It felt a little bit like a scene from The Waltons rocking up at Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa with a car full of girls heading off for two days of spa and surfing. A fusion of apprehension and excitement at venturing into the English sea to flail about with a board, compounded by an unusually long journey to Cornwall from London (ta very much M25), the site of the hotel sitting as close to the water as dry land could possibly allow was both welcome and breathtaking.
Fistral Beach Hotel is a supremely modern affair. A small reception greets you, flanked by entrances into the bar, restaurant, and the spa. It is light, airy, and welcoming; staff could not be more friendly and helpful – displaying true Cornish hospitality, but far and away my favourite feature has to be the ever-present view of the sea which is just over the road and provides the ultimate sense of escapism … not to mention a rather high wind thanks to the cliff top position.
Set over three levels, the spa is small and contemporary but incredibly beautiful. The pool, complete with massage jets, is surrounded by a Jacuzzi from which you can survey all other swimmers, as well as a sauna and a steam room. The twinkly lights in the ceiling which periodically change colour and are reminiscent of the stars also add a sense of romance (although this was obviously a little less relevant in our case) – it is definitely a place for relaxation – while you could swim lengths, the warmth and atmosphere lend themselves to lethargically wallowing in the waters before heading upstairs for an ESPA facial or massage and dozing off in the relaxation room for the rest of the afternoon.
The main restaurant (cryptically titled, Beach View) is at the front of the hotel and on one side benefits from full length windows looking out at the aforementioned sea view, only marginally obstructed by the car park. The ceilings are high and the contemporary lighting adds a sense of artistic flair to the minimalist design. Again, staff are unerringly friendly and helpful, and most importantly the food is superb. Featuring fresh, local ingredients, I would always recommend having whatever fish is available – the scallops in particular were wonderful, and while the menu changes periodically when it comes to dessert (because dessert is important) if it is on there then I suggest you grab the Hot Chocolate Fondant with both hands and savour every mouthful. You will probably explode afterwards, but it’s worth it.
Have I mentioned the view? The beach really is just below the hotel and you can park right outside, so while Cornwall is a long way if you are travelling from London, like we were, if you are going by car it really is all terribly easy and once there you won’t need to drive for the remainder of your stay. The location is also what lends this particular hotel to the activity options including surfing (for which we have a surf and spa package conveniently pre prepared). The Quiksilver surf school is located two minutes from the hotel, then stroll down to the beach for your lesson, and afterwards you can race back to the warmth of your shower in your hotel room – which in our case we did in bikinis and towels – it really is that close that no one will bat an eyelid – even if it was April at the time – brrr! Alternatively, head out for a walk along the beach towards the headland – gorgeous as the hotel is, if you are anything like me you will want to spend as much time outside as possible.
A contemporary hotel from the outside, the idea that this is a romantic venue is not the first that comes to mind but the view, the food, and the pool area in particular lend themselves to a serene sense of romance. That said, my personal recommendation would be to head here with a group of friends, particularly because of the water sports available so close to the hotel and the proximity to Newquay if you want to go out. As an alternative hen or stag party option, or simply for a break and a really good giggle you would be hard pushed to find somewhere finer.
Book a surfing lesson – the staff at the Quiksilver school are incredibly helpful and fun – you don’t need any previous experience and the wetsuits keep you surprisingly warm.
Have three courses at dinner – there really isn’t a good course to miss.
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