Boutique hotels in Cornwall: stylish seaside breaks come rain or shine

Come rain or sunshine, have your buckets and spades ready! Here are a few of our favourite boutique hotels in Cornwall.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Cornwall wasn’t really a part of England. With its microclimate, long hours of sunshine and pale sandy beaches, it definitely feels a little too Costa del Sol to be on the UK coast.

But blend that with quaint traditional villages, cream teas and Cornish pasties and you’ve got one of my favourite things in the world – England in the sunshine. If you manage to catch it in good weather you’re really in for a treat: grassy cliff top walks, splashes in the sea, even surfing; but it’ll still entertain you without the sunshine…

The first time I visited Cornwall however, it rained more than it had ever rained… or so the newspapers reported. But even as I ate fish and chips in a steaming car because the downpour was too much for even the sturdiest umbrella, and got stuck on a hillside in Windsor Terrace because of the pouring water, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

An artsy boutique hotel in Cornwall


I started to see Artist Residence popping up on Instagram last year and have been lusting after all their locations ever since. They’re found across the country, but their Cornwall hotel sits in Penzance. Encapsulating the town’s salty, classic charm, it’s set in an old Georgian seaside retreat, with bedrooms styled by local artists.

Perfectly located for trips to the Isles of Scilly, this boutique Cornwall hotel is also ideal for wanders to the Jubilee art deco lido and for – my favourite – many many strolls along the beach.

You get exactly what you expect from the rooms here, they’re artistic, full of colour and personality, think reclaimed wood, upcycled furniture and lots of original pieces on the walls. You can choose a snug double or splash out on The Lookout or The Cottage for some extra home from home space.

Make sure you visit the hotel’s Cornish Barn restaurant during your stay, you’ll find lots of yummy local produce, with the tasting plates providing a great way of trying some new dishes. The lounge and its log fire are the perfect ‘hello’ after a walk along the beach in the winter, while the beer garden is the place to relax in the summer.

Artist Residence Penzance Hotel & Gallery

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (403 reviews)

A chic stay on the high street


I think my recently developed foodie heart brought me to Padstow, and if you’re a fellow food lover you may have heard of the Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at Number 6. From this restaurant comes boutique Cornwall hotel the Padstow Townhouse, a listed building on the high street, with just six chic bedrooms.

The house looks just like something you’d expect from a stylish London pad: Chesterfield style leather sofas, retro Marshall speakers and damask wallpaper. By the door, there’s an impressive ever-changing doormat to bid you good morning, afternoon or evening, but wander through from here and you’ll find an even more impressive feature, the honesty pantry, complete with gold fridge and plenty of freshly made pastries. It definitely feels like a treat to fill up a wicker basket with wine and cakes from this place.

Here the bedrooms feel luxurious, and little touches like hot chocolate at bedtime, a bath with a dedicated space for champagne glasses and room names such as toffee-apple and marshmallow (named after Paul’s favourite desserts) make this place truly unique. We were even given brownies for the long journey back to London… now that is great service.

Padstow Townhouse

9.7 Excellent (36 reviews)

Forgot you're in England at this boutique hotel on Cornwall's waterfront


Chilling on the waterfront in St. Mawes is The Idle Rocks. Looking like something ripped from the pages of a magazine, this chic boutique Cornwall hotel is where Scandi style meets the French Riviera. And it boasts treasures in every corner; I can guarantee you’ll spend your stay scanning the rooms, with everything from local art and driftwood sculptures to vintage signs and barware on display. You can easily forget you’re in England here, with the Mediterranean skies that often bless this part of the country, it is the perfect place to wake up to views across the water.

Warm and welcoming but definitely a hipster hotspot, this boutique Cornwall hotel exudes happiness from its rooms. They’re decorated with pops of bright colour, retro Roberts radios, seashells and rolltop bathtubs or monsoon showers.

But the winner has to be the hotel’s terrace, which lingers over the water and is a popular spot with the locals. Even if you’re here in the winter you can enjoy the view, with a glass-walled restaurant, bar and lounge which spreads across the entire length of the hotel. There’s even a hidden cinema, with just 25 seats, it’s a great spot for date night.

Hotel The Idle Rocks

St Mawes
9.7 Excellent (97 reviews)

Stay in a former sailor's refuge


Set in the heart of Fowey but boasting that tranquil vibe you want from a Cornwall break, the Old Quay House was once a sailor’s refuge. It sits on the shores of Fowey’s estuary, so you’ll definitely spot a sailing boat or two when you’re enjoying a cream tea on the terrace or a lazy morning in your room. Outside, the town boasts an interesting mix of antique shops, independent boutiques, galleries and plenty of pasties… because you cannot possibly come to this area and not try the local speciality. Go to Kittows for an authentic local version that you can devour on the harbour.

What I loved about this hotel was the little added touches: from earplugs to block out that 5am seagull alarm to raincoats just incase the Brit weather gets the best of you, there are a lot of thoughtful details that make this somewhere special. There’s even a pair of binoculars, which are fab if you manage to bag a sea view room… and the hot water bottle was much appreciated by my forever-cold toes. The afternoon treat cupboard was also a very welcome sugar rush after a long walk along the shore.

The Old Quay House

9.1 Excellent (315 reviews)

A classic boutique by the sea


This Cornwall hotel is one for anyone who likes a little touch of classic magic… and I certainly don’t need an excuse to indulge in some luxury. The Carlyon Bay Hotel sits in a striking setting just above a private bay. With palm trees in the garden and a golf course nearby, it’s everything you could want from an old-school, high-class Cornish hotel. It is also known for entertaining the likes of Winston Churchill and the Prince of Wales, so you’re in great company here.

Inside the building, you’ll find traditional interiors: cosy armchairs, wood panelled walls, classic music chortling in the background and big, comfy beds in the bedrooms.

This is the kind of place you can come to and stay all week, indulging in spa treatments, enjoying a swim in the pool, braving the outdoor pool in the summer and even limbering up for a game of tennis or some golf.

The Carlyon Bay Hotel is also just a short drive from the must-see Eden Project, as well as the Lost Gardens of Heligan… if you’re a plant fanatic like me, they are both well worth a visit.

Hotel The Carlyon Bay

Top rated
St Austell
9.2 Excellent (817 reviews)

A writer living in London, Laura is currently working on her debut novel – a fictional tale inspired by her travels across America. When she’s not checking out the ideal hotel bed thread-count, she’s penning short stories, writing for various publications & brands, and sharing fashion tales on her blog, LauLauLand.