Owned and managed by the Francis family since 2002, The Star Castle on the Isles of Scilly can truly wear its unique badge with pride – where else would you be able to stay in a beautifully intact star shaped castle dating back to 1643?
This four star, award-winning hotel is steeped in history, from the moat that runs around its eight pointed silhouette to the tiny guard rooms that are loved by single guests and not forgetting the dungeon, which is now a cosy bar and the perfect place for a pre-dinner aperitif.
For anyone who hasn’t yet discovered the Isles of Scilly, there is an enormous treat in store. Just off the southern tip of Cornwall, the pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear seas are reminiscent of the Caribbean, as are the tropical plants that scatter the islands. In part, these are a result of the micro-climate that makes the islands the warmest in the UK over the Winter months, but the abundance of exotic flora is also a result of the scattering of seeds from the tropical gardens that are a popular visitor attraction on nearby Tresco island. On Scilly (never call them the Scilly Isles!) you can always find an empty beach, always take a walk without bumping into another soul and you will always feel safe and welcome.
The welcome is particularly warm at the Star Castle, where you will be given a choice of 38 rooms, from the tiny guard rooms to spacious harbour suites with views out over the Atlantic and across to the neighbouring islands of Bryher, St Agnes, St Martins and Tresco. Every room is en-suite and each one has been beautifully styled by Teresa Francis, who oversees the hotel’s interior design with her skilled eye for colour and detail.
There are two restaurants to choose from, both have won many awards and serve the best locally sourced and grown ingredients, creatively put together by chef, Billy Littlejohn and his team. Breads are made fresh daily, fish are caught in the local waters and hotel owner, Robert Francis, goes out every morning on his boat to bring in the lobsters and crabs that are served fresh every day for guests throughout the season.
Robert even has his own very pretty vineyard, from which he has produced some excellent chardonnays, pinot noirs and pinot gris to serve in the hotel restaurants and in tasting sessions offered at the HolyVale vineyard throughout the Summer months.
Located up on the garrison of St Mary’s, the Star Castle not only has fantastic views, but is just a ten minute walk (it may take you a little longer up the hill on the way back!) down to the harbour and the pretty little town of St Mary’s. From here, you can sail out to the other inhabited, car-free islands or take a boat out to see the seals and the puffins that live out on the Eastern Isles. The hotel even has its own boatman, Tim, who pops into the hotel every day at breakfast to offer guests his choice of outings for the day, providing a fantastically personal service and a very comfortable way to see the islands during your stay.
The hotel is as popular with singles and couples as it is with families, who love exploring the castle’s prison cell, dungeon and ancient cannons as well as the heated indoor pool and the pirate’s playground that is just a stone’s throw away.
For reservations call 01720 422317 or visit www.star-castle.co.uk
STAR CASTLE HOTEL
ISLES OF SCILLY