Reviewed by Kenya Hunt
Address: 2 Treen Villas, Mousehole, Penzance TR19 6RH
Type of Hotel: Luxury Cottage
Type of Break: Beach Holiday, Luxury Stay
Hotel Style: Coastal Cool
The Cuttlefish, a charming cottage in the lavender-scented hills of Mousehole, is so bucolic, so perfect, that even my three-year-old (someone whose idea of paradise is a soft play centre with all-you-can-drink juice boxes) declared he never wanted to leave.
It's hard for a place to be all things to all people. I'm a difficult to impress editor who has stayed in the kinds of luxurious hotels that fill the pages of fashion magazines. For me, it's got to be cool, but not try-hard; chic without being slavishly trendy; and boutique. My husband, meanwhile, is a loyal member of Team Air BnB, a man whose favourite holiday to date was a camping surf trip we once took to Montauk (that was coincidentally my LEAST favourite holiday.) And my son, well, you get the idea.
Somehow, The Cuttlefish has managed to tick off all our disparate boxes. Quietly chic? An air of seclusion and privacy? Outdoorsy feeling? Child-friendly? Done and done!
We took the sleeper train to Mousehole, a sweet, lazy fishing village on the southernmost point of Cornwall, with zero expectations and the goal of recharging and surfing against a backdrop of sun. We're American expats who had never been to the town, let alone Cornwall, and weren't sure what waited for us there.
Upon arrival, we met our hosts, Chris and Camilla, a former television director of photography and producer who moved to Cornwall from London for a change of pace. Our luxury rental, The Cuttlefish, was their first foray into hospitality (they purchased the property in 2012 and began an eight-month renovation of the Victorian house the following year) and it’s quite obvious. Meaning: each detail in the house felt personal, as if it had been tended to with great consideration and care. For example, the lavender in the vintage glass bottles placed throughout the house were freshly picked from the front garden (the smell of lavender filled the house — the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom closets, all of it). And the sea salt in the jam jars of homemade herb-infused bath scrub came right from the Cornish waters outside.
The house has stunning panaromic views of the sea and an especially Instagrammable triple-tiered garden of lavender, rosemary and thyme. Beside each window, a loungey chair from which to take it all in. The Cuttlefish is less about a trend-led statement, and more about an overall feeling that you want to carry around with you.
And to make a long story short, I did. We spent our short trip exploring surf spots in nearby towns and eating fresh fish at two of Mousehole’s best restaurants. But when we got back to our flat in London, it was the cottage I thought about most.
And after those first days of post-beach euphoria wore off, I had a hard time settling back into life as normal. I wanted the crisp, fragrant air back. I wanted the garden, and the loungey chair. So when we found out about a newly renovated little Victorian conversion in our neighbourhood, with an oddly similar layout, we jumped at the chance to move in (we're New Yorkers renting in London, so it was easy to up and move). The garden isn’t triple-tiered or populated with herbs, but I’ve managed to fill the place with lavender and create a similar sense of calm nonetheless.
And there are of course no panoramic views of the sea. But that's all the more reason to go back to Mousehole next summer.
- Soaking in the homemade bath salts at the end of a day of exploring.
- Firing up the grill in the exotic three-tiered garden and cooking with the fresh herbs growing just steps away
- The unbeatable views from every room in the house, make it hard to leave
- The Cuttlefish can be a little difficult to find. Hire a local driver who knows the side streets to help you get there
Need to Know: The Cuttlefish
Number of rooms: The Cuttlefish is a two-bedroom cottage. Larger parties should consider also booking the The Old Fish Cellar, an equally stylish one-bedroom just blocks away.
Check-in/check-out times: Check-in 3pm, check-out noon
Wi-Fi Free throughout: Yes
Eating and drinking: 2 Fore, 2 Fore St, Mousehole, TR19 6QU, 01736 731164, 2forestreet.co.uk, is an excellent restaurant with harbour views and a memorable menu of lovely local seafood dishes. Great for lunch or dinner.
When to go: Mousehole is famous for it's Christmas harbour lights. Book your December stay with The Cuttlefish or Old Fish Cellar now to see it. If you're looking for sun, warmth and a sandy beach, from May through September will be your best time to go.
Getting there: Penzance is the closest train station. We took a cab into Mousehole from there.