The gear change from bustling city life to Cornish pace is an extreme one.
And it feels there can’t be a more polar opposite to the Big Smoke than postcard-pretty Portole. Adjusting to the laissez faire rhythm of the sleepy fishing harbour village was by no means immediate – think zero shops and restaurants and patchy Wifi – but by the time we were due to leave I felt I could have stayed for another month, temporarily relocating my job and writing by the water's edge (still not writing this idea off).
The Lugger itself is tucked away in a peaceful harbour, where the fisherman go out at the crack of dawn each day and, knowing how fresh the catch was, we lived off the sea during our stay. A rugged hikeable headland huddled around the water's edge offers lengthy walks and clifftop viewpoints for spotting whales, dolphins and seals (we had no such luck), but perhaps best of all to fill your lungs with the fresh sea air first thing in the morning. We checked into our dog-friendly room; terrace and wicker furniture one side, breathtaking seascape the other, complete with a picturesque window seat looking right over the water.
And here – a place that truly epitomises 'getting away from it all' – is the peaceful corner of the globe I turned 30. Despite being in the middle of nowhere I received post to the hotel from my sister and flowers too (ok, so they were from Luna). And it's safe to say that during dinner that night, Lugger head honcho Ann and her team over-deilvered on the treats – a bottle of Taittinger was waiting at our perfectly positioned table looking out across the water (what we didn’t get through that evening was saved so we could polish it off in the following morning’s Champagne breakfast); and Olly had pre-plotted lobster with the team the day before (this needs to be organised 24 hours in advance). Scallops with pineapple and chilli plus grilled and scorched mackerel preceded this, with a cheeseboard and handmade Cornish birthday cake after, accompanied by blush-inducing lights-off-in-the-restaurant singing.
And a trip to somewhere new is never complete without some thorough exploring – something I'm always itching to do. On our first evening we drove to St Mawes Hotel for dinner – sister hotel Idle Rocks is just across the harbour – and the following day picked up the ferry here (a pretty, wooden vessel called the Duchess of Cornwall) over to Falmouth, which we ADORED. Here we were literally transported to another era as we wandered the streets, browsed old record stores and delved for treasures in crystal and vintage shops (Vintage Warehouse 13 is well worth a visit) – all the while chatting to the interesting people who owned them and swapping music recommendations – and generally getting a lot more out of shopping than usual, which slightly took me back to wandering the streets of NYC's East Village.
This, like our entire stay in Porthole, was a complete breath of fresh air in more ways than one.