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Tales from the Cornish coast

Hannah Faulder experiences The Idle Rocks in St Mawes, a romantic UK bolthole complete with fresh sea air, incredible dining and picturesque surroundings...

Beachside view of The Idle Rocks Hotel Credit: Drew GibsonMy husband, Cal, and I stepped inside to find the kind of warm and friendly welcome you come to expect in Cornwall. Walking to our room (one of 19 in the property), we pass playful objects and quirky artwork adorning the walls. These items are balanced so perfectly with the decor it creates a homely yet luxurious feel, with more than a nod to its nautical setting. We know it's our room thanks to the slate sign with "Hannah & Cal" chalked on it – cute touch! Through the door we're met with stylish, fresh interiors, a huge marshmallowy bed and a fabulous free-standing rolltop bath. Sunlight streams through the sash windows, and as my eyes adjust, they reveal incredible views across the harbour and the little fishing boats lazily bobbing on the water. It was truly quite breath-taking. Once our bags were unpacked and we sat on the sofa with a cup of tea, our ears tuned in to the sound of waves rolling onto the shore and we began to slow down to Cornish time; we soon realised this was a place of simple pleasures and relaxed luxury.

Water coast view of St Mawes Say "Cornwall" and most people think of surfing, pasties and Poldark. From The Idle Rocks you can explore all these things and more. The Roseland Peninsula where the hotel sits is a paradise for walkers with craggy clifftops, light-dapped woodland and rugged coastlines to tempt you. You can even borrow a walking guide and wellies from the hotel. One afternoon we took a stroll out to St Mawes Castle, which is just around the other side of the village and as far as we fancied walking on a wet and blustery day. I loved this compact, clover-leaf shaped castle – it's one of my must-dos along with catching the ferry across to Falmouth.
Walking through St Mawes, we dipped in and out of little art galleries and indie shops. There's also plenty of places to sample a cream tea (jam followed by cream in Cornwall, please) and delicious local pasties and seafood. The harbour was quiet on a wet day in early March, but it's normally bustling with people taking to the water on boats, paddleboards, canoes and windsurfers. What better way to blow away the cobwebs?
One of my highlights of the trip was the Hidden Cinema experience at The Idle Rocks' sister property St Mawes Hotel (www.stmaweshotel.com). Located just around the harbour, the husband and I got dressed up for date night and wandered around to the hotel for a delicious dinner followed by a private screening. The two of us got cosy in the 25-seat state-of-the-art cinema under a fluffy blanket with a big bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine. The cinema normally shows a mix of films, sporting events and screenings of theatre productions, but we were treated to a private viewing of our wedding photos – what an experience! We didn't want to leave so the staff put on our favourite film, L.A. Confidential, and we settled in for the night while our wine glasses and popcorn bucket were never left to go empty.

photo of a mind dish from the menu The Idle Rocks has an ethos of sustainability, which means food is sourced locally to keep its carbon footprint down. Luckily for guests, it's situated in one of the best places for regional produce. New head chef Dorian Janmaat has returned to his native Cornwall after eight years at Raymond Blanc's two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. Expect exciting and aesthetically pleasing dishes, which champion the freshest local ingredients. Dinner in the Idle Rocks is a memorable affair. With attentive, knowledgeable staff and an incredible menu. Cal devoured fresh oysters, while I absolutely loved the foraged wild garlic soup. The brassica and coconut dhal was a divine veggie option for me, and Cal was treated to some amazing seafood. For something a little more informal, we loved the gastro-pub feel of The St Mawes Hotel. Here we ate pizzas and Scotch eggs, all with the same emphasis on exceptional quality.

Rooms at The Idle Rocks start from £200 per night, based on two people sharing on a B&B basis. To find out more, visit https://idlerocks.com or call 01326 270 270.

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