Watergate Bay, the place formerly known as the Hotel and Extreme Academy, recently threw open its doors again after a three-million pound refurbishment. Was it a success? 'Refurbishment' might be understating it a little; 'extreme makeover' would be a more fitting way to describe it, as from the rooms right the way through to the spa, it’s all absolutely divine.
Much of the aesthetic attention has been lavished on the 69 bedrooms, each of which is individually designed and super-chic. They range from ‘standard’ to ‘suites’, and while all are lovely, with enormous beds, stripped wooden floors and plenty of cool seaside graphic prints dotted about the rooms to add a bit of fun, the real headliners are those with sea views.
Back downstairs, eating comes very high on the agenda at Watergate Bay. With five places to choose from, you don’t need to eat in the same place twice (although making your mind up as to which to go for throws up its own challenges). The newly opened Living Space has open-plan kitchens, sea views and a relaxed but brilliantly thought out menu - and there are even board games to settle in with over a bottle of wine, once you’ve finished. The Beach Hut and the Venus Cafe are great for lazy lunches, and for more special occasions, there’s the Dining Room and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen, which is right on the beach.
Good food, gorgeous bedrooms and a stunning location aside, it’s the new spa that really wows at Watergate Bay. Designed by the brilliant Household (the London-based design company responsible for the gorgeous interiors of Shoreditch House and the recent Christian Louboutin exhibition), it’s the sort of place that can be very hard to leave once it gets its hooks into you. Firstly, there’s a 25-metre infinity pool that looks out over the ocean. With floor-to-ceiling rollback doors, it's essentially an indoor pool that opens up into an outdoor pool when the weather warms up. Then there’s the chic, homely Ocean Room, where you can relax with a drink (or have a pedicure) and look out over the surf crashing on the bay.
- Having the beach right outside the window
- Leaving the doors open at night and listening to the rolling waves
- The food (Oh the food...)
- Getting out in the surf and actually being able to stand up
- It's popular with families, so if you’re looking for a non child-friendly hotel, this may not be your place
Need to Know: Watergate Bay
Number of rooms: 69
Check-in/check-out times: 3pm and 11am
Room service: Yes
Swimming pool: Yes. There’s a wonderful pool inside; surrounded by doors that open out completely, it's technically an outdoor pool, too.
Spa: Yes. There are three small (but perfectly formed) treatment rooms, which you can book out for a certain amount of time and choose whatever treatment you feel like on the day. And to finish a day in style, you can watch the sun set from the timber Canadian hot tub on the decked terrace.
Dogs welcome: Yes, very much so.
Eating and drinking: There are five restaurants, each with varied menus that dish up only locally sourced, fresh produce.
Location: Right on the very lovely Watergate Bay, surfing, kite-surfing or just a spot of sunbathing are all right on your doorstep. For bars and clubs, Newquay is only a 10-minute drive away.
Getting there: Watergate Bay is perfectly placed for transport - it’s a 10-minute drive from Newquay Airport and a 15-minute drive from Newquay train station (both journeys cost around £10 by taxi). First Great Western (firstgreatwestern.co.uk) run a frequent, efficient service from London Paddington. There’s plenty of free car parking space if you’re driving.