Soak up a little slice of Cornish history at The Greenbank Hotel says writer Codelia Mantsebo, where guests can wake up to the view, the sounds and the fresh, salty air of the sea in one of Britain’s most sought after coasts
Perched on the water’s edge, nestled on the historic Falmouth Harbour, The Greenbank is Falmouth’s oldest hotel – boasting a lengthy history that dates back to the 17th century.
Built in 1640, the hotel originally served seafaring captains and sailors in the 1700s as an inn during the town’s maritime prime, before becoming the luxurious hotel it is today.
Over the years, it’s hosted famous guests such as Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows, and in 1907, the likes of Florence Nightingale – whose name can still be seen in the guest book on display by the reception.
Today, the hotel offers 61 rooms, all designed with a sophisticated take on classic nautical elements that reflect the town’s nautical roots.
Most rooms in the hotel offer sublime views of the Fal Estuary and the quaint village of Flushing on the opposite bank.
The inlet between the two features jaw-dropping views and panoramic views of the anchored and straddling boats, and with pontoon berths for boats, guests can sail over, moor their boats and walk straight into the hotel from its private quay.
We stayed in one of the two luxury suites at The Greenbank – The Florence Suite, named after the famous guest Florence Nightingale. Recently redesigned by Matt Hulme, the suite is the latest addition to the hotel.
Bringing in the nautical aesthetics from outside to the room, the suite is dressed in alluringly rich tones of blue and teal, while thoughtful art-deco-style furnishings add a luxuriously elegant and modern charm.
Touches of mustard yellow add warmth and evoke the rays of sunlight bouncing off the waves of the harbour out front.
The vivid touches of mustard yellow work harmoniously with the décor to bring the hotel’s maritime but contemporary design come to life, eschewing from the cliché nautical styles.
In the lounge area of the bedroom, a stunning bespoke wallpaper references the hotel’s historic location – with the Pendennis Point headland running through the wallpaper spanning the two walls.
The suite’s large bay windows bathe the room in natural light and open out to a large private balcony with views of the harbour and views of the idyllic village of Flushing across the bank. I could easily sit outside on the loungers and watch the comings and goings of Falmouth harbour, including the graceful swans and swimming dogs.
These views can also be enjoyed from the luxuriously cosy king-sized bed facing the windows. A rolltop bath, which faces one of the windows with shutters allows you to soak in privacy while you watch the boats and the world go by in the harbour below.
The Food & Drink
Falmouth is a foodie town, and dishes at The Greenbank do not disappoint. Executive Chef Nick Hodges heads up the award-winning 2 AA Rosette Water’s Edge restaurant kitchen – where fresh seafood and seasonal produce can be found in abundance.
The restaurant offers classic British cuisine with a modern twist for a rustic fine dining experience along with superb views.
The breakfast buffet is a mingling of granola, fresh juices, pastries and cereals, while the menu offers a full Cornish breakfast, waffles with bacon, smoked haddock or salmon with eggs any way.
Dinner is served in a relaxed, but elegant setting with dishes like the rolled fillet of plaice, prawn and dill mousse, citrus potatoes, samphire salsa verde – which was a delight. The menu changes seasonally but you can always expect fusion cuisine with delicious Cornish influences.
Afternoon tea is also served at the restaurant – but it should be booked in advance as its also popular with the locals.
What to Do
The Greenbank is perfectly positioned for discovering the scenic south coast of Cornwall and exploring the cobbled streets of Falmouth. Just 10 minutes away from the hotel, down a road which runs alongside the water, is the town of Falmouth, where there are plenty of shops, independent boutiques, galleries and restaurants.
The National Maritime Museum is also a short walking distance, and Falmouth Prince of Wales Pier Landing is close by where you can book a ferry tour or service.
Both the Gyllyngvase beach and Henry VIII’s Pendennis Castle can be reached in 30 minutes by foot.
The Wordrobe Verdict
The Greenbank is a Cornish gem full of characterful history and has all of Falmouth’s charms on its doorstep. This hotel offers a relaxing Cornish experience that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Make it happen
Where: Harbourside, Falmouth TR11 2SR
Wallet: The Florence Suite starts from £199 per night, while the Classic Rooms start from £99 per night.
Bookings: Please phone 01326 312440 or visit greenbank-hotel.co.uk to make a reservation.
Words by Codelia Mantsebo, freelance writer.
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