Staycation: Hotel Meudon, Cornwall
by Nicola Smith
A private beach, acres of subtropical gardens and memorable meals are all included at this revamped hotel
At first glance, The Meudon is a slightly puzzling medley of architectural styles, from its handsome redbrick building, dating back to the 1800s, to its less aesthetically appealing 1970s extension. Yet step inside and its intriguing personality quickly seduces.
Idling on the South West Coast Path, three miles from Falmouth, the hotel sits at the head of a lush valley, its lawns dropping away into a subtropical sanctuary, its paths winding down to a private beach at Bream Cove. The hotel was extensively refurbished in 2021 and, thankfully, it has been transformed with respect and imagination – from the grapevine growing through the floor and trailing across the restaurant ceiling, to its imposing granite pillars and outrageous contemporary art.
The seduction starts with a friendly welcome from Amelia, who greets us like old friends before sweeping us along to our quarters – a large sea view room with French doors opening onto a balcony overlooking dracaena-lined paths. Décor is neutral and understated with fun splashes of colour – like the yellow cushions sitting atop the 1970s-style sofa, and the stripy throw on the super king bed.
The Roberts radio is similarly retro, while the wooden wardrobe wouldn’t look out of place in a Grange Hill classroom. But it comes together beautifully. The lighting is a triumph: two excellent reading lamps can be angled to suit, while the bright white en suite boasts a side-lit mirror that actually enables the application of make-up, rather than casting ghostly shadows on your face. Other hotels, take note.
With lipstick perfectly applied, we head downstairs to the speakeasy-style Freddie’s Bar where we sip pre-dinner negronis as Dom, the affable barman, regales us with how he arrived in Cornwall from his native Sheffield. En-route to the restaurant, it is imperative to stop and peruse the wealth of vintage menus framed on the stairs. At first glance, the restaurant seems formal, with starched white tablecloths and classical music, but the buzz is relaxed and the staff knowledgeable and chatty.
We kick off with an excellent warm sourdough and beurre noisette, before I lose myself in beautifully seared scallops with delicate pieces of apple and cucumber while my partner, Fiona, raves about a crispy sea bass starter with potato pavé and chimichurri.
We continued the fish theme for our mains, with a succulent piece of flaky hake served with buttery sea herbs and crispy potatoes for me (much of the veg comes from nearby Soul Farm, a no-dig, not-for-profit membership organisation), and meaty halibut served with fennel, orange and salty samphire for Fiona. Portions, while ample, are not too big, with the emphasis firmly on quality. It means we have space for dessert. My crème brûlée is heavenly – perfectly caramelised, with an ambrosial vanilla custard – while Fiona’s soufflé is unlikely to ever be bettered.
Next morning, a bracing dip at beautiful, deserted Bream Cove works up an appetite for breakfast in the sun-filled restaurant. Mulled berries and granola from the buffet precedes creamy scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and we linger over coffee enjoying the captivating valley vista, completely won over by the hotel’s style and atmosphere.
How to book
Rooms at Hotel Meudon cost from £129 per night on a B&B basis (based on two people sharing in low season). For more information and to book, visit meudon.co.uk. Readers who book a room can also enjoy a free dinner – see sainsburysmagazine.co.uk/win/stay-and-dine-at-hotel-meudon-in-cornwall for full details on how to claim.