“ Bottreaux Hotel / Boscastle / Cornwall / L35 0BG / Tel: 01840 250231 / Fax: 01840 250170 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. „
I first came across the Bottreux Hotel when it was featured on BBC2's "A Seaside Parish" This was a series about the Cornish village of Boscastle and its female vicar. During the filming, the floods that devastated the area hit Boscastle and businesses and livelihoods were left in ruin. Although the Bottreaux didn't suffer directly because of its position at the top of a hill, it did indirectly when the village became a no go area for visitors and bookings at the hotel hit an all time low. I felt extremely sorry for the young couple who owned it, he the chef and manager and his wife who had recently given birth. They were both obviously worried as they had embarked on a project of renovating this 200 year old building which had cost them both time and money. Whilst watching the programme, I felt the need to give them some trade. Unfortunately it was to be nearly two years later before we finally booked a room.
We arrived at the hotel on a very hot and sunny July day. The hotel looked wonderful with its white façade and numerous beautiful hanging baskets. Built almost 200 years ago in proximity to the site of the original Bottreux Castle (hence Boscastle), the hotel, restaurant and bar enjoys a prominent position. Situated in the heart of the old village and its shops, the Bottreux is within a 10-minute walk from Boscastle's harbour.
The inside too did not disappoint. We were shown into a very informal reception area, no desk, just nice comfortable furniture. After taking our name, the very pleasant receptionist took us to our room "William" and our cases followed. Most of the 8 rooms have a sea view or partial sea view and ours had the latter. All rooms are en-suite and with the usual tea making facilities, TV and telephone. Every detail, from bed linen and curtains to furniture and light fittings had been very carefully chosen to enhance the bright quality of the room. The 6 foot wide, super king sized bed which according to the blurb "the beds boast mattresses among the best available on the market" was exceptionally comfortable and snug and ensured a good night's sleep. The stairs in the hotel and the floors in the rooms were covered in a pale lemon seagrass, which apparently is a completely natural, allergy free material and was soft to the eye and warm on the feet. Some rooms come with both shower and bath, ours had a shower only, but was nice and roomy and stocked with a nice selection of toiletries.
The restaurant is open to guests and non-residents and has been awarded with 2 rosettes since opening. It specialises in seafood and fish dishes although there are choices to suit both red meat eaters and vegetarians. Our reservation was for 8pm and we pondered the menu whilst enjoying a pre dinner drink in the very pleasant bar area. Tables in the restaurant were well spaced and once again the décor was warm in cream and blue with white linen cloths on candlelit tables. A tasteful collection of paintings hung on the walls.
The menu changes daily, priding itself serving fine dishes prepared with fresh, local ingredients and wherever possible using supplies from North Cornwall's farmers and fishermen. We were told that the fish was bought from markets in Bude, Padstow and Newlyn and the meat from farms in Boscastle and nearby Tintagel. Even the cheeses were bought from independent Cornish cheese makers. The hotel produces its own vegetables and herbs which are grown on a 2 acre plot as well as summer fruits which are grown in a local orchard.
For my starter, I had a delicious warm lobster salad. No shell and no mess, just pieces of succulent fish. Hubby chose Port Isaac crab cakes, which came with a smoked salmon dressing. Usually we have a nibble of each other's food, but crab disagrees with me. Nevertheless, he said it was very tasty. For my main course I had a turbot dish served with "pasta negri". Now I had had a couple of glasses of wine when I made my choice and was surprised when the waiter gave me a dish containing black pasta. I have seen this in our local deli before but didn't think that it looked appetising. I was however very pleasantly surprised. It worked well with the fish and had a hint of chilli. Hubby feeling a little "fished out" chose pan roasted fillet of Boscastle beef with a béarnaise sauce. Another success. For pudding, there was tarte aux pommes with calvados ice cream and hot butterscotch sauce or panna cotta with freshly picked raspberries to name a couple, but we chose the assiete of home made Cornish cheeses with oakcakes and home made chutneys. We still had some wine left and needed something to absorb it, you see.
What I especially liked about the restaurant was that the hotel has a policy that the same table was never booked twice in the same night. This meant that you could take time over dinner and enjoy a thoroughly relaxing evening.
Breakfast is served between 8.30 and 9.30a.m in the same room as dinner. Again lots of home-made produce including muesli and fruit juices to start, along with a variety of cereals, fruit and yoghurts. There were three choices for main breakfast. Full English consisting of locally made sausage and bacon and eggs supplied from the hotels free-range hens or ducks. Vanilla porridge seemed a popular choice with the guests. I decided on the hot cinnamon bagel served with vanilla cream, fresh mango and summer fruits which was different and very tasty. A variety of teas and coffees and a selection of toast served with you guessed homemade jams and marmalade finished off the meal.
The cost of our room was £85 including breakfast for two per night. Dinner was £23 for 2 courses and £28 for 3. Wine started at around £12 a bottle.
I thoroughly enjoyed our two-day stay at the Bottreux. Its position on the outskirts of the village is ideal, although the walk back is a little steep. Furnishings and décor are like something from "Ideal Homes" magazines - I came home with lots of ideas! The food was consistently of high standard and it was nice to know that our visit was supporting local trade in every way. Our room was exceptionally comfortable and the bed was to die for.
As we paid our bill, I asked about the young couple we had seen on the T.V programme as we hadn't seen them during our stay. We were told that they had exchanged contracts on the hotel only three days before. They had decided to cut their losses and had had difficulty keeping afloat. This seemed a bitter blow, bookings had picked up since they decided to sell and Boscastle itself is starting to recover. Although a lot of building work is still going on, life in the village is definitely on the mend. Wherever they have moved on to, I wish them well and I hope that the new owners can make the Bottreux the success it deserves!
Built almost 200 years ago in proximity to the site of the original Bottreaux Castle, the Bottreaux Hotel, Restaurant and Bar enjoys one of the most prominent positions in the village. Situated within the heart of the old village and its shops, the Bottreaux Hotel and Restaurant is within 5 minutes' walking distance from Boscastle's Elizabethan harbour and the breathtaking cliffs of Forrabury.