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Hotel Highlights

  • Olga Polizzi's delightful Cornish coastal hotel in a postcard-perfect village
  • Romantic sea-view dining
  • Private yacht for charter; in-room spa treatments

Overview

Once a yachting club, the Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall was built in the fifties as a charming clutch of portside houses. On the unfairly overlooked southern coast between St Mawes and Falmouth (easily reached via foot paths through the fields), this coastal retreat now attracts more stylish A-listers than sailors, thanks to extensive renovation by hotelier Olga Polizzi.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Hotel Tresanton with us:

A glass of champagne on arrival

Facilities

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Hotel Tresanton – Cornwall – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

31, including 12 with a terrace, one with a garden, and three family suites.

Check–out

11am.

Rates

Double rooms from $365.97 (£217), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast. A minimum two-night stay is required at weekends.

Also

Sailing and windsurfing lessons can be arranged. Wellies and crabbing nets provided. DVDs and board games will keep you amused on rainy days.

At the hotel

50-person cinema. Hire Pinuccia, Tresanton’s 48-foot racing yacht with crew or a motorboat for beach trips with picnic lunches.

Our favourite rooms

Room 1, and Room 29 in the Nook, are often booked by honeymooners; Rooms 5 and 6 are in the main building and both have a terrace; Room 7 has a particularly large window with a great view.

Packing tips

Beach shoes, binoculars, sou’wester if you’re feeling boaty.

Children

Very welcome. A full-time nanny organises activities for kids during the summer months. Babysitters can be booked in advance.

Read more

Food & Drink

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Hotel Tresanton – Cornwall – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The restaurant specialises in fish and other local and organic produce. Breakfast is served until 10.30am.

Last orders

Kitchen closes at 9.30pm; after that, a cold supper can be arranged. The bar is open late.

Room service

All night, within reason.

Smith Insider

Dress code

People definitely make a bit of an effort in the evening.

Top table

Weather permitting, book a table on the terrace; otherwise, a window table.

Local Guide

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Hotel Tresanton – Cornwall – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Indulge in a Thai massage, Indian head massage or Chavutti Thirumal massage – this is the only hotel in the UK where you can get this type of massage (applied by the feet to the entire body). Riding stables at Veryan (+44 (0)1872 501574). The Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell (+44 (0)1726 845100). Minack Open-air Theatre, Porthcurno (+44 (0)1736 810181): productions in summer months. Tate St Ives (+44 (0)1736 796226). The National Maritime Museum, Falmouth (+44 (0)1326 313388; www.nmmc.co.uk); the foot ferry leaves St Mawes harbour every 20 minutes.

Local restaurants

Driftwood (+44 (0)1872 580644) for wonderful fish and seafood.

Local bars

The Victory Inn (+44 (0)1326 270324) specialises in local seafood. The Rising Sun (+44 (0)1326 270233) for pub lunch and a pint. The bar at Lugger Hotel (+44 (0)1872 501322).

+ Enlarge
Chocolate-box Cornish village

Hotel Tresanton

27 Lower Castle Road St Mawes, Cornwall, TR2 5DR, United Kingdom

Planes

Exeter aiport is two hours from the hotel. From London Gatwick, daily flights head west to Newquay in only an hour.

Trains

The train station in Truro is 30 minutes away.

Automobiles

From the M5, you can use the A30 to get further west right up until the B3275, when you’ll need to follow signs to Ladock. After that, use the A3078 towards Tregony/St Mawes.

Reviews

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Hotel Tresanton – Cornwall – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Alex Proud , Proud gallerist

‘Sorry, sir, your car still isn’t ready.’ These are not the words you want to hear the morning you plan to take the lady away for a weekend of fine loving. Unless, like me, you have Germanic blood coupled with a Tourette’s-like argumentative disorder: I tend to see these things as opportunities rather than problems. I go red, the garage guy goes apologetic, and 23 minutes l…
Read more

Hotel Tresanton

Anonymous review by Alex Proud, Proud gallerist

‘Sorry, sir, your car still isn’t ready.’ These are not the words you want to hear the morning you plan to take the lady away for a weekend of fine loving. Unless, like me, you have Germanic blood coupled with a Tourette’s-like argumentative disorder: I tend to see these things as opportunities rather than problems. I go red, the garage guy goes apologetic, and 23 minutes later a Porsche Boxter appears. For, as that PJ O’Rourke manqué Jeremy Clarkson will tell you, silly cars are the key to bearable weekending sans PlayStation 2.

Our weekend is to be spent at Hotel Tresanton, the place that began Cornwall’s transformation from a two-week bucket-and-spade destination to chic mini-break hotspot. 300 miles of sinuous open road from London and the boutique-hotel reputation gears one (well, me) up to find it annoying before arrival. Did I mention that I argue for sport?

But first impressions impress. A Greek-style passage and stone staircase lead to a raised sun deck that is set into the cliff face and dotted with old steamer chairs that recall The Talented Mr Ripley. Sadly, I do not resemble Jude, nor my girlfriend Gwyneth. Nonetheless, hazy visions of sun-drenched cocktails help me unwind, and any residual rant evaporates in the face of the hotel’s fantastic old porter – a man well worth tipping – who proves a fountain of local knowledge. Realisations that there is no need to talk a) so fast, or b) so much rubbish follow as I slip into gear for the weekend.

The hotel is situated on Cornwall’s often overlooked southern coast, between picturesque St Mawes and the rolling fields spliced with public footpaths leading to Falmouth. A former yachting club, Hotel Tresanton was built from a cluster of old houses in the Fifties, hence its higgledy-piggledy levels and port-town setting. St Mawes and Tresanton have been a preserve of the sailing set for years, but it is only since the 1999 reopening, after an extensive refurbishment to bring it up to the standard expected by owner Olga Polizzi and her chi-chi A-list clientele that it has achieved its Halkin-on-sea tag.

The decor is posh, eclectic and relaxed. It’s also eco-friendly; ash floors, fired-earth tiles, organic paint and local granite work surfaces feature throughout. The laid-back drawing room probably best illustrates Polizzi’s grab-bag taste, combining slouchy sofas (ideal for reading, and Tresanton’s wicked afternoon teas) with Greek busts, Chinese chequers, a huge log fire, and French windows leading to a sprawling sundeck.

There are 29 rooms in the hotel. Ours was cosy yellow with crisp Egyptian cotton bedlinen, a tasteful seaside feel and log pillows great for lazy daytime reads in bad weather or intriguing evening pursuits. A magnificent harbour view makes me momentarily forget what hit me when I first entered the room… namely, it was small. (My argue-mentor John McEnroe’s voice starts ringing through my head. ‘£250? You cannot be serious!’) I twitch for an argument.

The girlfriend finds my argumentative disorder an embarrassment; as a release mechanism, I have learnt to ‘sneak argue’ – she doesn’t get annoyed, I get my fix. I say something like ‘I need to get my cigarettes from the car’, then trail off, following the vein pulsing like an anaconda in my forehead, and return 20 minutes later, happy, but unpopular among hotel staff. After this particular episode, I can vouch that Tresanton’s staff are more than polite – calming and motherly, even – and that there are bigger rooms, only you have to know what you are asking for. Hell, even Tony Blair was recently knocked back owing to a full house. At least I get a room. Z-list paranoia disperses.

The bar, situated on the lower floor, is Tresanton’s greatest asset (in no small part because I am an aspiring alcoholic): cute mini armchairs, chocolate and tan pepper Amtico flooring, clotted-cream walls and clever lighting that could make even Dot Cotton look unravaged, nay, sexy. Candles at night light an enchanting trail to the buzzy conservatory restaurant whose Mod Med food is definitely worth sampling. Local pubs are also worth a look. We skipped the more expensive places; a cursory glance at the menus showed that most followed Tresanton’s lead rather too faithfully. (We started to wonder whether there are underground tunnels from Olga Polizzi’s kitchen.)

As weather was good the following day, we opted to try the Padstow-Bodmin camel trail. Driving there in the PS2 substitute, we found a brisk walk along the path was exertion enough to give us a glow without making us wheeze. Back at the Tresanton for a farewell drink, I fall into a weird half sleep in my girlfriend’s arms listening to the sea and dreaming of Grand Theft Auto. Forget eastern mysticism: when my girlfriend, the game and guest-house blurred together, I knew true happiness.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Hotel Tresanton from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The comfort and the staff make this our favourite place; the service is second to none.

Don’t expect

I found the floor coverings in the bedrooms hurt my feet.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on No- I would not recommend for children

We loved

The location is beautiful, staff are excellent - very friendly. Plus the food is simply superb! We didn't expect such food!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The room was very comfortable, and there was with great service and excellent food.

Don’t expect

Not much, it's a hotel with few, if any, discernable faults.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the attentive staff and comfortable drawing room. The hotel can supply wellies from size 3 to size 12! There's a wonderful children's room (well away from everyone!) as well as stunning views and great walks.

Don’t expect

It's a minor issue but the chimney fan for the open fire can be a little instrusive.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This hotel has a soul! It was one of the best hotels we have stayed in and will be back – we are going to celebrate my husband's 60th in 2015 with our daughter and her husband and stay longer. We found it hard to leave! Well done to all the staff.

Don’t expect

Absolutely nothing could be better!

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved this hotel! The staff was great: really well trained, personable and helpful, some of the best I have seen in a hotel. Our room was spacious and lovely with a beautiful view of the bay. We ate breakfast and dinner in the restaurant and all was superb. It is only a pity I live so far away or I'd be taking mini breaks there with great regularity.

Don’t expect

My only small complaint is that the bartender was not very skilled at making cocktails, and when you are charging those prices for them they had better be really good!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Stunning location, attentive service, beach bag with towels in your room.

Rating: 10/10 stars