Blog Details

We are a 2 star hotel with rooms situated throughout 4 floors. The hotel has no lift due to the grade 2 listed building status meaning we can't make alterations to install one. We will of course, help with luggage though.

Our food is traditional and cooked using fresh produce of fish, meats, vegetables & dairy sourced from Scilly & Cornwall where possible. Our style is not nouvelle cuisine or a fancy Michelin Star type restaurant.

Our experienced staff offer excellent & attentive service, far beyond the normal expectations for a 2 star rated hotel

Our swimming pool is 8 metres x 4 metres and so neither small, or Olympic size! An unusual extra facility compared to even many other hotels. Its size is governed by available space, and is covered in and heated.

Our rooms are comfortable & furnished to the same standard. All are en suite with either bath, shower or both, and some are compact, hence the special offer lower tariff for these.

The hotel is situated in the centre of Hugh Town, at the quieter side and is ideally positioned for easy access to the harbour for inter island boats to the inhabited islands of Tresco, Bryher, St Agnes & St Martins.

I try to post regular photographs of the islands, and you can see more of the hotel in the photo galleries on the right hand side of the page.

If you would like to contact us please feel free to email or telephone: Tel. 01720 422575

Monday, 6 December 2010

Sunday 5th December 2010

...In all it was a settled weekend. A bit cool for Scilly standards, but not like the mainland by any means:

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow in Scilly!?!

The evening of Wednesday 1st December finally saw the Isles of Scilly receive snow that actually settled. It snowed on and off all day on Sunday 28th November, but it didn't settle then. There is still snow around at 1pm on Thursday, but it is melting fast, and there's a lot of slush; Yuk! By mainland standards, it's nothing, but for Scilly where snow is a rarity, it's quite significant. Here are some pictures:

A Picture From My House - Thursday 2nd December 2010:


The Hotel:

Town Beach:

...There are a few more photographs of the snow at the hotel Facebook page. There's a link to our Facebook on the right side of this page...

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Wine Tasting - A Tough Job, But Someone Has To Do It.

Wine tasting! I nominated myself for this tough job. I thought it only fair not to delegate this awful job, and so I suffered this hardship to save the rest of the staff... ahem, cough cough!!
This was on Thursday 25th November at the Maritime Museum in Falmouth, Cornwall and hosted by our wine supplier, Wine in Cornwall. A big thank you to these guys for once again organising a great event! Cheers, Dick, Nigel & Mike!!
There are a couple of new possibilities for the wine list for 2011. I just need to see how the prices are nearer the time. As our regular guests will know, I try to keep our wine prices at a sensible price, whilst at the same time, delivering great quality!!
There is a strong possibility our house wines will need to be changed? We have our own labels printed on the bottles, and there is some doubt as to whether it will still be possible. Previously, the wines we have, are shipped in from France and head to Scotland to a company that prints the bottles with our Bell Rock Hotel logo. This service is now, no longer available. Wine in Cornwall, however have now acquired a label applying machine, albeit "hand-draulic". The snag now is that to get a print run on the labels which will be gummed paper & stuck on (as opposed to sraight printing of the bottle), is 2000 at a time. That's rather a lot of wine!
The other snag is supply of wines without the front label on in the first place to allow house wine labels to be applied...
...Needless to say, I will make sure we have house wines available, that are both worth quaffing, and not hard on our guests' pockets!! Watch this space!! ;)

Swimming Pool - The Final Coat ...But We Didn't Expect It To Be Our Raincoats!

The top coat of the pool went on last week. It's a clear coat, but it was very unnerving as it goes on white and then changes to clear as it dries. This is a different set up to the last time I painted the pool, so it was a case of just trusting it would be ok and slap it on. Luckily it went clear ok.
The only snag we had was whilst we were doing the floor, the weather turned and it started to hammer down with rain. Theoretically, the roof should ease any cause for alarm... except we discovered a small leak. It was a frantic dash about to find some way of stopping the drips going on the paint. As we were on a time limit with the paint before it sets there was no leaving it for another day; and the amount of working daylight was also dropping for the day. It was a bit of stressy time (with my language probably as blue as the pool for a moment there!) We managed to put a couple of the pool brush poles across the deep end, and Rob found an old deep roasting tin which we placed under the drip with a towel in to stop splashes. Phew!! ...Or so we thought, before it came through another spot in the roof!! With only one pole left to utilise, we had to improvise with the use of our trusty Bell Rock Hotel plastic carrier bags! Taping one of these to the end of a pole we managed to jam it in place under the second leak. You can see our final coat and water catching efforts below.
So it seems our Bell Rock carrier bags have many uses other than for shopping, or taking beach towels to the beach. We use them on our feet and to catch rain!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

British International Helicopters Fares

British International Helicopters are now selling next years flights at this year's tariff and they are holding these prices until 30th December 2010.
People can book at the usual places, Sea Salt Team John and Julie Morley on 01720 422665 or Penzance Reservations on 01736 363871. There's also a website link half way down this blog page on the right hand side. I am presuming the tariff is held on there also.
Get in there quick and get your tickets before any increases are incurred (also remember the VAT will be up to 20% in January which is bound to have a knock on effect!)

Here's a picture I took of the helicopter back in February 2009 landing at St Mary's on one of those rare occasions when we had some snow... albeit a dusting which lasted about 2 days with a few top up flurries:

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Pool is Getting There! 3rd Coat!!

23rd November 2010:

The 3rd coat has this morning been applied. Just a top coat of clear sealant to go now. The paint will then take 5 to 7 days to cure before being possible to walk on it. We have had to wear bags on our feet to stop from marking or damaging the paint.
Here's a couple of pictures of Head Chef Rob & myself this morning painting the 3rd coat. (Check out the new fashion trend of footwear - it will be all the rage next season ha ha!)

Friday, 19 November 2010

Swimming Pool Getting a Splash of Paint

The pool was drained at the end of the season, and Rob the chef worked hard (whilst I went away on holiday!) preparing the pool with a blast of the pressure washer and sanding the paint down to give a good key.
We have today started with the first coat of paint. Both Rob & I tackling this as the paint only has about one and a half hours working time before it becomes too thick to work with as it is a two part paint (pigmented paint & resinous hardener). Last time I did the pool a couple of years ago, I did it alone and could never finish the tin before it was too hard.
We very nearly got around with just one tin. The only part unpainted being one of the risers on the steps, but that will get a go with the next tin. I have enough to give the pool more coats this time, which then gets coated with a clear sealing lacquer as a top coat.
Here are some photos of our progress:

Pool emptied (just about) & ready for painting:

Pool sides done first:

Floor done last... remembering not to paint ourselves into a corner!:

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Sunday 14th November 2010 - Remembrance Sunday

The weather looked bleak first thing in the morning with that horrible drizzly "get you wetter than usual" type of rain, but as if on cue, the clouds parted in time for the Remembrance Service to honour the Nation's Fallen.
The rest of the day was bright & blustery from then on in. Here's a couple of pictures I took around the Garrison in the afternoon. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, so they were taken on my mobile:

Letter of Thanks Received After Travel Disruption

The very end of October brought a spell of bad weather with strong winds disrupting travel services. Although the hotel was closed and the majority of staff had left, we were able to come to the rescue of a family party of 7 who were stranded on St Mary's, unable to return to the mainland as scheduled, and wishing to stay together as a group. Our housekeeper Shirley made up some rooms to accommodate the party. Although the rest of the facilities such as the bar & lounge, dining room & pool were all closed, their bedrooms were warm and cosy enabling them to rest for the night before finally being able to travel back to the mainland the following day.

Pasted below is a copy of the kind letter we received from the family party leader on his return home:

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Visitor Book - 27.09.10 to 19.10.10

Thursday 21st October 2010

The temperature is starting to drop now as October continues. This morning's sunrise was lovely. Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures later of that. My camera batteries ran out just at the most inconvenient time ***(I've Now Got These Sunrise Pics Posted Below)***. I have taken a couple of pictures of the harbour this morning though, on my phone, with the sun shining on the water & boats. The sea is like glass again today.
The hotel had every room full last night, but the last weekend of the season will be quiet before we close the doors on Monday 25th.

As promised; this morning's sunrise:

Monday, 18 October 2010

Precious Lives Appeal for Children's Hospice Southwest

On Saturday 16th October, the band that I'm in "Stir Crazy" played a gig for the very first time, and in aid of the charity: Precious Lives Appeal for the Children's Hospice Southwest who are in the process of starting up a new hospice just outside of St Austell. We managed to raise a sum of £308.00 for the charity which is pretty good going as there were a couple of other large events going on elsewhere on the same night; Gig Rowers Annual Dinner & Presentation Evening & a Charity Ball in Aid of the Vetinary Support Group.
It was an enjoyable evening albeit a little daunting for me as it was the first time I had ever played guitar in public. The first has got to be the worst as far as nerves go... so bring on the next performance!!
If I can find someone who took any photos, I will post one up!

***Update 22.11.10: A bit later than planned, but I've got a link to You Tube for one of the songs we performed - Marillion; Kayleigh***

Sunday 17th October 2010

What a day!!! I couldn't believe my luck for my day off this week!! The weather was amazing, with no wind and warm sunshine. The sea was like glass without a ripple. It was hard to believe that we are over half way through October.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sunday 10th October 2010 - 10.10.10

This Sunday saw a time & date of 10:10:10 on 10.10.10. It was a hazy sort of day with the sun breaking through late afternoon. Still warm enough though, so I took a trip to Tresco for my day off, with the family to see a good friend who's birthday it was.
A few more birdwatchers around searching for the rarities on their migration routes to warmer climes for the winter. The boat was probably 75% birdwatchers on the way back, comparing notes and showing each other photos taken on cameras with some serious lenses going on! It seemed like they had a constructive day. Maybe a few more birds will help bring in more visitors to the islands to help boost the late season. We now have a few of our regular birdwatching guests in the hotel now.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Sunrise - Friday 8th October 2010

The sunrise was lovely this morning with the view from my bedroom... shame I only had my phone to hand to take some pictures with!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Thursday 7th October 2010

Well, the weather has been glorious again today... at least up until 4pm anyway when it started to spit a bit. The wind has also picked up. In all, it appears to be a temporary 24 to 36 hour glitch before the high pressure is back with us for some more warm & sunny October weather; yay!!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Wednesday 6th October

A walk to work this morning along Porthcressa bank. Another lovely day after very heavy rain in the night! Best time for the rain in my book!

Monday, 4 October 2010

October Weather - Sunny So Far!!

October has kicked off to a great start with the weather clear & sunny. Check out the view from Bedroom One this morning!!

The autumnal coolness is starting to set in of a morning & evening, but it's lovely I think. I wonder how long we will be this lucky with the weather?! No doubt the birdwatchers will be praying for strong gales to bring in the migrating birds. There are a few now wandering around with their tripods.
Sunday 3rd was glorious and the sailing club were out making the most of the fair weather opportunity.

Good Bye, and All The Best Kashka!! :)

The hotel closes down for the winter period 3 weeks today, and this morning we wish Kashka (Katarzyna) fairwell and good luck for the new page in her her life, managing a Subway outlet in Bath. Kashka worked for us 2 seasons ago and was able to come back to us this year at short notice when we needed staff mid season. At the time she was managing a Subway back home in Poland, but upped sticks to join us at the Bell Rock. So for this, we say a big "Thank you!"

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Photo Gallery Update!!

I've finally taken the new pictures of the Long Wing bedrooms & bathrooms today. They have now replaced the older pictures.
You will see that this year, the rooms have all been decorated in a cream colour as opposed to the yellow wallpaper with borders.
The bed spreads, curtains & cushions are also in the red theme to match the style of the 1st & 2nd floor rooms.
The bathrooms have also lost the glass shower screens in favour of curtains, and the taps on the baths & sinks have been renewed.
This work was all undertaken in the winter before opening for the 2010 season.... it's just taken me until the beginning of October to photograph & upload them; Sorry!!! Better late than never I say.
I've also added a few more to the public areas gallery.

Guest Review Extracted From TripAdvisor

“Travelling alone, I was made to feel I was their most valued guest”
Bell Rock Hotel


1 Oct 2010 | Trip type: Solo travel

This was my second visit to this hotel [although 23rd visit to the Islands], mainly because there is rarely a vacancy due to the popularity of this hotel and folk who often re-book before they leave. I can honestly say that on both occasions I have stayed there, I was made to feel that I was their most valued guest. From arrival to departure, all staff were friendly, helpful and considerate. My room this time was slightly smaller and might have been a little cramped for two but this did not worry me. As ever, the menu was varied, well presented and I can't believe there would be anyone whose taste could not be satisfied. During my stay, one guest made a suggestion for an alternative condiment at breakfast which to his surprise and delight was provided the following morning. The position of the hotel makes a visit to anywhere on St Marys simple and it just a short walk on flat roads to the harbour for off-island trips. As I see it, the only disadvantage which is not the fault of anyone at the hotel is that non-ambulant guests would have difficulty due to steps up to the entrance and down to the restaurant although during my stay there was a wheelchair bound guest who managed to cope. I can't wait to go back, but fear I will get the normal "sorry, no room that week" comment from Daniel!

Date of stay September 2010
Visit was for Leisure
Travelled with Solo Traveller
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes

***Footnote From Daniel***
I am glad that you have enjoyed your stay again with us Mrs Costa(Your TripAdvisor user name offers the clue to your identity), and that our team of staff looked after you, and made you feel very welcome.
Single rooms are booked up very quickly, as you have found. We have only the 2 single rooms in the hotel, after which we can allocate the smaller double rooms for single occupancy with a supplement. These doubles offer a cheaper tariff than a standard double or twin for single occupancy which would carry a 50% supplement. These smaller doubles also offer a cheaper option for couples to visit.
Fingers crossed, we will be able to accommodate you again when you wish to return!!? We look forward to welcoming you back :)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Guest Review Extracted from TripAdvisor

“Dont stay in Room 21”
Bell Rock Hotel

katha53 7 contributions cheshire
23 Sep 2010 | Trip type: Couples

I felt our stay at this hotel was not perhaps the same experience that other people had.
We unfortunately were allocated room 21 in this hotel, which is right by the front door, reception and across the corridor from the albeit closed door of the bar.

It was raining on the day of our arrival and everybody who came in through the front door let it go and then vigorously rubbed their shoes on the mat by the front door. Guests who were leaving earlier in the mornings for flights booked out at the reception desk from about 7am onwards - and you could certainly hear ever word they and the very friendly receptionist said. I did complain at the time but there were no other rooms available.
Most of the other guests were mature, regular visitors who it seemed came every year.
The Scillies are very beautiful, and well worth visiting, we always used Paul Hicks for the boat and island trips, he is extremely good, knowledgable and reliable.

Date of stay July 2010
Visit was for Leisure
Travelled with With Spouse/Partner
Age group 50-64
Member since 13 April 2009
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? No

***Footnote from Daniel***

I have made a Management Response to this review (which should be viewable from Tuesday 28th Sept.), but here is what it will say, followed by a picture of Room 21:

"I am sorry that you feel the need to make an entry on TripAdvisor nearly 3 months after your stay to make a disgruntled review. If I remember correctly, we spoke at the time about your situation; and sadly I was unable to move you to another room for your whole stay, but we could have moved you for 3 nights of the remaining 6, but you declined? The room location was described at the time of booking, as all bookings are. Room 21 is a popular room due to its large size and easy access. Many guests specifically request this room, and in the 4 years since the bedroom has been available, I can only recall one other guest making comment on noise issues. All doors throughout the hotel have door closers on for fire regulations, and even when adjusted to softly close, there is always going to be audible noise from them. Sadly as with all hotels worldwide, people do tend to let doors slam as a matter of course. The beauty of transport links available to and from Scilly means we do however escape the arrivals and departures at all times of the night. I would suggest that 7am for a loud check out with the receptionist would be incorrect do to reception not being open until 8am, as I am both, the receptionist as well as manager. I am assuming you may be refering to our housekeeper who starts work at 7.30am? Noise from the bar should also be minimal due to the location of it in relation to the room, and as mentioned in the review below, it is a quiet bar that is not open to late at night."

It doesn't actually take much to knock your overall scoring on TripAdvisor. This one review has taken quite a chunk out of our overall percentage. You can see the TripAdvisor statistics compared to the other recent reviews. You can see that no ratings were left for Rooms, Service, Cleanliness etc. reducing the overall "Average" score.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Guest Review Extracted From TripAdvisor

“Five star service, food and comfort”
Bell Rock Hotel

HelenKent10 11 contributions South East
21 Sep 2010 | Trip type: Family

We were made very welcome at the Bell Rock Hotel. The service was faultless with great attention to detail. The staff were friendly and helpful at all times. The food was wonderful, served on heated plates and meals all arriving together for the three of us, even if we had all ordered something different. Every night there was a wide menu choice. Very impressive! Comfort and cleanliness of the hotel again could not be faulted. There is a small heated indoor pool which we had all to ourselves, which is open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm. The hotel was full of guests who were back for their umpteenth stay there, which speaks for itself. The rooms are comfortable and spotlessly clean, albeit with slightly old-fashioned decor, but this adds to the charm of the hotel. The hotel is shown as 2-star, but the service is 5-star. (I assume they are 2-star because of factors such as disabled access, which is limited, as there is no lift and there are steps up to the hotel and down to the restaurant.). I also would not recommend taking older children and especially not teenagers, as there is nothing in the way of entertainment for them. The hotel bar and lounge also closed early (10.30 pm) and all guests seem to retire to their rooms around 9.00 - 9.30 ish! However, to be fair, this was probably due to the time of year (out of school hols) and guests were at the mature end of the scale, so that there was a lack of demand for the bar to remain open longer.

Date of stay September 2010
Visit was for Leisure
Travelled with Extended Family
Member since 10 May 2010
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes

***Footnote from Daniel***
We are really pleased that everthing was ok, and that we were able to look after our guests to our usual high standard. The bar is licensed to be open until 11pm, but as you have noticed, there is not much demand for this. Therefore, if there is no one using the bar, it will close around 10.30 - 10.45pm. As pointed out in the review, many leave the bar around 9.30pm to settle for the night in their rooms.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Guest Review Extracted From TripAdvisor

“Couldn't be faulted”
Bell Rock Hotel

KelMScot 2 contributions Cheshire
19 Sep 2010 | Trip type: Couples

We spent a week (DB&B) at the Bell Rock and were delighted by the location, service and food. The staff were unfailingly cheerful and helpful. The menu provided plenty of choice (particularly with desserts) and there were even hot puddings! Meals were excellently prepared and served, and it was easily possible to have an evening meal in time to join the following boats for gig racing. We would also recommend the day trips on 'Crusader' with Paul Hicks, who takes bookings at breakfast time.

Date of stay August 2010
Visit was for Leisure
Travelled with With Spouse/Partner
Member since 24 May 2010
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes

Guest Review Extracted From TripAdvisor

“Great hotel for a family holiday”
Bell Rock Hotel

Truro, United Kingdom
18 Sep 2010 | Trip type: Family

We really enjoyed our stay at the Bell Rock Hotel. The staff were so friendly and helpful and nothing was too much trouble. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The children particularly enjoyed the swimming pool. We wish we could have stayed longer.

Date of stay August 2010
Visit was for Leisure
Travelled with Family with Teenagers
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Guest Email of Thanks

----- Original Message -----
From: Jacqueline Lowe
To: 'Bell Rock Hotel'
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:55 AM
Subject: Thanks

Wednesday 15th Sept.

Dear Mr. Lawson and Staff,

Just to thank everyone at Bell Rock Hotel for making our first visit to the Isles of Scilly such an enjoyable experience. You are worth four stars for the food alone, not to mention the care, cheerfulness and professionalism shown by all the staff! We hope to return to your beautiful islands in the not-too-distant future.

Kind regards

Mrs. J Lowe & Mrs D Down.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Guest Review Extracted From TripAdvisor

“The most relaxing stay!”
Bell Rock Hotel

TINKS01, United Kingdom
10 Sep 2010 | Trip type: Couples

We had such a lovely stay at the Bell Rock. All the staff were so warm and welcoming, we appreciated everything they did for us.

Date of stay August 2010
Visit was for Leisure
Travelled with With Spouse/Partner
Member since 24 June 2008
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Guest Review Extracted From TripAdvisor

“Relax and enjoy the great service”
Bell Rock Hotel

catbirdKent 5 contributions Kent
30 Aug 2010

We arrived at the hotel after the journey from hell, to find that they had kept the dining room open for us until nearly 10 pm. They were equally obliging when we needed to leave before the normal breakfast service time in order to get the helicopter.

I don't think I've ever seen staff work so hard. They all multi-task and nothing is too much trouble.

Food is well cooked and plentiful but I am mystified why chef serves a raw tomato garnish with every dinner, even when it has got gravy on it?!

Our room was comfortable and we had a full bathroom, though I think others in our group were not as lucky. Ask for Room 4 if you are booking a double and would like to be in the main part of the building.

The small pool is a bonus.

Standards of cleanliness are high.

Journey from hell? The helicopter was cancelled due to poor visibility. We were put on the ferry, which took 3 hours and lots of people were ill. We arrived on the quayside in rain and darkness. The luggage had been put in containers and they guys were trying to sort it all out with only the lights from their head lamps. If you have a system, try sharing the details with your customers.

Date of stay August 2010
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes

***Footnotes from Daniel*** This travel delay was a particularly bad visibility day with thick fog stopping all flying. The Steamship Co. put on a 2nd sailing of the ship to enable passengers to depart & leave the islands on their correct day of travel. It was an unfortunate start to this wildlife/walking group we had arriving this day. We kept the kitchens open and were keen to see the group were catered for and looked after on their late arrival at the hotel... but obviously we hadn't realised that tomatoes are that offensive?! Seems a bit of a random comment to me I'm afraid. We are a 2 star hotel, and therefore don't go down the fancy garnish route of nouvelle cuisine. I shall however pass this comment on to the chef.
All rooms are en suite with toilet, basin, and either shower, bath or both. I am presuming the rooms with pod style bathrooms are being refered to which are fitted in 4 rooms out of the 23 we have which enable space saving.

***2nd Footnote*** I have had a chat with Chef about garnishes. He likes to add a touch of colour in the presentation. He is open to suggestions as to what people may consider an alternative to a wedge of tomato for this purpose... any answers/suggestions to the hotel email please?!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Bank Holiday Bliss! - Sunday 29th August 2010

St Martins Flats with the tide very low & the view over towards Tean with Hedge Rock on the left of picture

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Saturday 28th August 2010

The clouds were interesting this afternoon, so I couldn't resist snapping a couple of pictures! :)