The Polurrian Bay Hotel, Cornwall: A Remarkable History
As well as being fantastic places for a family break, our child-friendly hotels all have their own unique character and ambiance. In the first of a series, we take a look at the unique history of the Polurrian Bay Hotel and what makes this Cornish property such an atmospheric place to stay.
The original hotel – the first one on the Lizard – opens its doors. It’s conceived as a railway hotel in response to plans – ultimately unrealised – to extend the Helston branch line to the area.
Guglielmo Marconi stays at the hotel while experimenting in sending the first transatlantic messages, to Newfoundland. You can see a monument to him on Poldhu Cove from some of the hotel’s bedrooms, and the Marconi Centre, built in 2001 to commemorate the centenary of the original transmission – which laid the groundwork for everything from broadcasting to satellite communications, mobile phones and the internet – is a short distance away.
A fire leaves the original property in ruins. You can still see the old terraces and steps next to the tennis court.
The present hotel opens, with famous guests over the years including Sir Winston Churchill, and Clark Gable and Gene Tierney, who stayed here while filming Never Let Me Go. In this 1953 MGM romantic adventure film, Mullion Cove Harbour on the Lizard doubled for the then Soviet harbour of Tallinn.
• Second World War
The hotel is taken over as an officer’s mess for RAF Predannack, like many other grand houses and hotels in the county.
The hotel is owned, successively, by Mr Francis and the Young family, the Addams family, and the Barlow family.
A brochure for the Polurrian lists surfing, billiards and ballroom dancing among its attractions. As rationing is still in place at this time, guests staying more than four days have to hand in their ration books.
The hotel becomes part of the Luxury Family Hotels group, who update and restore the hotel to its inherent luxury.