Now that I have a two year old, relaxing beach holidays don’t exist. They didn’t really exist before to be honest, not with a husband who, not dissimilar to my two year old needs constant entertainment. But while pre-children I might have squeezed a couple hours of R & R, today it’s impossible. Or so I thought. Step forward Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall.
I had originally organised a visit to the Watergate Bay Hotel as part of a feature I was writing for another publication. It was meant to be an enjoyable work weekend away sans toddler with my photographer husband (I know very convenient right), however as is typical when you have small children nothing quite goes to plan. Our babysitter fell through last minute and without other options we were forced to take our little monster with us.
We arrived expecting nothing more child friendly than the travel cot I had requested over the phone the day before. What we were greeted with was a whole lot more.
On check-in we were immediately presented with a web cam and I-pad, so that we may keep an eye on our sleeping son Shiloh, while we enjoyed dinner and drinks in one of the 5 restaurants; Zarcy’s (American Cuisine), Living Space (rustic eating), The Beach Hut, (Cornwall’s best known beach side hangout), Venus Café (organic takeaway) and Jamie Oliver’s Italian inspired social enterprise, Fifteen. Followed by an invite to their daily early supper for children up to 12 years old, from 5pm to 6pm in Zarcy’s restaurant, at no extra charge. Absolutely brilliant!
Just knowing that we didn’t have to spend the evening eating in our room in the dark made our day. The discovery of their fully equipped kids zone, complete with endless toys and outside playground made Shiloh’s.
Open from 8am until 10pm everyday Kid Zone has an outdoor play area, indoor playroom and art room with toys, games and children’s books. During school holidays younger children can sign up to an array of activities including sandcastle building, rock pooling, den building, treasures hunts and, arts and crafts. While the XA Club and The Games Rooms provides a range of activities and entertainment for older children.
Of course our weekend at the Watergate Bay Hotel, wasn’t just about the children’s activities. Us adults need entertainment too. Coming to the conclusion that ‘If you can’t beat them join them’, I decided to indulge my sporty side and please my surfing obsessed husband by booking in for my first ever surf lesson at the Extreme Academy; Watergate Bays specialist school for surfing, kitesurfing, waveski, stand-up paddle surf and handplanning.
Despite spending almost 6 years watching my husband surf, I had never really had the inclination to give it a go, put off by the big waves and often-cold waters. So when I woke up the following morning to the sound of wind and a sky of grey, I was having seconds thoughts. But unfortunately for me, this was still a work weekend and backing out was not an option. In the name of research and Nike, I would have to suck it up and ‘Just Do It’! A healthy energising breakfast at Zarcy’s of poached eggs, smoked salmon and tomatoes provided the extra boost of energy I need, and I headed down ready to face my fate.
My surf lesson was a group lesson taught by a friendly Canadian surfer, made up of six adults and two children. Lasting a total of two hours it involved teaching both on the land and in water, with the end aim being able to stand on your surfboard for a couple of second and not falling too spectacularly. And you know what, despite the wind, the rain and the cold, I loved the challenge.
Switching baby-sitting duties, it was my husbands’ time for a surf. Having surfed for years he didn’t take advantage of the Extreme Academy but couldn’t believe his luck when he turned on the hotels outside shower to discover hot water. A totally genius idea by the people at the Watergate Bay Hotel.
Our afternoon was spent at the hotels Swim Club, enjoying a family swim in the stunning ocean view infinity pool followed by another play session in the Kid Zone for Shiloh and a relaxing massage for myself. The perfect remedy following a hard morning surfing.
Designed for both being active and kicking back, along with the 24-metre infinity pool the Swim Club has a café/bar, cardio room, studio for cardio cycle and yoga class, treatment rooms and manicure and pedicure rooms over looking the bay. If that’s not enough it also has an outdoor hot tub, surfboard storage, changing room/wet suit drying area and beach access.
Stunning rooms, amazing food, spa, gym, yoga, swimming, surfing and kids entertainment only a few hours drive from London. I didn’t think we could do but I think we have finally found a UK holiday that can tick every box.
For further information visit Watergate Bay Hotel.
Photography by Logan Irvine-MacDougall.