On Monday afternoon we arrived for our third visit to this hotel in the beautiful Cornish fishing port of St Ives.
This three day break was to give us a chance of being pampered after an Autumn of decorating and replacing things around the house. It was also an opportunity to catch up with my two brothers who live nearby.
The Tregenna Castle Hotel stands on a hilltop, and we spent a little more than usual to get a room with a view down over the town with its beach and vast expanse of golden sand. The huge granite-built hotel has a range of rooms of differing standards and different views of either the sea, the wooded grounds of the hotel, and in some cases not so beautiful brick walls.
The room we chose (Number 126) was extremely large and we had the beds as twin although they could have been combined to form a really big double. There was plenty of space to walk around without banging into the furniture. There was more than enough wardrobe and drawer space, and a huge walled-mounted television could be viewed in comfort from a settee or a pair of easy chairs. The bathroom was enormous with a wide and deep bath plus the other usual bits.
OK, the hotel is old and the sash windows may not open and close as they used to but the Tregenna Castle is all about character and comfort rather than being shiny and modern. Most of the rooms come with floor boards that creak and wardrobe doors that sometimes stick, or open by themselves. The ceilings are high, and the decoration shows many layers of paint have been used to hide the age of the woodwork below.
There is a spa and a swimming pool and Deb quickly went off to have a few minutes of aquatic exercise while I soaked away the arthritic pains after the drive.
There wasn’t long to explore the hotel on that first evening as we were soon on the road again to have dinner with my brothers. The gathering of the brothers and their wives was at the Trevaskis Farm Shop and Restaurant.
We have been there before with mixed results, but I had no worries as the primary reason for the meal was to meet up and chat. We don’t see each other often.
The meal was actually very nice and at a very good price. The only issue was that the six of us were squeezed around two small tables that made conversation difficult. Service was almost good except for small things like a sauce for one person taking three requests before it arrived, and there were no serving spoons for the vegetable dishes. For anyone thinking of going to this restaurant, try not to miss out on the wonderful puddings that are displayed in a cooler that is 3-4m wide. Don’t worry if your appetite has been satisfied by the main course, these puddings can be eaten straight away, or put into boxes as a takeaway.
With goodbyes over we returned to the hotel for a late-night glass of wine while used the free wifi available in the long lobby area….and to let the food to digest a little before going to bed.
On Tuesday we drove to Falmouth to look around the Maritime Museum that has become a regular part of our recent Cornish trips. There is always something new to look at and this time it was about the Vikings and their boats.
While in Falmouth we had a stroll up the road to look in the Cornish Shop, and the renowned Trago Mills where you can buy so many things that you never knew you wanted. Oh, and there was time to pop into ‘Rowes the Bakery’ to have a (small) Cornish Pasty for lunch. There are lots of bakeries to choose from, but Rowes is special as I am related to the family through my paternal grandmother.
In the afternoon we had a cup of coffee with my brother Ronald where I showed him how far I have got with our family tree. For my mother’s side of the family the records go back to the mid-1500s, but on my father’s side there has been little success beyond my grandparents.
That evening we had a meal in the hotel and we were quite surprised at the good selection available at less than expected prices. We had the house red wine that wasn’t spectacular, and the meal came to less than £50.
After our meal we drank the rest of the wine sitting in the lobby again before my exhaustion and aching legs meant it was bedtime.
The breakfasts are buffet style and the choice is as good as most hotels offer. The only weakness here is the horrible self-service toast machines that someone invented as a way of annoying hotel guests. As usual it was still white on the first pass and then smoke on the second.
Wednesday morning was another of our usual ritual of the Cornish visits. Deb and I drove into Helston (12 miles away) and bought some flowers for my parents grave. They are together in the small graveyard in Cury along with many others of my Courtis ancestors.
We also visited the graveyard in Mawgan hoping to find the resting place of either Williams, or Rowes, but we had no joy. I know there are some graves in there, but ‘needle in a haystack’ springs to mind.
In the afternoon we walked down from the hotel to St Ives, and wandered through its narrow streets looking for somewhere for an evening meal. It is well out of season and many likely restaurants were closed for the winter and nothing really inspired us. We did buy a couple of huge saffron buns to nibble on to take the edge of our hunger….well mine actually.
As I said earlier, the hotel is on the top of a hill, and although walking down to the town was OK, the climb back up was exhausting. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful, and the woodland walk is delightful, but my ageing legs are not as keen anymore.
Any remaining thoughts of going back down to the town for an evening meal were abandoned.
The hotel was hosting quite a large wedding and the lobby area was packed with guests dressed in their finest while they waited for the reception meal. While Deb went for a swim, I tried to sit in the comfortable lobby chairs and listen to my music while reading, but the chatter of hungry people and the constant running up and down of children was just too much.
When Deb returned we both went back to our room and I had a soothing bath…and fell asleep.
We ate in the hotel dining room again and rounded off the evening watching our giant television. The first of the cases was packed with dirty clothes to save time in the morning.
Thursday morning was wet and windy. After breakfast we finished packing and loaded the car. It had been a lovely break, but now it was time to face the almost five hour drive back home again.
Unlike the journey down to Cornwall that had been quiet and in the dry, our return was busy and the weather was horrible. There were times when I could hardly see through the road-spray, even with the windscreen wipers in overtime mode.
By mid-afternoon we were home. The heating was turned up, the suitcases unpacked, and the washing machine busy with its first load. The drive was long but seeing my brothers and having a bit of relaxation in Cornwall was worth it.
Apart from a short visit to see our daughter, our next trip away will be after Christmas. That will be a drive to Southampton before setting off on a cruise around the world.
Oh sorry, I think I may have mentioned that to you already…a few times.