• Covid-19 – click here for the latest updates from Forum Events & Media Group Ltd

Posts Tagged :

Cornwall

Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes, Opening Day, June 24th 2013

Checking in: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

During the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, editor Hamish Kilburn managed to escape briefly to check in to The Idle Rocks, St Mawes in Cornwall – a hotel that knows a thing or two about battling adversity – which shelters an unmatched personality, character and style…

Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes, Opening Day, June 24th 2013

Being close to the water’s edge – so close you can hear shrunken waves break on the shoreline – does something to us, mentally. Not only does it send a reflux through our bodies to sharply loosen our shoulders to allow for a deeper exhale from a life that feels constantly left on fast-forward, but it also enables us to find a different perspective (something we could all benefit from, I’m sure, right now).

If like me you grew up by the coast before diving into the deep end of city life, then you would have also felt the magnetic pull, like gravity, that regularly drags me back to the edge of the land. My recent nostalgic fix came when I travelled down to Cornwall, to check in to The Idle Rocks, St Mawes.

Image of exterior of The Idle Rocks St Mawes

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

The hotel, which is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Karen Richards and David Richards, was originally opened in 2013. Two years prior, the pair fell in love with the building that now shelters the hotel. It’s position right at the water’s edge of the harbour, inspired the name of the hotel as well as its quirky, contemporary and stripped-back luxury style. “Our aim was to create a hotel that was young, fresh and relaxing,” explained Karen in an interview with Hotel Designs. “We wanted to make it a home-from-home, eliminating formalities and in this way, differentiate ourselves from our more traditional competitors.”

Image of door opening in St Mawes hotel to see the sea

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Karen, who lives and breathes design, envisioned the boutique gem with its own identity, when she fell in love with the property. But for David, whose career within motor sport has led to great acclaim in a wide range of disciplines from F1 to Sports Car racing and rallying, hospitality was a new adventure, which (it turns out) shared similar traits to the motor sport industry, such as forming the ‘dream team’ – from housekeeping to chefs, front-of-house staff to savvy marketing – in order to find that sweet spot of personable luxury hospitality.

With the current Covid-19 crisis dominating headlines and sadly bringing hospitality to its knees, it would be easy to forget other storms that The Idle Rocks, St Mawes has weathered over the years – but we must not as it forms an integral chapter in the property’s history. Less than a year after first opening, a 90-mph winds hit St Mawes combined with an extremely high tide. The impact of the storm destroyed the ground floor of the hotel. “The following day, I was on site with the team and we did what we could to board up the smashed windows,” Karen painfully recalls. “Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, that evening another squall came in and caused even more damage.”

It took the team just two months to definitely repair the damage before reopening once more, with more soul and purpose than ever.

Seven years later, following the hotel being the subject of major broadsheets for its unparalleled hospitality offering, I arrive to check in to the boutique legend that is The Idle Rocks St Mawes.

Walking through the front door evokes the same effortless, refreshing coastal vibes as the destination itself has done for centuries, which has allured the likes of writers, artists and even royalty alike. No other hotel can match Karen’s home-from-home style, which in the lobby/lounge area is complete with deep, comfy sofas and furnishings that come in every shade of blue.

“In a coastal hotel, it is all too easy for the design to be predictable and something I worked hard to avoid.” – Karen Richards, co-owner, The Idle Rocks, St Mawes.

The art is a story in itself – framed traditional woollen swimsuits and abstract pieces that depict boats painted in primary colours. “We have very consciously focused on local Cornish Artists throughout the hotel,” explains Karen. “In a coastal hotel, it is all too easy for the design to be predictable and something I worked hard to avoid. I love visiting antique shops and fairs, which is where a lot of pieces within the property came from.”

Although the design inside the F&B areas is impressive, with wooden bucket-like chandeliers and vibrant art that hangs on a rustic wall, it is the view that stretches over the working harbour, seen from all perspectives in the restaurant, that is this hotel’s wildcard and offers guests a window into the community outside.

Colourful and vibrant restaurant

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Acting as an ever-changing backdrop as storms come and go, the restaurant, which presents young chef Dorian Janmaat’s locally inspired menu, is the beating heart of the hotel.

Upstairs, each of the 19 guestrooms and suites have been individually designed to sensitively inject a meaningful sense of place. Naturally, the colour scheme is toned down with just a few flashes of colour to allow the view over the water to become part of the hotel experience, which it does very quickly.

Through a translucent sliding door, the bathrooms include a deep, freestanding Victoria + Albert bath that is positioned right next to the window. Quirky nods to the hotel’s coastal location, such as shells that act as soap dishes and distressed wooden framed mirrors above the sink. A Rainfinity shower from hansgrohe with Axor fittings takes this wellness scene to a new level, and is positioned in such as way at the back of the bathroom so that you can see outside through the window but people cannot see in. The bathroom is completed with a quality Villeroy & Boch toilet with Geberit push button panels.

Light and minimalist sea-themed bathroom

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Considering Cornwall’s etched reputation in the history books for delivering quality hospitality time and time again, The Idle Rocks St Mawes stands out from the crowd as being something different on the luxury scene in the westcountry. It’s colourful and vibrant personality makes it hard for any guest to check out of what feels very much like a home away from home. And with my tastebuds teased, body rested and state of mind recovered I reluctantly check out of this boutique jewel, taking one last look at the postcard perfect view of St Mawes, a town I will no-doubt be returning to shortly.

Main image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

A render of a guestroom inside a former jail

How would you design the most haunted hotel in the UK?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How would you design the most haunted hotel in the UK?

Slated to open in February 2021, The Bodmin Jail Hotel is expected to make a haunted entrance onto the UK hospitality scene. But how will the modern hotel’s design scheme follow a narrative that dates back to the 18th century? Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

A render of a guestroom inside a former jail

Nestled in the heart of Cornwall you’ll find a the foundations of a luxury hotel unlike anything else in the Britain. When it opens in 2021, The Bodmin Jail Hotel will be a place that intertwines the history of an 18th century prison with creative, contemporary design to introduce a memorable hotel experience.

Exterior of Bodmin Jail Hotel

For most of its life it was used as a debtor’s prison, until 1869 when imprisonment for debt was abolished. From 1887, the Royal Navy occupied an entire wing, and it was also used to house the Crowne Jewels during WWI.

After thousands of people had passed through its doors, the jail was finally closed in 1927. Now nearly 100 years later, the building is being brought back to life and remembered as a historic landmark.

A render of a contemporary restaurant inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

55 executions took place within the building’s formidable walls, for crimes such as rape, murder and stealing. Most of these executions were viewed by the public, and thousands would travel specially to witness the hangings. The last person taken to the gallows was William Hampton, who in July 1909 paid the ultimate price for taking the life of his 17-year-old girlfriend; he was also the last man to be hung in Cornwall.

The Bodmin Jail now encapsulates a contemporary hotel. The guestrooms, which feature modern touchpoints including a flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi, have been created by combining three cells, utilising their original features.

A cross section render of a guestroom inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

The guestrooms weave together original jail features with contemporary design to create a cosy, luxurious environment that strikes a delicate balance between old and new. The weathered stone walls and the stories they hold create the perfect backdrop. Complete with luxury details such as free-standing baths, walk-in showers and sumptuous bedding, every element of the hotel has been designed to offer ultimate comfort and luxury, creating the perfect setting for an enchanting escape.

A render of a bathroom inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

When guests step out of their rooms into the walkways, they will be captivated by the glass ceiling that creates a magical central space. From here, guests can easily explore the rugged beauty of Bodmin Moor, wander the sandy beaches of the North and South coastlines, or delve into the delights of Padstow or Fowey.

Main image credit: The Bodmin Jail Hotel

Hart Miller Design completes new landmark Cornwall spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hart Miller Design completes new landmark Cornwall spa

The award-winning Mullion Cove Hotel on Cornwall’s Lizard peninsula has opened a landmark new spa, designed by Hart Miller Design

The clifftop retreat, Mullion Cove Hotel, with its infinity pool and stunning sea views enhances the hotel’s existing offering and marks a new chapter in its history.

Having worked with the hotel since 2012 on a rolling expansion project, Hart Miller Design were selected to create a distinctive spa experience, unique to the South West.

Mullion Cove Director Daniel Thompson said: “This has been a landmark year for Mullion Cove as we completed expansion of our self-catered apartments, and opened our new spa. Having designed both of these projects, Hart Miller understand both our vision and our client base – vitally important in creating a spa that feels right. I’m looking forward to our continued work with Hart Miller Design as we begin work on the next phase of our expansion.”

Blue arm chair and stretching view across bay in the lobby

Image caption/credit: The Spa’s lobby area | Image credit: Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

At the heart of the project is a contrast of scale – placing intimate human sensory experiences within a jaw-dropping natural location of rock, sea and elemental power. Japanese mountain retreats were taken as a key inspiration, grounded in ritual and symbolism.

“Passing along the Sandō, the Japanese-style approach to a temple, the customer is stepping over the threshold into the spa experience.” – Anna Hart, Design Director at Hart Miller Design

The spa takes its users on a personal journey of relaxation: a carefully chosen palette of timbers and natural tones complement the hues and contours of the Cornish landscape and help to create spaces and textures that welcome and embrace. Visitors are wrapped up in the materiality of the building and the sea views beyond, offering an immersive experience from start to finish.

Indoor pool with glass overlooking bay

Image caption/credit: The main indoor pool of the spa | Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design

“When you enter the space you are arriving very much in the heart of the spa – a relaxed lounge with fire and soft settings, rich materials that signify the beginning of a journey,” added Anna Hart, Design Director at Hart Miller Design. “Passing along the Sandō, the Japanese-style approach to a temple, the customer is stepping over the threshold into the spa experience. The lounge is somewhere you can return to and take a moment and soak it all up – not to mention the most amazing views.”

Floor to ceiling windows contrast the enveloping private treatment rooms and provide a perfect setting to unwind whether a dark, stormy day or beautiful summer evening. The lighting design is also a key feature of the project. Working with Amos Lighting, a series of subtleties and contrasting ambiences has been added in the form of dimming, treatment-specific lighting.

Main image credit: Mullion Cove Hotel/Hart Miller Design