Hot on the heels from our review of Cornwall’s Retallack Resort & Spa comes another favourite in the vicinity, Watergate Bay. If you’re thinking of embracing the British seaside, you will love this review (thanks Anna!)….
We stayed at Watergate Bay in Cornwall for 3 nights in July 2014. To set the scene, Watergate Bay is a boutique hotel, with around 70 rooms, set right on its own incredible sandy surf beach, a stones throw away from Newquay. Its about as laid back as you can get with a real ‘surfer’ vibe, great food and dining options, lots of activities to partake in during the day and perfect places to cosy up in during the evenings.
If you’re coming form London, its quite a drive away (around 5-6 hours) so its worth looking at a 3 night minimum stay and you can always stop off overnight en route. We spent a night in Devon on the way down there to break up the journey.
We were incredibly lucky with our stay, as we managed to hit one of the hottest weeks of the year, which was bliss. With a two year old in tow, we were in our element with a sandy beach, caves and a fantastic swimming pool, amongst other things, on our doorstep.
How did you book the hotel?
We booked the hotel online having read some fantastic reviews and we weren’t disappointed. We went for one of the ‘better’ rooms, as this offered us a little more space for the travel cot for out 2 year old. Use of the extra cot and breakfast was included in the price of the room. There are also family suites available, with separate bunk bed rooms, which are ideal for larger families staying with kids.
Tell me about the room
The room was very clean and tastefully designed, in a kind of modern Cornish chic seaside style. It had a lovely big comfy bed, although the linen had been over starched and was crispy to the touch and quite noisy to move around in, which didn’t help when trying to keep quiet next to a sleeping baby. Bathroom was compact but decent.
We requested use of the hotel’s baby intercom system, which involves setting up a camera in your room that connects to a portable tablet device that you can take with you to dinner. This is a fantastic idea that definitely allows you some freedom in the evenings (had it worked properly) but we had issues getting the connection up and running and had to swap the device over 3 times before finding one that worked sufficiently. Once it was up and running, it was fantastic and we could dine in peace, with the confidence that we could see and hear our baby up in the room. There are 4 restaurant options within the hotel, and the monitor worked in all of them, which gave us fantastic flexibility in the evenings.
How was the food?
The restaurants are definitely one of the main selling points to Watergate Bay. You have The Living Space in the Ocean wing of the hotel, which has a fabulous big balcony area that overlooks the whole beach and sea. This is an ideal place for sundowners, where we whiled away a couple of evenings in peaceful disbelief that we were indeed in the UK and not Australia. The Living Space restaurant offers an informal Brasserie style menu, which was perfect for lunch or dinner. Zacharys is the other dining option within the main hotel, which offers slightly more formal arrangement. The food in both places is very good, but we definitely preferred the atmosphere of the Living Space.
The third option is the Beach hut, which is down towards the beach but close enough to the hotel for the baby monitor to work. Day or night the food is exceptional here, with amazing seafood options, all of which are incredibly fresh. It has an ‘apres surf’ type vibe, where sandy feet can come and kick back and grab a drink after a long day on the beach.
The fourth option comes in the form of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, which is above the Beach Hut and also offers fantastic views of the Bay. The food here was exceptional, as was to be expected.
The hotel is so geared towards families and children, that all these restaurants had kids menus and fantastic options for Freddy, we never found his eating an issue. The hotel offers a kids dinner buffet between 5:30 – 6:30pm each day which is a lovely touch. They know exactly how to cater for babies, with delicious fish goujons, pastas, vegetables, chips etc on offer and we fed Freddy at exactly the time we would normally feed him at home, which was perfect. Once he had eaten, we took him up to the room, bathed him and put him down, which meant our usual routine wasn’t disrupted in any way. This made our holiday much more relaxing and enjoyable.
The daily breakfast buffet is fantastic and the fresh waffles served out of the ‘do it yourself’ waffle machine still enters my conscience on a daily basis. There was everything you could hope for from a boutique hotels breakfast buffet and it didn’t disappoint in any way.
Tell me about the kids facilities
Furthermore, the kids club is amazing. They have an indoor and outdoor area that is as good as any nursery set up I have ever seen. Toys and equipment a plenty, and all spotlessly clean. They have an area for older kids, with table tennis and dvds that is open late, and both areas run activities throughout the day for the kids to indulge in. Children from the age of 2 can be left for sessions, but any younger and they have to be accompanied.
The true benefits of the kids club present themselves once you see the spa area of the hotel… a fabulous indoor swimming pool with incredible views and a vast array of luxury treatment options to help you unwind.
What is there to do outside the hotel?
If the weather is not so good during your stay, there are plenty of options for things to do in the area, afterall, you are in the heart of Cornwall. The beautiful Padstow is a 20 minute drive away, which we had a fab day wondering around. There is a dairy farm nearby, you can go rock pooling, there are cycling rides and walks, the list goes on…
Although on face value, this place looks like it would only be suitable as a summer destination, it is in fact busy all year round. There is definitely an element of coziness to Watergate Bay, and if you’re up for wrapping up warm and throwing on the wellies for a spot of autumnal rock pooling, then there’s nothing to say that this wouldn’t be a fantastic winter get away too. There are also some incredible local pubs and restaurants to explore.
We will 100% be returning to Watergate bay, in fact, where’s that booking form…?