We disgraced ourselves at The Old Coastguard. The sea view from this hotel in the Cornish fishing village of Mousehole is mesmerising. From our balcony we admired St Michael’s Mount, the Lizard peninsula, St Clement’s Isle and Mousehole Harbour. We’d found a perfect spot and, while we’d taken our eyes off the dog, our mucky pup had found hers: on the bed.
Brothers Charles and Edmund Inkin ensure the atmosphere at The OC is so relaxed that it’s easy to forget you’re not in your own home.
Everything about the place is charming, from the welcome and the well-considered, comfortable rooms to the extraordinary laid-back efficiency of staff.
Even the hotel literature raises a smile (‘For very light sleepers or to silence Nature’s flying alarm clocks, you’ll find earplugs in your bathroom’).
Outside, the building has a New England feel. Inside, the bar and Upper Deck restaurant area has a sage-and-butter colour scheme that complements the surrounding wilds of West Penwith.
The restaurant, bar and sun deck overlook the ocean. Guests who grab a book from the shelves and ensconce themselves in a plumpy sofa might find the vista, and the friendly locals, too diverting to read. No worries – you can take the tome home and post it back when you’re done.
The bar has an impressive wine list and great tipples. For a pre-prandial, go Cornish with a Tarquin’s or Caspyn gin or draught ale by Padstow Brewing Co or Cornish Crown. Mention The Old Coastguard to those who know it and they salivate. Head chef Matt Smith presents superb dishes with local ingredients. We stuffed ourselves with delights including home-made bread; creamy Porthilly oysters; Cornish squid; hake with a pancetta croquette; knockout gnocchi with squash, ricotta, kale, sage and raisins; and a flavour bomb of honey-poached quince, yogurt sorbet, lemon-verbena mousse and shortbread.
After waking to a spectacular sunrise, for breakfast we went for kedgeree rather than a ‘full Cornish’ – plus toast with the best marmalade I’ve tasted. We were gluttons for guzzlement at this Cornish cream of hotels.
The USP: Gasp-inducing views, easygoing vibe, smiley service, lip-smacking food. And the perfect place to stay for Mousehole’s famous Christmas lights.
The rooms: Fourteen sea-view rooms with super-comfy Vispring beds, great bathrooms (especially room 15), Welsh blankets, Roberts digital radios, fresh coffee and Cornish Tregothnan tea, natural Bramley toiletries.
The food: Ambrosial and, like the wine list, pretty bargainous. The prix-fixe is £21.50 for two courses or £27 for three.
The Old Coastguard, Mousehole, Cornwall. Dinner, bed and breakfast costs from £195 to £300 for two sharing. For more information visit oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk.