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Penmere Manor Hotel (Falmouth)

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Mongleath Road, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 4PN Tel: +44 (0) 1326 211411 Fax: +44 (0) 1326 317588. Email: reservations@penmere.co.uk

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      11.01.2001 20:34
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      A luxury Georgian country house hotel surrounded by five acres of sub-tropical gardens and woodland, the three star Penmere Manor Hotel is barely one mile from Falmouth. It has to be one of the nicest hotels in Cornwall and would probably not have been an obvious choice for us but for the fact that I had a discount voucher for a Best Western Getaway break in my Gardener's World magazine one spring. We live on the Isles of Scilly and, after a hectic trip on the mainland visiting family and friends, we appreciate the luxury of a couple of days to ourselves just to relax and unwind before we return to the islands. Penzance is a little too close to home but Falmouth is ideally suited for such a short break, especially when we usually have some shopping to do as well. Nearby are famous gardens like Trebah and the amazing Lost Gardens of Heligan - both well worth a visit. The Penmere Manor Hotel is situated high up on the hill behind Falmouth, nestling in its own woodland gardens and surrounded by tall trees and impossibly beautiful camellias. It surprised us when we first visited because the area around the Penmere Manor is residential and the houses almost look like they are crowding the boundary walls of the hotel garden. The drive leading to the main manor building is very easy to miss - the sign for the Tradesmens' entrance appears on your left as a brief warning before you have to make a fairly sharp left turn from the tree-shadowed 'dual carriageway' (just part of the old road really). You can see Fountains Leisure Club with its conservatory-style swimming pool building to your left as the drive leads you up to Penmere Manor itself. Built in Georgian style, very square and white with lots of symmetrical windows, it is an impressive and serene building. To the right is the new extension of luxury rooms and superior garden rooms, their large windows gazing out over the gardens. The whole hotel oozes peace, calm an
      d relaxation - just the place to stay when you are frazzled by motorway journeys and aggressive mainland drivers! For a family of four, the superior garden rooms are luxurious and palatial with more than enough space for adults and children to spread out without clashing. Each room is named after a Cornish garden - we stayed in 'Trewithen' last time - and the whole building is reassuringly solid (a real bonus when you have a lively and often noisy autistic daughter!). The room is huge and square with about two thirds being the main bedroom, the rest being the bathroom and a spacious lobby complete with solid wooden built-in bunk beds for two children. A heavy lined curtain can be drawn between the lobby room and the main bedroom to afford privacy and some degree of sound reduction. Bathrooms are warm, spacious and well equipped although we did have a slight problem filling the huge bath with enough hot water on the one occasion that we had the room furthest away from the boiler. Plenty of thick white towels are provided along with the usual basket of toiletries and, a useful touch, an extendable washing line above the bath to hang wet swimming costumes on. The usual appointments are present - television/radio (videos can be obtained at Reception if required), plenty of fridge space and hot beverage supplies. There is also a spacious desk with lamp if you need to do any writing. Furniture is comfortable and generous with two armchairs provided and the main beds being either king or queen sized with ample bedding. Additionally there is an immensely useful luggage platform (big enough to take two medium sized suitcases side by side) with drawers beneath and a large wardrobe with heavy mirrored door. All too often, you stay somewhere and wish the designer had considered that people actually travel with suitcases and bags! Bolitho's restaurant is smart without being overly formal and serves dinner from 7pm with last orders
      at 9pm. We have even had the pleasure of listening to a live pianist on one or two occasions in the adjoining lounge area. The food is excellent, freshly cooked to order and comes in generous portions. Fresh local lobsters are available to pre-order, cooked as plain or as fancy as you require. A nice touch is the optional sorbet course between the starter and main course. At various times, we have sampled fresh mint sorbet, passionfruit sorbet and lemon sorbet - all home-made and totally delicious. The wine list is impressive - we were lucky enough to get their last couple of bottles of Cloudy Bay, a rare and very desirable New Zealand sauvignon blanc, during one stay. Our two night Getaway Break included a four course table d'hote dinner for the two adults on both evenings. Breakfast for two was also included but we paid for meals taken by the children. We found that using room-service to order food from Fountains Bar, part of the Fountains Leisure Club complex, was an ideal option for us. Prices were a little more expensive but it was worth it for the convenience. The spacious desk in the room makes an excellent table for a couple of hungry youngsters and they can even watch TV if they want! The facilities of Fountains Leisure Club are available free to all guests and include a heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, solarium and gymnasium for the energetic. Strict but responsible safety regulations are enforced including a signing-in book for all people using the leisure facilities, together with constant adult supervision of children under 16 who are only allowed in the indoor pool between the hours of 9am and 7pm. There is also a beautiful secluded walled outdoor pool in the gardens for the summer with similar safety rules. Furthermore, rest and relaxation facilities are available if you wish to be pampered and cosseted. These are provided by visiting specialists and include massage, reflexology, sports massage, facials, manicures,
      pedicures, and hair styling. Appointments can be made at Reception. All in all, the Penmere Manor Hotel is an ideal location for a relaxing and revitalising break, with or without the children. As part of the Best Western Group, it is featured in the Getaway Breaks brochure and some excellent discounts are available especially if you are flexible about your stay. There are also themed breaks on offer at various locations at other hotels throughout the country from golf to activity pursuits, health sanctuaries to theme parks. You can even pre-order flowers and champagne on ice in your room for your arrival. For our last stay in February 2000, we booked through the Best Western website on www.bestwestern.co.uk and had the new brochure in the post within two days. We had confirmations in the post both from Best Western and from Penmere Manor Hotel itself which was reassuring. We can certainly recommend this hotel from our experiences and, if you stay there, we wish you a very pleasant and relaxing break. Contact details:- Best Western Penmere Manor Hotel, Mongleath Road, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 4PN Tel: +44 (0) 1326 211411 Fax: +44 (0) 1326 317588 Web: www.penmere.co.uk email: reservations@penmere.co.uk

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