WHAT IS IT? A Victorian hotel on a narrow street close to the harbour in Mousehole, on Cornwallsouth-west coast. The property faces the sea and St Clements Isle. A large bar and garden at the back have all the requisite features for long Sunday lunches in summer and for lingering autumn afternoons, with a real fire in the grate, big tables for convivial gatherings and windows affording views of sun-dappled water. At the foot of the garden there are steps to a beach with a rock pool.
BEHIND THE SCENES This is the third project for brothers Charles and Edmund Inkin, who own The Felin Fach Griffin inn near Abergavenny and The Gurnard s Head at Zennor.
Last year they bought The Old Coastguard, which, with 14 rooms, is their largest property to date. Most of the bedrooms and the bar, hallways, landings and exterior have now been done up.
SLEEP Beds are soft and comfy, linen beautifully crisp, colours an inoffensive if unadventurous palette of butterscotch and cream. It is simple pub accommodation rather than boutique-hotel standard: expect a plain bathroom with a shower attachment over the bath rather than a sexy wet room. There are family rooms, and others have balconies or double-aspect views.
EAT The Inkins have a knack for finding talented young chefs prepared to quit big-city life. The Old Coastguard s kitchen is overseen by Bruce Rennie (formerly at Martin Wishart in Edinburgh), who also heads up operations at The GurnardHead, and sous-chef Tom Conway, who has come west from Nobu. Seafood is the mainstay of a brasserie-style menu which includes plaice, pollock, mussels with coriander and lemongrass, grilled sardines, and Newlyn smoked salmon (with beetroot risotto at lunch, scrambled eggs at breakfast). That said, there is no shortage of Cornish-reared meat, and there are decent pints and yummy wines.
WHO GOES THERE? Locals dropping in for a pint of Skinner s Heligan Honey. Regulars who stayed pre-takeover continue to visit, mostly out of season (in high summer itcolonised by families).
WHAT IS THERE TO DO? The coast-path walk to Lamorna Cove is fantastic. Cyclists are spoiled for a choice of routes. If a storm rolls in, watch it from the conservatory with a coffee, then visit Penlee House Gallery and Museum in Penzance to see a collection of works by Newlyn School artists.
WE LIKE The morning sunlight glittering on the water, the granite cottages that hug the hillside on which the village is built, and the dog-friendly vibe.
WE DONLIKE The colour scheme is too similar to The GurnardHead, and therefore dated. There is a lack of decent showers and the toiletries are screwed to the wall, gym changing-room-style.
THE PRICE Doubles from ?110 B&B: a dinner-inclusive deal costs from ?150 per night; Sunday sleepover (lunch, dinner and B&B) from ?195.