Staycation: Mullion Cove Hotel & Spa, Cornwall
by Christine Faughlin
Perched atop a distinctive coastline and overlooking a tucked-away harbour, this hotel and spa has everything going for it
If you ask me, one of the best parts of a hotel mini break is the promise of a gourmet breakfast. At home, there’s never enough time for juicing exotic fruits, whipping up waffles or toasting seven types of granola. But when you’re away, it’s those sumptuous buffets, intriguing local dishes and endless pots of coffee that really make you feel as though you’re on holiday, proper. I think I’ve seen (and eaten) it all, until I come across ‘hog’s pudding’ on the menu at Mullion Cove Hotel & Spa on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula.
With my phone back in the room charging, there’s no asking Google, but luckily an equally clueless guest on a nearby table asks the question I’m too embarrassed to ask: ‘What is it?’ I’m sold on the eavesdropped answer – ‘a Cornish delicacy that’s hard to explain but good’ – and what arrives is a revelation. A white pudding that’s a lot like sausage, but jam-packed with pepper, crispy at the edges and easily the best thing on the plate. I think about it all day long.
A full breakfast is exactly what’s needed to explore the surrounds of this gorgeous clifftop hotel. Pinned to a bluff that sticks out over the Atlantic Ocean with direct access to the South West Coast Path that coils down to an historic harbour, it has a unique vantage point over a dramatic landscape.
With strong coastal winds, crashing waves and steep drops to a pulsing sea, it has all the drama of an Agatha Christie TV adaptation. Spend long enough in one the hotel’s plush lounges and you half expect to spot Hercule Poirot twiddling his waxed moustache on a neighbouring settee.
The sun is high in the sky so we make our way down the surprisingly gentle sloping pathway to the harbour. We spy a flash of high-vis life jackets as souls braver than ours leap into the water and paddle in the shadows of the ancient harbour walls. Fringed with cute cottages, a tea room and old lifeboat station – a reminder of the precarious nature of the unpredictable waters – it has a fascinating history of shipwrecks and smugglers.
Back at the hotel, we dine in the Atlantic View Restaurant where I choose a scallop starter simply because it’s served with hog’s pudding purée (delicious!), followed by lamb cannon with fondant potato, smoked aubergine purée and Madeira sauce. A trio of local cheeses (Cornish Yarg, Helford Blue and Cornish Brie) with crackers, quince and grapes rounds things off nicely.
Next day, I fling open the drapes to find a thick fog has descended and the sea and sky have merged. The hotel has a splendid spa, so we spend the stormy morning there. Separate to the main hotel, it’s designed to fit right into the surrounding landscape. After a soothing facial and restorative massage we while away the hours in the blissful facilities. The hotel itself might have been built in 1898 but this spa is pure 21st century.
For lunch, we take a short drive to the fishing port of Porthleven for another Cornish classic – pasties from Ann’s Pasties (more eavesdropped culinary tips). Later, we continue the casual theme with dinner in the hotel’s Glenbervie Bar where the fish and chips are as good as you’d hope and the local beer is crisp and refreshing.
Next morning at breakfast, I know just what to order. Cornwall, I will come for your pasties, your cream teas and your fish and chips, but I will stay for your hog’s pudding
How to book
Rooms at Mullion Cove Hotel & Spa cost from £270 per night on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis (for two people sharing). For more information, visit mullion-cove.co.uk