The vibe at Chapel House makes you feel relaxed as soon as you walk in the door. We were first greeted by Susan who owns this converted Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse, now a six bedroom boutique hotel in the heart of Penzance, and I’m not sure we’ve ever received a warmer welcome elsewhere.
She gives us a tour of the living room areas, all fabulously designed with a blend of modern greys, exposed wooden floorboards and antique furniture. If you’re that way inclined, this is real Instagram-fodder. We’re told to use Chapel House like we would our own home which is a really lovely touch.
Our room, on the first floor, continues the old and new theme. A tall ceiling creates an airy space and views onto the harbour are a reminder how quaint and charming Penzance is. The bed is huge and pillows are top quality; the type you wish you had at home but never actually spend the money on. Some freshly baked brownies and fresh milk in a flask are a welcome touch after such a long journey from London – think 7 hours in the car.
The bathroom is most unusual – it’s not a huge space but it’s filled with the biggest square bath tub I’ve ever seen. If you hoik the blind up and don’t mind flashing the odd passer by, you even get a sea view while you soak which is bliss. The only downside: I couldn’t find any bubblebath.
A wander round Penzance to see St Michael’s Mount and the now closed-for-the-winter but recently-refurbished Jubilee Pool or a short drive to the Minack Theatre, etched into the side of a cliff, or Lands’ End make us question why we’ve never been to this part of Cornwall before.
At weekends, Susan offers dinner in the downstairs kitchen, at shared tables, with a menu reflecting the ingredients she can source locally. We start with scallops and cauliflower puree; possibly the least pretentious dish I’ve seen and a hearty portion like only your mother would serve.
For main, hake, prawns, samphire and a rice cake of sorts; soft and squidgy inside with a crisp breadcrumbed exterior, was a celebration of good, honest ingredients. It helps the atmosphere that the kitchen/dining room is open so you can interact with Susan as she cooks. For pud, a fine berry crumble which has a moreishly oaty topping.
The same berries, which were picked by the roadside, are available cold the next day to have with your granola or in a smoothie. It’s nice to see nothing goes to waste. The world’s longest rasher of bacon with a poached egg and avocado is the perfect start to the day.
Chapel House was one of those places we felt sad leaving; partly due to it being super stylish but mainly because Susan is so nice. The shared living room / dining area might not be everyone’s cup of tea but you’d be surprised how well it actually works. But if you want to be particularly unsociable, the rooms are beautiful enough for you to hide in for your entire stay.
Would we go back? Yes.
We stayed as guests of Chapel House