Watergate Bay Hotel, February 2018
Matt and I had a full and frank conversation about our holiday needs a few weeks ago. We put our cards on the table and admitted exactly what we wanted from our getaways in 2018. I’m often a bit agitated on holiday and feel the need to see and experience the country that we are visiting. But for my husband, that is just not a priority. His favourite breaks are when we ‘flop and drop’ and don’t move further from the sun lounger than is absolutely necessary. My favourite holidays are in Cornwall. I just bloody love it there. I love how we all are, in the fresh air, walking on beaches. We’ve been going down to the north coast as a family for the past 5 years. Normally at Easter. This time we tried a new place to stay, the Watergate Bay Hotel, in February half term.
Watergate Bay is a gorgeous 2 mile stretch of golden beach just north of Newquay and a few miles south of Padstow. It is slap bang in tourist territory, where affluent holidaymakers travel in their droves to experience fresh air and fantastic food. It is the home of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen (for the past twelve years, believe it or not), and a Rick Stein establishment never seems to be more than a stone’s throw away.
The owners of the Watergate Bay Hotel have tapped into the surfer-luxe-foodie vibe brilliantly. It is nautical interiors done to perfection. You can swim, surf, walk and then relax in a beautiful restaurant, bar or chill out area.
There are two dining options in the hotel, Zacry’s, a grown-up restaurant that is open for dinner and the Living Space, which serves food throughout the day. To be honest, we rarely seem to have a bad meal in Cornwall. The quality of, and commitment to, local produce seems to win out at breakfast, lunch and dinner time. We also visited the Beach Hut, a casual dining option right on the beach. This was our most disappointing meal because the service was a wee bit slow, but I have no complaints about the food itself. Fifteen, also a 2-minute walk, is one of my favourites. You are well advised to book all restaurants in Cornwall in advance, especially at busier times of the year. Food and fortune favour the well organised.
We stayed in a Family Room, which included a small separate area with bunk beds for the children, that afforded complete privacy for mum and dad. It was very spacious and very well appointed. Storage was excellent (a real bugbear of mine in hotels) and there were nice touches like fresh milk in the fridge for your morning cuppa. Dear Hotel, Matt would have appreciated some biscuits. If I was being mega picky I would say that the bathroom was on the small side, but overall we had plenty of space and were very happy.
Things to do
There is a lot to do in Cornwall, admittedly most of it outdoors. I was nervous coming down to visit in the winter, and the weather forecast was pretty miserable. I need not have worried, there was a mere smattering of rain and the temperatures were milder than at home (Berkshire). It is just a case of having the right coat and boots. We walked on a beach every day, whether it was Watergate, Fistral, Mawgan Porth or Bedruthan. There are beautiful coastal walks too, so long as the wind isn’t up. We also visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan and popped into Padstow to browse the shops. Compared to other visits (Cornwall can get extremely busy) it felt like we had the place to ourselves.
A bit about the kids
This is Not About the Kids, but if the kids are happy, we are happy yes? The hotel offers a children’s High Tea at 5 pm, which includes vegetables! And for the first time ever, our two actually wanted to go to the Kids Club. Perhaps it is their ages (9 & 8), and the fact that it was a bit cooler, and in the evening, but they just couldn’t wait to get there. Will wonders never cease? There is also a good sized indoor swimming pool, and board games and books available to borrow in the library.
The bottom line
This is not a cheap getaway, we paid £320 a night B&B. A lot for a staycation right? I get it if that is not everyone’s bag. But for me, it is our finest holiday of the year. If we can manage to do it in style once in a while, I certainly don’t feel short-changed.
We paid for our stay at the Watergate Bay Hotel, and I am not being paid for this blog post.
Please share your favourite destinations on the UK coast or any other coast for that matter. There are too many places to go and not enough time, so let’s live vicariously through each other….