Tresanton was arguably Britain's first coastal-chic boutique hotel, assembled and subsequentlygrown around a cluster of lovely habourside buildings. Ever since Olga Polizzi opened its bijoux maritime doors in 1997, Tresanton has become the landmark for those seeking luxe-on-sea.
Set in a former yacht club, with sensational views over the picture-postcard pretty Falmouth Bay in the Cornish coastal town of St Mawes, it is unpretentious yet wants for nothing. Tresanton is both classically Cornish and contemporary in style and never forgets its privileged location. It is cosy, romantic and inviting and when the summer passes, it brings on its winter charm in glowing fashion.
In summer, the ship’s deck - outside the all blue-and-white restaurant - is a prime spot for tucking into fresh local sea fare and a bottle or two of Puligny Montrachet, but when the cooler weather sets in, the restaurant is also utterly charming, with a mosaic floor and tounge and groove walls. Both have lovely views across the harbour and Falmouth Bay.
Tresanton may well have maritime sophistication in spades, but families are welcome too. There are 30 rooms and suites in all, some with their own terraces. There are several self-contained villa-styled apartments set behind the main hotel with views over the bay, plus a playroom and a Wendy house in one of the private gardens. This is not a resort-style luxury hotel at all, but it offers parental luxuries such as a private cinema, which is also extremely popular with the young ones, and many beach activities close to the hotel, where children can spend hours searching little rock pools for those all too evasive sea creatures. Two of the houses that make up the hotel, Rock Cottage and The Nook, can be exclusively rented to accommodate families and friends.
Dogs are welcome, too, with dog-friendly rooms available on request.
Tresanton even offers its private yacht, Pinuccia, for hire - a magnificent, slender 8 metre classic, originally commissioned in 1939 to race for Italy. Full-day and half-day charters with picnics and wines are organised with the skipper, who can also arrange a sunset cruises.
In our opinion, Tresanton is perfect for a romantic luxury escape but also offers parents an exclusive combo of being luxurious and family-friendly at the same time. As it happens, when we stayed, there was not a child to be seen, but we have since promised our brood to return with two or three in tow.