Watergate Bay Beach is a wide stretch of Atlantic-facing sands, backed by cliffs, on the north Cornwall coast. Between Newquay and the headlands at Griffins Point, the two-mile beach is one of Europe's top surfing destinations. Hotels in the area attract family vacationers, extreme sports enthusiasts and sophisticated holiday-makers.
The Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay
Hotel owner Henry Ashworth set out to create a "ski resort on a beach" by bringing together a variety of accommodations, restaurants, clothing and equipment shops, and a watersports school in one place. Guests, who come to learn surfing, surfboarding, kite sailing, wave skiing and other extreme water sports, can stay in large, budget-priced family rooms, surfers' "dorms" or glamorous, oceanview suites with freestanding baths and boutique decor. Jamie Oliver's "Fifteen" restaurant is part of the complex.
The Headland Hotel, Newquay
The Headland is a big Victorian landmark of a hotel overlooking Fistral Beach in Newquay. The hotel has a golf course, free on-site parking and is surrounded by a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, a fossil-studded raised beach. Family rooms and suites are one of this hotel's specialties, and well-behaved pets are welcome.
The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth
Surfing novices practice on the quieter beach at Mawgan Porth, just north of Watergate Bay. The Scarlet, an eco hotel on the cliffs above, has been garnering attention since opening in early 2010. Developed by three sisters, the boutique hotel is a luxury retreat with a focus on sustainability - from the solar heating and recycled "grey" water, to the reed-bed swimming pool and locally sourced produce. Condé Nast Traveller added it to its "Top 60 Hot New Hotels in the world" and called it "one of the most environmentally-friendly you're likely to find in the UK ... honest, luxurious and rather beautiful."
The Sands Resort Hotel, Porth
The Sands, above tiny Whipsiderry Beach between Newquay and Watergate Bay, was built specifically with families in mind. All the rooms and suites in this large complex are family rooms, and the extensive grounds include safe indoor and outdoor play environments for different age groups. Prices, for bed and breakfast accommodations as well as restaurant meals, are geared to family budgets. The Sands offers live children's entertainment most nights and entertainment for parents twice a week.
- Visit Cornwall: Surfing Cornwall
- The Hotel & Extreme Academy: Directory
- The Headland Hotel; Fistral Beach; Newquay; Cornwall TR7 1EW; England; +44 (0)1637 872211
- Condé Nast Traveller: Boutiques Beside the Seaside
- The Scarlet: Directory
- The Sands: Directory
- Watergate Bay image by Robert Page from Fotolia.com