Opened in September last year, Venton Vean joins the traditional ranks of Alexandra Road guesthouses, but we believe the approach of the owners of this particular establishment sets it apart. David Hoyes and Philippa McKnight were both successful London lawyers, but after having had a truly fair crack of that whip, they felt that their true purpose in life lay elsewhere. If TV programmes like Celebrity Master Chef have demonstrated anything worthwhile at all, it's that people are capable of making a mark in more than one area of life. If you're a top London lawyer, can you be an outstanding interior designer too? Yes, it appears you can.
When in London they would spend weekends trawling the markets of the East End, but now they're down here they find they can satisfy their cravings for vintage pieces just as easily by taking a trip to Chapel Street. Their pang for contemporary fine art is comfortably fulfilled here too; the rooms features work by Cornish artists such as David Whittaker, Virginia Bounds, Daphne McClure, Jyll Bradley, Margaret Mitchell and the late David Holmes. It's at this point that we realise that these are not so much proprietors, as curators. It's an important part of the identity of the place; those guests who are drawn to the area because of the local art scene are excited to find works of the artists they love hanging in their room.
While many visitors clearly share the couple's passion, it's not a necessary requirement for booking, most just see the place as a beautiful house to pass a few days. After spending a year and a half getting the house just as they wanted, the care of their guests is now the whole focus, and they normally restrict the number of bookings at any one time to be able to give their residents the attention they deserve. By picking up the special touches from boutique guest accommodation around the world, they've crafted their perfect B&B experience. As well as providing exquisitely appointed ensuite rooms, they do a great line in breakfasts. David is the keen cook and has taken the morning menu to unfamiliar territory by adding dishes with titillating Mexican and Spanish flavours. He also makes his own jams and usually has around five different kinds on the go. Evening meals are also on offer to to guests who require it. David has totally embraced the local providers of ingredients and raves about Ian Lentern the butchers and the Newlyn Fish Company down at Stable Hobba.
Words © Dee and Gerard Ivall. Images © Nik Strangelove