Cornwall LivingIssue #67

A room with a view

We visit the St Mawes Hotel where contemporary design meets coastal chic, a stone’s throw from the water.

The delight in our stay came even before we set foot in the hotel. We chose to take the iconic river crossing on the King Harry Ferry over to the Roseland peninsula. The short, ten-minute trip crosses just 300 metres of water but it takes you a world away. The Roseland is a very special place and at its heart lies the village of St Mawes. The St Mawes Hotel, sister hotel to The Idle Rocks, is owned by David and Karen Richards. The location is outstanding, right on the harbour front of the bustling village. Decorated by Karen herself, the interiors reflect the hotel’s waterside culture and with its ‘toe-in-the-water’ position this rivals the best in Mediterranean stays.

“… with doors thrown open to let in the sea air, we really didn’t want to leave.”

The hotel is very much part of the village community with locals frequenting what has become the coolest pub in town. Think scrubbed wooden tables and striped armchairs where you can sit and relax with a pint and a pizza in an atmosphere that is relaxed and friendly, putting visitors immediately at ease. There is live music on most Saturdays throughout the year in the Lower Deck bar with local musicians playing laid-back tunes. Jazz Sundays are also a highlight with locals and visitors alike enjoying wine, food and conversation.

We were greeted by some of the friendliest staff we have known in a hotel – they really did seem genuinely please to see us. They were attentive yet unobtrusive, almost magically there when you needed them, but not when you didn’t. We were shown to our room, which was beautiful – understated but elegant, with muted tones that reflected our mood on an autumnal afternoon. The bathroom included a huge shower, a roll top bath and every product you could wish for. The view out across the water was mesmerising as we watched a sailing boat pass by, gently bobbing on the water of the Carrick Roads.

We were here to watch a live performance of The Magic Flute from the Royal Opera House in the recently opened 25 seat cinema room. Complete with luxury leather seats and a 160 inch screen this takes cinema screening to a whole new level as it also available for private hire. We ate in the Upper Deck, as part of the Live Arts Evening, where dining is simultaneously laid back and delicious. We both chose a braised featherblade of beef that literally melted in the mouth and was accompanied by an unctuous pomme puree and seasonal vegetables – Head Chef , Guy Owen, clearly knows his onions!

After dinner we took our seats for the opera showing and it was brilliant to be able to watch in such comfort, with the addition of an incredible sound system. A brief interval allowed us to sample a stunning selection of bite size desserts. Miniature lemon meringue tarts, a chocolate and Cointreau delice and white chocolate and pecan fudge were washed down with glasses of chilled champagne – the whole evening was very special.

After a blissful night’s sleep we awoke to that view again. The morning light bathed the water in hues of grey and blue and as we breakfasted, with doors thrown open to let in the sea air, we really didn’t want to leave. The pace of life here seems to slow down and take on its own tempo. Blissfully unaware of the day-to-day goings on, and not giving a second thought to our return to home, we sat in quiet companionship sipping hot coffee and drinking in the view.

Having stayed at the ultra-chic Idle Rocks, we questioned whether we would feel as if the St Mawes Hotel would feel like the poor relative. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, it has a very different vibe, but one that is perfect for an informal night away. Karen’s interiors are stunning in both and the service you receive is, without a doubt, five-star. We are already planning our return in the new year, but for now we will have to be content with the marvellous memories.

"... with doors thrown open to let in the sea air, we really didn’t want to leave."

Sample Menu


Wreckfish Cake, Mussel Chowder, Samphire - £8

Fal Bay Mackerel, Sauce Vierge, Taramasalata - £8

Tomato Salad, Feta, Basil Pesto,Olive - £9

Antipasti, Hummus, Red Pepper, Flat Bread - £9

Scallops, Chilli, Garlic, Gin - £10


Roast Cod, Shellfish Bisque, Peas, Lettuce - £18

Cornish Ribeye Steak, Garlic Butter, Seasonal Vegetables, New Potatoes - £22

Whole Plaice, Caper & Lemon Beurre Noisette, New Potatoes - £16

Beef Burger, Burnt Butter Ketchup, Chips - £13

Lebanese Style Aubergine, Couscous, Yoghurt, Pomegranate - £14


Chocolate Marquise, Vanilla Ice Cream, Berry Compote - £7.50

South West Cheese, Spiced Plum, Crackers - £8

Selection of Sorbets and Ice Cream - £6