in 1998, Hotel Tresanton is located in the quiet and idyllic village of St Mawes which is situated on south Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula. Originally a yachtsmen’s club, the whitewashed property is made up of a cluster of five houses which were bought by Italian Olga Polizzi (the daughter of the late Lord Forte and mother of Alex Polizzi, the host of TV show, The Hotel Inspector). She subsequently undertook a two-year refurbishment programme to produce the marvel that it is today, redesigning all 30 bedrooms with antiques and Cornish art.
Sitting on the winding single lane coastal road, otherwise known as Lower Castle Road, Hotel Tresanton is well located for nearby attractions including St Mawes Castle and the few shops in the village which are just a short walk away. Further afield, you can sail on the hotel’s own classic yacht named “Pinuccia”, catch a nearby ferry to Falmouth, plus it’s only about a 45-minute drive to the Eden Project or the Lost Gardens of Heligan. There is no parking at the hotel itself, as its set on a hill, and therefore there are 135 steep steps which lie in between the Tresanton and its car park, or you’re left with a 200-yard energetic walk past the castle.
For that reason, guests coming with lots of luggage are advised to drop it off at the door first, and there is an invaluable valet parking service to do the rest.
Accessed via a key attached to a large wooden fish-shaped keyring, we stayed in the main house in a spacious, light and airy room (number seven) which was furnished with tasteful colours and a hessian carpet – not the most comfortable to walk on with socks or bare feet when compared to a more generous pile.
Overlooking the front courtyard, it had far reaching views of the calm sea and the nearby St Anthony lighthouse, which can be admired from the soft seating or the super king-sized bed when not watching TV. Tea and coffee making facilities are available on request for those that like to enjoy an in-room cuppa. Furthermore, the ensuite bathroom has also been tastefully designed, and featured a separate bath and walk-in shower, with bath salt and toiletries from Mitchell and Peach on-hand for the ablutions.
As well as the outside terrace and Beach Club, there is one restaurant on site, and the elegant mosaic floor, and blue and white seating create a marine-themed ambience. Olga Polizzi is not interested in culinary awards or Michelin stars, and therefore the food is wholesome, unpretentious and based on her Italian roots. It’s concocted using the freshest ingredients available that day which means that the menu changes regularly depending on what the kitchen has managed to get in.
Orders for dinner are taken in the lounge whilst you sit by the fire and flick through the day’s papers at your leisure or play a game of scrabble or chess if you’re in a more competitive mood. In fact, if you’re quick enough (which we were for breakfast), table no.1 is the one to go for in the corner of the restaurant, as it has a nice comfy banquette style seating plus a perfect view of the sea.
The evening à la carte menu is short, and by no means cheap, but there are a few dishes to choose from for each course. For the starter, and accompanied by some delicious crusty bread, I enjoyed the tomato, mozzarella and rocket salad with a delightful vinaigrette (£16), whilst other options included a Ribollita Italian soup and chicken liver parfait. It was the tasty watercress, green bean, avocado, egg, olive and tomato salad (£10) that took the fancy of my guest. Come the main, and I headed for the Dover sole (£16) which came in the form of small pieces of fish interspersed with pieces of lemon, cherry tomato and spinach, which I joined this with a side portion of chips and mayonnaise (£4). For her, it was the generous portion of Terres Farm duck with celeriac and a red onion confit (£28), and a clean plate at the end was a testimony to this exquisite recipe.
With little room left, I finished my meal with sweet homemade chocolate and espresso ice cream with a sprinkling of raspberries and biscotti (£2.50 per scoop), whilst my other half broke into her dairy-free chocolate coupe with passion fruit ice cream.
After a very good night’s sleep in the peaceful surroundings of Hotel Tresanton, it was time to return to the restaurant for the breakfast buffet which was lined with warm pastries, freshly-squeezed juices, stewed fruit and cereals. This was once again a chance to admire the spectacular views that St Mawes offers, and a good excuse to have some freshly-made French-style pancakes before hitting the road to explore more of what this beautiful part of the UK has to offer.
Hotel Tresanton is a gem of the Cornish coast, and Olga Polizzi has designed a masterpiece which is worthy of its location and that would pass any inspection by her daughter with flying colours. If it’s for a stopover, celebration, or a weekend to simply get away from the daily grind, this beautiful property certainly has it all.
Hotel Tresanton – Where and How?
Hotel Tresanton is located at 27 Lower Castle Rd, St Mawes, Truro TR2 5DR, United Kingdom. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit tresanton.com.
Check out the Hotel Tresanton “Go Slow” event between 02 to 04 March, 2018. For more information, visit www.tresanton.com/ngg_tag/slow.
We travelled to Hotel Tresanton in the Lexus GS F.