DREAM OF A PLACE
Waking up and finding yourself in a work of art is all part of the experience at one Cornish hotel.
A colourful wake up is certainly on the cards as your eyes adjust to the early morning light at the Artist Residence in Penzance, West Cornwall.
If you like it beige, taupe or magnolia then you really should give AR a miss. ‘The Dream’ by Henri Rousseau perhaps not, but you could think you are still dreaming when you wake in any of these quirky rooms as they are very individual for sure.
The boutique styled rooms have been designed and decorated by Cornish & British artists and they certainly used their colour pallete’s in order to make some very imaginative statements.
My stay was in the ‘Up Cycled’ Room 8, atop the building and cosy in the eaves with views West to the fishing port of Newlyn over the Cornish slate roofs of the houses at the rear of the property.
In this room artist Ben Gray who perhaps could have had a colourful play in paint with his surname and painted the whole room battleship grey! But not Ben, he went in for up-cycling using fantastic splashes of colour to re-use old furniture items, making his statement using smaller areas of colour against crisp white walls and ceiling. Making use of table, chairs, shelves and a giant pebble like shaped lamp to show off his talents. His other very hard to miss work is the bespoke oval bed that sits under the eaves leaving your head end in the middle of the room and works to great effect.
It does leave you the chance to check out where the old woodworms gnawed the purlins as you lay in quality white cotton bedding to almost guarantee a cosy night’s sleep.
Located in the centre of Penzance, Artist Residence Hotel and Gallery is to be found in Chapel Street just up from the harbour. The Georgian building has all its rooms designed and decorated in very different ways, no chain, no corporate styling here. It’s off the wall; well in fact it’s on the wall too!
8 rooms to choose from which one will you go for? Dots Enough, Dolly Devine or Admiral Benbow, you may even need a few repeat visits just to try each one and pick a favourite.
Breakfasts are taken on the ground floor in what is also a gallery space, with plenty of colour to go with your cornflakes and plenty to look at until your eggs benedict arrive with a cheery smile. The hotel team seem to have got the service about right. Relaxed and efficient it seemed to me. After checking in the young woman had whisked my trolley bag from my grasp and was heading off up the three flights of stairs before I had chance to say don’t worry.
Dining out around the town a whole range of eateries exist, the nearest is and one of the oldest is the Admiral Benbow 20 yards away across the road. The ancient pub full of maritime memorabilia and well worth a visit. The oldest pub in the town is in fact 50 yards to the left, the Turks Head. Within a short walking distance there are literally dozens of all types of restaurants and coffee shops the ‘AR’ is a perfect Penzance base.
There is certainly an interesting Penzance vibe with many arty establishments around the town; The Exchange for instance just 200 yards away, a former telephone exchange now turned arts complex. The Egyptian house continues the painted theme as the exterior is highly painted and is a treasure of a building in the town.
Nearby the home of the famous ‘Newlyn School’ of artists in Newlyn itself once a great focus for a charming art movement where painters and metal workers in the late Victorian and Edwardian times came to enjoy the climate, the light and the relaxed way of life in West Cornwall. The Penlee House, Museum and Gallery houses a permanent collection of paintings by artists of both the Newlyn and Lamorna Schools and that is to be found just off Morrab Road a walk of about a third of a mile from ‘AR’.
At the Artist Residence an art movement is still very much therein the town even over a century later, perhaps some of those that have had their work on the walls and furniture will go on and make great names for themselves, but either way you can always say I slept in or on perhaps sat on his or hers artwork.
Well one thing you wont have to worry about is sleeping with a shark in formaldehyde installation for instance!
For even here the woodworms are now very much dead and painted over in room 8.