Chapel House, Penzance, Cornwall: hotel review

A listed Georgian house and former arts club has been transformed into an impressive boutique hotel, while keeping close links to the local art community

Towns can be unforgiving when their cultural landmarks are turned into hotels, shops and restaurants. It comes as quite a surprise, then, when I hear locals popping into the newly opened Chapel House, telling proprietor Susan Stuart: “You’ve done a lovely job,” and “It needed this.”

I never experienced the heady days of Penzance Arts Club (1993-2011), a members’ club with a restaurant and rooms, but I have no reason to doubt it was a much-loved institution. Fortunately, Stuart – who worked in the City for 30 years and fell for the Cornish town after repeated visits – is keen to keep the place closely linked to town life. The public areas double as exhibition spaces for exquisite pieces from the Newlyn School of Art and, when we dine there on a Friday evening, local people are out in force, sharing mackerel bites and tucking into bowls of crab ravioli.

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