UK staycations are at an all-time high and the need for exploring our insanely beautiful country is in total demand. No matter what the weather or time of year, Cornwall is a true bucket-list destination that is there to be ticked off. With the ability to get from the tube to the beach within an hour in the air, why wouldn’t you take advantage of picturesque locations and undiscovered foodie hotspots within reach?
We invited Jessica from The Travelista to discover a UK staycation this summer at our beach-side haven and having never visited Cornwall before, we knew she’d fall in love at first sight…
I love taking UK staycations, but until now they’ve never been for the beaches. Cornwall is a destination I had heard and seen so many positive things about, so I knew I had to go and see it for myself. When I was invited to stay at Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to go and see this much-adored corner of England. Joining me on the trip was my lovely Mum. As well as being my first time in Cornwall, it was also the first blog trip I would get to take my Mum on it, which made the trip even more exciting. We swapped the 6 hour drive from Leeds to Newquay for a handy one hour flight. Before we knew it, we we’d landed on the ‘English Riviera’, picked up our hire car and were whizzing down country roads towards our final destination of Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa (20 minutes from Newquay Airport).
INTRODUCING FISTRAL BEACH HOTEL AND SPA
Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa is an adult-only contemporary hotel located right on Cornwall’s famous Fistral Beach. Its prime beach-front location can provide total escapism and laid-back holiday vibes without having to step foot on a plane. The hotel has 71 cool comfortable rooms and suites, a soothing spa, laid back lounge bar and a vibrant beachside restaurant. Although it’s a stylish 4 star hotel, there is no pretentiousness. The hotel takes inspiration from its Newquay’s laid-back surfing culture and you’d feel totally at home wandering around in a pair of shorts and flip flops.
As we entered into the Fistral Beach Hotel reception area, we were greeted by a friendly front-of-house team who took our names and invited us to go and sit in the beach bar to complete the check in and enjoy a welcome drink on the house. This gesture really impressed me from the off. A waiter brought out two glasses of chilled ‘Fistral Fizz’ which we were told was the non-alcoholic cocktail of the month (homemade blackberry syrup blended with soda). As we sipped on our fizz the receptionist came and sat down with us to explain everything we needed to know about the hotel. The approach was so personal and relaxed.
HIDDEN SURPRISES IN OUR ‘ROOM WITH A VIEW’
We slid the keycard in and opened the door to our ‘Best’ room. The spacious room was filled with light coming in from the sliding double doors of the balcony. The first thing that struck me was the spectacular view; the whole vista of Fistral Beach in all its glory. The seats on the balcony was the perfect place to sit, watch the surfers and enjoy the fresh sea air. Inside there were two plush twin beds, connecting to an open plan bathroom with huge freestanding bathtub with ocean views. Luxurious touches such as ESPA toiletries and a surprise bag of chocolate truffles made it feel even more special. We were even surprised by slippers fluffy white robes with our names embroidered on to them (an extra available to all guests for an additional charge). The thoughtfulness and attention to detail was incredible! My first impressions of Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa were fantastic.
EXPLORING FISTRAL BEACH
After seeing the spectacular coastal view, we were itching to get down to the beach and stretch our legs. Fistral Beach is a surfer’s paradise, and this is immediately apparent even on the approach towards the beach. Surf-dude camper vans line the connecting beach roads and surfers of all ages (some as young as 4) can be seen carrying surfboards and running towards the waves. It’s one of the top surfing beaches in the UK thanks to its constant break of waves. Along with its striking blue (and often turquoise) waters, I’d say it’s the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen in England.
OCEAN-FRONT DINING AT DUNE RESTAURANT
After a bracing beach walk and refreshments in one of the beach bars, we headed back to Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa for dinner at the signature Dune Restaurant. As I walked into Dune I firstly noticed the beautiful interiors; they were surf-inspired in the most elegant way. A fabulous waitress showed us to a perfect beach-front table and took our drinks orders. She brought out some complimentary rosemary focaccia bread with olive oil for us to nibble on whilst we perused the menu.
I went for the Cornish crab tarte to start followed by prawn and scallop linguine. The dishes looked like a work of art and tasted fresh and flavoursome. I am a a bit of a fresh pasta snob but my wonderful dish exceeded all expectations. I also loved the look of my Mum’s blackened salmon. She said it tasted beautiful!
After being wow’ed at dinner the night before, I had high hopes for the breakfast. Also held in Dune Restaurant, guests can help themselves to a continental buffet and order cooked dishes that are made to order. I loved the selection on the breakfast buffet, especially the smoothie and juice station. I had the super smoothie (guava, carrot and melon) every morning which I could tell had been freshly made. On the a la carte menu I sampled the Eggs Benedict, Poached eggs on avocado toast and on the last day, banana waffles. The breakfast dishes were superb, as was the energetic service from all of breakfast waiters and waitresses. They remembered our names and room numbers every morning before we could even open our mouths to tell them.
MY FIRST PRE NATAL MASSAGE AT FISTRAL SPA
If you’ve read my blog for a little while you’ll already know I am spa-obsessed and always try to find time to squeeze in a treatment. This has been difficult whilst I’ve been going through my first trimester of pregnancy as you can’t have massages or treatments when you’re under 12 weeks. I was 15 weeks by the time I visited the Fistral Spa, so I booked in for my first pre-natal massage. We visited the spa 1 hour before our treatments to make use of the spa facilities. I did some lengths in the pool and Mum checked out the sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. We then went up to the blissful relaxation room where we waited for our treatments. Taking the time to unwind a bit before our treatments made a world of difference. My talented therapist Daniella was wonderful and explained the massage process clearly and made sure I was completely comfortable. The massage felt personal and totally tailored to my needs, and for 1 hour I was in complete bliss.
A ‘STORM IN A TEACUP’ AFTERNOON TEA
Our final treat at Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa was sampling their afternoon tea. This can be served in either the Bay Bar or Dune Restaurant, but we enjoyed it in Dune Restaurant. I opted for an Egyptian mint tea then out came the beautifully presented afternoon tea stack. As with any afternoon tea, the scones were my highlight and I enjoyed them with lashings of strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream (of course!).
A WORD ON SERVICE
One other thing I must mention about Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa is the outstanding service and attention to detail displayed by so many of the members of staff. I would describe it as a 4 star hotel but with 5 star service, which isn’t something that you see often. You’re made to feel totally welcome and like nothing is too much trouble. This kind of service really helped to give us a memorable stay.
The Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa proved to be the perfect base for my first time in Cornwall. The surrounding coastal areas of the hotel are incredibly beautiful (don’t miss Little Fistral, Newquay Harbour and Pentire Head), all of which are in walking distance. Everything from the food and the service to the spa treatments exceed my expectations and combined to give the most positive first experience of Newquay and Cornwall. I only wish we had more time to explore the surrounding areas, so Cornwall, I will be back!