Hotelier and presenter of The Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi talks about her family attachment to St Mawes in Cornwall, and how she becomes a completely different person when she’s there

Interview: Alex Reece

The bit of the British Isles coast that I know so well is St Mawes on the Roseland Peninsula. We spend all summer down there and normally most of Easter, too. When my mum (Olga Polizzi) opened Hotel Tresanton, I was there full time for a couple of years running the restaurant. So it feels like home to me.

I opened Hotel Endsleigh for Mum in Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor. When I was living there, I did go to the seaside all the time, but you had to make a conscious effort to go to it. Now I’ve got the tiniest little house in St Mawes, and in the last few years my husband (Marcus Miller) has had a RIB so we spend quite a lot of time on the water. We often see dolphins, which I absolutely love. I also swim every single day in the sea. And I was very proud of myself, because a couple of years ago I started open-water swimming – I swam 3km in open water. At least twice a year I do a really long swim with a wetsuit. It makes me feel so alive. My husband loves to water-ski so I also get to do a lot of boat driving, and an enormous amount of hanging out with people I really love, as my sister’s got a house there, too.

I feel like I’m a completely different person there, because I’m so uptight!

My husband says my great trouble is always trying to make everything perfect, and I just can’t in Cornwall. I’ve got a five-year-old and a 10-year-old who are incredibly messy. I could drive myself mad making beds and washing floors, but I kind of let my standards slip a little. I just want to enjoy the day.

In London, there’s a lot of work, school and socialising. Cornwall’s the one place where I feel like we really live as a family. Given the chance now, we could go anywhere we wanted, but we universally choose to go to Cornwall every holiday.

Hotel Endsleigh has recently launched a new suite (Room 20) in a former hay loft. (01822 870000, For more on Hotel Tresanton, call 01326 270055 or go to

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