Glimpses of Merchants Manor, set above Falmouth, the lively harbour town on Cornwall’s south coast, reveal two dog sculptures outside a Queen Anne-style mansion, leaded windows and a turret. Is it a little... staid? How wrong snatched impressions can be.
Inside, calm and airy modernity combines with old-school elegance. The lounges and restaurant are in cool grey-greens with wooden floors, mirrors, squishy sofas and cosy window nooks. The art – alongside pictures of the grand manor as it was in 1913, built for a shipping merchant – adds genuine interest.
Merchants Manor describes itself as ‘a grown-up getaway’ – children under 12 cannot stay. Two hot tubs in the secluded garden contribute to the more adult atmosphere, as do a bijou spa, indoor swimming and hydrotherapy pools, steam room and a gym. In short, there’s nothing starchy here, and the relaxed ambience is nurtured by a team who make the independently owned place feel family-run, such is their warmth and repartee.
Vicki says in the self-contained Landlubber suite at Merchants Manor, one of two self-catering, timber-framed ‘luxury rustic residences’ built in 2018, which have full access to the hotel
Its restaurant Rastella offers an excellent seven-course tasting menu which, at £59, is great value. There’s toothsome crispy monkfish, heritage-grain sourdough with cultured butter, excellent Falmouth scallops and char siu belly.
Vegetarian standouts? A zingy tomato consomme, beetroot with a chilli hit and a stunning reinvention of strawberries and cream.
Rastella highlights local produce, and you can’t get more local than its talented chef, Aiden Blakely-May, who went to school over the road.
The Tardis-like hotel has an extension housing all but five of the 39 varied rooms.
There are flat-screen TVs, complimentary wi-fi and the beds are comfy. With showers, baths or both, all have luxury products by Temple Spa. While ten of the rooms have sea views, you won’t pay more for one so it’s an added bonus.
We are in Landlubber, one of two self-catering, timber-framed ‘luxury rustic residences’ built in 2018, which have full access to the hotel.
Merchants Manor is set above Falmouth, the lively harbour town on Cornwall’s south coast
The smart, ground-floor suite with glass walls, a 100ft (30m) deck and private hot tub is rather fabulous. On the industrial-style table in the living/kitchen area a welcome hamper filled with local Polgoon wine, scones and ginger beer is another boon.
The linoprints by local artist Lou Tonkin are lovely, as are the jazzy green-and-white zigzag floor tiles. The oak-clad bedrooms have sumptuous drapes, large beds and classy wet rooms with brass fittings and more fantastic tiles. We sleep well.
Breakfast is good, too – granola, yogurt and compote, poached eggs, smashed peas, harissa and smoked salmon.
After a walk to Gylly, the sandy town beach, I return to find my other half grinning in the hot tub. My sentiment exactly.
Merchants Manor, Falmouth. B&B from £158 per night; residences from £300 per night (merchantsmanor.com).