As I may have already mentioned a couple of times, Chris and I recently got married and then headed off for a quick minimoon in the pretty Cornish village of Mousehole. I’ll put together some tips for exploring this beautiful corner of Cornwall soon, but first I want to share a peek at Chapel House Penzance, a stylish six-bedroom B&B where we spent the first night of our break before checking into a self-catering cottage.
I’d been longing to stay at Chapel House ever since it opened in 2015, and I wasn’t disappointed. Occupying an 18th-century townhouse that was originally built by an admiral who fought in the Battle of Trafalgar, it’s been beautifully restored by current owner Susan, who worked with Loci Architecture to blend its elegant Georgian lines and period features with a few contemporary additions.
The resulting interiors are bathed in light, with sweeping staircases, soaring arches, white-painted floorboards, soft grey walls, and paintings from students at the nearby Newlyn School of Art. The feel throughout is very much home rather than hotel – the ground floor houses two interlinked living rooms, with sink-into sofas, marble fireplaces and even a Baby Grand; below is an open-plan kitchen and dining room painted in a deep teal blue, where Susan serves sociable multi-course suppers on Friday and Saturday evenings. At the very top of the building sits a glass-encased sun room adorned with sculptures, while a courtyard garden awaits to the rear. There’s even a boot room stocked with gloves, wellies, flippers, toothbrushes and other holiday essentials that you might have forgotten to pack. It’s the kind of place where you really can kick off your shoes, curl up with a book and unwind.
The rooms – many with views across Mounts Bay to St Michael’s Mount – are furnished with a mix of antique and Scandinavian pieces which Susan has collected over the years. Some have tall sash windows; others sit beneath a tangle of exposed rafters on the second floor. All are beautiful, with lots of lovely little touches – trays of tea and coffee, vases of fresh flowers, vintage radios, even iPads loaded with recommendations on what to see and do locally. The bathrooms are particularly snazzy thanks to grey marble tiles, Pura showers, vast Ashton & Bentley baths, and fixtures and fittings by the likes of Duravit, Bette and Dornbrecht.
After much deliberation over which room to book, we chose Room 2, which has a wood-burner, a pair of mid-century modern chairs looking over the rooftops to sea, and a decadent egg-shaped tub at the foot of the bed. It was the perfect place to crack open a bottle of bubbly, indulge in a long soak, and laugh at the drunken wedding photos that were beginning to appear on our friends’ social media feeds.
The aforementioned bottle of bubbly meant we ventured down to breakfast the next morning with slightly sore heads, but they were soon cured by the feast of Cornish produce awaiting in the kitchen. We started with pastries, homemade granola and vitamin-packed smoothies, before moving on to bacon sandwiches made with thick chunks of artisan bread.
So, a brief but highly relaxing stay. We’re already planning a return visit, and next time we’ll make sure we coincide with one of Susan’s delicious-sounding suppers…
Book a stay at Chapel House Penzance via i-escape.
All photography by Abi Dare