Category: Hotel News

The Idle Rocks and St Mawes Hotel in the top 30 Best Places to Work in Hospitality 2018

Congratulations to our team who not only provide an award-winning service to our guests but, thanks to their continued dedication, The Idle Rocks and St Mawes Hotel have just been acknowledged as one of the top 30 Best Places to Work in Hospitality.

Conducted by people retention specialist Purple Cubed and The Caterer magazine, staff are requested to rate the performance of their employer in categories such as the team having respect for each other, respect for work-life balance shown by the company, and managers’ communication with employees.

The Idle Rocks and St Mawes Hotel came in at number 21 thanks to investment in and flexibility for employees including training, career progression and inspiring ambition.

The Caterer’s News Bulletin has further information.


Highly Commended Restaurant of the Year

2016 Seafood Restaurant of the Year Competition

2016 - Highly Commended (2)

We are excited to announce that we have been Highly Commended in the Seafish/The Caterer Seafood Restaurant of the Year Award.

The judging was undertaken by a panel of industry judges who determined that we were in the top 23 seafood restaurants in the UK and judged our restaurant to be Highly Commended.

Our ethos is to only use sustainable seasonally sourced seafood from local waters.
We work very closely with our two local fish suppliers, Wings of St Mawes and Fish for Thought, who we have a great relationship with. We try and only purchase from day boat fishermen, and rely on our suppliers to advise us of the provenance of the seafood and request specifically to purchase only sustainable sourced seafood.


More details can be seen at

Sid’s Ideas for a Romantic Winter Getaway

Cornwall’s one and only hotel concierge, Sid Williams of the Idle Rocks shares his ideas for a romantic winter getaway in St Mawes.

We all know that summer in Cornwall is a perfect location for a holiday, well known for its beaches, sailing and wonderful food. The winter season here in south Cornwall offers the chance to feel the real romance of the county. Daffodils are already out across the Roseland Peninsula and in February nearby gardens Trebah and Glendurgan are already beginning to show signs of spring. Out of season it is as quiet as a breeze, you can have a beach to yourself and walk for miles with just a few seagulls for company. Here are a few ideas for a romantic winter getaway.

Art Classes

St Mawes has a number of great galleries on its doorstep, and also offers the chance for expert tuition from local artists. Whether it’s a life drawing class, water colouring, or even an introduction to the potter’s wheel, there are a range of artisans available to help.

Art and Garden

Another way to enjoy the arts in Cornwall is via two wonderfully inspiring sculpture gardens. Tremenhere Gardens has a contemporary installation throughout its subtropical garden and panoramic views across Mounts Bay. Further north and nestled in an ancient Cornish village, Withiel Garden has been developed over 5 years by Lemon Street Gallery owner, Louise Jones. There is an eclectic mix of work on show among the gardens and woodland of this 17th century estate.  A unique space, it provides rich inspiration for anyone thinking of putting some art into their own garden, all the sculptures here are for sale.


From an hours amble along the coast to creek side church at St Just, or a days hike from St Anthony’s Head to Dodman Point, the winter months offer the chance to really feel the landscape. The Roseland Peninsula has some of the best coastline in the country, so our lounge and log fire is never too far away.


The surf over on the north coast is at its best this time of year, if you’re looking for adventure we can help even if it is February. Again, tuition is available and of course the waves are not as crowded as they are in August.


The Hall for Cornwall is just 30 minutes away, with touring shows from the West End, opera and national orchestras from across the world. If you prefer fringe shows and offbeat comedy The Poly in Falmouth always manages to surprise.

R and R

If you prefer your winter holidays inside the hotel, we offer packages that include treatments and massages from our local therapist Dawn. An expert in massage, this really is a great way to relax and feel the stress of everyday life just drain away. Call us for more details on how Dawn may be able to help you.

I look forward to welcoming you soon.

Joining Relais and Chateaux from 2016

We are delighted to announce that we will become a member of the world renowned Relais & Châteaux collection of hotels as of 1st January 2016.

We were selected for our reputation as a desirable Cornish hotel, led by a passionate team committed to maintaining relationships with both hotel guests and the local community.

Relais & Châteaux sets the standard for excellence in hospitality and culinary arts, incorporating over 530 outstanding properties, with independent owners, Maîtres de Maison and chefs.

Nicola Liddiard, Director of UK & Ireland at Relais & Châteaux spoke of the hotel; “The Idle Rocks is a great addition to the portfolio, as we previously have not had a member in Cornwall and we look forward to welcoming it into the Relais & Chȃteaux family.”

Owned by Karen and David Richards, leading entrepreneur in the motor racing world and former Chairman of Aston Martin, The Idle Rocks offers guests a home-from-home experience, with a simple yet welcoming design in an idyllic location.

Karen Richards, comments: “We are delighted to become part of Relais & Châteaux’s award-winning independently owned hotels. The unique experience that The Idle Rocks provides, with its local, fresh food, relaxed atmosphere and unparalleled sea views, will complement its portfolio of impressive properties.”

Nick Hanson appointed General Manager of The Idle Rocks and the St Mawes Hotel

We are delighted to announce that Nick Hanson has been appointed General Manager of The Idle Rocks and the St Mawes Hotel and will take up the appointment on 1st September 2016. With over 20 years’ experience in hospitality, specialising in the management of luxury boutique hotels, Nick will oversee both properties.

Nick joins the team from his role as General Manager of luxury spa hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant, The Bath Priory. Previous to this he managed some of the UK’s leading boutique hotels including Relais & Chateau’s The Vineyard at Stockcross and Sharrow Bay on Ullswater, as well as The Royal Scotsman, considered the world’s most luxurious train.

Under his leadership, properties Nick has managed received a number of awards and accolades, including a Catey for Independent Hotel of the Year and AA red star accreditation. He also successfully developed and ran his own business on the Isle of Mull.

David Richards, Owner of The Idle Rocks and the St Mawes Hotel, commented: “We were looking to appoint an enthusiastic and skilled hotelier to continue the development of both The Idle Rocks and the St Mawes Hotel. His extensive experience of luxury boutique properties make him the perfect candidate for the role.’’

Nick said of his appointment: “The Idle Rocks has already established itself as a unique and prestigious property having recently joined Relais & Chateaux whilst I see a great opportunity for the St Mawes Hotel to further cement St. Mawes’ reputation as a highly desirable Cornish destination.

Heligan Harvest Partnership

We are delighted to be partnering with The Lost Gardens of Heligan for their two week Heligan Harvest from 1st – 16th October.

Our Head Chef, Guy Owen, will work closely with the Heligan Kitchen to influence the menu throughout Harvest, drawing inspiration and finding harmonious pairings within Heligan’s Productive Gardens, as well as headlining at two much anticipated feast nights on Saturday 8th & 15th October.

“As a chef, the opportunity to work alongside an incredible company such as The Lost Gardens of Heligan is truly a dream come true. Their attention to detail, the hard work and stunning array of heritage fruit and vegetables is second to none. This Harvest celebration is going to be a wonderful way to begin our relationship and promote local, sustainable and heritage produce” – Guy Owen, Head Chef

Dave Richards, F1 Racing Interview. St Mawes, England. 5th June 2015 Photo: Drew GibsonHarvest Feast Nights will run for two exclusive nights, on Saturday 8th and 15th October, with limited places available. The evening is sure to guarantee you an incredible atmosphere right in the heart of The Lost Gardens, teamed with live music and an incredible three-course meal inspired by Heligan’s Heritage and delivered by The Idle Rock’s Guy Owen and the Heligan Kitchen.

The_Changing_Room_-_BoatSerenading diners will be The Changing Room, a beguiling rootsy, Celtic-infused, folk band hailing from Looe, who draw much of their inspiration from the industrial heritage of Cornwall. Award winning vocals along with the melodic tones of an accordion, guitar, harp and banjo deliver a winning combination and unique sound, to perfectly compliment this celebration of food.

Harvest_Feast_TableHarvest Feast Night ticket prices are inclusive of garden admission and it is strongly advised to book your tickets early, as these sell out fast! Both feasts will be based around a fixed menu so please advise at time of booking of all dietary requirements.

Once all bookings are in, we will create a seating plan. If you would like to be grouped with someone not included in your booking, please mention this at the time as we cannot make changes to the seating plan on the night.

To book your place at the Harvest Feast Night table call The Lost Gardens of Heligan reception on 01726 845100. Ticket prices are £35 per person for Heligan Members (not Local Pass holders) and £40 per person for non-members.

All other Harvest activities are free with garden admission, unless otherwise stated.
For more information please visit 


Sir Michael Parkinson is guest speaker at a sell-out charity fundraising lunch in aid of Cornwall Air Ambulance

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Cornwall Air Ambulance, the UK’s oldest air ambulance.

To celebrate this achievement, Cornwall resident John Casson organised a fundraising lunch at the
lovely boutique The Idle Rocks hotel in St Mawes on Wednesday 14 June 2017.

“I needed a celebrity speaker to attract interest in the event and Cornwall Air Ambulance,” said
John, who turned to his friend, the legendary chat show host and journalist Sir Michael Parkinson,
who lives in Bray.

Within a few hours Sir Michael enthusiastically accepted John’s invitation – John was thrilled!

“As you can imagine, having the popular Sir Michael attend attracted a lot of interest, and there was
a stampede for tickets,” said John.

This year Sir Michael – who during his career interviewed more than 2,000 guests on his chat show –
is touring the UK with his show An Evening with Sir Michael Parkinson.

This sell-out event of sixty guests were treated to a champagne reception followed by a three-course
lunch prepared by the talented The Idle Rocks chef, Guy Owen. During the lunch there was an
auction of exciting ‘money cannot buy’ items.

During the lunch Sir Michael – who was joined by his wife the journalist and television presenter
Lady Mary Parkinson – gave a fascinating talk about his career and then took questions from the

The lunch has raised an amazing £33,000.

James Oxley, Communications and Marketing Manager at Cornwall Air Ambulance, said: “We are
incredibly grateful to John Casson and Sir Michael Parkinson for their support in what is Cornwall Air
Ambulance’s 30th anniversary year. Each year the aircrew carries out more than 700 missions to
those in urgent need of medical care, but as a charity we rely on donations in order to keep the air
ambulance flying. The money raised from this event really will help save lives. I’d like to say a huge
thank you to everyone involved in what was an outstanding event.”

‘It is very kind and very typical of Sir Michael to come down in his own time and help me out when
he is so busy. He is a good friend,’ said John.

• The organiser of the fundraising lunch is John Casson, who has had a career centred on policing,
law enforcement and international security. John is a businessman, entrepreneur,
philanthropist, passionate fundraiser and author who has many varied interests.
• For more information about John Casson:
John Casson
01872 501597 or 07971 082868

• The event was held at the Idle Rocks hotel in St Mawes:

• For more information about the Cornwall Air Ambulance:


James Oxley
PR and Marketing Officer
01637 889926

Mother’s Day Heligan Camellias

As part of our collaboration to showcase the best horticultural practices and heritage produce, we kindly asked our partners The Lost Gardens of Heligan to provide us with a special gift from the gardens for all the mothers joining us on Mothering Sunday.

After a short meeting with their Gardening Team, it was agreed that the perfect gift would be a single camellia bloom from their renowned National Collection. Historically, Heligan used to supply Covent Garden with fresh camellias, which were delivered on a bed of straw and put on a train from St Austell to London.

The Camellias chosen were from their historical collection, with all varieties grown pre dating 1920. They were predominantly different varieties of Camellia japonica and they currently grow around 130 different varieties in total.

Squire John Hearle Tremayne made the earliest camellia plantings. These include varieties such as “Althaeiflora”, “Anemoniflora” and “Fimbriata”. Later plantings in the 1870s and 80s by Squire John Tremayne feature some of the continental varieties, “Lavinia Maggi”, “Auguste Delfosse” and “Eugenie de Massena”, whilst the most recent varieties, “Glo
ire de Nantes
”, “Fleur Dipater” and “Madame Martin Cachet
were planted by the last Squire of Heligan, Jack Tremayne.

During the period of decline in the gardens and estate, many plants, both wild and cultivated, flourished unrestrained. The specimens of Heligan’s National Collection were given both time and the protection of surrounding overgrowth to mature into the magnificent specimens, which can be marvelled today.

With regards to gathering them, it takes much longer than you would think to collect a perfect bloom worthy of such a special occasion… especially after a week of rain.

“If the petals are perfect and unblemished, then often the leaves may be damaged or marked. So, even if they look lovely on the tree they don’t always stand up to close inspection and a gardener’s critical eye,” comments Nicola Bradley Head of Productive Gardens.

Once picked, the delicate camellias were careful placed in beautiful gift boxes and transported to The Idle Rocks. Each one had been prepared with love, care and attention by their Gardening Team and was presented to the mothers dining with us on Mother’s Day as a special gift to take home.

The King of Vegetables

This February, the Idle Rock’s Head Chef Guy Owen takes inspiration from a commonly used, highly nutritious, but often underrated vegetable- the humble cabbage.

January King: Brassica oleracea var. sabauda is a late Victorian heirloom cabbage, which sits somewhere between a Savoy and white cabbage. It is known as Chou de Milan de Pontoise in France and is a winter vegetable, which has been cultivated in England since 1867.The heads of January King are dense and tend to weigh just over a pound and are crammed with vitamins and health benefiting properties. The leaf pigmentation is truly beautiful and almost changes daily, making it a chameleon amid its vegetable comrades. Their overall colour is a blueish green, with flecks of true turquoise, blushes of purple on the outer leaves and streaks of violet on some of the stems.“January King is one of our favourite cabbages in the Heligan Kitchen Garden, not just for its looks and taste, but also because it sits really well in the ground for up to a couple of months; which provides a welcomed extended harvest, perfect for these leaner months” comments Nicola Bradley, Head of Productive Gardens.

We have four vegetarian dishes a day on our à la carte menu, one of which is entirely dedicated to The Lost Gardens of Heligan and their current crop and is simply called, ‘Heligan’s Garden.’ On request, you can also have the tasting menu, based solely on vegetables.

With recent scientific research indicating that five portions of fruit and veg a day are good for you, but ten is even better and could even prevent up to 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year; the need to showcase the mighty vegetable is even more significant than before.

“Our focus on vegetarian food is to show the versatility and beauty of nature, working with Heligan Gardens gives us direct access to vegetables at their best. Not only are we showing how delicious vegetarian food can be, but also working hard on sustainability within Cornwall,” comments Guy.

On the menu at The Idle Rocks this month is, barbequed January King, stuffed with feta. Celeriac, Cavolo Nero, raw pear and pickled linseed.

Please click here for the recipe, if you wish to try this delicious dish at home for yourself.

Idle Mirabelle Recipe

Bar Manager, Laura Sexton shares her latest creation and recipe for this fruity, refreshing, easy to drink cocktail.



40ml Mirabelle Eau de Vie

30ml Chilled Earl Grey Tea

25ml Sugar Syrup

20ml Lemon Juice

Dash Orange Bitters


Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, then strain into a chilled martini glass with an orange sugar rim and quarter orange slice garnish to rest on edge of glass.

A Pre-Incan Relic to Satisfy Your Taste Buds! Tubers and Taramasalata

This month saw Head Chef, Guy Owen taking one of Heligan’s and indeed one of the worlds, lesser-known tuberous vegetables to London for an exclusive fine dining evening, at the prestigious Relais & Chateaux Headquarters in London.

Mashua – Tropaeolum tuberosum – commonly known as tuberous nasturtium, is a root crop that originates from the Andes Mountains of South America, specifically in the Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia.Mashua is a member of the nasturtium family with long twining stems on which three to five lobed leaves form and commonly grows up to at least 8 and possibly up to 12 feet tall if given something to climb. In the autumn mashua produce attractive trumpet-shaped red/orange flowers and are fast growing in cool, wet weather. Evidence exists of ancient use of mashua, as far back as 8000 years ago, with introduction to Europe as circa 1827.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan have been growing this unusual root as a small demonstration crop for almost 20 years; nodding to our Victorian predecessors and their intrigue for oddities in the garden.

All parts of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked; with the underground tubers the most frequently consumed part. The raw flavour of mashua is likened to a strong radish, which packs a warm punch. It tends to be more common to eat mashua cooked which produces a result similar to turnip, which is favoured and easier on the western palate. The flowers have large nectaries and are sweet with a bit of aniseed flavour and its leaves are delicious as a spicy salad green leaf.

The tubers can reach up to 4 inches long and have a shiny, waxy skin that cleans easily and it is these that Guy used in his taramasalata, mashua, smoked mackerel and parsley velouté canapé, for the exclusive Relais & Chateaux night in London. He will also be using this wonderful crop on the menus in coming weeks.

Pickled mashua

Help Cornwall’s wildlife be the winner

We support Cornwall Wildlife Trust and their Annual Wildlife Raffle raises much needed funds to help with their conservation work, protecting Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places.

Tickets are available now for only £1 each, with fantastic prizes generously donated by local businesses, like ourselves. Buying a ticket means entrants can show their support and be in with the chance to win one of the prizes.

We are delighted to have donated a very special prize for anyone who sells 100 tickets, or more! They will be entered into a draw to win a two night stay in a luxury sea-view room at the hotel. This very special stay, valued at £700, is for two guests, and includes one three course dinner.

For a full list of prizes please visit

Please help Cornwall Wildlife Trust by buying tickets for you or for your family and friends as a gift. Their Annual Wildlife Raffle is one of many ways for you to help them to raise as much money as they can for local wildlife, and for you to be in with a chance to win an amazing prize!

You can enter the raffle through their website, it is so simple and easy to do. To order tickets to buy or sell, or to enter the ‘£100 Challenge’, please contact Carolyn O’Hagan on (01872) 273939 ext 204 or

The prize draw date is Friday 30th September – good luck!

Great Cornish Food Festival

Guy and Ben


Guy Owen, Head Chef of The Idle Rocks and Ben Bass, Chef/Manager at the St Mawes Hotel will be showcasing their simple food philosophy on Saturday 24th September at 2pm on the Theatre Stage at The Great Cornish Food Festival.

They will be showcasing great Cornish food, simply prepared but to the very highest standard of quality, seasonality and taste.

The Great Cornish Food Festival is the largest festival anywhere that’s completely dedicated to Cornish food and drink, its takes place over three days; 23rd, 24th and 25th September.

Prepare to be wowed by a gastro extravaganza, where over 100 different food experts and chefs gather to celebrate Cornwall’s beautiful bounty and showcase why this popular peninsula has gained such a reputation as the UK’s No. 1 destination for great food and drink.

In a convenient, accessible, all-weather location in the centre of Truro – Cornwall’s only city – the event has become a regular favourite for tens of thousands of people from all over Britain and beyond.

We hope you will join us in supporting Guy and Ben at the event on the Saturday afternoon and we look forward to seeing you there.
For more information about the festival please visit

Up and Running

Easter saw the hotel re-open and The Idle Rocks was brought back to life by our guests, the St. Mawes weather, great food and a sense of happiness that the building was doing what it was built for.

Spring is definitely in the air and trips out on the water have begun in earnest, whether it be fishing, sailing, paddle boarding or just a hardy wet-suited swim.

The daily changing Market Menu is proving a winner and the Restaurant has a new wine list and cocktail menu to try out. The Idle Rocks is back.

The Idle Rocks is up and running on a beautiful Easter day.

The Idle Rocks is up and running on a beautiful Easter day.

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a wide view of Room 8 with grey, white and orange at The Idle Rocks Hotel
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colouful green and orange carror dish on white plate
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