As staunch north Cornwall visitors, who own a cottage in Port Isaac, we thought it would be adventurous of us to experience the southern aspects of Cornwall. We headed down to St Mawes to the well-known Hotel Tresanton on the south coast, near Falmouth. To get there, you have to travel down some extremely winding lanes, but are rewarded by emerging into the lovely village of St Mawes with its estuary, harbour walls and multitude of moored boats. Tresanton Hotel suddenly appears, nestled into the hill and seemingly formed by a series of cottages. The beautifully created entrance is through a narrow passage which gives up onto a sunny, peaceful terrace overlooking the estuary.

Our room also overlooked the estuary and was decorated in fresh blues and whites, giving it a distinctly modern nautical theme, with a mixture of old and new furniture, and our bathroom looked out onto the fully working St Anthony’s lighthouse. The attention to detail in the hotel is just as you would expect from an Olga Polizzi venture she bought Tresanton in 1997. We received a warm welcome from the friendly staff, who, throughout our stay, delivered excellent, unobtrusive service.

It’s a short stroll into the village, with a pretty walk along the seafront to look at the boats. However, we made a hasty retreat as the rain closed in on us and returned to a roaring fire laid in the sitting room, adorned with lots of comfy sofas. People were quietly chatting or playing backgammon, and some children were doing puzzles. We had a pot of tea and read the papers in the warm, relaxed atmosphere.

The dining room was busy with both residents and holidaymakers, but the ambience continued the laid-back feel of the rest of the hotel. The service was attentive and the menu was short but interesting. The meal was a slight letdown, as I had to send back the fish, which was overcooked. But the disappointment was swiftly dealt with and the replacement steak delicious.

The next morning, the sun shone and we could have stayed sitting on the terrace all morning taking in the view had we not needed to return to north Cornwall and our children. On the way back to Port Isaac, we took in the sights of Falmouth there’s a short cut by car ferry 10 minutes from the hotel which leaves regularly, or you can take in more pretty countryside and waterways by road. Falmouth is a busy, sprawling town with wonderful views over the estuary to the beautiful homes on the other side.

Hotel Tresanton, St Mawes, Cornwall (01326 270055; www. tresanton.com). From £230 to £295 per room per night in the high season, and £175 to £240 in the low season.