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Muddy Reviews: Hotel Meudon, Falmouth

Off the beaten track and with a private beach and acres of subtropical gardens, the newly revamped Hotel Meudon is a bit of a Cornish coastal gem.

WHAT? WHERE?

Follow the coast south from Falmouth, leaving behind the bustle of the town and just before you come to the Helford River, you’ll find Hotel Meudon near to the little village of Mawnan Smith. Once owned by Falmouth’s Fox family – they also owned nearby Trebar and Glendurgan Gardens too; they had rather a passion for exotic gardens, creating a host of them in this part of Cornwall’s south coast.

Meudon is set in a hidden-valley, and at the coastal foot of the sub-tropical paradise-like gardens you’ll find their own private beach (below). Despite having a real feeling of something you’ve just discovered, that you’ve stumbled upon during an adventure – or that should be in a novel, Meudon is actually not that far from the village, and Falmouth, come to that, giving it the best of both worlds.

THE VIBE

Recently revamped and revitalised under new ownership, this previously family owned hotel has kept so many of the things that the loyal (but ageing) clientele returned for year after year whilst gently bringing things up to date.

Much of the nicest original mid-century furniture has been retained and given a new lease of life, as well as other modern vintage touches throughout the hotel. The original building dates back to the 1800s, which houses the dining room, lounge, and Freddie’s Cocktail Bar, with the main hotel built from the mid-1970s – with the rooms updated and refurbed, including adding glass balconies.

SCOFF AND QUAFF

The restaurant, complete with inside grapevine, is under the care of executive head chef Darren Kerley, who spent nearly a decade heading up the kitchen at Soho’s Bob Bob Ricard – and restaurant manager, Stephen Mouser and his team. Between them they bring knowledge, humour and charm, which lifts the silver service style formal dining into a warm and inviting experience unlike any other restaurant in Cornwall that I’ve been to. The ‘chariot de fromages’ was straight out of an old-school guide, but also utterly compelling and stocked with Cornish cheeses.

Serving up inventive and delicious food showcasing the very best Cornwall has to offer (and Darren really is spoilt for choice down here) lunch (2 or 3 course Prix Fixe menu offered Wednesday to Saturday and roasts on Sunday), dinner and afternoon tea are served to residents and non-residents alike – all with a beautiful view out of the glass windows and down the gardens.

Cocktail fans will appreciate Freddie’s, which was dark and cosy and the drinks expertly made and served – just the place to have an apéritif before dinner, and then to retire afterwards for another look at the drinks list. The lounge next door has a fire too, making it super cosy in winter.

STAY

There are 29 rooms, almost all of which look over the gardens as well as two with sea views and one large in-land facing suite. Rooms are spacious and light filled and the bathrooms newly revamped, with, as you’d expect, fluffy white towels and Cornish toiletries.

Modern touches are included, like telephones (although vintage looking) – and the mini fridge under the dressing table had real milk. Our room had a balcony with chairs, as well as two interior arm chairs, both of which were just crying out to be sat on with a good book.

While there is no escaping the fact that some of the building, the corridors particularly, are just slightly old-fashioned, there is a charm about the whole place. It feels a little like you’ve arrived in a parallel universe where no-one is going to bother you and you can just relax; not old-fashioned like a period drama, but as if it is from a different era somehow – and I wanted to just lie down on one of the handily placed loungers and not get up for a week.

OUT AND ABOUT

You could honestly spend the whole stay going no further than the hotel grounds. Bream Cove at the bottom of the garden is perfect for wild swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, or just a lovely place to while away an afternoon with a book.

That’s if you don’t get distracted by a lounger in the garden, or even on one of the many Ercol chairs in the conservatory like ‘bridge’ reading room. Yoga tuition is available, as is a bijou selection of well executed treatments including massages and manicure/pedicures in the Sanctuary Suite.

Should you wish to leave the grounds though, the South West Coast Path borders the property, so you could follow that round to Helford Passage (below) where you’ll find the Ferryboat Inn, or, head north towards Maenporth.

The National Trust garden, Glendurgan, is open in the summer months, and Trebah, still privately owned, for much of the year. Falmouth is nearby, or, cross the river Helford, and explore the Lizard.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Fans of mid century modern furniture will be in absolute heaven here, as well anyone who likes peace and quiet, as there is no passing traffic, and the rooms all face the garden and sea. If you like to dress up for dinner, you can do that here, although it should be noted that there is no dress code, and there were as many jeans wearers as anyone else when we visited.

Not for: If you’re after a city break, you won’t find it here, and nor will you find a traditional ‘sea view’ as the sub-tropical gardens stretch out down the valley before you reach the sea. Families and children are welcome but there are no specific facilities for them, so if you’ve young children you may find Meudon too grown up for them.

The damage: From £119 per night B&B. A four-night Christmas celebration package costs from £1,350 based on two people sharing, including dinner, bed and breakfast. Twixmas and New Year stays are also available.

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