If we were to drive a bit further, we would drop off the island. We are therefore in the very south west of England. In the picturesque town of Mousehole to be precise. An iconic Cornish harbor, with an impressive selection of cafés, restaurants, and galleries hidden in its network of tiny streets. After a day of shining weather and a nice ride through narrow roads along rolling fields, it drizzles a little when we arrive at our destination: The Old Coast Guard. But already as we park the car the overcloud gives way to the sun again.
For now, we leave our luggage in the car as we walk into the garden that lies behind the hotel. Which itself is a romantic, classically styled building, imagine beach holidays in the ‘30’s from the previous century. The garden runs from the wide terrace, sloping down to the sea and has palm trees. Yes, we are still in Cornwall with its micro-climate that brings the most annual sun hours in the whole of England, so those plants really flourish. A fence separates the garden from the large boulders sown beach that is slightly lower. A few hundred meters from the shore line lies the small sea bird island, where you will see numerous seagulls arguing about who caught which fish. As this spectacle unfolds itself the other guests also notice the sunbeams and come out with their drinks to settle themselves in the garden chairs.
As we etch all this into our mind, we meet owner Charles. While his son Otto plays with our daughters, he tells us passionately about how they bought this hotel in quite neglected state and now turns it by arduous work, step by step, into a new contemporary form.
As far as we are concerned, Charles can be truly proud. The Old Coast Guard is such a place where it is impossible not to feel relaxed here. Think of lovely sofas and easy armchairs in the closed veranda with lots of paintings and large windows that offer stunning sea views. A place where you can dream away with an enjoyable book while the kids are playing seek and hide outside. Everything on the Old Coastguard exudes intimacy and coziness. This atmosphere is further enhanced by books, maps, old photographs and games that lie everywhere.
Behind the closed veranda you will find an informal dining room with sturdy wooden tables well-spaced away from each other. It makes a nice bistro pub atmosphere but without a feeling of being packed in with every possible space filled with a table. The bar is set aside and welcomes both guests and residents which adds to the warmth and atmosphere of this remarkable small hotel. It is stocked with a good range of beers from microbreweries, local ciders and offers an extensive wine list. The food menu changes all the time, but we would highly recommend the pork belly and the lamb. Nothing fancy but just excellent quality food that is well prepared and served by a prompt, efficient and smart waiting staff. And of course, we must mention that the restaurant is holder of a Michelin Bib Gourmand. As hotel guests, we enjoy most of our meals in the restaurant but it is also a delightful place to just pop in and have a gin and tonic. They even allow dogs in a certain part of the restaurant.
The rooms are well appointed. There are fourteen in total, most looking out over glistening Cornish inland waters. The decor of the room is not immaculate, but this hardly matters as the message is about a comfortable and caring charm- a promise amply fulfilled. Because of its size there is only one real family room in the top of the building, consisting of two bedrooms. It is all very romantic indeed. A few small windows gave us a picturesque view of the sea and the nice port village Mouse Hole just a short stroll away from the hotel. The rooms are also stocked with books and the kids even find children books beside their beds. By the way one of the most comfortable beds we have ever slept in and with the bonus of no TV in the room just an internet radio.
For those in an active mood you will find some of the world’s most awe-inspiring coastline right on the doorstep. Wander out of the back of the village and be on top of the cliffs in little more than ten minutes. We walked a section of the South West Coast Path National Trail; maybe you like it that much that you will cover the whole 630 miles of it! But probably you won’t because you will miss out on all the other activities. What about joining a sailing catamaran for a unique marine wildlife watching adventure or hire some mountain bikes to discover some of the excellent dirt tracks. Or visit the castle of St. Michael Mount close by and watch a performance at the stunning Minnack Theatre. Whatever you choose to do at the end of the day the Old Coast Guard will be a welcoming place to sit down together and relive all your family adventures.
# This quirky little place offers a variety of interior spaces and a very relaxed and comfortable ambience.
# A brilliant spot for a short escape away from humdrum life, a place that is genuinely good for restoring the soul and satisfying the appetite.
# As the owners like The Coastguard to be at the center of the local community, prices for especially drinks and food are modest compared to other more ‘touristic’ counterparts.
This property can be booked through www.i-escape.com/oldcoastguard