Part One – Welcome.
Posting on Instagram one dull January day I came across a post for The Camelot Castle Hotel, Tintagel. Now, Cornwall with its mystic legends & wild landscape has always held a fascination for me & this Neo-Norman Style hotel, standing in a prominent clifftop location, the Atlantic Ocean crashing far below, conjured up visions of Manderly. Ok, a Tudor Manor it wasn’t, but it would certainly do for me. Having booked a special three night stay with furry friend (an added plus) I took a quick look on TripAdvisor for reviews, as expected they were mixed. The idea for this blog was born and the following review relates to my personal view of The Camelot Castle Hotel. An experience of pure joy & pleasure.
Setting off from Wiltshire I decided to avoid the motorway & meandered along the more scenic route of the A303 & across Bodmin Moor. A thick fog enfolded the landscape & The Hound of the Baskerville’s came to mind, my furry friend obviously felt it too, as she started howling like a Werewolf! Being a soul with a strong constitution, I motored slowly on, descending through the mist into sunlight & followed the signs to Tintagel.
Tintagel is a small village on the North coast of Cornwall, given over almost entirely to commercialism, in particular, as one would expect, to the legend of King Arthur & the Knights of the round table. There are many beautiful walks around the village, along the cliffs & on the coastal path. The short video clip below shows the cove where Merlin’s cave disappears into the granite cliff face, this is just a 10min walk from The Camelot Castle Hotel.
At the end of the village we knew we had arrived. The castle in front of us was to be our home for the next four days & what a home it was. At reception we were greeted by the helpful receptionist Agata, who cheerfully issued our keys & gave us a quick tour of the amazing public rooms. A menu for Irina’s Restaurant & the separate Brassiere was proffered & putting best foot & paws forward we climbed the imposing, open well stone staircase complete with iron balusters & mahogany rail, to our second floor, sea view room. While the rest of Tintagel may be seeped in tourism, this hotel is certainly not. Although the name has been changed from King Arthur’s Castle!
I think its fair to say that you need to absorb the atmosphere and open your heart & mind to the beauty, romanticism, & inspirational creativity, of this unique treasure.
The building, designed by the most prominent Cornish architect of the 19th Century Silvanus Trevail, took five years to complete and opened at Easter 1899. Stars & luminaries of the Victorian & Edwardian Era sought out Camelot Castle, bringing with them their staff & friends for summer & Christmas house parties. ‘The knights of the Round Table’ staring Ava Gardener & ‘Dracula’ staring Sir Lawrence Olivier were filmed at Camelot.
In 1999 the Grade 11 listed castle, was acquired as a private residence for the Mappin family along with the adjoining lands & estates. Observing how others & their friend, Artist Ted Stourton’s creativity had blossomed John & Irina Mappin took the decision to open their home to guests, enabling similar minded people to develop their creativity in the tranquil spaces of their beautiful home.
Now, nearly eighteen years later, while still a family home, my furry friend & I had the opportunity of being guests at this hotel, which is still, in some parts, undergoing a full historic restoration.
Off particular interest to me was the lounge with its double 3-bay colonnade of polished Devonian limestone columns on carved freestone bases. Late C19 polychromatic chimney-pieces, complete with tiles & cast iron stoves are lit on cold evenings allowing one to laze at leisure with a glass of wine & reflect on the large art works by Ted Stourton, which adorn the walls. Sitting there, furry friend at my feet, a large Merlot in hand, I truly felt that I had “come home”.
If you have been, thank you for reading my review.
Join me & my furry friend next week for the second part of this blog: