We are often asked about the history of Polraen Country House Hotel and how, as a family, we came to move to Looe from London 15 years ago to run a small hotel in Looe in South East Cornwall.
The house certainly has an interesting past. It was built of Cornish granite circa 1740 reputedly as a coaching inn at the hamlet of Sandplace on the old road from Liskeard to Looe and remained part of the large Morval Estate until it was sold to Peter Bessell, Liberal MP for South East Cornwall in the 1960s.
Remembered to this day by many locals as the family home of their former Member of Parliament, Peter Bessell fled abroad in an attempt to escape debts so Polraen Country House was sold back to the Morval Estate. It quickly changed hands and was converted to a small hotel in the 1970s by the Hagan Family returning it to the tradition of providing bed and breakfast to passing travellers. Meanwhile, living in California, Peter Bessell agreed to return to the UK in exchange for protection from prosecution, in order to give evidence at the infamous murder conspiracy trial of the former Liberal Party Leader Jeremy Thorpe who was accused of attempting to murder his gay lover.
After the Hagans, the next owners were our predecessors, Joyce and Peter Allcroft who ran Polraen for 17 years until February 2000 when we moved with our two small children, then aged 5 and 2, from Wimbledon in London to Looe. We turned our backs on city life and our previous careers in marketing and financial services in seek of a different lifestyle – to bring up our children in a wonderful place and to be near their grandmother who had retired to live in Looe six years earlier.
In the last 15 years, we have undertaken significant refurbishment to every room in the house as well as adding a conservatory and landscaping the garden to achieve and maintain a high standard of guest accommodation for visitors to this lovely part of Cornwall. Original features include an old range, window shutters, and log fires, whilst period paints and cushioned window seats emphasize its Cornish country charm.
We are proud to have earned several awards along the way for our hospitality, environmentally aware operating practices, and Martin’s great cooking. But none of this could be achieved without the support of great staff.
Just one more very important family member who puts in an appearance on request – May, our black labrador, who, at the grand old age of 14, will still happily join you in the garden for your welcome cup of tea and biscuits.