From the moment you turn your back on the bobbing boats and wheeling gulls of the Fowey Estuary and cross the threshold of The Old Quay House, it’s clear you’re in classic romantic break territory. For starters, the building, once a seamen’s boarding house, dates back to the 19th century and has more than its fair share of charm and character of the bow windowed, creaking floorboard variety. And you only need to toss in some lovely coastal chic interiors throughout, an excellent restaurant and a child-free policy to really complete the picture.
Bedrooms number just 12. Each either falls into one of a vaguely New England (think raffia furniture and a clean, cool colour palette of whites, creams, mushrooms and taupes) or a more moody boudoir-esque feel. In both instances, though, the sense of luxury that they exude is of the quiet, tasteful kind – no tired boutique standards of loud pattern wallpaper or faux-gilt Rococo mirrors here, just polished wooden floors, a roll-top bath or two tucked away under the eaves, and small terraces with lovely estuary views. What’s more, the huge beds alone are a reason for travelling all the way down to Cornwall.
Q restaurant is another. While the food is only simple, bistro-style on the surface, the reality is far more classy and refined. Head Chef Ben Bass once worked under Raymond Blanc – and it shows. In summer you can have cream tea on the terrace and admire the views out across the sparkling Fowey Estuary, but it’s arguably even more inviting in winter when you can settle in and watch the stormy weather roll in from the sea.
- Watching the boats bob on the harbour
- The food
- The generally intimate feel of the place
- Children under 12 are not allowed
- The rooms without views of the estuary
- Best to ditch the car – driving in Fowey can be a hair-raising experience
Need to Know: The Old Quay House
Number of rooms: 11
Check-in/check-out times: 3pm and 11am
Room service: No
Swimming pool: No
Dogs welcome: No
Eating and drinking: Ben Bass’ Q Restaurant serves up largely locally sourced and organic food ranging from the likes of duck salad and leg of lamb, to, of course, lots and lots of fresh fish and seafood like pollock, black bream and mussels straight from the Fowey Estuary.
Near to? The town of Fowey is a wonderfully romantic warren of winding streets, old pubs and antique shops. Whatever the weather, there are a host of nearby beaches to explore like Par Sands, Polkerris, Whitehouse and lovely Lantic Bay, whether it’s for windswept winter walks or a long summer afternoon's basking, while there are some fantastic gardens to see, such as the The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project.
Getting there: The nearest train station, St Austell, is around 20 minutes’ taxi journey away, while Newquay airport is around 45 minutes from the hotel. Fowey is also around an hour and a half’s drive from Exeter, and an hour’s drive from Plymouth.