Watergate Bay Hotel – A Child-Friendly Sanctuary

October 18, 2016

Watergate Bay Hotel

If like me you trawl the internet for child-friendly holidays, you’ll know how exciting it is when you find somewhere that really caters for your little treasures (and not at the expense of adult enjoyment either). Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall, is one of those places.

I’ll say straight away that I’m a hotel snob. I’m a very fussy customer because hotels are not cheap and they have a fairly simple service to provide – bed and breakfast as a minimum. But on so many occasions I’ve received poor service, shoddy surroundings and awful food. I travelled a lot when I was a marketing manager and have been lucky enough to stay in hotels all over the world. Therefore I know exactly what I’m looking for when I choose accommodation and even more so, now I need it to work for us as a family. With hotels I find you get what you pay for, although there are always exceptions.

Since having rocket man Hubster and I have felt more comfortable holidaying in the UK. In fact, three out of our last four holidays have been spent at Watergate Bay Hotel. I could write a post on the whole place, but let’s just say it’s coastal chic at its best. Laid-back luxury. Designed for adults, but with children (and dogs!) in mind.

There is an eclectic mix of clientele, from families with babies, to couples and silver-surfers. Somehow the hotel enables everyone to co-exist without intruding on each others’ space. This is largely down to a wide selection of areas to ‘hang out.’ From a gorgeous lounge over-looking Watergate Bay, to the buzzy ‘Living Space,’ Swim Club or their restaurant Zacry’s. Two minutes walk from the hotel is also Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall.

Watergate Bay Hotel


THE KIDS ZONE

This post is all about the kids, so I have to start with the Kids Zone. Before children I didn’t take much notice of child-friendly facilities, but Watergate Bay Hotel have really got this nailed. The Kids Zone is open every day from 8am until 10pm and it’s completely free. You can either go there as a family and play or do crafts, or you can book onto one of their supervised sessions. It’s an Ofsted-registered activity space for children of all ages. Their website states that all staff are experienced early years practitioners, with associated qualifications and valid DBS checks. I have to say everyone we met was lovely.

As you walk into the Kids Zone there is a large room for older children with games, pool table, TV, ping pong and table football. Further down the corridor is a secure play room, art room and outdoor area for younger children. As I said I’m not an easy customer to please, but I was so impressed with the facilities. There was such a lot to keep kids entertained and I felt the whole area had a Montessori feel to it. By that I mean it’s mostly self-directed play (a lovely pretend kitchen), sensory experiences, wooden toys and a craft area where children can let their imaginations run wild. Best of all, it was always really calm!

Kids Zone Watergate Bay HotelOur little man is only 16 months old, but he loved it every time we took him to the Kids Zone. Most afternoons we’d pop down all together and play with him for an hour before dinner. He was really taken with the play kitchen and was happy to explore everything, including reading, playing cars, building with blocks and running around outside. When he’s older he’ll be able to join in with football tournaments, hot chocolate around a fire pit and fun on the beach.Kids Zone Watergate Bay Hotel

The Kids Zone also offers supervised sessions throughout the day. The toddler session is every morning from 10am – 12 noon. Each day they have different activities to engage the kids and on Tutti’s first morning he enjoyed jelly play and on his other morning it was fun with water. Obviously you must stay on site while your children are in the sessions, but it was lovely having a couple of hours just the two us (so rare these days) to read a paper, drink coffee or go back to bed…ahem.

Kids Zone Watergate Bay Hotel

There are also supervised sessions for older children from 6.30pm until 10pm. Again a mix of activities including films, cookery and team games for ages 3 -12 years old. This is a great idea if you want to enjoy a quiet dinner or relax after a hectic family day out.

CHILD-FRIENDLY FACILITIES

OK, so along with all the beach activities, that’s the kids entertainment sorted, but what else makes Watergate Bay Hotel great for families? Well, here are some brilliant features:

* Baby-Sitting and Baby Monitoring
For £12 an hour you can hire an in-room baby-sitter from 6pm until 2am. They are staff from the Kids Zone so you know they’re fully qualified. Alternatively, the hotel provides free video baby monitors which you connect up in your room. You can then go downstairs and eat dinner whilst watching your precious ones on-screen (and checking on them regularly). We loved having a relaxed dinner every night and see these options as a real plus for the hotel.

* Early Supper
Every day from 5pm – 6pm children can eat an early supper in Zacry’s restaurant. I think in high season this is laid-out as a buffet, but as we stayed in October we had the kid’s menu to pick full meals from. The food is all fresh and very high quality. The buffet is a great idea as children can choose a few different things, but equally rocket man enjoyed the meals we ordered from the menu (although the portions were too big for him).

*Parents’ Kitchens
A genius idea! The downside of staying in hotels with children is there often isn’t room for all the paraphernalia you need. Watergate Bay have helped with this by giving guests access to parents’ kitchens on each floor. These are small kitchens containing a fridge, microwave and sink, plus electrical sockets for sterilisers etc. We used the kitchen on our floor every day and left food in the fridge. Every little helps!

* Family Rooms
We haven’t stayed in one, but the rooms feature a king-size bed and decent space, plus a separate bedroom with bunk beds. I think these rooms are mainly at the back of the hotel with a view of the road, which has put me off. However, having opted for a sea view room with us all sleeping in the same space, I would definitely consider a family room in future. It wasn’t a problem when rocket man was tiny and could sleep through anything, but this time we found he woke us up and we woke him up. Not ideal.

Zacry's Watergate Bay Hotel

So there you are. Part of me didn’t want to share what a lovely place it is, as it’s already difficult to get a room at popular times! However, I know how hard it is to find child-friendly accommodation that still delivers high standards and attractive surroundings for us parents.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

 

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25 Comments

  1. Reply

    Louise

    This hotel sounds amazing! I will have to look into it the next time we go to stay down there, we normally go to the Padstow area as we have family there, but this isn’t too far away at all! #SharingTheBlogLove

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      It is Louise! It’s about half an hour from Padstow. x

  2. Reply

    Sarah Stockley

    My aunt and uncle often stay at Watergate Bay and I’m sure they take their dog too, I have seen photos online and it looks fantastic. Sarah #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      Ooh yes dogs are very welcome! Think there were more dogs than kids when we went 😉 My son loved it. x

  3. Reply

    Flying Solo

    My friend holidays here every year and is getting married here in December 2018, I hope I get an invite now! 🙂 #TheList

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      How lucky they are! The wedding will be beautiful I’m sure 😊 x

  4. Reply

    Watergate Bay Hotel

    Hi Kirsty, What an amazing review and selection of photos, thank you for posting this and sharing your experience. We will certainly be sharing with our social channels to give other ideas on what to do when they holiday with little ones, and with our team here at Watergate. Hopefully we will see you and your family back soon. Team WGB

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      Thanks guys. 😊

  5. Reply

    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    Oh gosh, I love Cornwall but we’ve never ventured to this part so not discovered this little gem – it sounds absolutely wonderful! I love the early kids meals, and the family kitchen idea – I love how much thought they’ve clearly put into what people want. I wouldn’t see us making much use of the kids area as my son is very fussy about who he’s left with, but I love the idea of hot chocolate round the campfire for the older kids – I’d have loved that! Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      The great thing is the kids area can be used any time of day, not just supervised sessions. We would just pop down as a family and let rocket man play. Ideal when you’ve had a busy day. x

  6. Reply

    Jo from Organised Jo

    What fab facilities. Having things like this can really make a holiday special for everyone. And being right on Watergate Bay too, such a lovely beach. #sharingthebloglove

  7. Reply

    Susie - This Is Me Now

    Wow this looks amazing!! I love Cornwall, lived there for a little while years ago and went to Fifteen so I think I’ve seen this, but never knew how child friendly it was!! I am going to show my husband so we can consider for our next Staycation, it’s just so far from Norfolk though!!! #Sharingthebloglove

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      Ooh I hope hubby agrees. Yes, it would be a bit of a trek from Norfolk, but worth it once you arrive! x

  8. Reply

    Laura - dear bear and beany

    I haven’t been to Cornwall for a while and not since having the girls. This is a great kid friend,y hotel. I’ve heard come across a family kitchen before, this definitely makes staying in a hotel more appealing. We haven’t left out girls in a kids club before, we tend to use holidays for family time. But it sounds great if you need it. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove X

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      I know not everyone is a fan of kids clubs and I certainly wouldn’t leave rocket man with just anyone. But this was such a lovely set-up and he really loved it. A couple of hours on a couple of mornings was just lovely for me and Hubster to spend some time together. It’s so rare for it to be just the two of us and it’s important to have that time as a couple, as well as lots of family time too. x

  9. Reply

    Emma T

    We’ve not been on holiday as far as Cornwall with N yet, but have heard of this hotel. It does look like it’s great or kids although generally I’m on my own with N so want to spend the time with him

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      All the kids facilities are for the whole family to enjoy. You don’t have to leave little ones for the supervised sessions. We mostly used the Kids Zone in the late afternoon when rocket man was starting to get tired. We all went to the room together and played with him until dinner. When the weather is a bit cold and dull, it’s ideal having the indoor facilities to keep children entertained. x

  10. Reply

    Mummy in a TuTu (@mummyinatutu)

    Oh wow looks amazing – though any holiday for me would be good right now!
    thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  11. Reply

    Lyra

    This looks like such a lovely place with so many thoughtful touches in place! It’s been years since I’ve visited Cornwall but definitely hope to get there soon!

  12. Reply

    Andrea @Topsy Turvy Tribe

    We have friends in Newquay and often visit. I never knew the hotel was so awesome!
    #sharingthebloglove

  13. Reply

    suz

    This place sounds amazing.
    #PicknMix

  14. Reply

    Becky Clark

    This hotel sounds amazing! I’ve never been to Cornwall but it’s somewhere that I would love to visit particularly in a couple of years when my little monkey is a little older! xx #PickNMix

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      I hadn’t been to cornwall for a long time until the last couple of years. It really is beautiful and the beaches are fab. x

  15. Reply

    A Cornish Mum

    I’ve heard good things about this hotel before and your photos make it look gorgeous. Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x

    1. Reply

      Kirsty

      I’ve just heard they are refreshing some areas this winter as well, so it should be really super duper 😊 x

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