The Bristol and Bath Magazines
Country Calling - Flashing It Up With The Kids: Llawnroc Hotel 18.02.12
Before children came into the equation we were officially hotel junkies, any excuse to book into our favourite Hotel du Vin chain and we’d be in the car, overnight bag packed.
When our first child was born 12 years ago we tried to keep going with the whole mini-break thing but after shelling out several hundred pounds for a snatched dinner interrupted by constant baby-checking and followed by a crucifying 6 am start we had to let it go.
A decade later came the happy realisation that the older two (aged 12 and 10) had come of hotel age. We took them to the Llawnroc, in the quiet fishing village of Gorran Haven, one of our favourite places on Cornwall’s South Coast.
We knew and loved the Llawnroc (Cornwall spelt backwards) in its previous life as a down-at-heel pub but it is unrecognisable in its new chic and boutique refit. The garden has been redesigned as a hipster sun terrace – bunk up in one of these wicker day beds and you’ll feel like you’ve washed up at Soho House, New York instead.
It is so gratifying taking chidren to flash hotels – ours whooped freely at the sight of our enormous, sleek and beautiful family room with its stunning sea view.
My bookworm daughter discovered a windowseat where she could curtain herself off in a private oasis; my son was beside himself to find Playstation 3 and a library of desirable games.
It was hard to wrench ourselves away from all this luxury but the five minute stroll down to the beach was well worth it.
I love Gorran Haven, a classic, unspoilt, undiscovered Cornish fishing village with rows of tiny white-washed cottages. narrow cobbled streets and a wide sweep of gold sand that is just perfect for children. On a coldish, February afternoon we had the whole beach to ourselves.
Back in the hotel the children took extra-long bubble scented baths, then hung out watching telly in fluffy white bathrobes.
The Llawnroc bills itself as a family-friendly hotel and the staff couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming to our children when we came down for dinner.
The food is extraordinarily good: starters of melting chilcken liver parfait with brioche and chutney and a scallop and crab gratin blew us away. My daughter had a bowl of mussels so big she disappeared behind it, my son’s perfectly cooked steak came with au poivre sauce and “literally about a hundred chips.” My own grilled seabass with crab linguine was delicious.
Breakfasts are equally vast and legendary with everything you could hope for – including the full Cornish breakfast, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, poached eggs florentine or royale (smoked salmon) and the butteriest, flakiest croissants which my daughter pronounced the best of her life. Loose leaf tea comes from nearby Tregothnan Estate. In the summer I could see myself checking in for the breakfasts alone followed by a bit of beaching (beached whaling).
We were full bellied and slightly crestfallen as we checked out and headed off for the Eden Project’s enticing-sounding Chocolate Festival. One thing’s for sure: the next generation of hotel junkies has been born.