Arriving at Penzance on a windy, damp evening when the waves are breaking over the railway line and most things are grey, you might be forgiven for feeling that it was a long journey for not much reward. On the other hand, you might be lucky enough to arrive as the sailing dinghies are doing their evening racing, when the sea is calmly lapping at the shore and when the palm trees are silhouetted against the setting sun. Either way Penzance is full of surprises. It is not a the type of Cornish fishing village you find featured on a box of clotted cream fudge. It is a real working town with a real community living and working here. You might get off the train and walk straight up Market Jew Street and think, oh well this is the same as any other high street in the country. However if you turn left instead of right and go past the harbour and round onto the prom, and maybe explore the Regency squares and terraces and Victorian streets, again you will receive a completely different impression. You might be on the lookout for somewhere to stay, and see the B&Bs and hotels along that section of the prom, and the grand Victorian buildings of Alexandra Road.
One option is the gorgeous Blue Seas Hotel run by the friendly, professional and experienced husband and wife team Arnaud and Fiona Ruetsch. Simple yet plush comfort and classy maritime decor greet you as soon as you enter, and from every front window, far reaching views of Mount’s Bay can be enjoyed. In fact you’ll be able to watch Shearwater II sailing in and out of the harbour from your bedroom! Eight beautiful bedrooms are named after south west lighthouses such as our own Tater Du and Wolf Rock, from the ground floor up to the second floor.
What sets the Blue Seas apart is the attention to detail and to quality. Fiona and Arnaud have embraced the challenge of reducing their single use plastic consumption by as much as possible. Breakfast is a work of art, with glass jars and wooden bowls to serve jams, milk, cereal and juice and this just adds to the whole feeling of care and quality. In bedrooms, toiletries are sourced from local company Pure Nuff Stuff who handmake their products on the premises without using nasties like SLS and parabens, who also minimise their single use plastic as much as possible. Glass bottles of water are provided in bedrooms (along with tea and coffee making facilities), and Arnaud has designed and invested in metal drinks containers for guests to buy at cost price. In short they are completely committed to the same ideals as we are here at Marine Discovery.
Arnaud is originally from the Alsace region of France and has had a long career in fine cuisine; while he has been living here in Penzance for many years, he totally retains his “Frenchness”. Fiona is the day to day manager and is boundlessly energetic – in fact she’s a seasoned long distance runner with lots of marathons under her belt (quite where she finds the time to train, I have no idea!) This Easter weekend they just completed their seventeenth year at the Blue Seas, and hearing the stories of that first season when they were run off their feet, full to the rafters, with their children sleeping on mattresses in random corners, you can see how far they have come.
To be honest, while the Blue Seas is fantastic for a two night weekend, I would want to stay longer. The main reason for this is so you can take full advantage of Arnaud’s frankly awesome and award-winning breakfasts. I’d say you need at least four of them to do them justice, especially because I don’t have a huge appetite in the morning. On the morning we went, Duncan got properly stuck in with a modern and delectable take on the vegetarian breakfast. I opted for a bowl of fresh and dried fruit, some fruit bread, smoked cheese and a very satisfying bacon sandwich. Meat and fish is all sourced as locally as possible from places with the highest welfare standards. A huge teapot of tea leaves rather than tea bags (of course!) finished it off. Other options were various nutty and delicious cereals, cheeses, freshly baked bread and all manner of cooked options (photo of menu included).
In short, there are many great quality independent B&Bs in Penzance. From its consistently excellent ratings and feedback, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a stay at the Blue Seas. An added bonus for our neighbours visiting from France and Germany is that of course Arnaud and Fiona can chat to them in their own languages. To book, visit their website https://www.blueseashotel-penzance.co.uk/rooms or visit Penzance’s own accommodation booking website .