WHERE TO STAY IN: CORNWALL
When planning a last minute seaside trip, the UK may not be the first place that comes to mind. Granted, the weather can be capricious and the offerings in Europe provide solid competition. Yet, when planning our annual mother-daughter trip, I was drawn by the prospect of avoiding the crowds and exploring the much underrated Cornish coastline. Having trawled through Instagram geotags and google images, I was fairly confident in my choice, only finding the right place to stay remained. Our last stop, and by far the most indulgent, was Merchants Manor in Falmouth. Recently refurbished, modern with traditional appeal, it is the kind of place that almost makes you grateful for the rain, as a valid excuse never to leave the premises!
Having arrived on a rainy Sunday, our only dilemma was whether to have a complementary slice of home made madeira cake with blackberry preserve in the lounge or to dip right into the pool. On the day, we went for the cake (no-brainer!) but with its extensive opening times, we enjoyed the pool, gym and spa facilities on the daily, always remembering to stay hydrated thanks to the infused water available throughout the hotel.
The service was second to none and the friendly staff made us feel right at home. A combination of homely and grand, the decor seamlessly mixes vintage pieces, with classical fixtures and clean lines. A favourite area of mine was no doubt the comfortable couches by the fireplace where it's easy to forget the world around you as you bask in the warmth and become transfixed by the dancing flames.
Breakfast in the sunbathed conservatory, and quiet moments on our room's balcony, watching the sun rise and set over the water, are all part of the charm of Merchants Manor. Conscious of its exceptional surroundings, the restaurant's menu - breakfast included - delivered in every way. Each meal a celebration of the natural produce readily available nearby. Homemade muesli, preserves and bread in the morning and local fish and meat, cooked to perfection for dinner. Were we tempted to eat elsewhere? Not once. The selection of dishes and range of produce kept us coming back for more.
Granted, luxury comes in many forms, but sometimes, there is no greater luxury than feeling right at home.