One whiff of the tangy sea-salted air is all it took to eradicate the stress I’d accumulated throughout the drive to St Mawes in Cornwall. There is something about the sight, scent and sound of the sea that cannot fail to soothe even the weariest traveller, and The Tresanton is in prime position for taking all three in.
I first decided I wanted to visit the Tresanton some years ago, when I heard of the charms of the seasonal restaurant and charming cluster of houses comprising the body of the hotel from a friend. Other friends with different proclivities then visited. All returned with glowing reports: I was regaled with stories of the wine, the afternoon tea, the coastline and even the variety of wellington boots available to borrow in different sizes.
My expectations high, I set off from London with a pile of seaside-appropriate clothes (really just a Barbour and big, multipurpose shawl) and a huge pile of reading material. Once in Cornwall, the latter end of the journey was spectacular – winding roads allowed for glimpses of vistas and the hallowed seaside before St Mawes crept into view, all knots of ice-cream pastel houses huddled around the bay.
Nestled up on the shoulder of Lower Castle Road, the gentle incline leads to the former yachting club renovated by the Polizzis. As the hotel is a cluster of old houses, each room has a different character – I was in a sea view room in the main hotel which was a tiled, woody affair all in-keeping with the seaside location. Despite the differences in size and views of the rooms there is a resounding and binding theme of the hotel: luxury coupled with homeliness. This balancing act is mastered in the rooms in which the beds, decor and finishing touches are world-class.
The public areas also coax you into a state of relaxation and despite the lure of the natural beauty surrounding the hotel (the Hidden Hut on Porthcurnick Beach is hard to beat), it is immensely easy to while away time in one of the bars or by the fireplace. Whilst I lounged I needed to merely glance around for an offer of tea or a blanket from the staff and passed hours joyfully sipping tea and getting through my books and papers.
I would be doing a disservice to the Tresanton if I didn’t mention the jewel in the crown – the restaurant. The fresh, delicious spreads aside, the white, candlelit room opening onto the terrace was a highlight of our visit. After a glass of wine outside (too allured by the charms of the sea to care about the chill), we enjoyed three courses overlooking the sea before decamping to the fireside for a digestif.
Breakfast was a similarly invigorating occasion – I once again ignored the cool morning air to eat an omelette outside. I must’ve been the only one that morning as I attracted a disproportionate amount of interest from the seagulls and one lone, brave seagull kept pious vigil until the end of my meal and swooped in for a sugar cube the minute I’d vacated my seat.
When the time to leave came, I was bereft. Having finished the reading material I’d packed, I took an armload of Tresanton information and read snippets aloud on the journey home. Next time, I’d like to sail on the Tresanton yacht and shop at Onda. Oh, and if anyone would like to use the excellent wedding service, I’m a very willing guest.