Our history

Owned by one family for two generations, Watergate Bay Hotel is as popular for the warmth of its hospitality as it is for its gorgeous location.

The hotel today is a collection of fresh, contemporary spaces designed to connect you with the rugged coastline outside. Our sports school, Extreme Academy, helps you make the most of the surfing break on our doorstep. Inside is Swim Club, a secluded area including a 25-metre indoor pool, café-bar and treatment rooms.

The hotel as we know it bears little resemblance to the original, built in 1904. Intended to serve as a railway terminus, the hotel later became an RAF Officers’ Mess before falling into disrepair. In the Seventies, it was given some love, with the Victorian building converted back into a 55-bedroom hotel. Families flocked to it for a traditional beach holiday.

Some 40 years later and Watergate Bay remains a favourite with families, while appealing equally to couples and groups of friends. In 2001 the hotel embarked on a new era, opening year-round to reimagine its potential. Every phase of our evolution since has been informed by one vision: a ski resort on a beach.

With the opening next door of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall; the development of The Living Space and Swim Club; and, later, the opening of our restaurant, Zacry’s, Watergate Bay Hotel has complemented its great outdoor offering with fine après surf.

The result is a hotel whose unique location is matched by its service, its food and its atmosphere – or so we hope. We are constantly evolving and striving to improve the experience you’ll find here.

Timeline

1904
Watergate Bay Hotel is built to serve as a railway terminus hotel for a proposed Newquay to Padstow branch line.

1939 – 1945
During the Second World War the property becomes an RAF Officers’ Mess, later converted to married quarters.

1967
John and Mary Ashworth buy Watergate Bay Hotel, initially running it as self-catering flats.

1971
The Ashworths convert the premises back to a 55-bedroom hotel, adding an extension to include a living area and restaurant.

1999
John and Mary’s son, Henry Ashworth, buys the beach café and opens Extreme Academy and The Beach Hut.

2002
A £500,000 rebuild of the beach complex adds a second storey, which includes an upstairs restaurant and facilities for hosting sporting events.

2004
Will Ashworth, then 28, takes over the running of the hotel from his parents. The Ocean Wing, a new wing of 18 sea-view rooms of contemporary design, is completed.

2005
The initial refurbishment of the hotel’s public areas is completed, including the creation of The Living Space.

2006
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall opens at Watergate Bay.
Beach Retreats, a marketing and letting agency for coastal self-catering accommodation, is launched.

2007
Bedrooms in the original, Victorian, part of the hotel are refurbished. The first ever Polo on the Beach polo match is played at Watergate Bay.

2011
The first phase of The Village, an £8 million project to create 20 holiday apartments, is opened.

2012
Swim Club opens.
The final phase of The Village begins.

2013
Fifteen Cornwall is refurbished with a new antipasti bar. The Village is completed.
Agreement to lease Melville, a building at Royal William Yard, for the proposed development of a 70-bedroom hotel.

2015
Another Place hotel collection is launched.
Rampsbeck Hotel, Ullswater, is purchased, becoming the first hotel in the collection.

2016
Rampbeck is closed and Another Place, The Lake begins development due to open summer 2017.

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