Sleepover: A bed in Cornwall

Driftwood

A recent addition to Cornwall's burgeoning chic hotel scene, Driftwood sits on a cliff overlooking Gerrans Bay, a vast, blue sweep of ocean. The hotel has, in fact, been welcoming guests for more than 30 years, but this spring the new owners, former finance director Paul Robinson and his designer wife, Fiona, chucked out the chintz and harmonised the interiors with the fabulous natural setting. Cool white and stone tones are accented by marine blues, and decorative flotsam and jetsam enhance the seashore theme. Most dazzling is the restaurant, a pure white space lined with windows which focuses attention on the glorious views across the headland.

Where is it?

Near St Mawes, on the Roseland peninsula in south Cornwall.

What's it like?

A recent addition to Cornwall's burgeoning chic hotel scene, Driftwood sits on a cliff overlooking Gerrans Bay, a vast, blue sweep of ocean. The hotel has, in fact, been welcoming guests for more than 30 years, but this spring the new owners, former finance director Paul Robinson and his designer wife, Fiona, chucked out the chintz and harmonised the interiors with the fabulous natural setting. Cool white and stone tones are accented by marine blues, and decorative flotsam and jetsam enhance the seashore theme. Most dazzling is the restaurant, a pure white space lined with windows which focuses attention on the glorious views across the headland.

What's its USP?

Location, location, location. Pull up a steamer chair on the gently sloping lawn, then just sit and stare out to sea.

Rooms?

Ten, all en-suite, including a two-bedroom beach cabin with self-catering facilities at the bottom of the garden. Again, soft natural shades bring the outside in and the trademark driftwood is used to frame mirrors while smooth stones embellish lamps. Beds are comfortable, dressed with soft cotton duvets and silk throws. Dinner, bed and breakfast from £140 per double per night in low season. Bed and breakfast from £140 per double per night in high season with a 20 per cent reduction on dinner. Children share their parents' room for free, just paying for food. The beach cabin costs £170 per night. Ask about reductions for longer stays.

Food?

The Robinsons want to build a reputation for fine food; hence they have persuaded Mark Wishart, formerly of Le Gavroche in London, to join the team. The menu offers three choices for each course and changes every evening. Ingredients are fresh, mainly organic produce from local sources. (The fish is literally delivered from the boat.) The best course is dessert, which is sublime whatever your choice. The starters and main courses are very good, too, but they need to reach the same standard as pudding. If, like me, you have a restless toddler who can't be left alone, ask for a table by the convenient little TV room at the back of the restaurant: the telly won't be on to disturb your meal, but you can settle down your little one within eyeshot with a book or some crayons. A communal children's tea is served every night at 5.30pm, offering simple, fresh food, and which most of the children there seem to enjoy.

Service?

The staff are warm and friendly and willing to go out of their way. But some attention needs to be paid to the consistency of the service because you can occasionally be forgotten. Teething troubles, perhaps.

Clientele

A middle-class mixture of couples and families.

Things to do

The coastal path runs along the bottom of the garden and a wooded trail leads to a pretty private beach where you can while away time. Local attractions include the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project. St Mawes and Truro are a short drive away, and St Ives about an hour. If it rains, the hotel's well-stocked playroom will keep children entertained.

Address

Driftwood, Rosevine, near Portscatho, Cornwall TR2 5EW (01872 580644; www.driftwoodhotel.co.uk).

Kate Simon

Kate Simon travelled to Driftwood courtesy of National Car Rental (0870 400 4560; www.nationalcar.co.uk), which is offering car hire from £99 per week.

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