Fowey Hall is set on the hill above the beautiful village of Fowey with breathtaking views out to sea and across the estuary to the harbour village of Polruan. The hotel is grand and beautifully furnished with an array of antique pieces, comfortable chairs and sofas and a selection of rooms in which to sit and relax.
We arrived midday at the end of May in basking heat and were warmly welcomed and shown to our beautiful and vast suite. There were six of us, 2 adults and our four children aged 7 years, 4 years and 16 month old twins. We didn't feel squashed in at all. The living area (also equipped with huge cushions for children to jump on and lounge in) served perfectly as living space and sleeping quarters for the four children. My husband and I had our own room and the bathroom housed all six of us easily. Every room including the bathroom had mesmerising views.
The grounds are rambling but safe and well-enclosed with beautiful flora, high trees, a hidden play area for the children, croquet lawn and terrace overlooking the river. The swimming pool is located in a glass house behind a secure door. The code for the keypad is only divulged to adults, so there's no danger of the kids diving in unattended. There are two changing tents, a generous supply of fresh towels, loungers and underground heating.
Everything you need to make your stay with babies and children comfortable and stress-free was there: Sterilisers, bottle warmers and changing mats in the rooms, beakers and plastic cutlery in the breakfast room, bowls of fresh fruit, a video library, a dedicated playstation room, the hotel dog Millie to walk. I wanted to find something missing and thought I had when it came to bath time and there was no slip mat to be seen. I picked up the bath mat to lay on the floor and sure enough perfectly folded underneath was a slip mat.
The OFSTED-registered crèche, (The Fours Bears Den) which caters for all ages, is housed just behind the main hotel in an old stable block. Children can be left there between 10.00 - 11.45 and 12.30 – 16.45. The Den may also be used outside of these times by parents and children. The key is held at reception. The main room houses toys, art supplies, a TV video, train sets, soft toys etc and opposite this is a games room with table tennis, table football and playstation for older children. When we went to have a look around our kids were so enthralled by the toys we had to bribe them to come to the beach with us (Readymoney Cove is just a 10 minute walk away) with the reward of a play in the crèche when we got back. The staff was friendly and perfect with the children. They stayed for just an hour and loved it – even the twins didn?t bat an eyelid when we left them there. We meanwhile sat on the terrace with tea and homemade biscuits and concentrated on the view!
Children's evening meals are available at either 5pm, 5.30pm or 6.15pm. The two early sittings are supervised by the crèche staff and served in the Billiard Room, the 6.15 sitting is in the hotel tea room and served by the hotel staff. During the children's tea the bedrooms would magically be made ready for their bedtime. After an exhausting day of running through the gardens, walking the dog, swimming and being on the beach the children would collapse into bed perfectly happily. With the baby listener switched on (each room is monitored by staff at reception) we were ready for our dinner. The restaurant food was absolutely fantastic. A good choice of vegetarian, meat and locally caught fish dishes and a daily changing fixed menu choice.
All the Fowey staff were friendly and fantastic with the children but in a discreet and understated way. Always on hand immediately if service was required but otherwise quite invisible.
We all had a truly wonderful time and felt suitably spoiled. For a short break to recharge adults' batteries Fowey Hall is ideal – there's more than enough to keep the children occupied, yet the ambience of the place is so calm and cool, and the staff so discrete and efficient, you can't help but relax.
My 4 year old son's words still ring in my ears. As he ran down the swooping staircase out into the gardens he called "This place is so way cool. We love it here". We all did.