The Idle Rocks, Cornwall, hotel review

delicious. editor Karen Barnes takes a trip to the beautiful coastline of St Mawes in Cornwall, to test and review The Idle Rocks hotel.

To sum it up in her own words: ”The Idle Rocks is one of the best all-round hotel experiences [I’ve] had”.

Find out just what makes it so special…

The Idle Rocks, Cornwall, hotel review

Tell us more…

The Idle Rocks is one of the best all-round hotel experiences we’ve had, and I’ve been trying to quantify what makes it so standout. The staff are so super-helpful it’s like having a person who’s imagined what you need before you even know you need it.

And then there’s Sid, who will proudly tell you he’s the only concierge in Cornwall. I go to the area often and know a lot of the local food gems, but Sid opened our eyes to more – he has a special list. Another plus: all the communal spaces at The Idle Rocks face the sea, and there’s a terrace the whole way along. Yes, it’s all about the sea, the sea, and the tones inside reflect the blues, whites and splashes of colour you see outside. It’s like a glamorous beach hut on steroids.

Sunset views of St Mawes


What’s in the area?

Put aside thoughts of dramatic Poldark-style cliffs – here, instead, the gentle seascape of the Fal estuary is right outside your window. When you’re not out exploring, I’ll wager you’ll lose an hour a day gazing out at boats, sea and sky. Better than a meditation class any day.

St Mawes is a large fishing village fringed with a quaint mix of cottages. There’s always lots going on harbour-side, including gig racing (Cornish rowing boats) and boats coming and going. The village is on a peninsula and the easiest way to get there is via the King Harry Ferry just beyond the National Trust Trelissick Garden, especially in summer when roads are congested.

What’s the food like?

Sit at the bar and a fine cocktail will be in front of you in moments. I had a sloe gin sour and it was lush – or I was a lush; I can’t quite remember.

Chef Guy Owen has won several awards. The menu is fine-dining in style, but rather than a flavour overload, everything is deftly matched. Highlights included softshell crab-filled ravioli, tender duck atop giant couscous laced
with Middle Eastern flavours and a chocolate-moussey parfait – not to mention excellent cheese.

Miso lamb


Breakfasts are bountiful: local sausages and Cornish hog’s pudding, pancakes (thin English, not chunky American), porridge with a dollop of clotted cream, yogurt, fruit and pastries. Another night, trot along the road to sister establishment the St Mawes Hotel (complete with private cinema) or The Watch House fish restaurant right next door.

What’s in the rooms?

There are cosy cottages next to the main hotel building, all with the same easy style. The beds are high and wide and deep and once you’re in you won’t want to get out. Bathrooms are as smart as you’d expect, with waterfall showers, underfloor heating and a mound of fluffy towels in a basket.

Luxurious seaview room


What’s the damage?

Room prices start at £150 a night. Three-course set menu £58, plus wine.

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