The lowdown Overlooking Carne Beach on the Roseland Peninsula from a spectacular cliff top, the secluded and tranquil Nare Hotel sits in extensive grounds with sub-tropical gardens. A family-owned hotel since 1989, it was bought by the late Mrs Bettye Gray, who set about creating a standard of luxury previously unavailable in Cornwall. Today, the 4-star hotel is lovingly maintained by Bettye’s grandson Toby and has been the highest-rated hotel in the county for more than 15 years. Service is exactly what you would expect from a chic hotel with such a lofty reputation: consistently attentive and friendly, though never overbearing. We’d barely stepped inside reception when we were happily whisked through to the gardens to enjoy afternoon tea in the sun. The Nare has an intimate, personal feel: guests may even find themselves sharing some chit chat over pre-dinner cocktails with Toby in the lounge.
The rooms With 32 sea-facing rooms, you won’t be short of stunning views, while decor is in keeping with the hotel’s traditional, relaxed, country-home style. The nine large suites are suitable for families: the most luxurious, The Pendower, comprises two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a lounge/study, several balconies, a kitchen and a flat-screen TV hidden behind a gilt picture frame... phew!
The food The main dining room offers a Table d'Hôte menu and silver service – the dress code is formal, so warn your boyfriend to bring a tie and jacket and pack your best diffusion-line cocktail dress. For a more casual evening, the laid-back and dress-code-free Quarterdeck restaurant offers fine dining and fabulous service in nautical surrounds. We went a la carte and were treated to a frothy lobster cappuccino and wild sea bass with saffron creamed potatoes, asparagus and spinach, with beurre blanc sauce.
What to do Tate St Ives and Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden are both nearby for art-lovers, while outdoorsy types should pack walking boots for scenic coastal strolls. Just north of St Mawes, St Just-in-Roseland is famous for its picturesque, 1,400-year-old church. Perched on the edge of a tidal creek, numerous paths lead from the churchyard to the coastal footpath, which continues round the headland through magnificent National Trust land. Reward yourself after this two-mile stroll with the Nare’s afternoon tea at 4pm – the dining table groans under the weight of home-made scones, jams and cream, plus a cake is baked daily and homemade shortbread is “always available”!
The details The Nare, Carne Beach, Veryan-in-Roseland, Cornwall. T: 01872 501 111. Double rooms with a country view from £324; sea view from £396; sea view suites from £464
By Vikki Shennan