Reviewed: Watergate Bay Hotel

As I write this, I’m sat on a lushiously plump sofa in front of a window bigger than the footprint of my bathroom, watching the surf roll into Watergate Bay. You could say this is my happy place and in fact this is the kind of post that I hesitate to write because I just don’t want to share it with anyone. But the secret is well out, not least because I always share copious photos on Instagram when we are here. So here you have it, my review of Watergate Bay Hotel.

To give you a little bit of context, this is our 4th visit in 18ish months. We first came when Bea was 18 months old, in February, then again that October (when I was pregnant with Cora,) this year in June and now in November. So we have seen all seasons. We have also stayed in 2 different room types, tried all the food options and given the Spa and Swim club a good work out, so I’d like to consider this an informed review. Importantly too, I’m not getting compensated for this post, we just really really love it here. I honestly don’t have anything bad to say.

First things first, getting there. We have driven and flown – FlyBe goes from Manchester to Cornwall and as we live close to the airport and it’s an internal flight, it makes it a less than 3 hour hop door to door, compared with 6 if we drive. Since having kids we prefer to fly, but we did this current trip by car and it was better than expected. There are advantages to driving as you can take in the local area, but to be honest we often find we don’t leave the hotel vicinity as we have enough to do here, so a car is definitely not essential. If you do fly, the airport is a mere 5 minute taxi ride away, though do book your ride in advance so you can get straight onto your holiday relaxation.

The hotel is perched on the cliffs overlooking Watergate Bay so there are quite simply EPIC views. Once you are checked in you can head straight into the Living Space, the hotel’s bar and casual dining spot which has a massive terrace for soaking up the view, and tons of lounging space alongside tables for eating. It’s one of those places where you walk in and look up, and the view takes your breath away. For me personally the feeling of relaxation and wellbeing that I get when I walk in there is second to none and plays no small part in why we keep returning.

The rooms (and the hotel decor) are coastal inspired but not in a cliched way. Think natural materials, driftwood panelling, and simple wood furnishings with waffle throws, sisal rugs and linen cushions. Add in wall mounted task lighting and it feels quietly comfortable. We usually stay in a House Family Suite, (room 51 is our favourite,) which has a bathroom, bedroom, small sitting area, and (best bit!) a bunk room within the bedroom which Bea goes in. This means we aren’t sat in the dark once she has gone to sleep, and neither of us disturb each others sleep overnight. Cue restful family holiday all round!

The second thing we LOVE about this place is the baby monitoring facility. Not just a baby listening service, upon check in you are given an android tablet and camera to place in your room. There is a rock solid separate wifi network throughout the hotel (it actually extends across the carpark to Jamie’s and The Beach Hut if you want to venture that far but we prefer to get a babysitter via the Kids club if we leave the hotel,) so you can have the total peace of mind that comes from being able to actually see your kids whilst you’re out of the room. You can even have two monitors if you have a child in each room. For us this absolutely makes the holiday as we get to go out every night alone for dinner after the kids are in bed, or for drinks if we have eaten earlier with them, and have some time to ourselves. It also means that nap time is golden hour. We have coffee, read, swim, go in the hot tub, use the spa… all whilst watching them sleep peacefully.

There are several eating options to enjoy – The Living Space that I mentioned above, and Zachry’s – which is where you have breakfast but also a more refined (whilst still far from formal,) evening restaurant. The food here is fresh local and we find it quite filling, so whilst the DB&B deals are great value, we prefer to have only one or two nights in the main restaurant. The Living Space menu is quite small but the daily specials are always interesting and enjoyable. Across the car park is Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall and under that The Beach Hut – also owned by the hotel, which we love. The crab linguine there is not to be missed! The hotel also does a children’s dinner sitting from 5-6pm which is either a buffet (when there are enough kids in the hotel to justify it,) or a kids menu. This is included in the DB&B rates. Under 2′s eat free. This is great we find for feeding the kids without having to worry about other child-free diners and also early enough to get them into bed ready for you to go and enjoy the evening.

The other fantastic thing at WGB Hotel is the Kids Zone. This is the first visit which we have used the closed sessions from 10-12am Monday-Friday as previously Bea didn’t want to stay without us. She has had a whale of a time playing outside in the play area, painting, playing with the toys and all fully supervised by qualified staff. Sessions are for 6m-2yo’s and 3-7yo’s then there is also an evening 3-7yo session from 6.30 which is handy if you don’t want to leave your little one in the room while you eat later, or if they wouldn’t tolerate going down somewhere new. And when there isn’t a closed session running, the whole kids club area and facilities are open for you to use with your kids – great for entertaining them when they just need some playtime.

Although I’m writing this review from the perspective of someone who has children, one of the nice things about the hotel is (outside of the peak school holidays) it has never felt over run with children. There are just as many couples and groups of friends as there are families which gives a really good dynamic and I have never felt like the other child-free adults there really wished there weren’t children around. The hotel is dog friendly too and there is usually a fantastic vibe of friendly people around, dogs to stroke, other parents and kid to make passing conversation with and fun, helpful staff.

Lastly, I always try to fit a treatment in at the swim club. Every one I have had so far has been totally blissful. The Ocean Room is a quiet space for well behaved kids only and adults only after 7pm and the outdoor hot tub overlooking the beach is very relaxing. We go swimming at least once a day every day with the girls in the stunning sea view pool and I love that the changing facilities feel like a bathroom you would want in your home, not a public pool. Think countertop sinks, amazing showers, interesting tiles and slate floors in individual changing rooms. There is also an accessible/family changing room and a small gym.

So how do we spend our time here I hear you say? Well, we certainly kick down a gear and go at a slower pace. Breakfast starts at 8 and we are usually there soon after, for Waffles, bircher muesli, croissants and the usual cereals, cooked breakfast and fruit etc. (The breakfast is an absolute highlight!) Previously we would head straight to the pool after, but this time Bea has gone to kids club and while Cora naps we have enjoyed another coffee and relaxed. Then we might have a quick beach walk or swim before lunch (in the Living Space or The Beach Hut) and napping both the kids together before either swimming or walking on the beach again. WGB is massive so at low tide you can get a great walk up and down the beach plus you can take the Coastal path in either direction for some variation. We usually feed the girls at the kids dinner session whilst having a drink ourselves then head back to bath and bed them, but sometimes we might eat out with them earlier then put them to bed and go back downstairs for drinks and to read or talk in the bar. Then we do it all again the next day! We often think of going out, and we do go for the day to Padstow but we are more likely to get out of the hotel by walking some of the Coastal path or the beach, digging with Bea or building sandcastles. There’s a Surf school in the bay, Yoga and other classes. But mostly we like just pottering, eating and making the most of sleeping children!

I think I’ve covered everything… I could go into so much more detail and wax lyrical for hours but I think you get the gist! Please do ask any questions, I’d love to answer them. WGB really has become an incredibly special place for us and we hope to be coming back here for many more years as a family. If you have been thinking about it, don’t hesitate. It’s amazing!

Rebecca x

Psssst! While we are still here I’ve been posting loads of peeks inside our holiday and the hotel itself over on Instagram Stories. Head over to my Instagram profile and tap on my profile photo to see more!

How to Wear: September

What a glorious month September has been. Not only has the sun shone, we had a lovely family holiday in Cornwall as a foursome and it’s now the start of my favourite season of all, the Autumn.

The sunny weather has meant that sandals and espedrilles are still featuring in my shoe repertoire, even if worn with chunky knits and jackets – the perfect warm-ish Autumn attire!

Sandals and Espadrilles – Topshop; Jeans – J Crew; Jumper – J Crew; Culottes – Warehouse

My trusty kicks have also had several airings. I know they are essentially both white trainers, and both Adidas, but they make outfits look and feel very different, depending on which style I wear.

Adidas Cracked Leather Stan Smiths; Jeans – J Crew. Adidas Superstars; Chinos – Gap; Jumper, J Crew

We had a STUNNING week in Cornwall and we really lucked in with the weather. On the day we went to St Ives, the beach could have been found somewhere in the Caribbean (this is Carbis Bay for those who don’t know the area). Heaven.


The great weather meant that shorts were on the cards although starts to the day were still chilly. It was a great week and both boys, especially the biggest, loved it. We definitely have a beach lover on our hands ;)

The rest of the month has consisted of wearing the Coatigan I have mentioned before (I love how it goes with my woven wrap for Oscar, perhaps not deliberate…) and also getting dressed up for two Christenings on the same Sunday. The dress was really easy to feed Oscar in too.  Dress – Phase Eight; Shoes – LK Bennett

Finally I got to dress up again on Monday night this week for a work awards do. It felt liberating going out with only a small bag – my first evening away from No.2 since he was born.

Skirt –  c/o LK Bennett; Vest – Mango; Jacket – H&M (Sold Out)

I’ll be back next week with October’s “What to Buy” – coats will feature… ;)

Erin xx

PS: I was very excited about the Boden Icons launch that happened this month too and ordered a couple of pieces from the collection, but unfortunately, they’ve gone back.

Cardigan // Dress // Skirt

It’s nothing to do with the quality or fit, they are so well made with quality fabrics. It’s just I don’t think I’m quite ready to “fight for this love”…! (Although if the Mini version of the Brigadier skirt ever went into the sale, I may be tempted to order again…)

Dream Destination: Merlin Farm Eco Cottages

Before heading back to work in a couple of weeks, Pete and I decided to make the most of my maternity leave and squeeze in a little holiday. You might remember last Easter I did a round up of places that still had Easter availability for a short break. I included Merlin Farm in that, an Eco cottage in my favourite corner of Cornwall and shortly after the owners Lucy and Darryl invited us to experience it for ourselves. It’s taken us this long to get down there but boy was it worth the wait. We spent last week in Constantine Eco Cottage on Merlin Farm and I truly didn’t want to leave!

I’ll start off by saying we’ve stayed in the area twice before, amongst other stays in Cornwall, on both occasions at The Scarlet – an adults only eco hotel on the cliffs overlooking Mawgan Porth Beach. It was so lovely but obviously won’t be somewhere we’ll be staying in the near future now we’ve had Bea. Although we’ve already been to Florida with her, now she’s getting so much more mobile it definately means we have to give some thought to holiday destinations that will be fun for her and not leave us stressed by watching her 24/7!

There are 3 eco cottages, (alongside a couple of other accommodation options, all suitable for kids but Constantine is permanently baby proofed.) That means a (still stylish) fireguard, built in stairgates to the upstairs bedroom and lots of baby friendly equipment like a changemat, cot, highchair, plastic cutery and cups/plates, and a big bucket of toys. All these details are done so well too – the toys are new and varied, from sensory stuff to books and wooden puzzles and the stairgates are wooden rather than being an eyesore.

All the furniture is chunky solid wood and wipe clean leather sofas meant we didn’t feel we had to watch everywhere Bea was in case of inevitable accidents. There’s lots of floor space in the living area for playing (we bought our usual playmat for her but she rolled round the whole place safely due to the fireguard and plug socket covers.) The master bedroom is downstairs with a twin room (that can be converted to a double) upstairs with a toilet and sink ensuite, perfect for little ones and where we put Bea each night in the cot, which was ready and waiting for us. Both are a good size and the whole place is big enough for a couple with up to 2 children I’d say.

It doesn’t disappoint for adults either. The kitchen has lovely wood worktops, heated slate floors and stylish SMEG appliances, there’s a big freestanding bath and walk in shower with REN toiletries and lots of piping hot water, and champagne (and other!) glasses to enjoy some fizz in the cottage courtyard out front, with a patio heater on standby for cooler temperatures. The views are incredible and those lovely doors slide right back to completely open the living space to the countryside. You can also feel good as much of the daytime power is solar powered on site, recycling is encouraged and the eggs left in the fridge when you arrive are from the hens and ducks just over the fence at the farm – perfect for little kids to enjoy watching, along with the other resident animals.


The location is great too, in a sheltered valley, just over the hill from the bay. There’s an off road track through a forest and holiday park below which brings you out on a pavement lined road minutes from the beach, a 15 minute walk down and a little longer on the way up, on account of the hill! Mawgan Porth Beach is wide and flat – perfect for little ones and there are a few little cafe’s and shops on the beach front too. There are big supermarkets in Newquay or Padstow, around 15 minutes away.

We spent the days in our usual haunts locally, walking on the beach, a day out in Padstow, eating nice food and returned each night to feed Bea, bath her and then cook dinner for ourselves once she was asleep, flopping with a glass of wine in front of the fire after. There’s a selection of kids DVD’s and we found the True Detective box set (definitely worth watching by the way,) to while away the evenings.

Pete jokes that it’s always sunny in Cornwall, but we were blessed with amazing weather. It was fresh but I don’t mind getting wrapped up out of season as sunshine is a bonus. After what seems like months of grey days it was so restorative breathing the fresh air and basking a little in the spring sunshine. The patio heater was even so good that Bea joined us for cocktail hour on the patio, although it wasn’t quite as glamourous or relaxing with a baby trying to wrestle the champagne glass from my hand. ;)

All in all, we had an amazing time. I was so sad to leave and head back up north on Friday morning. On the positive side, we’ve found a new favourite place to stay in our favourite corner of Cornwall. Somewhere we can enjoy with Bea too!

I’ll be back soon with more details about our trip and things to do in the area. In the meantime if you’re looking for a baby friendly break in the UK, I can’t recommend Merlin Farm enough. It’s perfect for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers – make the most of those out of school holiday rates and the glorious peace and quiet in Cornwall out of school holidays too.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

*Disclaimer: Rebecca stayed as a guest of Merlin Farm but you can rest assured if she didn’t like it, you wouldn’t be reading about it here.

My Month: August

This month has flown by, faster than any other month this year. Perhaps it was how full it was – we went to CarFest one weekend then away for a week in Cornwall. Or perhaps it was the countdown to Jess & Dan’s wedding which is now only 2 days away. Either way, there hasn’t been a moment for reflection so I’m enjoying looking back at my last days of summer before the new season starts next week.

  • The shorts I haven’t had off all summer
  • Summer time gin-drinking
  • Healthy alfresco eating
  • Beautiful evening clouds
  • Making paper poms for the wedding
  • The spare room coming together with hints of coral.
  • Our view from the house in Bude that we stayed at
  • Clifftop and beachfront walks on the north Cornwall coastal path
  • Bodyboarding with Pete
  • A day out in Padstow (more to come!)
  • Dressing for dinner in coral and peach
  • The perfect bank holiday lie in…
  • Sweet Peas from the allotment
  • My favourite summer shirt (from Monsoon)
  • A rare moment of peace on holiday, enjoying the sunset on the beach.

How was your August readers?

 

Recommended: The Llawnroc, Cornwall

I love Cornwall. I’m not one of those people who has spent a lifetime exploring it – it’s Pete, my husband who has. His Mum is from Penzance and with teacher parents, he spent the whole of the summer holidays down there every year on the beaches. For me, it has been a slow indoctrination by him and being dragged down there. I had seen the pictures, don’t get me wrong – the turquoise clear waters, white sand beaches and crashing waves reminiscent of the Caribbean, I just didn’t really believe that that Cornwall existed for people like me who always bring bad weather on a UK holiday and prefer a nice clean pool over sand. Cornwall has however leached into my mind and now I frequently find myself uttering those well spoken words…  when the sun is shining, there really is no better place to holiday. So when I was invited to experience The Llawnroc, I relished the opportunity to share a new place to take a UK holiday in Cornwall.

Before going, I didn’t really know what to expect. I flicked through the website, saw it was close to the beach (very close, perfect!) had sea views and a lovely restaurant. I was sold. After a long drive down on what Pete calls ‘real Cornish roads’ we arrived at a very modern and smart looking small hotel and stepped into a foyer that wouldn’t be out of place in a city centre – all metallic glamour and chic touches.

The theme continued in our room as we were shown up to a beautiful suite with stunning decor and view that just out competed it – straight down a winding road lined with whitewashed houses to the sparkling sea.

Pete had asked me what I wanted to do whilst we were away and my answer was a very considered ‘nothing.’ After my recent workload I wanted to lie on the beach, soak up some sun, catch up on magazines and read a book – the holy grail of nothing-ness to me. So we headed straight out, down to the beach and sprawled on the sand, admiring the cloudless sky. The afternoon was punctuated with paddling, shell collecting and a wander across to the tiny harbour front to buy cornish ice cream.

When we returned to The Llawnroc we settled ourselves in the smart sofas outside and enjoyed a sundowner as the light started to fade from the terrace.  I loved that the outside area was huge – easily enough space for residents to eat and slouch whilst taking in the views and not feel in the least bit crowded – there are only 18 rooms.


We indulged ourselves by getting ready slowly then headed down to dinner to explore the restaurant and lounge areas. There were 2 restaurants – The Bistro for more relaxed dining and Gwinneas for fine dining. Mid-week and out of season we ate off the Gwinneas menu but in the Bistro restaurant area – a room surrounded by large floor to ceiling windows that would have been beautiful in the daytime making the most of the views and thrown open to the sea breeze. The food was excellent with a great selection of fish as you would expect on the coast and much of it from Megvagissey, the tiny harbour just along the coast. We fell into bed that night stuffed and happy, looking forward to another beach day.

We couldn’t have gotten luckier with the weather if we tried. The next day dawned with clear skies and still air, warm already at breakfast time. We took breakfast (the smoked salmon on english muffins with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce was so good I ate it two days on the trot) in Gwinneas, a much cosier but still glamorous setting that looked out onto the terrace, then rushed off to the beach again.

After a full days sunning ourselves, we headed into Mevagissey for fish and chips and took them to the harbour wall where we sat and looked out over the boats as the sun set. Compared to Gorran Haven? where The Llawnroc is, Mevagissy felt like a bustling metropolis, although it’s actually still a tiny coastal cornish fishing village. There were enough cute boutiques and cafes to entertain you for a rainy afternoon if the worst happened… but then again, does it ever rain in Cornwall? It was hard to imagine during the clear skies, still winds and balmy temperatures we enjoyed.

So would I go back? It seemed to me that The Llawnroc struck a perfect balance between luxurious retreat in a perfect location for a beach break if the weather and with the addition of PS3′s in the rooms and a DVD library, had enough touches that meant if the weather failed us, you probably wouldn’t even notice…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Disclaimer: Rebecca stayed for two nights as a guest of The Llawnroc, but if she wouldn’t recommend it to a friend, you wouldn’t be hearing about it here.