This week we're off to the seaside. One of my happiest childhood memories is of a quiet spring's vacation in St Mawes, a tiny fishing village in Cornwall that looks like something from a 1920's children's book, all jagged coastline, brightly colored umbrellas and brilliant white cottages sprinkled on the grassy hills.
We packed for picnics down in the coves with bottles of fizzy Orangina, blocks of crumbly cheese, fat bundles of green grapes and crumpled packets of salt and vinegar chips. All day was spent wading in little tide pools, ankle deep in the freezing water, searching for shells and urchins til hands and feet were numb. Every afternoon we scrambled up the hill to the castle on the point, and played hide and seek in the ancient stone staircases that led down to the cliffs below. The ice cream sold along the causeway was a pale gold color and tasted like frozen clotted cream. The season was still quiet and cool, and the masses of tourists that flock to the coast in summer were absent. In short, it was a lovely time. I plan on returning.
Hotel Tresanton sits in the middle of the town overlooking the beach, tucked snugly into the hillside, and from the outside looks simple and chic, all whitewashed stone and potted palms. Venture inside and it becomes the epitome of understated elegance, luxurious and impeccable but entirely in keeping with the casual, seaside feel of the setting. The first true boutique hotel in Britain, it was bought in the 90's by Olga Polizzi and personally redesigned with immaculate taste. The rooms are airy and serene, with cozy overstuffed chairs to curl up and read in and big deep baths to soak away your evenings.
The terrace looks the same as I remember, all palms and fig trees and iron railings glinting in the sunshine, like something out of an Agatha Christie story. You half expect to see Poirot eating his breakfast very tidily at one of the tiny tables. There's a cozy but stylish bar and a much lauded restaurant, as well as an original 1930s Italian yacht for trips around the Roseland Peninsula. Who could turn down a breezy spin along the coast, all polished wood and bright, white sails, cocktail in hand and wind in hair?
The overall mood is very casual and chic, and the beautiful art deco tiling throughout adds to the 1930's feel of the place. I'd have to bring a selection of hats with me to fully embrace this. I also love that the hotel is very welcoming to children and families, with no fashion mag sterility in it's attitude or design. There's even a perfect little summerhouse in the garden, which is probably intended for children, but which I would immediately take over for myself.
Do you have a favorite childhood holiday memory? I want to hear about it below! (Mine weren't all seaside reveries in case you were wondering. There was a fair share of mind numbing road trips across the midwest scattered in there as well.)