Coast editor Andy Cooper explores the latest hot hotel on the British coast – The Idle Rocks in St Mawes, Cornwall.

WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Not so much a buzz at the Idle Rocks…more a cool, calm, chilled out vibe, which makes every minute spent there a pleasure, whatever the season. The waterside location of the hotel in this most charming of Cornish villages is enough already to have you relaxing and gazing in wonder at the view, but add in first class levels of service and food which is tilting at a Michelin star and you have the complete package.

This tucked away spot at the tip of the Roseland Peninsula gets everything right. The team seem to have an instinctive ‘feel’ for service which means you are spoiled from the first minute of arrival to that all-too-soon moment when you are packing your bags and planning a return visit.

And that very much matches the ethos of owner Karen Richards who, along with husband David, re-opened the refurbished Idle Rocks in 2013, as she explains: “We think about how the guests feel from the moment they walk through the door. They have probably had a long journey and just want to come in, relax and sit down on the terrace with something lovely and take in the view.”

Karen led the whole re-design project for the Idle Rocks and the result is an exemplary statement of everything a luxe coastal hotel should be. Classy furnishings and a modern colour palette create just the right ambience, something Karen was forthright on getting spot on: “I didn’t want it to be a ‘typical’ seaside hotel and neither are you walking into a county hotel either. I wanted the Idle Rocks to feel unique and a place you’d want to return to again and again.”

WHAT ARE THE ROOMS LIKE? As one might expect the fabulous views are complemented by amazing rooms. My suite was a delightful space – there are not many spots where one can sit in the bath with a glass of something and watch dinghies, paddleboarders and the ubiquitous St Mawes ferry pass by the window from your hidden spot!

Furnishings are tasteful, stylish and contemporary without being ‘yachtie’. And look out too on arrival for sticks of rock on the bed and a cuddly friend to welcome you…all adding to the feeling that the aim is to make your stay as memorable as possible.

BEST SEA VIEW? Most bedrooms enjoy that spectacular vista over the harbour, but to REALLY take in all this precious corner of Cornwall has to offer then make for the terrace and either bask in the sunlight in warmer climes or wrap up in a blanket and sip on something warming if the temperatures are a little challenging. Either way, you’ll want to experience it…and not leave your spot, especially when selecting some of the fabulous food from the menu. If the weather really is against an outdoor vantage point, simply head for the log fire in the lounge and watch the world go by outside from your toasty vantage point.

HOW ABOUT THE FOOD? Ah, the food. No-one at the Idle Rocks is being shy about saying they would love a Michelin star for their restaurant. And with executive head chef Dorian Janmaat leading the team, who would bet against it happening soon? With Cornwall in his DNA, Dorian’s homecoming to produce perfection on a plate has only been to the Idle Rocks’ benefit. The hotel has a menu to complement its location and the provenance of the sea and the land around it.

Dorian’s career has seen him work with some of the finest chefs around – including a spell at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for eight years, where he spent eight years as head chef under the mentorship of executive head chef, Gary Jones.

Its therefore no surprise that the food at the Idle Rocks is truly wonderful, with seasonality and sourcing at its core, and Dorian is rightly proud of the menus, as he explains: “I want to build relationships with the suppliers and the community around us and bring more to the south coast than has gone before. I want us to be on the map for what we do – not just for seafood, but for elements of the menu like game and local produce too.”

That certainly rings true if my dinner experience is anything to go by. Courses included cauliflower velouté with black garlic croquette, golden raisin and autumn truffle, plus dashi-glazed mackerel with shisho, kohlrabi and tomato ponzu, a nod to Asian cuisine which Dorian is keen to promote.

The good news for non-residents too is that the Idle Rocks team are very much aiming to welcome locals in to dine too, as the launch of a new monthly supper club demonstrates. Seriously though, local or not, if you find yourself with 50 miles of the Idle Rocks, then take the detour to dine. You won’t be disappointed.

WHAT WILL IT COST? Prices start from £310 bed and breakfast for a sea view room, through to £370 for a grand sea view room.

HOW DO I BOOK? Visit or call 01326 270270.

For more ideas of places to stay or for more spa break hotels, visit our Travel section or pick up the latest copy of coast magazine for more inspiration.