We asked Simon and Helen from Passport Stamps to tell us about their ideal weekend getaway – action by day followed by relaxation by night made top of their list, and of course Watergate Bay could oblige. Watch their video and read what happened when they came to stay at Watergate Bay for three nights.
THE IDEAL WEEKEND AWAY
As a travel blogger I’m always on the move so I was hoping to find somewhere a bit closer to home to spend a long weekend off. My boyfriend, Simon, and I discovered that flights to Cornwall from London meant we could be out of the city and onto the beach in less than two hours so it was a no brainer. We wanted a sunny spot to relax, enjoy the beach – and a few cocktails – and chill out. Watergate Bay ticked all the boxes with a few extras thrown in and we couldn’t have asked for a better base to unwind.
Arriving on Friday afternoon we were wowed by the hotel’s location. Nestled sweetly into Watergate Bay with a sandy beach to the front and lush green hills to the side, it’s certainly a top spot. Directly opposite we spied Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall restaurant so we knew we were good company. I loved the vibe of the hotel. Walking in immediately made us feel like guests at someone’s exclusive beach house. Instead of heading straight up to our room we couldn’t resist grabbing a drink from The Living Space and a seat on its sun-drenched balcony.
The Living Space is a bar/lounge with a casual, friendly feel to it. A mix of groups were enjoying after-work drinks, couples were sharing a cosy corner, families were gathered and even a few sleepy dogs could be seen curled up under the tables. There is an option to eat with a casual menu that has dishes from your classic fish and chips combo to Thai fish curry or a mouth-watering charcuterie named ‘the long board’, and our personal favourite.
I have to admit to letting out a little squeal upon seeing our room, number 22, which has a balcony to the side and a roll-top bath in the window. I definitely wasn’t expecting that! Simon had the taps running before I’d even put my bags down. Decorated with subtle beach-chic design the room was bright, airy and charming with a stunning view of the sea. Opening a bottle of fizz to toast our arrival we sat and watched the sun go down across the bay – a view guaranteed to impress.
We’d booked this weekend away hoping to spend some time together as a couple but neither of us enjoy sitting still for too long. Luckily Watergate Bay has plenty of ideas for getting out and exploring the great outdoors. And it turned out we didn’t have to go very far for our first stop of the day.
Extreme Academy surf school is next door to the hotel and they offer surfing lessons for all levels of skill. Having each only surfed once before we were firmly in the absolute beginners club so a private lesson with Pete was exactly what we needed to get out and try those famous Cornwall waves for on for size. After some basic skills training and a warm up on the beach we were ready to take the plunge. And take the plunge I did… Simon managed to ride almost every wave with some help from pro, Pete, but I spent most of the time headfirst in the water. I’m probably not going to be the next Lucy Campbell but it was a brilliant introduction to the world of surfing and the best way to spend two hours cooling off in the sea.
After working up quite an appetite on the waves, we dropped off our wetsuits and followed a recommendation for fish and chips at The Beach Hut restaurant on the seafront. With a surf vibe and sandy floor, plus an outdoor terrace for those who can’t get enough sun, it’s a sweet spot for lunch. The restaurant was packed with locals and tourists alike and everyone was extra friendly. Cross-table conversations created a cheerful soundtrack to accompany the grub. After stuffing our faces we worked off lunch with a long stroll along the beach.
On Saturday night, the casual barefoot crowd from earlier had been replaced by the stylish set, sipping on curious gin cocktails in wide glasses. We just had time for a quick drink at The Living Space before dinner at Watergate Bay’s smart restaurant, Zacry’s. Rumour has it the food here is a strong rival for the cuisine at Fifteen Cornwall so we were extra excited to tuck into our choices of pork belly with noodles, turbot, and crab pasta. I really loved the design throughout the entire hotel but Zacry’s at night was probably my favourite area. The soft industrial design with dimly lit areas made for an intimate and romantic setting.
TIME TO RELAX
Our last day was spent at the Swim Club – a pool area with floor-to-ceiling glass windows looking over the beach, a sun deck, outdoor hot tubs and treatment rooms. There is also a lovely chill out area with cushion-strewn sofas, magazines, books and a small café/bar designed purely with relaxing in mind. Simon burned off some energy doing lengths in the 25-metre long pool while I opted for a more blissful option, a 60-minute ‘Drench facial’. Obviously we couldn’t resist a dip in the outdoor barrel-style hot tub to mark the end of our wonderful weekend.
After just a few nights’ stay we felt as though we’d been away for a week. I really do think it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind. We’ve already recommended it to a host of our family and friends. Over coffee Simon and I were reflecting on our time at Watergate Bay and trying to decide what our favourite part of the stay had been. For me, interestingly, it was the enjoyment of other guests. Those we spoke to in person and those who commented on our social media channels obviously have a real fondness for the place, which I completely understand. A beach retreat offering casual luxury, space to relax and an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors works for everyone. The warm welcome means they’re sure to come back and we will too.
By Helen Wright, editor at www.passportstamps.uk