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Escaping the Ordinary

Steeped in history and adorned in an age-old glamour, Penventon Park Hotel promises an extraordinary experience that won’t be found elsewhere.

Words by Rosie Cattrell

Extravagance, grandeur and a wild desire to celebrate in style has been the beating heart of the Penventon Park Hotel since its beginning in the early 19th century, and has remained the spark in this unusual hotel’s fire to this day. Visions of Gatsby-esque evenings brimming with champagne-fuelled conversation under dimmed lights still fill the rooms of Penventon long after the frivolous days of the 1920s, repeated in the glittering reflection of the luxurious interiors and architecture.

Originally known as Parkanhal, this enchanting Georgian manor house passed from owner to owner over the years, each leaving their imprint on the house and gardens. Through it all the place remained the heart of the social scene, known for feasting, drinking, fun and frivolity, and eventually named The Penventon to mean ‘top of the valley’.

It seemed written in the stars that David Pascoe should fall in love with The Penventon. As someone who had travelled, studied and painted gardens and botanicals in his youth, the famous gardens of Penventon called to him, and in 1969 he and his wife Paola would put in a bid at a silent auction and become the new owners of what has since been known as Penventon Park Hotel. Dancing barefoot on the grass with The Penventon illuminated behind them, David and Paola began their dream of turning the manor house into a hotel. They set to work to create somewhere that still lived up to the Parkanhal ethos: feasting, dancing, romance and a sense of theatre and flamboyance. Somewhere to socialise, to be seen and to celebrate individuality. Today the Penventon is still owned by the family, under the watchful eye of Paola Pascoe, warmly known as Mrs P, who still makes the highly praised jam for afternoon teas and breakfast.

This sophistication and strength of identity still resides at Penventon today. The past 200 years has seen Penventon welcome thousands of guests through the Georgian entablature for a weekend break to escape reality, let their hair down and enjoy the traditional Parkanhal spirit of celebration, feasting and frivolity, accompanied by authentic food, with people still travelling from miles around to sample the distinct flavour that is Penventon.

Friendly smiles at reception welcome you as you step out of the ordinary and into something all-together new, beneath lavish Venetian crystal chandeliers and atrium sky-high ceilings. Falling into the rabbit hole a little further, you’ll see that each room is ornately decorated and inspired by David and Paola’s extensive travels. Penventon was to have the sophistication of old Europe, the innovation of Cornwall, and the theatre, drama and sheer grandeur of Italy. Populated by gilded paintings, plush velvets, mirrors, antiques, objets d’art, a grand piano, silks, satins and the finest cotton, the décor takes you all over the world and, indeed, back in time. As with the hotel’s original construction, each element was the result of dedication, passion and pure craftmanship, with everything created, made and mixed by hand, whether it was in the kitchen or the bar. Speaking of which, the dining experience at Penventon can only be described as a feast for the senses with an emphasis on fun. Heritage dishes like their famous pil-pil prawns – an authentic Andalusian recipe given to Aaron Pascoe by the family’s favourite restaurant in Spain – and the much-talked-about steaks are sure to get your mouth watering, not to mention the signature tiramisu and the popular afternoon tea. Paired with professional service, hospitality to make you want to stay for days, and no stuffiness to be seen, comfort is key at Penventon.

After dinner, as the evening draws in and the sun starts to set, the lights are dimmed and the hotel really comes alive. Spend your evenings immersed in a lively atmosphere designed for late nights and long conversations, where you can stay well after the candle burns out. The impressive Copper Bar, carefully handcrafted and stocked with 140 gins, makes a perfect haven for gin lovers; from classic and original to bold and imaginative flavours, there is everything you need for the perfect night. The passionate team are primed and ready to shake the perfect cocktail, pull a frosty beer or infuse gins with tasty tonics. If it’s wine you’re after then look no further, the ever-expanding list of 130 wines is sure to feature an old favourite or something you’ve never tried before! Stay in The Copper Bar and watch the expert mixologists showcase their talents in creating a drink too good to resist, or move into the Arbour for a more private setting, sharing stories into the night. For a more relaxed night out, the sink-into sofas in The Lounge are designed for maximum comfort, the Georgian glamour having soaked up the secrets of the past – if you stay long enough you might just hear some.

When your eyelids grow heavy and the fun of the night is over, wander back through hallways lined with paintings to a Georgian mansion bedroom fit for lords and ladies. Bold, antique dark-wood furniture and four poster beds contrast with a palette of cool Georgian neutrals, while blues, greys and soft greens create a relaxing haven with luxurious touches of gold mirrors, chandeliers and gilt frames. With each room a tiny world all its own, you can rest in luxurious comfort and dream of wild Penventon evenings long passed. In the morning, find your way back to feeling good in the indoor heated pool, hot tub, saunas or the gym, or slip into pure indulgence in the treatment rooms where you can let your stresses melt away.

For those of us with a four-legged friend, we know that our pooch is part of the family, and places like Penventon mean we can enjoy the Cornish retreat of our dreams without having to leave our beloved furry pal behind. All doggy guests are welcomed with a basket of goodies; a towel, comfy bed, treats, food and water bowls with a mat and more – even a welcome letter. With selected rooms being dog friendly, you don’t have to worry about traversing through the whole hotel to let them out; the patio doors welcome you into grounds, so your dog can have a run while you drink your morning coffee and think of what adventures the day will hold.

With some of the most stunning Cornish beaches and gleaming countryside right on the doorstep, the possibilities for exploration are endless. Speaking to Jess Pascoe, family member and Marketing Executive for Penventon Park Hotel, I wondered what her favourite time of year was here in Cornwall, and when the best time might be to visit these shining shores: “Cornwall is beautiful all times of the year, but most people come to Cornwall during the Summer for the picturesque beaches and calm, clear waters. Personally, I like October through to March – the quiet months, when the air is frosty and crisp, the waves are stormy and the beaches seem endless. When the gardens are quiet and you feel as if you have Cornwall to yourself; that’s when you should see Cornwall.”


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