I couldn't find the entrance. I walked all around the old stone building, trying every freshly painted sage green door, before giving up and wandering down the road to The Seafood Restaurant. Which is where you're supposed to check in, of course. Confusion over, I walked back up the hill to St Edmund's House with a key. The latest addition to the Rick Stein portfolio - although not for long, now that his designs on the Newquay hotel and restaurant scene have been unveiled - St Edmund's House is the most luxurious of the accommodation on offer.
Rick Stein and his wife, Jill (the designer in the family), opened The Seafood Restaurant in 1975 - where those staying at St Edmund's take their breakfast and have a guaranteed table every evening. Not something to be sniffed at.
Over the past 18 years their empire has continued to grow and now encompasses St Petroc's Hotel and Bistro, Rick Stein's Café, the Middle Street B&B, Steins (a gift and wine shop), Stein's Seafood Deli and the Padstow Seafood School.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
St Edmund's House, St Edmonds Lane, Padstow, Cornwall (01841 532700, www.rickstein.com) is behind The Seafood Restaurant on the lane which leads up the hill to St Petroc's.
Time to international airport: about half an hour to RAF St Mawgan, as Newquay's airport is known, depending on traffic. The roads are winding, and in the height of summer it can go at a snail's pace. My cab cost £25.
ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY?
I don't know if it was the bracing sea air or the rich seafood dinner, but I slept better than I had in weeks. There are just six luxurious rooms, all designed by Jill Stein; three on the first floor and three on the ground floor. Each is named after a famous Cornish surfing beach. I was in Polzeath on the ground floor. The floor was polished oak, the theme rustic seafaring, with chunky wooden furniture, whitewashed walls and specially commissioned black and white photographs framed on the walls. At the windows and double French doors were wooden slatted shutters. Outside on my own private deck with views over the estuary, there were two wooden sun loungers.
The modern cherry four-poster in the centre of the room was, interestingly, made traditionally with sheets and blankets, topped with a white bedspread rather than a duvet. The pillows were the softest feather. The bathroom, through double doors (all black marble, mosaic tiling and pale blue wooden panelling), had a double sink, cast-iron bath and separate shower with rain and power shower heads.
Freebies: mineral water, tea and coffee. Molton Brown toiletries.
Keeping in touch: direct-dial phone and a hi-tech Nicam Stereo wide-screen TVs.
THE BOTTOM LINE
These are the most expensive of the Rick Stein rooms at £220 including breakfast.
I'm not paying that: Rooms at the Middle Street B&B (01841 532700) start at £80 including breakfast.Reuse content