With stunning subtropical gardens, rooms with a view, a location close to a private beach and a penchant for filling guests up with utterly delectable food all day long, Hotel Meudon in Cornwall is a true hidden gem in every aspect.
Tucked away just two miles along the coast from Falmouth, this newly renovated treasure blends the renowned Cornish hospitality with peaceful surroundings to provide guests with a thoroughly relaxing stay.
Hotel and gardens
Hotel Meudon is open following recent refurbishments after it was bought from a family who had owned the house for generations. When I asked what had changed, I received the answer of ‘everything and nothing’. It was explained that instead of ripping out and replacing everything, the upgrade was more sensitive than that, therefore existing furniture was reupholstered, the foundations and the items remained but were given some love and balconies were added to sea view rooms. Generally, the aesthetic was cared for and updated rather than entirely transformed. The mid-century style certainly works in today’s world of interiors, and I do like the fact that the hotel has been respected in this way.
The gardens are an event in themselves and boast an interesting history within the mix of flora that can be found there. Wander among the attention-grabbing trees and flowers that take up nine acres of space and discover a 10-metre-tall Magnolia; Rhododendron with 45cm wide leaves and stunning pink panicles of flower; and a previously presumed extinct Wollemi Pine. Continue wandering among the Willy Wonka-esque garden and be dazzled by the Giant Rhubarb with huge, two-metre wide leaves sprouting off chunky, tall trunks; a Foxglove tree, which sprouts purple flowers that smell of parma violets; and 180-200-year-old tree ferns.
Mid-century mixes with modern touches in the south-facing balcony rooms. Fifties furniture has been restored and the room has enough space for a small table and chairs if room service is on your radar. On the balcony, there’s a low table and chairs for those relaxing moments spent gazing out onto the extensive gardens through the glass panels.
The bed, adorned with colourful cushions and a throw, was very comfortable and the comfort factor combined with the heavy, dark curtains resulted in us sleeping right through our allotted breakfast time. Luckily everyone is so lovely here and it wasn’t a problem about breakfast!
Room facilities and extras include super soft bathrobes, gorgeous smelling toiletries from bloom remedies, a kettle with tea and coffee bags and fresh milk in a little fridge, a safe, hairdryer and television should you need them. I obtained a fan as it was warm at night during my summer visit, and I particularly liked the original touches with the original radio and retro phone.
The food and drink offering at Hotel Meudon is certainly a highlight and dinner is best begun with a pre-drink in Freddie’s Bar, but more on that later. After sipping on a champagne, my dining partner and I heading downstairs to Restaurant Meudon, where we perused the menu while enjoying another glass of the fine stuff, because, why not?
We were told that the menu can change daily depending on what fish comes in off the boat that day; the chef is very flexible in his approach and would rather have whatever is there fresh off the boat, which makes perfect sense. The fish special on the first of our two evening visits was south coast brill with girolles, braised leek and truffle, spinach and morel cream. It sounded delicious, so my dining partner, Nick, opted for this after his steak tartare starter, I had a little taste, and the sauce and fish were very tasty indeed.
I enjoyed a starter of grilled asparagus, white crab, cucumber and radish beurre blanc with parsley followed by pork tenderloin, fondant potato, carrots crecy, peas and tarragon jus. The charred asparagus on the starter came with a light, fresh, summery cucumber sauce – the only way I want to eat it asparagus again – it was delicious. Crab was the addition that brought the dish together making it a very lovely plate of food. The pork was of fantastic quality and the minted peas were a delicious addition, while the carrots, greens and potato fondant were perfect. This was a really tasty dish, just the right size, and the wine was flawless too, I wanted to savour every element as this plate of food was scrumptious.
For dessert, sharing a sweet dish with some cheeses is the only way and so we shared the dark chocolate fondant with amarena cherries and cherry sorbet along with the cheese selection. The cheese trolley was wheeled over, and we were invited to pick three from a selection of seven cheeses, all local offerings and including a blue, Brie and Camembert with a choice of onion or tomato and chilli chutney with some crackers. We opted for a blue, Camembert and a hard cheese with onion chutney and red grapes – this was certainly a welcome way to end the meal after the gooey, sweet and deliciously decadent chocolate pudding.
On the second evening we headed straight back to the restaurant – you really don’t need to dine elsewhere when staying at Hotel Meudon when the food is this good. Diners can enjoy two courses for £36 or three for £45 and, as we noticed on our second visit, dishes on the menu are tweaked so that you always have plenty of choice. For example, asparagus was there, but with egg this evening, the soufflé had changed from passionfruit to raspberry and there were entirely new dishes, so if you like the look of something then have it as it probably won’t be there the next night!
I happily tucked into a summery, fresh and vibrant dish of Newlyn crab with Soul Farm leaf, avocado cream and an ultra-thin crostini with sweet tomatoes, before sampling the south coast brill with sauce vierge, rouille, white crab and coriander – can you tell I like crab? The fish was so crispy and delectable, especially accompanied with some new potatoes, tenderstem broccoli and sweet tomatoes, and crab is always welcome on any plate of mine! For dessert, it had to be the raspberry soufflé, which was served with a berry ripple cream and was a sweet, delightful and decadent end to this evening’s dinner.
Bar, lounge and breakfast
As well as wine recommendations being spot on for dinner, the bar is also stocked with some delightful Champagne, spirits and other refreshments, and Ryan at Freddie’s Bar will also whip you up one of his own cocktails, if you wish. The bar is attached to the airy lounge and provides an inviting spot to sip an aperitif or digestif, cocktail and the like. We frequented the atmospheric spot for drinks on both evenings and I particularly enjoyed a post dinner espresso martini.
The lounge is open all day for light bites and drinks, and from 2.30pm to 5pm, you can indulge, like we did, in an afternoon tea. Upgrade with a glass of Moët or stick with tea or coffee and tuck into cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and grain mustard, coronation chicken and egg mayo and cress sandwiches along with plain and fruit scones with Cornish clotted cream and jam. Finish the affair with the current cake and pastry selection, which, on our visit, consisted of Bakewell tart, Victoria sponge, and egg custard tart topped with strawberries. All items delicious on the afternoon tea were filling and I would highly recommend it at £17 or £25 with a glass of Moët.
Breakfast is served in the restaurant, providing guest with garden views as they wake up with a coffee and croissant. A full Meudon provided me a hearty start to the day and came with eggs, beans, portobello mushroom, back bacon, sausage, hog’s pudding and tomato. As well as the hot selection, which includes a vegetarian option, boiled egg and soldiers, smoked kippers and bubble and squeak with bacon and egg, diners can choose from a selection of pastries, juices, cereals, muffins, yogurts and the like.
Hotel Meudon is a place that you come to when you wish to relax, enjoy a slower pace and totally indulge in fantastic fare, but there are plenty of other ways in which you can spend your time, too. For a relaxing retreat, make the most of the Sanctuary Suite and choose from a full body massage, hot stone body, scalp and foot ritual; back, neck and scalp massage; and a nourishing foot treatment. Nick was celebrating his birthday on the day we left and so, after breakfast, he headed to the suite for a full body massage which left him completely relaxed and rejuvenated after a few days of over-indulging and ready to face the next few days of celebrations.
When you wish to get out and about there’s a refreshing coastal walk to partake in along the stunning South West Coast Path, Bream Cove at the foot of the hotel gardens, nearby Falmouth to explore and plenty of Cornish towns, villages, beaches and days out to discover before heading back to the sanctuary that is Hotel Meudon.
In a nutshell
A food lover’s paradise, a garden enthusiast’s delight and a true hidden gem in Cornwall, Hotel Meudon is the place you go to when you wish to retreat with good food and good wine in peaceful surroundings.
See snippets of my travels on Instagram @tashheard_food_travel
Rooms cost from £119 per night on a bed and breakfast basis (based on two people sharing in low season).
Address: Mawnan Smith, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5HT
Tel: 01326 250541