Hello I’m Fritha from the lifestyle blog Tigerlilly Quinn. I visited Watergate Bay as my first weekend away from my now 18 month old but I was so impressed with how family friendly the hotel is, I can’t wait to revisit with my family at some point in the future!
What’s great about a hotel like this is that it has something for everyone. My five year old would have loved running around the beach as well as the fantastic childcare they have on offer. I love the idea of booking the kids in for an hour or two and having a childfree lunch or even a sneaky massage!
A veggie heaven
One of the many things that stands out about Watergate Bay Hotel is the food. My favourite place to eat was the Living Space as it had such a chilled out vibe and a brilliant menu. I’m a vegetarian and often find places limited with good veggie options but there was loads to chose from in all the restaurants there. As well as a brilliant spot for lunch its also great for a coffee and a view of the sea, as well as all the cute dogs that guests had (Watergate Bay is a very dog friendly hotel!).
When we arrived we were told one of the things people always remember from their stay here is the waffles and they didn’t disappoint. I’ve been dreaming of those waffles ever since.
As well as the perfect combination of family friendly and laid-back vibe, the hotel also has one of the most beautiful infinity pools I’ve ever been to. I swam one morning as it was raining outside and it was so atmospheric. Myself and the friends I was staying with also took a dip in the outside hot tub, which felt as if we were sat right on the beach. Absolute bliss.
I had visited Watergate Bay Hotel once before, on a frantic research trip for my Weekend Journals guide to Cornwall. Even on this fleeting visit the hotel impressed me, with the seaside chic decor, well-equipped spa and varied pretty restaurant spaces. Needless to say Watergate Bay earned it’s two page spread in the guide book, and said book is now available to buy from the hotel’s cute boutique shop. My recent stay at Watergate Bay was a whole new experience for me and after two days as their in-residence instagrammer I was ready to move in permanently!
On a cold and wet March day I arrived at the sunny and friendly Watergate Bay, and quickly settled into my bright and spacious bedroom overlooking the beach. The rooms here are luxurious but comfortable with lovely soft furnishings and plenty of natural daylight from the large windows.
Eyes bigger than the belly
When you are not surfing and swimming with dolphins (yes they do occasionally make an appearance) there is plenty to keep you occupied inside the hotel. Three successful restaurants, Zacry’s for romantic evening meals, The Living Space for daytime feasting and The Beach Hut for seaside dining. As a food blogger, I try a lot of hotel eateries, but was impressed to see the standard is high at all three of the Watergate Bay restaurants. The Beach Hut was my favourite, a beautifully designed space with an easy menu of classics like fish and chips. If you followed my Instagram Takeover for the hotel you’ll have seen how much I enjoyed breakfast at the hotel too, especially those make-it-yourself waffles!
Get active, chill out
The spa welcomes all guests, but the pool has adults only hours, which I used to my advantage to get some much needed lengths in. The spa also offers a range of relaxing treatments, and my full body deep massage was one of the best I have ever had.
Before leaving Watergate Bay we went for a brisk walk on the cliff edge. Despite the bad weather the scenery here is truly spectacular year round, making it always a good time to have a holiday here.
Ramona from Monalogue takes a trip to Watergate Bay.
Last year I spent a few days in North Cornwall, and it occurred to me that I owed this part of the world some more attention. As you can imagine, it was a welcome surprise to be invited for a long weekend in the Watergate Bay hotel, along with my favourite Bristol bloggers and Instagrammers.
On a rainy Friday in March, @Porthjess, @Tigerlillyquinn, and @Kymgrimshaw of Instagram bundled into my car and headed for the motorway. I love working on creative projects in solitude, but there is something especially inspiring when such experiences are shared with other creatives. Slightly overwhelmed by this fact, we nattered about all things Instagram for what did not feel like three hours, until we arrived at Watergate Bay.
Explore, retreat, sleep, repeat
My typical holiday experience is something along the lines of arrive, abandon belongings, head out to explore until legs give in, retreat, sleep, repeat. This break was not characteristic of my typical holiday. We were encouraged to stay amongst the bay unless we had longer than three days to spare. This was great advice, because we really indulged.
Eat around the Bay
We were pretty much always eating. If we weren’t eating, you might have found us taking a stroll along the beach, reclining in a hot tub beside the bay or having a massage in the swim club.
After our arrival lunch, we had a tour of the hotel and a leisurely drink. At 8pm, it was time to head to the Beach Hut for Tapas Night. We stood beside the bonfire, slurping on Bloody Marys and tapping our feet to some upbeat acoustic guitar before heading inside for dinner. The atmosphere was great, and there wasn’t a single person who wasn’t happy to be there. By 10pm, after six sharing platters, some had left their chairs in favour of the dance floor. Others (ourselves included) had sunk deeper into their chairs in a merry, wine-induced haze.
If anyone did happen to over-indulge at Tapas Night, it was OK because the following morning meant breakfast at Zacry’s, and breakfast at Zacry’s entails eating fresh waffles to your heart’s content. If you prefer something light to start the day, there’s also plenty of fresh fruit, smoothies, cereals, or, my favourite, salmon and poached egg bagels.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
After breakfast it was time for lunch. I’m not joking – as Instagrammers we spend four times longer at breakfast for the sake of taking photos. Though I am not complaining.
We had lunch in the Living Space, which conveniently also had gorgeously diffused light for taking photos. We didn’t humour the Instagram urge too much this time. Instead, we took a few snaps and enjoyed the food before swim/hot tub/massage time in the hotel’s Swim Club.
We returned to Zacry’s for our final dinner, feeling refreshed and somewhat sleepy after our treatments. I ordered fig, mozzarella and balsamic salad to start, hake and butter bean stew for mains, and a trio of sorbets in a pistachio biscotti sandwich for dessert. I’m not going to attempt to describe how good they were for fear of not doing them justice.
Once we had reluctantly checked out, we ventured onwards to Padstow for an afternoon of food and photography, what else? As we munched on some Cornish Pasties on the harbour-front, we agreed that we’d had a wonderful weekend.
Ramona @monalogue Monalogue travel blog
Ramona is a Bristol graduate, working as a content curator and photographer, passionate about are food and travel.
Bristol-based colour photographer and content creator Jess Siggers makes a break for the Bay.
A warm welcome
I always think the sign of a great hotel is when you arrive and the staff are not only smiley and friendly, but clearly happy to work there. This is the first impression I had on arrival at the Watergate Bay hotel! And the good impressions just kept coming.
Within the first two hours of our arrival we enjoyed a delicious lunch within The Living Space, had a grand tour during which we all made serious ‘heart-eyes’ at the Swim Club, Beach Hut and Zacry’s and had a great chat with Neil Haydock, Executive Chef. And this was all before I’d seen my room…
Walking into a room decorated simply but beautifully and in my favourite nautical colour palette, with the sun bouncing off the sea and casting dancing sparkles across the walls is something I’ll never forget. But after an hour or so of staring incredulously at the view, it was time to get ready for the Beach Hut tapas evening!
What followed was a great night of lovely food, buzzing atmosphere and an absolutely cracking White Russian or two.
Dreaming of waffles
Saturday went by in a blur of delicious breakfast at Zacry’s (still dreaming about those waffles), a blustery beach walk, seeing James Otter of Otter Surfboards do his thing in the events space, the loveliest of lazy lunches at the Living Space and then some chill time in my room before it was time for yet more amazing food, this time a three-course dinner back in Zacry’s. We all agreed that the food was incredible and eventually fell into our respective beds, stuffed and happy (long after the restaurant had closed for the night…oops!).
I woke Sunday morning to the sound of the sea, refreshed and ready for more waffles and my treatment, which was an utterly blissful massage from Roxy at Swim Club. Seriously did not want to check out of Watergate Bay…I’ve been recommending it to everyone and will definitely return later this year with my family. Thank you for such a fantastic weekend! X
Jess Siggers @porthjess
Jess stayed at the beginning of March 2017.
Jess Siggers is a Bristol-based content creator, consultant, social media influencer & photographer. She provides Instagram/smartphone photography workshops for both individuals & groups, and has been featured by the BBC, Time Out, The Chromologist, The Guardian & Mollie Makes. She became one of Instagram’s ‘Suggested Users’ and also runs the Bristol Instagrammers network (@IGersBristol).
Kym Grimshaw from On The Plate Blog makes a weekend break with friends at Watergate Bay.
Heaven is Portobello parmesan chips
Some weeks ago now, myself, Mona, Jess and Fritha packed ourselves into a little jeep and headed for Watergate Bay.
My first food encounter set the bar high for the rest of the weekend, Portobello parmesan chips in The Living Space. I was famished by this point and burned my tongue trying to scoff them down! I’m glad I savoured them long enough to enjoy their crispy fried breadcrumb coating and the mushrooms were cooked to perfection. Portobello mushroom chips devoured, glass of red in hand and looking out of the window at the breathtaking sea view. I got the feeling it was going to be hard to leave here.
Beach Hut event night
On that first Friday evening we spruced ourselves up a bit and walked down to The Beach Hut to be spoiled with courses of tapas. We were greeted by Bloody Mary’s, live acoustic music and a roaring fire on the beach before moving inside to take a seat at long communal tables. The friendly chatter of locals almost louder than the band! After the day of travelling I was relieved by the relaxed atmosphere, all in good company too. I lost count of the tapas courses but each one kept me on my toes, I kept my eye on the kitchen door trying to get a look at what was coming next! From fresh tuna poke,to spicy scallops, I enjoyed everything that night before falling into a food induced coma back at the room.
It’s Saturday morning by this point, we met down in Zacrys for some truly exciting breakfast offerings. By night, Zacrys transforms into something else, but more on that later! All of the breakfast choices are great, all fresh and quality far superior to any other breakfast buffet I’ve encountered. The crux of it all are their waffle machines. DIY breakfast! The waffle batter is prepared by the chefs for you, you pour, sandwich the maker together and set the timer for three minutes. Perfect waffles done! I don’t know why these waffles are better and more exciting than the ones I could make at home, but they are. Everyone else seemed just as enthused, even if there’s a queue for the waffle machine, I promise it will always be worth it!
From one indulgence to the next, if we weren’t eating (and taking photos of our food), we could be found by the swimming pool that looks out onto the sea, enjoying a massage in the treatment rooms and braving the British weather in a mad dash to the hot tub outside.
…and Zacry’s dinner
During the evening at Zacrys, the waffle machines are no longer in sight and the restaurant transforms to cater for fine dining. The menu is very much inspired by seasonal ingredients and the produce available locally. Plenty of seafood options, but by no means limited to just that. I ooooooh-ed and mmmmm-ed over the chicken liver parfait, with rhubarb chutney and toasted brioche. For main, an ode to what wonderful British modern food can be – English venison, dauphinoise potatoes, black cabbage, king oyster mushroom and Jerusalem artichoke puree. I’d fast for thirty days if I could just eat that meal again right now!
Needless to say, we were sad to say goodbye to Watergate Bay on the Sunday. One thing that became apparent during my stay is everyone had their own Watergate Bay stories to tell. I’ve never been so inundated with lovely comments and messages from sharing my time there on Instagram. I’ll remember the food, the happy dogs I met, the waffle machine at breakfast and that sea view. I hope not to leave it too long until my next visit, Watergate Bay is just too special not to return.
Former 400-metre champion Roger Black, his friends and family gather at the Bay each year.
Made for memories
I’ve many great memories of Watergate Bay Hotel, but perhaps my favourite is of the first time my twin sons, George and Max, went bodysurfing and loved it.
We’ve been coming to Watergate Bay with several other families – good friends of ours – once a year for the past six years. The weekend away is part of our life and what we do as a group. Each year, there are probably between 60-80 of us in total.
The boys had tried bodysurfing before, but it was a couple of years ago, when they were about eight, that they really got it. Seeing them among friends, having fun in the water was pretty special.
We tend to come in November when there’s enough room for us all. The weather’s not an issue – you don’t need to surf in the sunshine. We make the journey on a Friday, each family driving down and arriving at different times. I head straight for the pool and for the rest of the weekend spend a lot of time there throwing kids in the air. It’s fantastic fun.
The children love playing in the Kids’ Zone – not having their parents around all the time while being in a safe environment. That’s what I love about Watergate Bay: you can go down as a family and just stay at the hotel. It’s about eating, drinking and just being with friends. You have the amazing beach. You have everything you need. There are lots of areas to relax. You’ve got the main bar upstairs and the ocean room beneath it, overlooking the beach – I love that space. Families get a real sense of freedom and relaxation. The hotel caters for all ages and the teenagers in our group are still keen to keep coming back. They don’t want to miss it.
Take to the waves
Outside, we all spend hours on the beach. My wife, Julia, just loves being in the sea with the boys. The great thing about bodysurfing is that everyone can do it. You catch a wave and, once you do, you’ve just got to go back for more. Another great memory is of the four of us catching the same wave and riding it in together – pure excitement!
We hire wetsuits and boards from The Extreme Academy. They always have enough. We often think maybe we should get our own, but we never do. There’s no point. The guys there make it easy for you – they’re patient, enthusiastic and always accommodating.
As for the running, it’s good at Watergate Bay. You can get up on the cliffs for a challenging few miles. But I tend to stick to walking when I’m there. We go out every morning to walk on the beach. It’s about being social with the people I care about. As life goes by, I know more and more that what’s important is creating memories and spending quality time with friends and family. Watergate Bay gives us that year after year.
In a large pan of boiling water cook the rice for five minutes before draining, refresh under cold water and drain again.
Place the milk, vanilla, sugar and rice into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 25 minutes stirring occasionally to stop the rice from sticking until cooked, add a little more milk if required.
Allow the rice to cool stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
When the rice is at room temperature lightly whip the double cream and fold through the rice pudding and divide evenly into serving glasses.
Cut the rhubarb into 3cm lengths.
In a saucepan bring the sugar and water to a boil and reduce until a syrup forms before adding the rhubarb, simmer until the rhubarb is tender.
Remove from the syrup and reduce the syrup until a coating consistency is achieved.
Pre heat the oven to 120 degrees.
Break up the ginger cake into crouton size pieces and place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 30 minutes until dry and crunchy.
Pop the ginger cake into a food processor and blitz into a fine crumb.
Sprinkle a fine layer of the crumb over the rice pudding followed by the rhubarb and spoon over the syrup before serving.
Our friends at Penguin Books have given us a sneak peak at the latest book from Dianh Jefferies – Before the Rains, and we think its a great summer read. birthday.
In celebration of it’s release on 18 May we’re giving all our hotel guests staying that night a copy for them to take home. The 18 May is a special day for us as it is also Fifteen Cornwall’s Birthday.
Before the Rains, by Dinah Jefferies
1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband’s death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza’s only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she’s determined to make a name for herself.
But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince’s handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families – and society – think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what’s expected, or following their hearts. . .
Available in Viking paperback from all good bookshops on 18th May 2017 priced £7.99 and as an ebook.
Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine. Her idyllic childhood always held a special place in her imagination, and when she began writing novels in her 60s, she was able to return there – first in her fiction and then on annual research trips for each new novel. Dinah Jefferies is the author of four novels, The Separation, The Tea Planter’s Wife – a Number One Sunday Times bestseller, The Silk Merchant’s Daughter and Before the Rains. She lives in Gloucestershire.
Kerrie-Anne from London Mothers Club stayed at the Bay with her daughter, Ivy. Between food, massages, kids club and windy beach walks, read about their experience of an early Spring stay.
Hello, I am Kerrie-Anne! Mum to little Ivy, a pilates teacher and founder of London Mothers Club. We live in SW London with our cat Pie. London Mothers Club is an edit of COOL places, products and people I discover with a focus on motherhood and family life.
Where: Watergate Bay Hotel, Watergate Bay, Cornwall.
The vibe: Laid-back beach hangout.
We loved: Watergate Bay is the ideal place for you to relax while the kids are entertained.
Now don’t get us wrong, we love to go on holidays for family-time (they have that covered too!) but it is also nice to have a little break while the kids are being looked after. Watergate Bay provides a supervised kids’ club from 10-12 in the day and then 6-10pm at night. There are also iPads which you can use as baby monitors if you want to leave the little ones sleeping while you eat at one of the hotel restaurants.
It’s really awesome that you don’t have to venture too far as there’s a great food options, a lovely beach, surfing, great walks, a treatment rooms, pool and kids’ club all within reach. In terms of food options, we loved The Living Space – a cool food hangout overlooking the beach. Opt for the mackerel salad and make sure you check out the extensive gin menu!
We have to also give a mention to the fab bedrooms: cool decor, comfy beds, a roll-top bath, and a view of the Bay from our bed!
Oh and last but not least, Swim Club is pretty zen and I enjoyed a great massage there while my husband and Ivy hung out in the amazing pool (which looks onto the beach!).
We ate: Mackerel salad with a green juice in The Living Space. Steak, fries and brocolli in Zacry’s – this was so nice and totally filling! Moules in The Beach Hut. Lots and lots of wine and gin…. for the adults (obvs!).
Waffles, fruit, bacon, sausages, coffee for breakfast. Lots of excellent food choices.
The kids loved: The kids’ club. plenty of drawing, games, role play, an outside climbing frame, cooking and movies.
Ivy didn’t want to leave! The food: there’s a separate kids’ supper sitting at 5-6pm daily and Ivy loved eating with the other kids she met at kids’ club.
Another hit was the sandy beach. It was a little chilly when we went but next time we will definitely have a go at surfing.
Go with: Your family for half-term.
How much? As with all hotels it really depends when you go.
And… Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen is just next door and worth a visit.
Rebecca McMillan and Karl Maguire are a couple who own and run Wildflower Illustration Co, a small stationery studio in Cheltenham. They fell in love with Watergate Bay when they visited with Rebecca’s parents. Earlier this year they returned for ‘Taste of the Bay’.
As a couple who have travelled the world for a whole year together, you might think we would be a little more adventurous than to plan to visit the same hotel four times in two years – but we think that says more about Watergate Bay Hotel than it does about us.
There really is something special about this place, that leaves you day-dreaming about it long after you’ve left. Perhaps it’s the fact that the crashing waves and ever-changing sky are almost always in view, whether it’s from the dreamily decorated bedrooms, the glass-walled indoor swimming pool or the impeccably decorated ‘Living Space’. Or maybe it’s the reliability, the comfort that can be found in returning somewhere you have been, and loved before. The knowledge that the food will be delicious, your sleeps will be deep and you’ll leave with lightly freckled skin and salty hair.
So this time, we decided to stay for ‘Taste of the Bay’ – a three night/four day package with three meals at the restaurants in the Bay. Since our last visit, we have welcomed Martha, a springer spaniel cross whippet (we call her our ‘sprippet’!) – so it was really nice to stay in such a dog friendly hotel. The moment we would sit down in The Living Space we were greeted with a bottle of water and glasses for us – and a bowl for Martha.
Our first evening meal was in Zacrys. We were also visiting with my parents and their two labradors, so we all met for a long walk on the beach in the late afternoon to catch up and tire the dogs out after their car journey. Karl and I chose to have the red onion pakora, vegetable methi and red lentil dahl. We both really enjoyed it- it was full of flavour but not too spicy.
For desert I had the lemon cheesecake and Karl had the chocolate fondant. Naturally I ended up trying both and they were equally delicious! We all really enjoyed the meal, and the atmosphere was very relaxed. We discussed how nice it is to eat really outstanding food somewhere which doesn’t feel in the least bit ‘stuffy’.
The Beach Hut
Our lunch at the Beach Hut was absolutely wonderful. We managed to pick the most glorious day, so we had an incredible view across the bay and the cloudless blue sky. Dogs are allowed inside, so Martha sat under the table and busied herself with trying to catch the attention of a nearby labrador. Karl went for the quinoa & vegetable burger and fries and I had a huge plate of incredible nachos.
After ice-cream for desert (the weather was so hot we couldn’t really have had anything else) we were so full we could have happily snoozed all afternoon. Martha obviously had other ideas though, so we worked up the motivation to stroll on the beach and soak up the sun.
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall
Our final meal together was at Jamie’s Fifteen. I remembered a really fantastic meal here from the year before, so was already looking forward to it, but this time it genuinely surpassed all our expectations. We opted for the five-course tasting menu and I really recommend this if you’re like me and always agonise over food choices. With five courses and coffee, we were able to try a bit of everything. We all started with the Burrata with picked rhubarb and pistachio, apart from my Dad who opted for the oysters. The Burrata was absolutely delicious – soft, melt-in-the-mouth and paired perfectly with the sweet tang of the pickled rhubarb.
I followed it with a broad bean, mint and almond risotto, and then had the crispy hen’s egg with polenta, broccoli and almond gremolata. All the portion sizes were spot-on and I was very happily full but not uncomfortably so. The final course for all of us was the chocolate torte, yoghurt gelato and praline, which was as delicious as it sounds.
As an added bonus, Rebecca sent us a print of the painting below.
“The painting is one I did from a sketch when I was sitting in the Living Space outdoor area and completed at home using a photograph as reference.”