Hotel Review: The Headland Hotel, Newquay in Cornwall
Sitting proudly on one end of Newquay’s famous surfer’s Fistral beach, sits the majestic Headland Hotel.
Growing up in the West Country, the hotel was one that I had certainly heard of and with its distinctive facade, was definitely one I could point out in a line up. From the minute I found out I was to spend the weekend at the iconic hotel I was bursting with excitement.
I rocked up late one Friday afternoon after easily steering my way to the outskirts of Newquay and was greeted by the grade II listed building. My fellow guest, Nick, and I were in awe at the fantastic beachside location and couldn’t wait to start our weekend. We enjoyed a tour of the hotel, of which its walls could tell a thousand stories I’m sure, before being shown to our room, which offered up an exceptional view of the Atlantic Ocean.
The multi award winning 4 star hotel also boasts 5 star luxury self catering cottages for guests that want more privacy and also use the hotel’s many facilities.
With most rooms offering a view of the fantastic scenery, and all so stylishly decorated, it really is a special place to wake up in. Our large light and airy room was traditionally designed in blues and creams with a large window framing the ocean and the stunning sunset over the water. A two seater chair was perched beside the window and there were a selection of books to peruse on the bookshelf above to while away some time should we wish. The large bed gave us a cosy night’s sleep and the view to wake up to in the morning was incredible.
The stunning self catering cottages are also a great way to spend some time away in a luxurious setting whether enjoying a romantic winter break for two in a one bed or for the whole family in a three bed for a summer holiday – pets are very welcome here.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I think The Headland agrees. There appears to be the widest offering of breakfast goodies I have ever seen and what I have sampled are delicious. I was faced with options of Eggs Florentine, Benedict or Royale, pancakes, Headland Cornish breakfast, fresh fruits, cold and cured meats, cheeses, yogurts, cereals, muselis and porridge, muffins, breads, croissants and Danish pastries. We did our very best but we barely scratched the surface and I thoroughly enjoyed my Eggs Florentine, mini Danishes and chocolate chip muffin.
Dinner is also served in The Restaurant while more casual meals and afternoon tea can be enjoyed in The Terrace. The view is fantastic wherever you are and the Cornish cuisine is freshly prepared and locally sourced.
We enjoyed dinner in The Restaurant one night and I was thrilled to have a pianist tinkling away as I ate. I always think there is something quite special about sharing a room with someone playing a musical instrument (and I’m not thinking a seven year old playing the recorder). The room is beautifully decorated in light, neutral colours and oversized lampshades in cream and taupe share the ceiling with chandeliers, which are dripping with beads. Although a large room, The Restaurant somehow manages to retain a cosy and intimate feel while enjoying your dinner.
For my first course I went for the Cornish (of course!) crab with toasted bread and avocado with lime. The plate looked colourful and appetising; the crunchy bread, smooth avocado and lightly seasoned crab tasted great together and the lime and rosemary, which was on the bread added some great flavours to the plate. For my main course I opted for the roast Cornish sirloin tagliata with grilled vegetables and chips. This was accompanied by parmesan cheese, rocket leaves and mint sauce and the vegetables were courgette, aubergine and green, yellow and orange cooked peppers. The steak was a good quality piece of meat and was cooked just how I liked it, overall it was a very pleasant dish and I also enjoyed a few glasses of South Eastern Australian Shiraz Cabernet with it. Dessert was my dish of the night, which is not surprising for me as I have a sweet tooth and am rather fond of chocolate. I opted for the chocolate mousse, which sat on a bed of edible soil and was served with raspberries, grated white chocolate and raspberry coulis. The soil added that great crunch to the dish while the sweet raspberry cut through the white and milk chocolate mousse perfectly. There was a great variation of textures and flavours and there was plenty to go around – not that I was sharing this, of course!
The menu is very varied; other dinner options included ox cheek rissole, parsley and garlic sauce and pickled carrot for starter, teriyaki sea trout and noodle salad with pickled daikon or local lobster salad with mango, avocado, citrus, new potatoes and chicory for main and arctic roll and strawberries or elderflower jelly and ice cream for dessert.
For a more informal dining experience The Terrace offers light bites and local favourites in a comfortable setting. Soft, suede chairs, wood floors and floor to ceiling windows, through which to view the stunning scenery, offer the perfect place to spend a few hours over afternoon tea or to enjoy a falafel burger or fish curry.
The hotel is rich in history and has been through some exciting times even before work had been completed on it in 1900. The building of the hotel was met with fierce opposition by local fishermen who halted building work after tearing down foundation walls, burning scaffolding and throwing the foreman’s hut into the sea. Work continued and the hotel opened its doors in the same year. The hotel has seen many famous faces pass through its doors including the cast of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, which was also filmed there. Rowan Atkinson appeared in the film and unwittingly flooded the film’s production office two floors below his room after running a bath and going to bed leaving the taps running one evening.
Members of the royal family have also stayed there and the hotel has also hosted many events including the Radio One Road Show and a fashion shoot for Italian Vogue – shot by David Bailey. During the Second World War the hotel was requisitioned and became an RAF hospital and now stands firm as a leading luxury hotel in the South West.
With its unique coastal location, yet being within walking distance of Newquay’s town centre, The Headland offers more than just a stay – weddings, dinner dances, conferences and Christmas events can also be spent here among it’s award winning facilities. While wandering around the hotel you will notice the ballroom, which doubles as a lounge during the day but can host up to 300 guests upon its coil-sprung floor. There are also many a room, sofa or bench in and around the hotel where you can take a moment to enjoy the comfort it offers and to appreciate the fantastic view.
During my visit there I also visited the resident spa and must admit it was the part that I was most looking forward to, especially after I found out that it is Cornwall’s only ‘Five Bubbles’ rated spa and had in recent years enjoyed a thorough make over. I enjoyed a hot stone massage and facial along with a swim and visit to the relaxation room, read my full review here…
If you fancy something a little more action packed, surf, SUP or a kite surf lesson can be arranged at Surf Sanctuary on Fistral Beach for people with a wide range of sporting abilities and there is also a croquet lawn and tennis courts on site.
In a nutshell
A glorious weekend spent in an iconic hotel where you are so well looked after and at the same time left to enjoy your stay, with glamour, opulence and incredible views at every corner.
How to get there
I traveled to Newquay from Totnes with Great Western Railway. Travel is possible to Newquay by train from many parts of the British Isles.
Address: The Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall TR7 1EW