White walls and green lawns: a welcome sight at the end of the drive
When I moved to the East End to be near the City, it became a ritual to escape to Cornwall to be near the sea.
So it was with just a tinge of irony that the first person I met when I decided to head to this eponymous five-star country estate was one of the most famous EastEnders in the world. It was like climbing Kilimanjaro and finding the bloke from the pub sitting at the summit.
And Gillian Wright, the soap's Jean Slater, isn't the only TV star to enjoy the peace and quiet of The Cornwall, a 19th century country house and spa 30 minutes drive from the Eden Project near St Austell.
Brad Pitt was there recently, as was the cast of Dr Who. And it's not surprising. Like many country hotels south of the Tamar, it sits in its own little Eden; 43 acres of park and woodland set back from an unhurried B road between clay villages and fishing ports.
Its long drive leads to a slim canopy-laden terrace facing a neat stripy lawn to the front and a centrepiece white-walled country house behind. That is home to the bar, comfy book-lined lounges and a restaurant and a few luxury suites,
But most of the rooms are set back behind it and spread out in tiers; all wood panelled, undulating roof lines and front-facing balconies.
There are 56 of them, all very private, by dint of their position and simply styled in keeping with the character of the estate.
But the most pleasant surprise was that the fine dining really was, as one would expect in a county that's gone all foodie.
Local chef Tom Bradbury returned from the Lanesborough in London to produce a menu to match the Stein/Oliver offerings that bring London weekenders into Newquay Airport.And his efforts are matched by the close attention his staff pay their guests.
It was almost worth the visit for that - and the striking portraits on the walls of the lounge by the late and highly controversial Plymouth artist Robert Lenkiewicz.
Rates: Doubles from £104 per night; Tel: 01726 87 40 50