Guest blog – Ultimate Library

When Ultimate Library was asked to curate the Library at Watergate Bay, we were honoured. We knew how important this task would be after learning that Swim Club (in which the Library would sit) was the main area of relaxation in the hotel – aside from the beach of course!

Sunlit Ocean Room Watergate Bay Hotel Cornwall © Kirstin Prisk

Watergate Bay, a beachfront hotel in Newquay, Cornwall, is a well-designed, well-functioning centre of activity all year round.

The Ocean Room, situated in the Swim Club, is the hotel’s clever take on a family friendly spa: it features a 25-metre infinity pool, a café bar, a cardio room, treatment rooms and a living room with tables, sofas and views of the beach.

Judi Blakeburn Ocean Room

For the Library at Watergate Bay we put together a collection of books for adults and children. In total, there are about 200 titles to choose from, ranging from reference titles on Cornwall to recent bestselling fiction.

The book collection was made up of eight core subjects: Cornwall, water, wellbeing, food & drink, children, natural history, travel and fiction. The eight core subjects represent key elements of the hotel’s brand identity and were worked out between Ultimate Library and Watergate Bay beforehand.

Books on Cornwall are intended to educate visitors on where they are. Books on water are there to broaden an interest in activities like swimming and surfing which are offered by the hotel. Wellbeing books, such as books on sleep and mindfulness, reflect the importance of relaxation while at the hotel as well as the spa treatments available. Finally books on food & drink, travel, natural history and fiction for both adults and children ensure there is something for everyone who stays here.

Ultimate library ocean room

Our favourite read in the Cornwall selection is most definitely, Under a Mackerel Sky by the celebrated British chef, Rick Stein. Not only does it have the celebrity factor but it also has the truth element of what it’s like to live all year round in Cornwall. In the Water series, the Ultimate Library team absolutely loves Swim: Why We Love the Water, by Lynn Sherr. Sherr makes a compelling selection of facts and fiction on swimming, a key activity for guests of Watergate Bay.

Given that Watergate Bay is one of the few hotels in the UK that offers a surf school, books on surfing were an important addition to the broader library collection. One of the most interesting titles we picked is A Brief History of Surfing, by Matt Warshaw. This reference title comprises of lots of short essays that talk to the history of surfing, which is both funny and thrilling.

Ultimate library ocean room

For the children, we organised the reading material by age group so that there is reading material for every age starting from 4+. There are plenty of recognisable children’s titles and authors that children and their parents will find comfort in while being away from home. Books have a great ability to re-create a sense of homeliness in an otherwise foreign surrounding. A few of the classics we included in the collection at Watergate Bay were: Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, J.K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll.

Ultimate library ocean room

Guests of all ages and groups will spend a large part of their day in the Living Space, so offering forms of entertainment such as books was important to the hotel management team. To quell concerns about books wandering off, Ultimate Library worked with Watergate Bay to create bespoke bookplates that sit on the front page of every book and explain how to use and maintain the books. Placing the hotel logo alongside politely scripted text has the power to reduce shrinkage considerably.


We are great believers in the transformative power of books and believe anyone can enjoy a good book, particularly if one has a good setting, just like the setting of the Library at Watergate Bay. Sitting in one of the hotel’s comfy sofas, hearing the waves roll in and reading a good book is not bad at all!

Join us in the ocean room at Watergate Bay Hotel, book to stay.

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