There are some moments that quite simply take your breath away and you cannot begin to recall a time that you have felt so relaxed and happy … well this was one of those!
As I sat cuddled up in a fluffy blanket watching the stormy sea outside the window, I looked over at Mr H who, reading opposite me, was totally engrossed in Harry Potter and that moment I felt a great big blanket of relaxation and contentment wash over me. This was the ending of a perfect day.
I have a mind, body and spirit approach to well-being and can’t stress (appropriate word!) enough the importance of alternative therapies to our health. So whilst away on our Cornish retreat, I wanted to find the perfect spa to spend a day relaxing and to leave feeling restored for both me and Mr H.
Within minutes researching I came across a page of recommendations for the Watergate Bay Hotel Swim Club. I have, like most, heard of the Watergate Bay before as the home to one of Jamie Oliver’s flagship restaurants “Fifteen”, which I have on many adventures south intended to visit … and again on this one never got the chance … so next time!
We decided to start our relaxing day with breakfast at Lusty Glaze, a private bay outsideNewquay surrounded by high cliffs.
This beautiful cove hides some secret gems; a cosy restaurant, activities centre, holiday beach huts and a huge stage right front and centre on the beach which over the summer months hosts some truly fantastic music acts at their Sundown sessions, something that again I will be back for … however today we were settling for granola in front of the fire with scrabble before setting off 5 mins along the coast road to another bay.
The Watergate Bay hotel is perched on the top of a cliff overlooking a beach that is one of the regions most notorious surfing spots, enclosed by white sandy rugged coast line and with the waves crashing below it is a truly spectacular location where you can completely emerge yourself within the surrounding elements.
Inside the hotel everything is very clean, light and fresh it really has that beach side chic style feeling, however it still manages to be cosy and warm, which is aided by the staff, who have tons of warmth and energy for what they do.
Greeted by big smiles from a very friendly spa receptionist we were talked through the day and a package was recommended based on our personal requirements that would include a tailor made massage, lunch and use of the facilities throughout the day, just a note here about that term “facilities”. You are right in thinking that these are what you would usually find at a spa, so a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and chill out room, however nothing quite prepared us for the facilities at the Watergate Bay.
Taking a seat in front of a huge window that looks over the bay we were given lunch menus for the two restaurants that were included in the day, The Living Space is a stunning boutique restaurant which is a housed within the hotel with views that take in the whole of the bay including a relaxed outdoor balcony that in the summer with the delicious cocktail menu would be a perfect combination. The other option was The Beach Hut which is situated down on the beach front with a more informal relaxed vibe and instantly having spotted two of my favourite dishes on the menu and a rib eye steak for Mr H, this was where we booked for that afternoon.
As our treatments weren’t until 4pm we decided to have a little paddle in the pool, then head down to lunch and then back up for our massages.
The pool …. well, wow … that about sums it up … an infinity pool with an ocean view and the cherry on the cake was that due to the time (just after half term) we had this amazing space to ourselves to relax, swim, sigh and smile.
Having spotted the hot tub outside on the terrace I decided to brave the the storm that was starting to set in and I left the snug warmth of the pool and headed outside in the drizzly rain wrapped up in my fluffy dressing gown and quickly jumping into the tub there I sat in the warm water with the waves crashing on the beach below in the rain … just watching … feeling very peaceful.
With tummy’s rumbling, we headed to the changing room and having lathered in and slathered on all of the gorgeous potions and lotions and feeling that fuzzy warm glow we headed outside and down to the beach … and to lunch!!
The Beach hut is literally a beach side hip hang out which as an added bonus does amazing food and the biggest hot chocolates I have even seen in my life. Always preferring to eat somewhere relaxed and informal this was the most perfect place for us. We took a seat in the covered decked balcony that was kept cosy with great big outdoor heaters, with its floor to ceiling glass windows it had the most spectacular view over the beach and taking a sip of our Prosecco we were once again lulled into a relaxed happy place, which only increased once the food arrived.
We ordered a few of the small plates to start; Dukkah with whipped feta and pea & mint yoghurt dip with flatbread and to both of our relief these were not “small plates”. They were bowls filled with delicious dips and more flatbread then you could possibly dunk.
For the main event after a week of seafood and fish my man was ready for some red meat and that’s certainly what he got with a grilled Rib eye steak that came with a delicious buttery sauce and a mountain of crispy home made fries … you can see why this place is such a favourite now with the local surfers; imagine a mornings surfing and then coming out to lunch like this.
I on the other hand decided that with a massage in the afternoon (including a tummy massage!) opted for something a little lighter (although as an “experimenting” vegetarian that I can always trick Mr H into parting with a bit if his steak!) Having chosen the superfood salad I must admit that the rib eye did give me a little food envy and I know what most people think “how can a bowl of lettuce be a lunch anyway. Well believe me this bowl can. The only place I have ever had anything like it was at the passion Cafe in Ibiza which does a “Buddha Bowl” similar, that’s packed with fresh salad, herbs, bean sprouts, carrots, nuts, seeds, a whole avocado (no mushed up guacamole!), beetroot and a creamy mustard dressing … again I can see a few of you still being a bit “meh”, but having spent a considerable amount of my past life eating pretty much just salads (so much wasted table time!) this was one of the best.
So with happy tummy’s we set up back towards the hotel and for our treatments.
Now I am a slight perfectionist when it comes to massages, think of me like goldilocks, it has to be “just right” … so I make it my personal quest to find these wonderful holistic oasis’s all over the world (it’s a hard job!).
From the minute we stepped into our room, filled with intoxicating scents of essential oils and soft music with the occasional wave crashing the whole experience was magical.
The therapists were incredibly professional and knowledgeable and every bit of our treatment was tailor-made, it was evident that they were looking at every aspect of well-being, not just about relieving physical tension, but also promoting emotional harmony too.
The human ice cube and emotional thing that I am, I always need warming up and re balancing so I was prescribed a mix of hot stones, deep tissue and aromatherapy full body, whereas Mr H who suffers with a recurrent back injury went for more of a sports massage winding down into relaxation at the end … and of course an Indian head massage, where snoring is compulsory
… and then it began!!
For 90 minutes I went somewhere … I’m still not sure where it was, although afterwards I did describe golden balls of light and fluffy pillows, so I think that you can gather from that the massage had the desired effect.
I am the first to admit that I have a little problem switching off, not from the stressy stuff, but my excitable brain is constantly planning another happy project, thinking about the next Big Busk or just working through new recipe ingredients … but for the time ever whilst I was in that room, I was the most relaxed, harmonised and blissed out than I have ever been in my life and judging from the big goofy, sleepy smile coming from Mr H I guess he felt the same.
Just as our day was coming to an end, I nipped for a little manicure which quite pleasantly and unexpectedly came with a tasting of the new wine menu … The Sauvignon is fantastic.
So there I must leave it, although having just realised for how long I have whittled on, you can guess I would happily keep on gushing about the place.
The Watergate bay is a very special place, it offers so much and is yet so incredibly simple. The beauty of its surroundings just immerses you in the elements and with the superb food, facilities and treatments I’m sure that everyone must float out of there on a natural high.
The one thing however that makes it so truly special, is the staff. The hotel is owned independently and isn’t part of a chain which is evident in the environment. There is no stuffiness or pretence, just genuine attentive, nice people that create a place where you can just be yourself .. your best self.