Inside The Godolphin, the ‘exotic’ Cornish hotel that’s set bang opposite magical St Michael’s Mount
Is there a more romantic view in England than the one over the waves to St Michael’s Mount?
The rocky island in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall, packs a magical punch, topped as it is with a majestic edifice that began as a Benedictine priory, became a castle and has been home to the St Aubyn family since the mid-17th Century.
It makes me catch my breath as it looms into view on misty Penzance mornings or from the sleeper train heading in from London.
Bang opposite the Mount on a two-mile beach at the water’s edge in the ancient market town of Marazion is the stucco-fronted Godolphin hotel, which has a plum location.
We arrive, windswept and sandy after a stroll across to the island, which is reachable on foot via a causeway below the hotel during low tide, or otherwise by boat. The National Trust co-manages the site with the St Aubyns, and even in winter – when the magnificent gardens close and there are few boats – it’s worth visiting.
Vicki Reeve stays at The Godolphin, which overlooks Cornwall’s iconic St Michael’s Mount
The hotel – set in the ancient market town of Marazion – has ten guest rooms, eight of which are dog-friendly
A new addition is the Steward’s House gallery. Though small, it exhibits stunning works by artists of the Newlyn School, including famed English impressionist Dame Laura Knight.
The Godolphin’s reception is surprisingly exotic: a sculptural tiger lies in wait while jaguars and monkeys climb the wallpaper amid leather and rattan seating, leafy plants, books and lovely prints.
A chirpy check-in where informality meets efficiency sets the tone for our stay. There are ten guest rooms – eight upstairs and two on the ground floor. Some have sea views, others of the town, a couple have balconies and eight are dog-friendly.
Above is the hotel’s coastal-themed restaurant where Vicki relishes a ‘flavoursome’ dinner
Vicki stays in the hotel’s new Penzer Point suite (pictured). ‘We are transfixed by the scene through the large round window opposite the bed,’ she admits
We’re first to stay in the newly renovated Penzer Point suite (named after an old coastguard lookout), which houses a double room with en suite shower, a separate bunk room and a family bathroom. We are transfixed by the scene through the large round window opposite the bed, across the water to the Mount half a mile away. Why bother to draw the curtains?
Painted a calm grey-yellow, which changes with the light, the suite has character: sloping ceilings, a loo with a sea view, bamboo and rattan furniture, a Roberts radio, jazzy cushions, TVs in both bedrooms, bed, bowls and biscuits for the pup, tea, coffee and a minibar with brownies, wine and Little Bird gin.
The gin is a very drinkable London-dry brand owned by Taskin Muzaffer and Tim Moore, who took over the Godolphin in 2020 and run The Unicorn On The Beach restaurant at Porthtowan.
Captivating: The view of St Michael’s Mount from the hotel’s terrace
At Shutters – the hotel’s large, airy, coastal-themed restaurant and bar – we relish easy-going service and a flavoursome dinner: parsnip soup with spicy depth; beetroot, goat’s cheese, samphire and orange; Cornish hake, balsamic sprouts and celeriac; tangy Thai green curry and lemon meringue tart.
The chilled-out atmosphere is winning, enhanced by an accommodating attitude towards dogs – our lurcher lies beside us, spoilt with the chef’s own-recipe treats. It’s the same at breakfast, which delivers all of the classics and is delicious.
Shutters is being refreshed, too, but the captivating view, of course, will remain.
The Godolphin, Marazion, Cornwall. B&B town view from £180 per night; sea view from £250 per night (thegodolphin.com).