News, Culture & Society

A review of the Talland Bay Hotel in Cornwall which has ‘chaotic’ art on the walls

An Inspector Calls… Talland Bay Hotel in Cornwall has ‘chaotic’ art on the walls but the service is orderly

  • The Talland Bay Hotel is located above Talland Bay on the south Cornish coast 
  • It has an ‘eclectic’ mix of artwork that has ‘no rhyme or reason’ behind it 
  • The hotel’s chef is Nick Hawke and the Inspector says the food is ‘top-notch’  

The bedside telephone rings at 9.50am. We’ve overslept, or woken late, depending how you wish to frame it.

‘We are just checking to see if you’ll be joining us for breakfast,’ says the man who had taken our dinner order the night before. In other words: get down here now or go without.

Old-fashioned courtesy — and it goes a long way at Talland Bay Hotel, a much-loved institution down a narrow lane just above pretty Talland Bay on the south Cornish coast.

The Talland Bay Hotel, pictured, is located above Talland Bay on the south Cornish coast

The word ‘eclectic’ gets badly abused, but here it hardly does the place justice. On a bench near the car park is sprawled an old man — made of plaster; a pig with zebra stripes sits at the end of the drive next to a row of wooden parrots, and one of those Alice In Wonderland highchairs stands in the garden.

Inside, the art — mainly inherited from the previous owners — has no rhyme or reason to it. 

Metal fairies hang from rafters; a Lego board is mounted on a wall and you are invited to add to it; a grandfather clock has a human face and there’s a Bob Dylan lithograph painting from his Drawn Blank series.

Despite the chaos on the walls, life at the hotel is orderly. That means canapes with pre-dinner drinks, an amuse-bouche, crisp white tablecloths and polite questions such as: ‘How would you like your beef presented?’ rather than, ‘medium rare?’

The dining room at the Talland Bay Hotel. The Inspector says that the food was top-notch

The dining room at the Talland Bay Hotel. The Inspector says that the food was top-notch 

The food is top-notch, too, thanks to head chef Nick Hawke. My roe deer is superb and my wife’s fancy sirloin wins rave reviews.

Our room has a sea view over the pretty garden. Two armchairs are positioned by the large window and there’s a nautical feel with blue and white striped curtains, white bed and a Seventies-style dressing table.

We get the impression that some of the more elderly guests have been coming here for years, probably booking the exact same room and eating at the exact same time.

Certainly, they wouldn’t need prompting about making it down for breakfast before the 10am curfew.


Talland Bay Hotel, Porthallow, Looe, Cornwall, PL13 2JB. Doubles from £160 B&B. Visit or call 01503 272667.