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From the Blog

A night at Shun Lee in St Ives

Posted by Rebecca Jackson on Updated on

Step inside our maritime gem

Here at Perfect Stays, we live and breathe the properties and locations we talk to our customers about on a daily basis. We are lucky enough to live in a truly beautiful holiday destination, and we are even more fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at many of our luxury holiday homes. This helps our team understand every element of the property and local area on a personal level, and we know our guests love to hear about these first hand experiences.

The whole team jumped at the chance to stay at the truly stunning Shun Lee in St Ives. With seven gorgeously styled bedrooms, unparalleled views across the sparkling St Ives Bay, and a cinema room, we knew it would make an unforgettable weekend.



You can sense the rich and alluring history of Shun Lee the moment you walk through the front door into the grandiose hallway. Built in 1881, Shun Lee’s original owner was locally born Master Mariner William John Paynter. Thought to be the first westerner to obtain a pilot’s licence to sail on the Yangtze River, Paynter became the captain of the “Shun Lee” in 1878. Unfortunately this magnificent ship sank near Shanghai within a year, and Paynter retired to Cornwall and built a breathtaking house overlooking St Ives harbour, which he called Shun Lee.

As the Perfect Stays team started to explore every nook and cranny of the beguiling Shun Lee, we were able to appreciate the level of detail that has gone into tastefully echoing the property’s nautical past in the carefully selected fittings and furnishings. The Master Bedroom, fondly nicknamed the “Captain’s Room”, took us back in time and aboard the Shun Lee. With rich dark wood, antique furniture and a porthole mirror, there’s something wonderfully Olde World about this space.

In direct comparison, we agreed that the beautifully bright, modern and elegant open plan living area seemed to have taken inspiration from the sensational sea views and surrounding coastal landscapes. This remarkable juxtaposition between classic and contemporary interiors makes Shun Lee completely unique, and the thoughtful design showcases the property’s rich history without compromising on style or comfort.



Once we were satisfied that we’d discovered every room across the four floors, we opened up the expansive glass doors at the front of the property and kicked off our weekend with chilled glasses of wine and nibbles out on the terrace. We were expecting a beautiful sea view, but nothing could prepare us for the breathtaking panorama across St Ives Harbour and the north coast.

As the sun started to sink below the horizon, we spent a tranquil hour savouring the view and picking out landmarks in the distance, from Carbis Bay to Godrevey Point and out towards St Agnes.



The idea of an evening spent socialising in Shun Lee’s myriad of living spaces was unbelievably enticing, but we decided to venture into St Ives for our evening meal. Conveniently, the garden gate led straight onto the coast path and down to the golden sands of Porthminster Beach in less than ten minutes. Within another leisurely five minute walk we had reached the bustling heart of St Ives, which had come alive with the sound of al fresco dining, clinking glasses and live music. After a delicious evening meal and cocktails at the candlelit Cellar Bistro, we walked along the cobbled streets and mingled with the friendly locals as they made the most of the characterful Cornish pubs.

After an enjoyable evening experiencing the lively atmosphere of St Ives at night, the allure of Shun Lee became too tempting. It was so exciting to return to the property after an evening out, knowing we would have the range of facilities all to ourselves. We couldn’t call it a night without having a quick game of pool in the TV room and then curling up in the cinema room and enjoying a movie together. Settling down with a warm drink in the darkness was so relaxing that we’re embarrassed to say that the entire group dozed off . One by one, everyone started to take themselves off to their allocated bedrooms, which became havens of luxury and comfort at the end of the night.



After an unbelievably comfortable night’s sleep, the whole group agreed that the outstanding “wow” moment of the weekend was opening the curtains to the stunning sea view in the morning. With the early sun shining down on the bay, you could make out every detail. It’s a view that you could never tire of, even if you stayed at Shun Lee for weeks. It was incredibly peaceful to lie in bed with a cup of tea whilst listening to the gently rolling waves and distant call of seagulls.

We made the most of the bright morning and went for a lengthy walk around St Ives harbour and surrounding beaches. Along the jumble of cobbled lanes and quaint cottages is an eclectic mix of boutiques, independent cafés and local craft shops, which kept us occupied for hours. As well as Porthminster Beach just below Shun Lee, the charming Porthgwidden Beach, Lambeth Walk, Harbour Beach and Porthmeor Beach are all within a short walking distance of the harbour. These attractions, combined with a plethora of art galleries, would have filled our time for days on end.

On return to the property, we were greeted by the inviting smell of brunch wafting through the hallway. Expertly cooked by our Managing Director, we enjoyed every mouthful of our meal within the elegant setting of the glass-walled dining room. Gathered around the enormous custom built dining table, we savoured the incredible panoramic view for the last time before leaving.



On reflection, it’s a combination of incredible attention to detail, gorgeous design and the unbeatable sea views that make Shun Lee so memorable. The entire property has been finished to an exceptional standard and every room exudes luxury, but this doesn’t stop you from falling in love with Shun Lee as your very own home-from-home. Perfectly located for exploring the west coast of Cornwall, the enchanting Shun Lee makes for an unforgettable holiday.

If you enjoyed reading this post, take a look inside another of our properties, Pentyak, as we set off on a long weekend in North Cornwall.


Posted by Rebecca Jackson

Rebecca loves everything to do with food, beautiful interiors and travel. When she’s not booking her next cookery masterclass, she’s discovering incredible new destinations, restaurants and spas across the UK and beyond.  

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