David & Karen Richards

In July 2013, David Richards and his wife Karen opened The Idle Rocks in Cornwall to coincide with its centenary, after a complete transformation. The Idle Rocks enjoys one of the best and most prominent locations in St Mawes, but seeing it quietly fall into disrepair and knowing it enjoyed such an incredible reputation not so many years ago, encouraged them to undertake this new challenge.

To further develop the offering for the local St Mawes community as well as visitors, David and Karen acquired their second property in the Cornish seaside village, the St Mawes Hotel, just 200 yards from The Idle Rocks. Their vision was to establish a modern and lively environment where visitors would feel equally at home as the locals. The St Mawes Hotel re-opened in summer 2015 following another major refurbishment.


Karen lives and breathes her designs, with her personal identity and flair reflected in the interiors of both hotels.

Karen wanted to create a spacious and light hotel for The Idle Rocks, with cosy areas for guests to relax and feel at home. This includes the sitting room with its log fire and book cases, perfect for an afternoon read. A number of the bedrooms have window seats where guests can look out over the harbour, with the view influencing the interiors through use of colour and natural light.

The Idle Rocks cements St. Mawes’ reputation as a desirable Cornish location and is widely considered one of the region’s top hotels. Since its launch, The Idle Rocks has won a number of awards and accolades, including; ‘The 50 greatest hotels in Britain’ by The Telegraph, ‘The World’s Top 100’ by Condé Nast Traveller and the ‘Ultimate 100 British Hotels’ by The Sunday Times. In January 2016, The Idle Rocks became part of world renowned collection of hotels, Relais & Châteaux.

The St Mawes Hotel completed a full renovation in the summer of 2015, for which Karen captured the spirit of the village for its interiors, ensuring the local community would feel just as welcome as visiting guests. Each room echoes Karen’s signature style, a marriage between traditional coastal culture and contemporary design. The hotel has a lively and informal feel, with bright colours and fabrics inspired by the spectacular sea views which can be seen from most of the rooms and the first-floor restaurant. There is a comfortable lounge, complete with compact library and a wood fire for cosy winter evenings.

The St Mawes Hotel was proud to be featured as one of the most beautifully designed hotels in the world within House & Garden’s Hotels By Design guide.

With a passion for art and sculpture, both of which she enjoys in her spare time, Karen has chosen a collection of unique pieces with individual character. Every item has been hand-selected by Karen, often bringing back items from her travels around the world.

Karen comments on her passion for the design of The Idle Rocks and the St Mawes Hotel; “It really is the smaller details that make someone feel at home. We want our guests to feel comfortable enough to really relax as if they were staying at a good friends’ wonderful house by the seaside.”


David’s career within motor sport has led to great acclaim in a wide range of disciplines from F1 to Sports Car racing and rallying.

After studying accountancy, David became a professional rally driver in the Ford factory Team. Partnering Ari Vatanen he won the British and Scandinavian championships, and finished his competition career by winning the World Rally Championship in 1981.

Following this title, David devoted his time to developing his business interests, which led to the formation of his own team and the creation of Prodrive in 1984. Under David’s direction, Prodrive has grown into a world leading motorsport and automotive technology business with over 500 staff and annual sales in excess of £100 million.

In 2007, David led a consortium that purchased Aston Martin from Ford, resulting in David being appointed as chairman of this iconic British sports car manufacturer, a role he fulfilled until stepping down at the end of 2013.

David remains Chairman of Prodrive and also British Motorsport’s governing body, the MSA.


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