The beach is your back garden, the sea is your playground, and the loft suites are your luxurious hangout, where you can gaze at professional-surfers through floor-to-ceiling glass, as though you’re standing right there on the golden sands…
When Watergate Bay Hotel named its newest accommodation The Beach Lofts, they weren’t kidding – they are quite literally aloft from the sand, elevated to enhance the picture-perfect views, with private access to the seashore.
The pristine sandy beach is the star attraction of Watergate Bay. So, to be one of the special guests staying in a loft suite (there are just seven in total) – with its stone’s throw proximity – permits exclusive 24/7 access, even after the crowds have departed.
It feels like it’s yours, entirely yours, to enjoy in total tranquillity… seeing the sunset over the sparkling ocean with no one else there to break the view or steal the moment.
And it’s captivating; watching and listening to the peaceful sounds of the waves, an endless flow of water lapping onto the shore. Swinging gently from the hanging sofa in the loft suite, mesmerised by the Atlantic Ocean, it’s easy to fall into an almost meditative state – you feel happier, healthier, calmer and connected to the landscape.
But, the glistening turquoise of the awakening Atlantic Ocean is not just there to be admired, of course.
Watergate Bay is a surfers’ paradise, and with the help of Wavehunters at the Extreme Academy surf school, there’s no requirement to be Alan Stokes before embracing the rippling tides. All levels of ability, from beginners to experienced Bettys are welcome by the talented crew of instructors, who also teach stand-up paddleboarding and run boat trips and fitness classes. The team are passionate about their spectacular stretch of coastline and sharing their love for the water with others; ‘surf stoked’, in their own words.
During the pre-entry briefing on the beach, our teenage daughters were quick to bond with the other young ones of the group. The icebreaker? Laughing at their inadequate parents trying to master the skill of pop-up (transitioning from lying down to standing up) onto the board!
Once in the water, there was some lighthearted competition around which of us would catch a wave first, along with many hilariously disastrous attempts.
The youngest picked it up in a shot (of course!) –surfing the waves almost effortlessly with every endeavour. It took me a while longer – just as I had finally remained upright, balancing at speed for the first time, we got called back in, and the session was over.
However, the exhilarating feeling of the waves beneath our feet had given us an appetite for more. There was time for a quick break before we found ourselves hiring some boards for the rest of the day – and the beauty of staying at the Beach Loft is the surf-in and surf-out access from the suites. Guests have use of their own private wetsuit room, hot showers, lockers and board storage adjacent to the exclusive lofts.
This uncomplicated opportunity to relax and take a break from the sapping swells when needed provided an exhilarating, no-hassle experience for the family –we could surf as much or as little as we liked as others watched or took Poppy, our two-year-old Spanador, for a walk to explore the rock pools and caves.
It is effortless to holiday here with your canine in tow; Watergate Bay is the most dog-friendly hotel you could possibly imagine. The staff joke about the pups being their favourite guests, but with the attention and doting they give them, I’m not sure they’re merely kidding.
There’s even a doggie photo wall – guests are encouraged to use the #WatergateBayMoments for their finest pictures and captions, which are then proudly printed, displayed and available for collection. Captions made an entertaining read, from “feeling salty” to “No… I’m not leaving the beach!”
The two-mile-long stretch of beach at low tide is dog friendly all year-round – and your coastal hideaway, the laid-back beach lofts, have everything you and your furry best friend could need. We stayed in a family suite with a large open-plan bedroom and living space with a freestanding bath. Each loft has a different layout, unique character, warm textures, and stylish interiors. Think reclaimed wooden flooring, vintage rugs, upcycled and bespoke sofas, coastal books, woven baskets, hand-painted table lamps, large-scale seascapes, and rattan basket lampshades hanging from the rafters.
The bathroom interior resumes the outside-in feel with beach wood, tropical plants, painted brass fittings and Land & Water toiletries inspired by the shoreline and born out of Watergate Bay – sustainable products with a heavenly scent – available to buy in the giftshop.
Another advantage of staying in the Beach Lofts is the private pantry stocked with fresh coffee, pastries, cereal, fruit, juice and more, including a selection of freshly baked cakes each afternoon, giving the option to take breakfast to your room or a hamper down to the beach.
However, for a more substantial post-surf refuel, just below the lofts is the stylish Beach Hut serving delicious local, seasonal produce – with a 50% plant-based menu.
There’s plenty of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some of our favourite choices include their homemade Bircher muesli, potato-stuffed flatbread, steamed Cornish mussels, and their signature hot chocolate.
After a morning’s surf, a full-body salt scrub followed by a soak in a clifftop Canadian hot tub with the sun on our faces could never feel better. As a Beach Loft resident, you are also a guest of the Watergate Bay Hotel, including at the Swim Club where there’s also an infinity pool, a Finnish sauna, a cardio room, a large outdoor decking area, and a cafe-bar.
In the evening, Zacry’s Restaurant is the hotel’s place to be, savouring executive chef Neil Haydock’s culinary delights under candlelight in a formal – yet relaxed – setting.
The three-course menu changes each season, with the best quality locally sourced meat and fish; slow-roasted spring lamb, whole Argentine prawns in garlic butter, and slow-cooked beef short rib. There’s plenty of imaginative pasta dishes, plant-based options, and mouthwatering desserts, including chocolate and brown butter ganache with pickled blackberries. For casual dining, head to The Living Space, serving British classics, from seasonal salads to hearty grills. It’s open for lunch too, and there’s a great children’s menu and cosy snug where you can sit back, play games and make yourself at home.
Located on the seawall, the highly acclaimed Emily Scott restaurant serves the best of seasonal Cornish produce and is independently owned and highly recommended to guests. Or, plan your visit for The Beach Hut’s Lobster Friday, and enjoy their Cornish special drizzled in hot parsley butter – freshly caught from Newquay Harbour.
And if it isn’t Friday, pop to the local fishmonger and enjoy a beach barbecue; with Cornwall’s clear night skies and perfect sunset views, it is one of the best barbecue spots in the UK.
For well-deserved relaxation, join a morning or sundown beach-yoga session, take a stroll along the South West Coast Path (which is on the hotel’s doorstep) or seek out the ocean room, one of our favourite spots in the hotel, where it is easy to find a cosy corner and armchair to sink into against the backdrop of the waves.
We spent the last evening of our holiday here, playing board games, drinking cocktails and treasuring our final spectacular sunset together.
Jessica Way was a guest of Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall, staying in the new Beach Lofts. Prices to stay in the Beach Lofts from £545 per night, hotel bedrooms from £199 per night, → watergatebay.co.uk
Text by Jessica Way