Words by Ysy Lees
Combining luxury with an abundance of traditional charm, this hotel gifts each guest with the feeling of coming home.
Tucked away in a secluded bay on the south Cornish coast is The Nare, a quiet and quintessentially English country house enveloped in sea breezes and seclusion. The hotel has been privately owned by the same family for over 30 years who have forged a passion for generous hospitality since it first came into their hands. Built in the 1920s, the property was purchased by Bettye Gray in 1988 as a retirement project. Over the coming years, under the steam of General Manageress Daphne Burt, the reputation and quality of the hotel greatly improved. Now under the ownership of Bettye’s grandson, Toby Ashworth and his immediate family, The Nare’s welcoming reputation continues to thrive.
From luxury hotels to boutique retreats, Cornwall is rich with places to stay. Aside from its traditional hotelier practice and charming yet high-quality service, what makes The Nare so unique is its location. Situated on the Roseland Peninsula, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the south coast differs drastically from the more popular north coast; what it lacks in good surfing spots, it more than makes up for in never-ending stretches of calm safe beaches. Perfect for families and coast path walkers, here you can spend your days fishing, sailing and swimming before returning to the sanctuary of The Nare which so effortlessly exudes the undisturbed beauty and peacefulness of its surroundings.
All of the bright and spacious rooms and suites are individually decorated with the refinements of a well-run country house; expect comfy armchairs, a plethora of books, fresh flowers and plump beds overlooking the Atlantic as it stretches into the horizon. Beyond lift access to the first floor and accessible ground floor rooms, all residents, from families and couples to four-legged friends and solo travellers are catered for. Upon arrival, your bags are taken to your room and unpacked if desired. In addition to a full valet and evening turndown service, guests are given a choice of sheets and duvets to choose from and the provision of water bottles throughout the winter months, not to mention extra touches of luxury that make your stay truly special. With traditional shoe cleaning, in-house laundry and 24-hour room service, The Nare expertly blends the unobtrusive charm of a classic country house with the comfort points of a five-star hotel.
The attentiveness and ambient charm of The Nare wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the long-term staff who form a small yet strong team. Despite retiring as General Manageress in 2000, Daphne Burt remains as a family confidante and loyal, steadying influence for the next generation. Deputy General Manager, Julie Johns is a familiar face for returning guests over the decades, having been employed by the original owners in the 1980s while Head Barman Ken Cracknell, has been crafting cocktails in the hotel for over 40 years. It is this unfaltering team of friendly staff that is the key ingredient in making The Nare a purveyor of genuine, thoughtful and unaffected comfort.
In addition to its comfortable and elegant interiors, The Nare offers an extensive range of leisure facilities and bespoke activities for guests to indulge in during their stay. When the colder weather prevents you from utilising the sun loungers and refreshing water of the outdoor pool, the heated indoor pool awaits. Complete with its own jet stream, hydrotherapy spa, sauna and steam room, you could easily while away the hours in the warm water before retreating to the Carne Bay Spa for a menu of relaxing treatments designed to relax and rejuvenate. For something more active, head to the gardens for an afternoon of fun on the tennis court or croquet lawn, overlooking the breathtaking coast. The Nare is also lucky enough to have its own resident artist Jeanni, an enthusiastic and innovative freelancer and former art teacher who believes everyone can paint or sketch if shown how. She offers art and painting tuition for guests, either individually or in groups; her passion for art is infectious and her lessons from one-hour tasters or daily sessions are always popular.
If you wish to venture outside the grounds of The Nare, then the best that Cornwall has to offer is on your doorstep and ready to be explored all year round. In springtime, many guests delight in visiting the great gardens of the Duchy to which the hotel has a strong affiliation, like The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah and the Eden Project, all of which offer a tropical escape to paradise. When the sun is shining, The Nare’s very own Carne beach becomes the main attraction, with countless opportunities to explore the acres of golden sand, spend time in the sparkling water, or simply relax by the rugged coast. Seafarers have the option of enjoying the Alice Rose, a 38-foot motor launch, offering scheduled and private chartered sailings from April to September. The Nare’s proprietor, Toby Ashworth is always keen to spend summer afternoons on the water with guests exploring the Fal and Helford rivers surrounded by a panorama of idyllic countryside and all-encompassing bliss. In the quieter off-season, the South West Coast Path is a highlight for many as the perfect spot for stormy wave watching and long refreshing walks. After some time in the fresh air, return to the warm embrace of the hotel and spend your afternoon sipping tea, coffee, or something a little stronger in front of the open log fire.
A day of adventuring can work up quite the appetite and what better way to satiate your hunger than with exquisite British cuisine accompanied by classic wines? In line with its traditional hotelier practice, The Nare is also one of a small number of southwest hotels to offer a daily five-course silver service dining experience in addition to daily afternoon tea in the drawing room. Eating at The Nare is a luxurious experience, having established a reputation for fine dining over many years with both the Quarterdeck restaurant and Dining Room receiving recognition for culinary excellence. Cornwall itself has become a destination for some of the finest chefs and restaurants in the country, owing much to the excellent local produce on offer both from the land and sea.
When it comes to seafood dishes and locally sourced Cornish beef, The Nare has some of the best on offer with its renowned Sunday lunch not to be missed. Menus are carefully crafted to offer classic and contemporary dishes, designed to delight every diner. In addition to culinary excellence, the hotel is home to an extensive cellar offering wines from around the world. These have been selected and laid down with the experience and insight of Toby Ashworth who has also included several of the best wines from local vineyards, owing much of their success to the subtropical climate of the south Cornish coast. After an evening of drinking and dining in front of the water, sink into your luxurious bed safe in the knowledge that nothing is too much trouble for The Nare and its dedicated team.