When someone asks me — as they frequently do — to explain the magnetic force of St Ives, they often regret it, a “How long have you got?” my standard response.
“It’s the unique hue of the sea”, I say, “the way the train pootles in alongside the beach, the serenity of looking out to Godrevy, the back-in-time maze of fishermen’s lanes (which you never quite get to grips with), the Island in a storm, the abstract, the Sloop, the seals, the…. the…. the…”
And so, here we are again — yey! — and this time around, there’s heightened anticipation in the family camp: the excitement of putting the key in a new lock: Cherished Cottages new-kid-on-the-block ‘Rock House’.
Perched on one of St Ives’ handsomely-elevated terraces overlooking sea and town, what we know from the website is that this capacious, high-ceilinged, four-bedroomed townhouse exudes the on-trend Modern Rustic look (all whitewashed floors, half-panelled walls, neutral tones dotted with on-trend velvety colour…), but has its own unique je ne sais quoi too: touches of vintage maritime adding an authentic feeling of nautical nostalgia. Come on in (or should that be come on board…?).
1. A Wow Kitchen
(Caption: Chic café-culture at Rock House)
Before you revel in the smug satisfaction of finding fault with the flawless – did Cherished Cottages really forget to provide a kettle? — aha! — you discover the instant boiling water tap. And then you notice that everything else is high-end, luxury, mod-con too. Everything from the espresso-through-to-latte Le Creuset mug range, and the coffee capsule machine to replenish them.
(While we’re on machines, that oven-cum-Millennium Falcon really is begging the question, why go out when you can stay in?)
2. Open-Plan Dining Space
(Caption: Guess what we’re playing…?)
The seamless living-space downstairs – a chicly rustic banqueting table at its hub – lends itself to group gatherings ─ from breakfasting to board games. So, that’s together-time sorted (phew – big tick), but meeting everyone’s individual holiday expectations is the challenge, right? Not so: Rock House is ticking everyone’s boxes…
3. The Surfer (with the Sandy Toes) in the Wet Room
(Caption: Post-swim hedgehog-hair)
A left turn out of the back gate, then right, then just over the brow of the hill and you’re at St Ives’ best surfy spot… Porthmeor Beach. Back to base after your swim and — oh — the sizable and stylish wet-room is just inside the back door. Which can only mean one thing: no more sandy trails up the stairs. (I fancy someone’s thought this through.)
4. The Reporter (with the Retro) in the Bedroom
(Caption: A Betjeman air of nostalgia)
At Rock House, there’s no need for a stampede on arrival to bagsy holiday bedrooms; squeals emanating from all over the house will confirm they’re all exquisite.
Take the first-floor master bedroom, a style guru’s goldmine with a sleepy-serene palette and this railway-station style clock. You’ll also clock (sorry) the fine view over the St Ives seascape, the crisp Egyptian-cotton sheets, the highest-quality mattresses, the fluffy towels…
5. The Dude (with the Daydream) in the Living Room
(Caption: Wave surf v web surf – the choice is yours)
With the landscapes and the lovely locals, who exactly wouldn’t want to live in St Ives? If it’s a case of “dream on” for now, grab a drink (and maybe forage for a Cornish treat in the complimentary goody-hamper) and enjoy a relaxing daydreamy read on the big-on-comfort plush sofa. Rock House has its own little library, or – if you’ve not yet yielded to the St Ives digi-detox effect – there’s whole-house wi-fi too.
6. The Walker (with the Wanderlust) in the Hallway
(Caption: Beach boots made for walking.)
In truth, you won’t sit still for too long in St Ives. Fore Street shops, the harbour and the Tate are all a five-minute walk downhill (just add another five to get back!).
Head further afield on foot too – to Carbis Bay or Porthkidney Sands in one direction or – to make a day of it – pack binoculars and a pasty for the rugged Zennor coastline in the other. Quite likely you won’t put the key in the ignition the whole time you’re here: a proper switch-off.
7. The Mummy (with the Me-Time) in the Bathroom (sshhh…)
(Caption – Forget champers: did you know Cornwall makes its own fizz too?)
Phoof! Another hard day at the beach! (Or should we say beaches: there’s a choice of four in St Ives – plus the secret little one). This calls for more me-time: soft lighting, luxury washroom fixtures and Cherished’s toiletry gifts all make this rather yummily indulgent.
Door closed, feet up (with three other loos at Rock House, no one need disturb you for a while yet), that’ll be over and out, shipmates.
The rest of the Rock House low-down:
• Long weekends and short breaks are available
• There’s a garage car-parking space just out of the back gate plus an additional parking space. (St Ives’ gold-dust)
• Got an electric car? There’s a charging point for you here
• Rock House sleeps 10. On the first floor, there’s a master bedroom (en-suite) plus two additional bedrooms (sharing a bathroom) which you can have made up as doubles or twins. The second-floor master bedroom, again a double or twin (en-suite), sleeps an additional two on comfortable pull-out beds
• You’re in luck: as we go to ‘print’, there’s still some school holiday availability for 2019.
• Enjoy the additional benefits of luxury outdoor furniture on the sun terrace plus super-strength Wi-Fi internet access
• Check out https://www.cherishedcottages.co.uk/cottages/rock-house/ for further details
You can follow Lucy Shrimpton, UK and France Travel writer @TravelShrimps