MT Business Travel: Room Service - Where Sir Richard Carew Pole stays ...

FOR BUSINESS - I do a lot of business in Cornwall, and I particularly like the Abbey Hotel in Penzance. It's quiet and secluded, and everything is done to a high standard. It has a country house atmosphere, with a lovely sitting room and views over the harbour and St Michael's Mount. Although it's quiet, it has good access to the town. The staff are friendly and helpful and the food is excellent. I use the hotel as a base from which to fundraise elsewhere in Cornwall. It's also well located for visiting attractions such as Tate St Ives, the Eden Project and the Maritime Museum at Falmouth. The hotel is good value - it's not the sort of place where you go white and shudder when you see the bill. One of my favourite things about it is that you know you're by the sea, as you can see the seagulls and smell the sea air.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

FOR PLEASURE - I recently stayed in the two Explora hotels in Chile - in the Atacama desert in the north and in the Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia, on the shores of Lake Pehoe. The hotels are designed to blend with the landscape, which is staggeringly beautiful. At Atacama, we visited the Altiplano, about 10,000 feet up, where the landscape is almost lunar. We flew from Atacama to the Patagonia Explora, in the south.

It offers activities such as walking and riding, and we went on a boat trip to the glaciers from which the staff cut ice for our drinks. The scenery is unspoilt, and when out walking you can see condors and a variety of trees, plants and shrubs. The food at both hotels is excellent, and the staff welcoming. Everything is restrained and tasteful, including the rooms, which at the Patagonia hotel have stunning views of the lake and Torres del Paine mountains. I'd love to go back. So much of it was remote and unspoilt.

Sir Richard Carew Pole is president of the Royal Horticultural Society.

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