Self-catering gets the boutique touch

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The Independent Travel

How do you transform an old-school hotel – once the haunt of retired colonels – into a bright, contemporary property? Ask Lee Magner and Steve Hardman. They have pulled off such a project on the side of a wooded valley overlooking Lamorna Cove in Cornwall. And that's not all. The Cove has styled its accommodation as self-catering apartments – a boon for families looking to holiday in the UK.

The sophisticated decor – white with aquamarine accents to echo the sea and browns to reflect the surrounding woodland – and its hi-tech spec, including plasma TVs, DVD/CD, broadband access, reveals the target market to be "couples who spent their pre-parental years in boutique hotels". It's an idea that has proved such a winner that The Cove recently added two new family suites.

The bedroom

The 15 rooms range from studios to two-bedroom suites. They have kitchenettes with dishwashers and washing machines, seating areas and dining space. Some have terraces or balconies. The new apartments have two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The food and drink

A welcome pack of fresh milk, juice and water, along with tea, coffee and cereal, is provided. Breakfast is a basket of warm pastries dropped to your door at a civilised 8.30am to 9am, so you can partake when you want. The bar offers a small but high-quality menu featuring local ingredients. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch, children's high tea and evening meals.

The extras

There's a heated outdoor pool and a sauna and spa treatments can be arranged. Complimentary children's activities take place in a yurt in the garden.

The access

Ground-floor apartments 1-5 are accessible for guests with limited mobility. The hotel can organise baby monitors, travel cots and highchairs. One small dog is allowed for a small fee.

The bill

Apartments start at £150 per night. Minimum stays apply during July and August.

The address

The Cove, Lamorna Cove, Near Penzance, Cornwall (01736 731411;

Simone Kane