On Camel Estuary, a stone’s-throw from Polzeath and a ferry-crossing from Padstow, Rock in Cornwall is beloved by boaties.
Its long, sandy beach and wonderful walking trails also make it a magnet for holidaymakers. But when the waterfront’s busy, it can all feel a bit hectic, so praise be for the marvellous St Enodoc Hotel.
Perched on a hillside overlooking the estuary on one side and lush countryside on the other, it was originally built as a private house in 1924.
The aloof location means you’re far from the madding crowd, but able to dip in and out of the buzz below as and when you choose.
When we arrive, climbing the steps from the car park through its nicely planted gardens, we pass the outdoor pool, a petanque court and Zen zone. Friendly, relaxing vibes permeate the light, colourful, comfy interior. Nothing is flashy or try-too-hard.
Young couple James and Lucy Strachan, who run things, are very hands-on. Their family bought and renovated St Enodoc in 2019 and reopened just weeks before lockdown. A Rocky start? You’d never know it now.
Vicki describes the hotel's interior as light, colourful and comfy. 'Nothing is flashy or try-too-hard,' she notes
The property was originally built as a private house in 1924. Pictured is a Superior Twin Room with an estuary view - one of the hotel's 21 guest rooms
Vicki picks up on the hotel's 'friendly, relaxing vibes'. Above is a cosy Family Suite with an estuary view
After an excellent Elemis massage and facial in the spa, then a good walk, I return to our charming coastal-style Estuary View Superior Double. One of 21 rooms and suites, it has a super-comfy, super-king-size bed (our spoilt dog secures a fleecy cushion), and bench seat on which I flop to enjoy the vista. The fresh white bathroom boasts Bramley toiletries. There’s a smart TV, Nespresso machine, kettle, tea and biscuits aplenty.
Not that we nibble pre-dinner, as we’ve booked the nine-course tasting menu at St Enodoc’s pièce de résistance: Karrek. Celebrating Cornish produce and much of it from the family’s Devon farm, Karrek is the smarter, more intimate of two restaurants overseen by executive chef Guy Owen.
Suffice to say this is one of the most exquisite meals I’ve ever had.
Vicki enjoys a nine-course tasting menu at Karrek (pictured), the hotel's restaurant that's overseen by executive chef Guy Owen. 'This is one of the most exquisite meals I’ve ever had,' she admits
Pictured is the hotel's Brasserie restaurant where the doors open on to the terrace and barbecue lunches are served in the summertime
The Brasserie restaurant (pictured) has a 'cracking menu', says Vicki
Just when we think we’ve tasted the most delicious dish – shiitake broth with seaweed, or oyster and mussel risotto – another ambrosial plate arrives.
Dessert is a gorgeously delicate rhubarb and white chocolate ‘Viennetta’.
It might sound ridiculous to say £100 per head for dinner is a bargain, but at this standard it really is. A Michelin star can’t be far off.
The airy, casual Brasserie also has a cracking menu, including breakfasts featuring avocado, smoked salmon or a full Cornish. Its doors open on to the terrace, where barbecue lunches tempt on summer Saturdays. Rock on!
Rock's long, sandy beach (pictured) and wonderful walking trails make it a magnet for holidaymakers, according to Vicki
St Enodoc Hotel, Rock, Cornwall. B&B from £170 per night (enodoc-hotel.co.uk).