Whenever I have the opportunity to travel to the beautiful shores of Cornwall, I jump at the chance. Whether I’m heading to a sun-soaked destination with water lapping gently on the shore or out to the open sea on the Atlantic coast with waves lashing the rocks or the beach, I know I’m in for a treat.
When you arrive in South West County you know all worries are left on the other side of the Kernow sign because now is the time to enjoy some good food – Cornwall is full of excellent restaurants, cafes and bars – by relaxing towns and villages with their shops, gardens and galleries, as well as that ever-alluring coastline.
With Cornwall’s range of welcoming coastal hotels to check in and make the most of those sea views, the Watergate Bay Hotel has to be among the best. A seaside resort, built in 1904, nestled between Newquay and Mawgan Porth – both a very pleasant coastal walk – Watergate Bay is known for its excellent surfing and water sports, while the hotel promises comfortable public areas, guest rooms luxurious and delicious cuisine.
With such a fantastic location on the beach, it makes sense that the hotel makes the most of its surroundings. From surfing with Wavehunters at the Extreme Academy to kite surfing, paddleboarding to more relaxing activities like a coastal walk, yoga or sightseeing in the surrounding area, the place here offers a multitude of activities to enjoy, all in a magnificent setting. Once all the fun outside is over, guests are invited to return to the hotel to enjoy its many facilities, from welcoming and elegant public spaces to a dream spa and restaurants serving delicious cuisine. .
You are invited to enjoy the best of both worlds and have the opportunity to reinvigorate and rejuvenate in equal measure at Watergate Bay.
Replacing what was Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, the beach lofts have breathed new life into the waterfront building and promise excellent uninterrupted views of Watergate Beach and the waves that roll in and out of the bay each day.
Designed by award-winning interior design firm Dynargh Design, Beach Lofts are a fantastic addition to hotel accommodation – the best of the best offering a super stylish and private escape with ultimate views. Beach tones, natural elements, many textures and rich colors combine to create the perfect place to relax, especially on the curved sofa so comfortable facing the ocean in room 107, or on the armchair vintage 1970s pendant light with its dual aspect views.
I love the display of oversized natural shades which are artfully suspended from the upper part of the ceiling, they do well to create a cozy atmosphere in the open space. There is a four-seater dining table in the bedroom, a fire for the colder days, a study/dressing room, a second bedroom with three beds – perfect for a family – and a spacious bathroom with underfloor heating and a tub so big it would fit the whole family.
With a superbly comfortable bed, my guest and I overslept both mornings, but I’d say that’s part of the vacation vibe and laid back nature of beach living. Expect extras such as a picnic bag and beach towels, ideal when heading out for the day via your private beach access, and there’s also a dedicated concierge available to check you in and organize reservations for you.
Being in a separate building from the main hotel means that a dash through the car park is required to take advantage of the facilities of the main hotel building, but it also means that you can enjoy the utmost privacy, thanks to a secure access, as well as food from the beach loft pantry and assigned parking. If you don’t feel like going to Zacry for a full breakfast (you really should), you can enjoy continental fare from the pantry, try your hand at the waffle machine, and help yourself to tea too. , coffee, hot chocolate, afternoon cake, nuts, and booze throughout the day (there’s an honesty crate for the latter) to enjoy in your loft.
Zacry’s, Emily Scott’s Restaurant, The Beach Hut and The Living Space offer a diverse selection of food to devour, whether you fancy a treat or a more casual meal. I enjoyed breakfast at Zacry’s – the cronuts and waffles were divine and the hot and cold buffet plentiful – as well as dinner at Beach Hut and Zacry’s.
A sumptuous, subdued space in the evening, Zacry’s, with its inviting tan leather banquet seating, is a place where you devour an array of delicious dishes, sip luscious wines and chat up a storm for the evening. Although the staff weren’t quiet, the dishes came out pretty quickly, my guest and I were, which is always a good sign that we felt comfortable there. The tables are placed at angles to create privacy in the open space and the wooden floors and table tops create a relaxed atmosphere. Black chairs, oversized black lampshades, an open kitchen, and windows galore to take in the surrounding views complete the space.
To start, we nibbled on a few breads, followed by wild mushroom arancini with king oyster mushrooms and salsa verde, from the plant-based menu, and tandoori hot-smoked salmon with pickled cucumber, lime yogurt, popadom and chutney of coriander.
As a main course, I fell for the pan-fried duck with confit potato, Savoy cabbage, leek, pancetta, roasted shallots and beetroot salsa, the perfect autumnal dish, full of finesse and flavors and well washed down with a portion of Australian pinot noir. The grilled Argentinian prawns – served with garlic butter and charred lemon – were massive, plump and so flavorful, I was informed, and the sides of cavolo nero and triple cooked fries (a bit undercooked cooked, ironically) weren’t really necessary with the heavy serving of seafood.
The desserts were shared between the table and consisted of a maple panna cotta with pistachio and olive cake, figs and muscovado tuille as well as an espresso mousse with yogurt ice cream, chocolate earth, miso caramel and honeycomb . Both were recommended to us by our friendly waitress and both were very much appreciated.
For casual dining in Watergate Bay, it can only be the casual Beach Hut just below the lofts. Described as an alpine-style lodge, but surf and surf instead of skiing, the beachfront restaurant is bathed in light wood and soft lighting from carved wooden shades above. Bay windows, comfortable cabins and refreshing background music make this space inviting any time of the day.
The lunch and dinner menu is half plant-based and includes snacks, salads, classics, grilled meats and desserts, with dishes such as fish and chips, peel your shrimp, goat cheese salad, vegetable burger, nachos with mushrooms and black beans, mac and cheese, and crab bucatini.
We started with oil and balsamic focaccia, then prawns, followed by crab bucatini and fish and chips. Luckily the fries were better than last night’s and were topped off with a delicious curry sauce and tartar sauce with two pieces of crispy fish. The crab pasta was filling and flavorful with lots of parsley and chilli to give it a little kick, if not a little greasy on the bottom for my taste. The desserts look delicious but we were both so full – the service was quick – although I would have chosen either the lemon pavlova or the milk chocolate and malted cream tart, or maybe St Clement cake. And now I regret not having had dessert!
Head to the swim club to stretch out on a sun lounger, swim in the spacious 25-metre indoor pool, cool off in the hot tub overlooking the bay or enjoy a range of treatments. It’s a place to relax and rejuvenate after an invigorating coastal walk, a surfing lesson or after spending the day exploring the highlights of Cornwall.
Book a spa treatment to work and soothe muscles, each lasts 60 minutes and you’re spoiled for choice, depending on which area of your body you need to work on. I enjoyed a freestyle massage with Megan and after a brief discussion of my problem areas – lower back and shoulders – she got to work easing the tension and working the knots in my shoulders, back and my neck before massaging my scalp to leave me feeling totally relaxed.
A freestyle massage is a good opportunity to enjoy a back, neck and shoulder massage before heading to the legs and feet or neck and scalp depending on which area you prefer. I don’t think there’s a more relaxing way to end a massage than with a scalp massage, it’s the perfect way to feel totally fresh after those knots have been worked out, you just have to prevent you from falling asleep!
After some helpful tips, I headed to the Ocean Room with a cup of peppermint tea to enjoy the cool, stylish space with its large windows overlooking the bay. It was a joy.
In a word
The perfect place to indulge in good food, relaxing spa treatments and endless walks on the beach, with more active activities such as surfing lessons for a good balance, Watergate Bay is a gem on the north Cornish coast and the super stylish, luxurious and private beach lofts provide the perfect place to watch the waves and relax in between.
Address: Watergate Bay Hotel on the Beach, Trevarrian Hill, Newquay TR8 4AA
Such : 01637 860543
E-mail: [email protected]
All images courtesy of Watergate Bay Hotel
See clips of my travels on Instagram @tashheard_food_travel