St Mawes Hotel in Cornwall is a beachside British bolthole at the edge of a handsome harbour. This cosily classic stay has a cinema room (rainy days: sorted), sea-facing restaurant and a lively bar that’s popular with locals. There are only seven rooms, each simple yet stylish, and some with views of the water. On the agenda are live music nights, artist workshops and fitness retreats to induct you into the cool Cornish community.
Get this when you book through us:
An in-room bottle of prosecco and tickets to either the St Mawes Luxury Hidden Cinema or the Lost Gardens of Heligan
11am, but flexible, on request. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible.
Double rooms from £144.38, including tax at 5 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast.
The hotel hosts regular retreats throughout the year, whether it’s for fitness or an artists’ workshop. And look out for screening nights at the ‘Hidden Cinema’, which seats 25.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, wellies to borrow, cinema. In rooms: TV with Sky Sports, free bottled water, tea and coffee kit, beach bags and sun hats, adaptor plugs, Roberts Radio and Aromatherapy Associates bath products.
Our favourite rooms
If you want to channel Captain Birdseye and constantly stare out to sea, be sure to book one of the rooms with a Channel-showcasing perch. Dogs and bath lovers will enjoy the Village Rooms, which are pet-friendly and have roomy, egg-shaped tubs.
There’s no spa, but in-room treatments can be arranged.
Battle the elements in windbreakers and wellies, but don’t forget your bucket and spade.
The Lower Deck bar is accessible for wheelchair users, but none of the rooms have been specially adapted.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds and cots can be added to Falmouth Rooms, and connecting rooms are available. The Falmouth View Family Room sleeps four. Babysitting is £15 an hour; monitors can be borrowed. Kids are welcome in the restaurant at all times.
Vegetables are grown down the road in the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the fish served in the restaurant will have been caught in local waters; and, the hotel has banished single-use plastic such as straws.
Get up close and personal with the windows: you didn’t come all this way to miss out on the coastal views.
The boat-channelling Upper Deck serves up plenty of sea views – along with some hearty modern British fare. Local farmers and fishermen are championed, so you can expect to have travelled further than most of what’s on your plate. Do your best to stick around for the Sunday roast. Breakfast (granola, fruit, pastries, plus food cooked to order) is served here, along with afternoon teas. You’re encouraged to pop next door to the Hidden Cinema to catch a postprandial flick – and other entertainment includes live music at weekends.
The Lower Deck has another helping of harbour views, and serves its own brand (Reef Knot) of ale, organic Cornish wines from Trevibban Mill, and locally made gins. Food is served here between noon and 3pm, and 6pm and 9pm.
Breakfast is served from 8am until 10.30am. Lunch hours are noon to 3pm and dinner is between 6pm and 9pm.
A children’s menu and the restaurant’s dinner menu can be served in-room if required.
The St Mawes Hotel is in the namesake coastal Cornish village, on a peninsula south of Truro.
The airport in Newquay is about 45 minutes away by car; hotel transfers are £75 each way. Exeter’s airport is a two-hour drive from the hotel; transfers are £200 each way. From London Heathrow, it’s a hefty four and a half hours behind the wheel.
The station in Truro is the most convenient – the drive should take around 40 minutes and hotel transfers are £60 each way. From here, Great Western runs services across the country, including to and from London, Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.
The closest big town is Truro, a 40-minute drive north. It’s worth coming by car if you want to see more of the Cornish riviera. Parking at the hotel costs £8 a day – it’s 200 yards down the road, so you may want to offload your luggage first.
St Mawes harbour is the docking point for the passenger ferry from Falmouth and the car ferry from Truro. Private jets can touch down at Newquay’s airport and choppers can descend on the nearby landing field.
Worth getting out of bed for
Once you’ve watched a film in the hotel’s hidden screening room, gone fishing and taken to the water (sailing, paddleboarding), the delights of the Cornish coast awaits (and it’s not all cream teas). Green-fingered sorts will love discovering the seat of the Tremayne family and their Lost Gardens of Heligan – which were literally mislaid for decades thanks to some pesky overgrowth – and the totally tropical taste of the Lamorran Gardens. For arty types, there’s the Atlantic-facing Tate and Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives, and the Falmouth Art Gallery. There are sandy shores on your doorstep, too. Check out one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses with by cruising up to St Mawes Castle.
The Hidden Hut on the Roseland Peninsula is a simple, seasonal shack with food so good, it now has its own cookbook – time your visit to join in on one of the feast nights to indulge in specialities such as wood-fired paella, slow-roasted lamb or lobster and chips. For all the best fruits of the sea, try The Watch House in St Mawes, where the oysters come topped with samphire and the salmon is smoked locally. Or pop along the harbour to the restaurant at sister hotel Idle Rocks, for afternoon tea, sundowners on the seafront or dishes such as crab tortellini or curried hake with cauliflower and couscous.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in England and unpacked their buckets and spades, a full account of their seaside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside St Mawes Hotel in Cornwall…
Everyone loves to slap a label on things, so here you go: St Mawes is the new St Ives. From one canonised town to the next, Cornwall keeps getting better. This bijou beachside bolthole is on the edge of a peninsula south of Truro, with all the Channel views, windswept galleries and standout seafood restaurants to tick the British-seaside boxes. The boutique St Mawes Hotel has just seven rooms, but plenty to keep you busy, whether it’s family film afternoons for rainy days in the cinema room, lively live music nights in the Upper Deck restaurant or calorific cream teas with a side order of sea views. Rooms are simple but stylish, with exposed wooden beams and modern bathrooms – and the decor has playful touches, such as retro pieces from the owner’s archive, including a Fifties swimsuit. The cosy bar serves up its own ales, along with Cornish wines and gins. St Mawes is wearing its new hat proudly.