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“escape the rat race” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Lugger Hotel

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The Lugger Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Portloe TR2 5RD, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Portloe
Certificate of Excellence 2014
London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“escape the rat race”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2011

What a wonderful find. If you are looking to get away for a weekend and get away from it all this is the place.

We booked it after seeing it list as one of the top 50 hotels in the world by one of the national newspapers.

The village is beautiful and the hotel is right on the edge of the boat ramp. Split over three buildings it is idyllic. Unfortuntley we didn't get the best weather while there but it took nothing away from the view.

The rooms and bed are high quality but still offer a touch of home, which is missing in so many other hotels.

One thing that may annoy some people is the lack of wi-fi (its only in the main building and not the best strength) and zero mobile phone signal. But it made us realise how much we check our phones and it was a breath of fresh air to be cut off and allowed us to truly relax.

The breakfast is great, with a wide choice including local fish. The dinner was a little pricey but again of excellent quality. the only bad thing i have to say is that restaurant did seem to lack any atmosphere are people seemed to be very quiet while eating.

The pub up the road is very friendly and does offer reasonable pub grub and ok prices.

I would recommend this hotel for a few nights as a complete get away.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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534 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (143)
Date | Rating
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English first
Herefordshire
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2011

Recently returned from a short break and was a bit unsure after reading some of the reviews but we did not find either Basil or Sybil in residence. The staff were young, helpful and attentive. I agree the lounges are cosy but all that adds to the atmosphere. The choices for breakfast were good. Although my poached eggs were not poached enough for me so I swapped with my husband for his well done fried egg!!! The room we had in the boathouse was a bit poky and could have done with another chair as there was only the one. There was also a lot of noise from the upstairs room. Unfortunately the noise travelled and we could hear all their ablutions and activities. We had dinner on two nights and found the food to be well presented and tasty although a bit overpriced. Liked the afternoon treats and the night time chocolate and bedtime stories. Surprised not to have had a dressing gown and the tea/coffee facilities were hidden in the closet. We would certainly stay again but would check out more fully what rooms are available. Currently the website does not detail the level of rooms that are available and what you actually get to justify the varying level of charges. Somebody did pop in and ask for a price list to be told that the prices depended on availability. I assume therefore that on occasions you can get a better room than the classic for a similar price. Moral.... pick your time to stay well and negotiate a price. Overall a good stay and will return hopefully to a better room!!!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2011

Just wanted to counter the 'Mr. Novotel' review below, which read like he stayed in a different hotel. I stayed for 3 nights in room 301 in the annexe, which had a nice terrace outside and a slight view of the sea if you craned your neck. The hotel has been renovated/ touched up in the not too distant past and the FF&E looked in very good nick.
At check-in we were given a quick tour and our bags were taken up to our room. We ate dinner twice at the hotel and both times were excellent (the menu changes every day). Breakfast was again very nice. Service was friendly as well. Sleep quality was mixed (very comfortable bed but room was very hot due to proximity to boiler and there were some early morning building works going on in the village).
The local walking is excellent (look at the South West Coast Path website for ideas) - if you like staying in quieter, scenic spots and away from larger towns like St. Ives etc. the Roseland Peninsula, Portloe and the Lugger are for you.
One warning - no mobile reception (o2 or Vodafone) and while we were there, there was no WiFi at all (broken). Some may view that as a positive but I had to stop and check my work emails on a nearby hilltop before descending into the village for the night.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lambourn, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2011

My husband and I had a long weekend planned at The Lugger for some months and were very excited - The Luggers reputation certainly seemed to be high.

The situation is simply beautiful and the walking is fantastic. We had taken our dog with us so that we could take advantage of the scenic countryside and if it wasn't for this, our long drive down to Portloe would have been pointless.

Upon arrival in the afternoon I enquired about local walks and places of interest, but received little information back. At the time I thought little of it as it was our first day, I wasn't too worried as we were more than capable to recce the area by foot and we were booked in for dinner in the restaurant that night anyway.

The food was the Luggers biggest let down. Courses arrived so quickly that we wondered whether they had been cooked in the microwave (surely not?) and everything needed seasoning heavily before remotely tasting of anything. The "warm chocolate brownie with homemade icecream" was dry, cold and crumbling with very uninspiring icecream. For the cost of a three course dinner, we both left the stilted atmosphere in the dining room feeling really disappointed. We chose not to eat in the restaurant again for our stay and had a good pub supper at the Ship Inn one night and then the last day an extremely good and late lunch at The Tresanton in St Mawes (highly recommended).

We knew our weekend at The Lugger would be expensive but we expected to get what we paid for. The bedrooms were small, simply furnished, the bathroom was so dated with basic soap and shampoo - no more than what you would get at a Travel Lodge.

As it is positioned so close to the sea, I had expectations of wonderful fresh fish and seafood cooked to perfection. It was so far from this and I will remember The Lugger as a beautiful place but providing food and service that does not resemble the extortionate prices.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OHIML, General Manager at The Lugger Hotel, responded to this review, May 9, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to post your comments following your recent stay.

Please be assured that we do take all guest feedback seriously and ensure that the appropriate action and re-training takes place where appropriate in order to improve the services we offer.
The quality of the food is a key part of the business and it is therefore both disappointing and frustrating that on this occasion we were not able to exceed your expectations.
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2011

The Lugger Hotel markets itself, rather successfully, as luxury accommodation with superlative meals in an exquisitely special remote Cornish seaside cove. The truth is that it has the potential to be that given its location, unfortunately it severely let down by a combination of fundamental service failings and mediocrity in food.

First the biggest plus. Portloe is quiet, a beautiful little spot and the Lugger is right at the slipway of the cove. You wont find any shops here, but you will get away from it all and there are pleasant walks to take along the cliffs by the coast. You can't even get mobile phone signals there, which for some is a great plus of course.

However, the room I had is another story. If you think you're getting a luxury getaway in one of the Classic rooms (at £145) you'll be disappointed. For starters to get the sea view you need to pay far more for one of the better rooms - ok - but the room ought to be special right? No. The bed and linen are fine, but nothing special. There is also nowhere to sit in the room besides one seat if you are stuck in on a rainy day. It's remarkably pokey. The bathroom touted as "luxurious" is fairly standard. A bath is nice to have as is a power shower, but this isn't anything "luxurious", rather the minimum acceptable. The cheap little DVD/LCD TV getting 9 channels (when freesat offers 50) isn't "luxurious" either. Yes there was complementary bottled water and a bowl of apples, and middle ranging toiletries, but that's it. Finally, slaters appeared to be attracted to the room, although when it was mentioned to reception when I left the word didn't appear to be understood. On the bright side the heating and windows allowed temperature to be adjusted easily, and it was very very quiet, with the sound of the sea heard at night.

In short, the Classic room was a 3 star standard bedroom with bath, at a price that I would expect (and have had) from a hotel in London's West End at that price.

The food was the biggest disappointment. This was first encountered at breakfast. The staff serving at breakfast were very good to be fair, the food was variable. It starts with a self-serve buffets of cereals, one type of yoghurt, some fruit and pastries, with a fruit compote. All fairly average, acceptable (although the fresh pineapple were unripe). I've experienced similar from many mid range hotels. Hot coffee came out with a glass of squeezed-that-day orange juice, and a rack of lukewarm toast (butter, marmalade and jam already on table). The cooked breakfast was the big let down though.

I chose the full Cornish breakfast expecting the "signature" breakfast from a restaurant I read good things of. I was sorely disappointed. Rubbery instant (and tasteless) scrambled eggs, ungrilled tomatoes (said grilled on the menu), slightly burnt (but good) sausage, with tinned baked beans (can't get that wrong). I rejected the insultingly awful eggs, had the beans and sausage and adequate if uninspired mushrooms, fried bread and greasy bacon.

The next day I thought I'd avoid instant scrambled eggs and asked for Eggs Royale (eggs benedict but with smoked salmon - not on the menu, but was easy to explain). Egg poached well, smoked salmon was reasonable, but on sugary muffins so cloyingly sweet they suited cream and jam, not eggs and salmon.

It became plain that the breakfast chef had no palate, so the third morning I went for the same but with toast and it turned out ok. However, why should anyone have to negotiate his way around the menu? Twice I was approached (once by phone in the room) asking if I wanted a table for dinner and I declined - if you can't get breakfast right, then why stay for dinner? The Ship Inn up the road was good quality pub food at half the price, which gave you what you expected. If the Lugger at dinner CAN deliver, then I wasn't going to risk it at the price. On top of that, I got the sense that when a hotel phones its guests to get patronage for its restaurant, it is a little desperate.

However, beyond the disappointing room and breakfast, there was also a couple of niggles which gave the impression that details didn't matter and the customer didn't come first. I had rang a few days before arrival to state I would arrive early, and was told a room would be ready at noon, yet after arriving at noon (having been busy in the morning for some hours) was told it would be an hour "check in is at 1pm" by Russell. In other words, I was told I was wrong, no apology given and when I asked what I should do, was told to sit down, get a cup of coffee (not complementary) and wait an hour.

Now to be fair, this was remedied not long after that, but the INITIAL attitude was one of essentially implying I was lying, wrong and the hotel would do nothing to help.

At the end I received the bill in a sealed envelope, which meant I couldn't easily check - and I hadn't asked for express checkout. I opened and found I was billed for a newspaper I hadn't received (leaving that day too early for papers). Niggling? Maybe, but for a hotel touting itself as being luxurious and top end, it was a nuisance and one that could easily have been remedied. A good hotel prints out the bill for you to check before you leave, I shouldn't have had to question something so simple.

Finally, I stayed over the period of the Royal Wedding - and the hotel had cream teas for charity. These came in paper cups - why? It was like getting coffee from a petrol station.

As I said, some staff were excellent. Some little points are nice like umbrellas for taking out in case the weather is bad. Bringing an icebox on demand. However, it left a bad taste in my mouth overall.

It simply wasn't worth the price, the food was average to mediocre, service ranged from excellent to shoddy.

Room Tip: No more than £100 for a classic room
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OHIML, General Manager at The Lugger Hotel, responded to this review, May 12, 2011
We are fortunate in having probably one of the best locations on the Roseland Peninsula but we want also to exceed the expectations of every guest so this review in amongst some really encouraging ones is a timely reminder that we must match our standard in every area, every day.

It is disappointing to read that this client did not enjoy breakfast, all items are locally sourced and prepared to a high standard, we generally receive very good feedback on the overall quality. I have discussed these comments in detail with our Head Chef who will ensure that any required re-training takes place with the team.

Our check in time is from 2.00pm, however we do endeavour to have rooms available earlier if possible, this is however to a great extend governed by the departure time of the previous guest.
The cream tea mentioned was part of the village's street party theme with all proceeds going to charity. Our usual full afternoon tea was also being served.
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London
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2011

For £150 per night we got a tiny tiny room, even by London standards, with a small uncomfortable bed and no sofa or comfortable chair to sit in our room on, and more importantly NO VIEW!!! Imagine going all that way on the train and paying all that money and being told 'Oh no madam, that room doesn't have a view'. Or even real coffee or a fridge.

Oh well we thought, at least the breakfast will be nice, included in the price, £17 if not! No, wrong again, inedible microwaved eggs and hollandaise sauce which resembled frothy melted butter. Sour hard fruit, cold toast, frozen pastries, what more could you want? We are, after all in Cornwall with so much fresh produce and artisan bakeries why would they use them instead of providing boring stuff you could get anywhere.

Did I mention the bugs, not flying, crawling slaters, at least half a dozen a day in our room, we told them, they couldn't have cared less. Yuck.

As my dreams of relaxing in my room taking in the view were not going to happen, I ventured downstairs, silly me, nowhere with a comfortable seat and a view, unless it's outside and as it wasn't too warm not really what I wanted. We went on walks and did what we could but it wasn't what I wanted for that money. The cab into town is £30 and that is with 'the discount'!!!

They phoned our room twice wanting us to book for dinner, after the breakfast experience I wasn't even thinking about giving them anymore custom. Dinner prices were again just like what you would pay in London. We went to The Ship Inn instead, half the price and people who genuinely want to give good service.

Co-incidently we were there when the Royal Wedding was on, so perhaps a posh afternoon tea a bbq or a bit of a celebration? No. Stingily filled scones on paper plates and coffee in a paper cup, not complimentary of course, £3 for one scone and coffee.

Thank goodness for the Ship Inn.

Room Tip: Don't go
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OHIML, General Manager at The Lugger Hotel, responded to this review, May 12, 2011
Thank you for posting your comments following your recent stay.
We were very disappointed to read this review, our Hotel is made up of converted fishermen's cottages and not purpose built, so all our rooms vary in size and outlook. The category of room reserved was a Classic, which does not have some of the amenities provided in the Superior or Deluxe rooms, such as sea views, which is explained on our web site and at the booking stage.
At the Lugger we pride ourselves in offering a first rate breakfast using the finest locally sourced ingredients, all items are freshly and correctly cooked and certainly not in a microwave. Had we been aware of any issue or disappointment at the time it would have been rectified.
After a thourough investigation, we have not found any of the bugs you mention, perhaps if a window was open, they possibly came in through that – we will certainly monitor this more closely.
Part of the attraction of the Lugger is the location away from any town centres, which without a car, does require either a bus or taxi journey.
Unfortunately our sitting room does not have sea views however there is ample seating available in the bar, conservatory and restaurant which overlook the harbour, as well as the terraces, which were very busy for most of the afternoon on both Friday and Saturday, due to the sunny and very warm weather.
The cream tea mentioned was our contribution to the street party theme for the village of Portloe’s day long Royal Wedding celebrations. Various activities took place throughout the day, around the village, concluding with a bonfire and fireworks on the cliff top right outside the Hotel. All of the £3.00 charge was donated to charity, as was displayed on the in house poster for the event. Our usual, excellent full afternoon tea was also being served in the hotel all afternoon, all weekend.
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Sydney, Australia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2011

It was perhaps portentous that the sign pointing the way to the Lugger has fallen from its fixings on the A3078. By the way, if you don't like gratuitous references to Fawlty Towers, skip to the end.

Things didn't start well with an extremely curt, 'Can I help you' from the Sybil Fawlty behave-a-like at the front desk. The raised eyebrows and the thunk from her jaw hitting the desk when riff-raff like me utter the words 'I'm checking in' really sets the tone. Actually, listening to the phone conversation she started after I had walked through the door set the tone - she was rude, snappy and entirely unhelpful to whomever it was she was talking.

We were shown to our room to the entirely lovely Polly - sorry, Penny - who politely ignored our strained 'Oh, it's...lovely...' and withdrew. The room was a good size but had obviously not been touched in many, many years. All the edges had been knocked off, the fittings were very 1990s and the less said about the bathroom the better.

We had to laugh - there was a message from the management banging on about the locally sourced milk that we can ask for at any time - we had seen that milk was from Tesco. Hopefully it was Truro.

We had booked a three course meal in the restaurant for the first night. It looked promising and my wife's request for gluten-free information was met with a just a slight twitch of the face. I ordered the crab meat which we were assured was local but when it arrived it looked pretty much like it had been dropped out of a can and then smeared with an unannounced and very unpleasant anchovette paste. My wife's food was similarly amusing and the only good bit about the dinner was my steak. Dessert, frankly, sucked.

The hotel ran out of hot water that evening which manifested itself by the hot water tap having no effect. This was laughed off as a consequence of the hotel being busy. There was no wi-fi in the rooms ('It's broken but you can use it in the lounge') and the TV was a laughably tiny 15 inch that couldn't be seen from the bed, looked like it had been purchased at Tesco...I mean Poundstretcher...and didn't get digital. £230 a night?

Breakfast was disastrously bad. The English breakfast was largely inedible - the mushrooms were swimming in water, the poached egg barely (poached, that is) and whatever else was with it I pushed away. They couldn't even boil an egg properly. My wife's gluten-free bread was snatched by Sybil when we asked for it to be toasted and was thrown at us on its return. Sybil continued to distinguish herself by staring at guests who had any requests of her (what is commonly known as 'service') as though they were speaking another language. She would then bark at the nearest member of staff, usually the nice ones.

Needless to say, we didn't return to the restaurant for dinner that night as we had no need to pay around £50 each for the deeply ordinary fare on offer. For breakfast on the second morning, we met Basil. Basil fired up when we hove into view, offering us our 'usual table.' This was the table in the cold corner away from the rest of the restaurant. My wife asked if we could have a different table and with the speed Sybil's jaw falls open, his eyebrows shot to the ceiling and he spluttered, 'But we'd have to move two tables together!' Penny swept through and declared it was no problem, so Basil stalked off to yell at someone. Basil is two people, a younger suited gentleman and an older one, they seemed interchangeably rude. The best bit about the mini hissy-fit was that the restaurant was completely empty. The eggs benedict that morning looked for all the world like a bacon and egg McMuffin.

What it all comes down to is that this place is trading on glories that I'm not even sure they ever had. Some other reviews are vaguely patronising about 'middle-aged people thinking it's special because they've paid lots of money.' I don't buy that - if you like it, you like it and good for them but we really didn't because it wasn't very good and, worse, it was a rip-off. I feel sorry for people who like it but have had their wallet lightened far more than was necessary.

Problem is on the same trip we stayed at places that ranged from £42 per night to £230 - the Novotel Nottingham to The Lugger. The rooms were similar in quality and fittings. The Novotel had one massive advantage: they knew where they were. The quality of the service (with notable exceptions) didn't even match a sales-rep special next to a motorway. The Lugger's main aim seems to be to keep you on site, drinking their massively over-priced booze before eating their massively over-priced and under-whelming food.

What amused me about the management passive-aggressively telling previous negative reviewers that they should have brought up the problems they had, particularly with the food. If a meal is left largely uneaten, it should be obvious to a hospitality professional that everything isn't right. Complaining about the service to a woman who could be heard complaining that 'the company needs to get it through their thick heads that the staff work for the hotel not the company!' is going to go nowhere.

The Lugger, or more accurately, Oxford Hotels and Inns, aim low and seek only to possibly impress a particular sort of person. Which means irritating and disappointing everyone else when there is absolutely no need for such slackness. Insert another gratuitous reference to the price.

What The Lugger has is one amazing thing - its location. I can live with all of the above (still not happy about the price) because the Lugger is in a genuinely stunning location. It wouldn't matter if it chucked down with rain all day every day, it would still be absolutely unforgettable for good reasons. The weather we got was perfect, the ocean sparkling and it wasn't too hot to walk up the hills that the Lugger nestles between.

The buildings and the rooms, with a little bit of work, could be great. The details could be taken care of, the place made more contemporary and less bed-and-breakfasty. Sack the management-types and put Penny in charge, because she gets it. Sybil and the Basils are a big part of what's wrong with the Lugger and I'd put money on it being 'managed' from afar being another big part of the problem. When there are places like Number 43, the Fallen Angel and Green House, places like the Lugger should be watching their back not going lowest common denominator.

On check-out they tried to charge me £50 for alcohol I'd never had and just grinned sheepishly when they realised another guest had the same surname.

Room Tip: Book early
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OHIML, General Manager at The Lugger Hotel, responded to this review, May 13, 2011
All our guest are very welcome & entitled to an opinion, we very much welcome and encourage this – positive or negative and we strive to improve following any criticism that we might receive. It is perhaps amusing and novel to compare most of our team to characters from an excellent sitcom, however we would dispute many of the observations & comparisons made in this review. We cater for many guests, most have a fantastic time and it saddens us to see that clearly on this isolated occasion we appear to have failed to deliver what was expected from us
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Additional Information about The Lugger Hotel

Address: Portloe TR2 5RD, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > Roseland Peninsula > Portloe
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Portloe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Lugger Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Lugger is nestled at the foot of a valley with picturesque cove and tiny harbour. Portloe is part of the beautiful Roseland Peninsula, surrounded by cliffs and headlands which form part of the Cornish Coastal Footpath. The Lugger sits right at the water’s edge in the very heart of the village and has been recently transformed following a major renovation programme. All the public rooms have been refurbished and greatly improved to offer comfort and functionality in the truly unique setting of this historic harbour. Luxurious touches throughout have helped the hotel to gain multiple awards, The Lugger has been named ‘Best Seaside Hotel’ by The Sunday Times, has featured on the Condé Naste Travellers ‘Hot List’ and also features in the Mr and Mrs Smith and Hip Hotels guidebooks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lugger Hotel Portloe
The Lugger Hotel Portloe, Cornwall

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