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Best boutique hotels in Cornwall 2023, from beach getaways to romantic retreats

Enjoy picturesque views and cosy rooms in these welcoming coastal gems

Ellie Ross
Thursday 15 June 2023 09:41 BST
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Wake up to stunning sea views at The Scarlet Hotel in Magwan Porth
Wake up to stunning sea views at The Scarlet Hotel in Magwan Porth (The Scarlet Hotel)

Wind-whipped cliffs, miles of golden surf beaches, coastal walks that fuel the soul and stellar food rustled up by celebrity chefs – welcome to Cornwall. This may be the southwesternmost part of Great Britain, but the county has everything to land it firmly at the front of your mind, even after you’ve returned home.

Though Cornwall’s self-catering offerings have long stretched far and wide, there’s an ever-increasing number of small, characterful hotels opening up. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape for two or want to bring your dog on holiday, these days, there’s no shortage of boutique accommodation on offer.

Those seeking sea views will be in their element at the various pads dotted along Cornwall’s 422-mile-long coast. Meanwhile, the Insta crew can snap away in design-led addresses that could be straight out of an interiors magazine. As well as appealing to the outdoorsy types, Cornwall has a strong food game that’s about much more than fish and chips and the humble pasty, with hotel restaurants satiating even the most distinguished taste buds.

With so much on offer, deciding where to lay your head is key. Here’s our round-up of Cornwall’s best boutique hotels for every occasion.

Best for country house vibes: The Pig at Harlyn Bay

Location: Harlyn Bay

The Pig’s 30 rooms above Harlyn Bay beach are cosy and calming (The Pig hotels)

A moody, Grade II-listed mansion in the Cornish wilds has been transformed into a relaxed hideaway with all the impeccable style you’d expect from a Pig hotel. Positioned above the golden sands of Harlyn Bay, the house has 16th-century origins – expect flagged floors, rugged wooden doors and stone friezes featuring sea beasts. The interiors are sultry – walls in dark shades such as petrol blue, velvet sofas, richly patterned fabrics and wood-burning stoves. The 30 rooms include four supersized shepherd’s huts – scattered throughout the garden, they are complete with roll-top baths, wood burners and fun outdoor showers. The lively restaurant has a seasonal menu inspired by what’s growing in the kitchen garden, with other ingredients sourced within 25 miles.

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Best hotel for foodies: Padstow Townhouse

Location: Padstow

Suites in the Padstow Townhouse have claw-foot baths and antique fireplaces (Lateef Photograophy)

There’s delicious food at every turn in this elegant bolthole, located on a quiet street in Padstow. And no wonder – it’s owned by Paul Ainsworth, whose Michelin-star restaurant No 6 is a four-minute amble away. The six luxurious suites have delicious names like Marshmallow and Toffee Apple, and feature claw-foot baths, sumptuous fabrics and antique fireplaces. Guests are lavished with everything from miniature pasties on arrival to homemade macaroons at turndown. Tear yourself away from the cheeseboard and Cornish fizz in the hotel’s Pantry, and you’ll discover more gastro delights in town, including Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and Prawn on the Lawn.

Best hotel for artsy breaks: Chapel House

Location: Penzance

Enjoy works from the Newlyn School of Art and local artists in the spacious Chapel House rooms (Chapel House)

Art aficionados are well placed at this Georgian townhouse in Penzance, which has been transformed into a contemporary hotel with six rooms. Location-wise, you’re a short walk from galleries, including The Exchange, Penlee House and Cornwall Contemporary. The house itself is adorned with work from the Newlyn School of Art and local artists. The style is classic with a modern twist – antique chairs and grandfather clocks sit beside futuristic egg-shaped baths, smart TVs and floorboards painted white. Bathrooms are large, with natural soaps made by Pure Nuff Stuff, which is based just across the road.

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Best hotel for couples: The Scarlet

Location: Mawgan Porth

Each of the 37 rooms at The Scarlet has a sea view (The Scarlet)

Couched in a cliff above Mawgan Porth beach, this adults-only hotel has 37 stylish rooms, each with a sea view, statement bath and a garden terrace or balcony. Loved-up couples drift through the hotel’s eco spa in robes, relaxing in the cedar wood sauna or dipping in the outdoor natural reed pool. Treatments include an ayurvedic ‘Couple’s Journey’ featuring a massage lesson for two, guided meditation and a candlelit copper-tub experience. Complimentary yoga classes take place in the sea-view studio, while the ocean-facing restaurant offers wine tasting three times a week. The coast path is on your doorstep and Newquay Airport is less than a 10-minute drive away.

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Best hotel for luxury: The Colonial at Tolcarne Beach

Location: Newquay

Enjoy four-poster beds and ocean views at this family-run hotel (Ellie Ross)

For something bouji and secluded, head to The Colonial in Newquay. It’s hidden from view until you descend from the main seafront road to the family-owned Tolcarne Beach, one of Newquay’s 12 beaches. The hotel’s nine rooms are luxurious with a Caribbean twist – think bamboo four-poster beds, parrot chandeliers, wood burners and ornate furniture. Balconies have mosaic tiles and ocean views. The hotel is right on the sand and some suites have private hot tubs and direct beach access. With a relaxed restaurant next door and surf hire available, you could happily spend your whole time down on this golden bay.

Best dog-friendly boutique hotel: Talland Bay

Location: Porthallow

All of the 20 dog-friendly rooms at Talland Bay have private terraces (Talland Bay Hotel)

Four-legged friends are genuinely welcomed at this country house hotel, tucked away between Looe and Polperro on Cornwall’s south coast. All 20 rooms are dog-friendly and feature luxuries such as four-poster beds, claw-foot baths and private terraces. Dogs are allowed in the lounge, bar, conservatory restaurant and on the pine-fringed lawns stretching down to the sea. Great walks are on the doorstep – hit the coast path or the year-round dog-friendly beach. For £15 per night, your pup will receive a ‘pooch pamper pack’ with blankets, bowls and handmade treats. Dogs are treated to poached chicken at dinner, while their owners tuck into nine-course tasting menus.

Best hotel for cosy charm: The Old Coastguard

Location: Mousehole

Rooms at The Old Coastguard look out over the picturesque harbour (The Old Coastguard Hotel)

This laid-back pub with rooms is a home from home. Its saffron yellow walls, tongue-and-groove panelling and roaring fires are a welcome refuge from the sea winds. Inside the New England-style building, almost all of the 14 bedrooms have a sea view, plus Roberts radios, antique wood furniture and wool throws. The Sun Deck overlooks the lush, palm-filled garden that runs down to the harbour wall. Locals, including families and dog walkers, come here simply to eat – the brasserie-style menu has a local slant, with plenty of fish from nearby Newlyn, as well as Cornish beef and poultry.

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Best hotel for epic views: Housel Bay Hotel

Location: Lizard Peninsula

Housel Bay Hotel offers supreme panoramas of the Atlantic (Ellie Ross)

For stonking sea views, Britain’s most southerly hotel has you covered. Perched on the rugged Lizard Peninsula, its big bay windows and manicured gardens offer supreme panoramas of the Atlantic and surrounding countryside. Inside, original Victorian features mix with modern touches. The 23 bedrooms range from compact boltholes to spacious options with wall-to-wall sea and coastline views. Fallowfields, the two-rosette restaurant, is a standout – expect everything from vodka-cured pollock to baby beets served with horseradish ice cream. Work it off with a sea dip in the bay below the hotel or on the coast path – the turquoise water of Kynance Cove is an hour’s walk away.

Best hotel for design-lovers: Artist Residence Cornwall

Location: Penzance

Full of eclectic decorations and funky decor, this is a fun place to stay (Artists Residence Cornwall)

Rubbing shoulders with independent shops and heritage architecture on the cobbles of Penzance, the Cornish strand of The Artist Residence has all the design quirks you’d expect from the family-run hotel group. Set in a Georgian townhouse, there’s funky decor galore, with 16 eclectically decorated bedrooms and three luxe suites – think copper bathtubs, shabby-chic floors, oriental textiles and vibrant palm prints. There’s also a gorgeous three-bedroom cottage, complete with a wood burner and kitchen, ideal for a family or groups of friends. Downstairs, The Cornish Barn also has an eccentric style and plenty of hand-picked art; it has its own smokehouse and serves top-notch food in a laid-back atmosphere.

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