Location: Cornish coast
Perfect for: Relaxing by the sea
Just a 30 minute drive from Cornwall’s world-renowned Eden Project, lies Gorran Haven, gateway to the Roseland Peninsula and stunning coastal towns of Porloe, Prorscatho and St Just. Closer still are the magnificent Lost Gardens of Heligan – well worth a visit. Llawnroc, in the sleepy town of Gorran Haven, looks a little dour from the outside, but don’t be deceived; within it’s a totally different story. Slick and stylish decor pervades; its bar wouldn’t look out of place in London, its terrace is modern with a private-members feel, and many of its comfy and spacious rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with sea views. Take a stroll down to the pretty bay for a bracing dip in the sea, feast on locally caught seafood in Gwineas (Llawnroc’s very good restaurant), and dive into the in-room gadgetry…
Arriving in the little village of Gorran Haven on Cornwall’s south coast, our taxi winds down a narrow hill and drops us at boutique hotel The Llawnroc.
We’re slightly apprehensive at first – the long grey building looks rather dour from the outside, but as we enter a huge statement chandelier and giant thrones create an immediate impression of luxury.
The receptionist is very bubbly, and after checking us in, shows us to our room, pointing out the bar and private guest lounge on the way. It is sleek, modern, and incredibly pristine.
Taking a seat in the large settee at the end of the bed, Monsieur 2 and I survey the room.
Decorated in complementary shades of biscuit, brown and black, the decor inside this boutique hotel in Cornwall, is very easy on the eye.
Our room is one of 18; it is spacious, has a business-like workspace, and a gold geometric cabinet to house the tea tray and a PlayStation for games and DVDs (the control for which, bizarrely, you have to request from reception). The star feature has to be our balcony.
Ever the gentleman, Monsieur 2 opens the French windows and ushers me outside. Oh yes. Our balcony has a beautiful view over the hotel’s terrace, down the hillside and out to sea, and there’s just enough room for two chairs. I’m sticking the kettle on for tea so that Monsieur 2 and I can sit on our private terrace and enjoy the peace, before we go out to explore.
Walking through the winding streets of Gorran Haven, we spy a steep stairway to the side of the tiny late-Tudor parish church of St Just, which takes us down to the shore. It’s too cold to paddle, so we join the local dog walkers for a bracing stroll along the sand.
Washed and changed, we are ready for a pre-dinner drink, and have taken residence in the Llawnroc’s bar. It’s quite a contrast to the quiet Cornish village we’ve just visited, and is so chic and glitzy that it wouldn’t look out of place in London’s West End. We can’t quite decide if that’s a good or a bad thing; so instead, we just enjoy.
As soon as we sit down in the Llawnroc’s rather informal looking restaurant, Gwineas, we’re brought the menu – which features lots of local produce, particularly seafood – and a large bottle of complimentary filtered water.
To start, I order Cornish fish soup and Monsieur 2 chooses scallops from Mevagissey, a fishing town just three miles away. The soup is deeply rich and savoury, containing lovely chunks of white fish. Monsieur 2’s scallops – a generous portion of three, served on the shell – are bathed in tasty garlic butter, their sweetness countered nicely by an earthy celeriac slaw.
Monsieur 2 sticks with fish for his main course, classic cod and chips. It’s another sizeable serving and he likes how the slab of fish and chunky, thrice-cooked chips, are served on a sheet of newspaper! The batter’s made with Mevagissey Rattler cider and is really light and crisp. My sticky pork belly is lacquered in a piquant glaze and, like Monsieur 2’s scallops, is served with celeriac slaw. It has a great taste and texture from slow cooking, and the accompanying roast potatoes are fantastic, but I can’t manage them all.
We’ve only got room to share a dessert and a light, creamy blackberry fool with clotted cream and tart blackcurrant sorbet is the perfect palate-cleanser.
Back in our room, we’ve got the control for the PlayStation and Monsieur 2 – the gadgetry whizz that he is – sets it up to play a DVD. We collapse for a cuddle on the settee. Thankfully it is large enough for us to both stretch out our long frames and digest dinner – we’re stuffed!
Our toes wink at each other as our feet protrude over the edge of the bed. We wish it was as generously-proportioned as our settee, and although curling up is no great hardship, we can’t be the only over-six-footers to have had this problem.
The slightly-short bed hasn’t prevented us from having a good night’s sleep and after a powerful shower in the stylish biscuit-tiled bathroom, we dress and go down to breakfast.
The breakfast room is plusher than Gwineas and we wonder why all meals aren’t served in this nicer space. Our hot breakfasts are very good indeed using excellent local produce; the inclusion of hog pudding – a spicy white sausage which we both love – makes them a ‘full Cornish’ rather than ‘full English’!
So engrossed in today’s papers, the morning’s over before we know it, and as our taxi pulls away, Monsieur 2 sums up our time here: fantastic local food, beautiful coastal scenery, friendly staff and a comfortable stay. If we’d done our homework a little better, we’d have left time to visit some of the other fishing villages nearby – but that’s a pleasure we’ll happily come back for.cultural destinations and city breaks here
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