Arriving with the roof down and the sunshine beating on the calm waters of St Mawes Harbour, we could hardly have picked a better moment to draw up outside the Hotel Tresanton. It looked like paradise. Olga Polizzi’s Cornish hideaway on the south coast is breathtakingly beautiful and stylish beyond compare. Set into the hillside overlooking St Anthony’s Head, the rooms all have spectacular views of sea and sky and have been individually designed by Mrs Polizzi.

St Anthony’s Head

Our bedroom was up in the attics of the house and had the air of breezy beachside living. Blue and white stripped curtains drew back to reveal broad windows looking out over the terrace and beyond that to the sea.

View from a bedroom window

It was only later as I read my book on the terrace that I realised quite how like being on a boat life at the Tresanton seemed. The relaxed pace of life, the decking of the terrace, and the cool sea breeze blowing across the bows, all added up to total relaxation.
Dragging ourselves out of cool comfortable chairs we grabbed our swimmers and went out for a sail on the Tresanton’s beautiful Pinuccia. A 48-foot classic yacht, she was built to represent Italy in the Coppa D’Italia of 1939 and now puts all the other boats moored in St Mawes in the shade. As we sailed out towards the Helford River we caught a glimpse of three seals basking in the sunshine on a rock in mid channel and a cormorant wizzing along beneath the surface in search of his lunch.

Pinuccia with the Tresanton behind

We returned to the hotel in search of ours, bronzed from the beating sun and with an appetite that you only get from sea air.
The local, seasonal, Italian inspired recipes are the perfect combination, and whether sitting in the dinning room with the weather going on around you or sitting on the terrace, the experience is exquisite.

Dining Room

There are many mini adventures to be had in and around St Mawes, my favouite of which was the walk along the coast to the magical waterside church in St Just in Roseland.
Speaking to other visitors it seems the Tresanton casts a magical spell over those who stay there and they return time and again, not only in the summer months, but in winter when the weather swirls around the hotel and the log fire burns day and night.
I am traditionally a north Cornish girl at heart, but I can honestly say the magic of the Hotel Tresanton was bewitching, and I am already filling my piggy bank in preparation for our next visit.

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  • Holly Kirkwood

    The Hotel Tresanton has been called the Hotel Tresanton for years, we believe, so you remember correctly.

  • Jennifer Hornzee

    The article on Page 106 of Country Life Issue dated 4th July 2012, edited by Arabella Youens, says that in the late 1990s Olga Polizzi bought the former yachting club and reinvented it as Hotel Tresanton. This seems a strange remark as I remember going to Hotel Tresanton for lunch in the early 1970s!