Watergate Bay hotel

Note: This post was written after experiencing a complimentary stay at the Watergate Bay Hotel .  However, as always, all opinions are my own.

Last year I made a promise to myself to explore more of the UK  because there’s so much I’ve yet to see, but like many, I tend to jump at the chance to travel overseas instead. 

Knowing that my birthday was approaching I was looking to go somewhere extra special that wasn’t too far or awkward to travel too but still had that holiday getaway feel. This is where the idea of exploring Cornwall came to mind. Cornwall had been on the top of my list for such a long time and was known to be a British surfers paradise. I was really looking to a relaxing, low key vibe to celebrate my birthday.

Once we decided on Cornwall as the destination, I had a couple of places I absolutely wanted to visit and Watergate Bay Hotel  was definitely at the top of the list. I had seen this place many times in my instagram feed; I couldn’t ignore this place (wait until you see the photos) and I was so excited to finally had the opportunity to visit.

How to get there

To get to the Watergate Bay hotel from London it’s actually quite easy, we took a train on Friday morning from Paddington station, we had to make a small change at Par station to connect to Newquay (although there are some direct services) and we easily found a taxi upon arrival in Newquay to take a short and scenic 10 minute ride to the hotel. You can also take the local coastal bus for £5 one way or pay a fixed £10 fair for the taxi which really was a no brainer since there were two of us. Also the local bus timetable isn’t very frequent (1 bus per hour roughly).

The other possibility (and apparently quicker) way to get there if travelling from London by train is to get out Bodman parkway and taxi it from there for approximately 25-30 minutes.

When we arrived

We arrived on a Friday afternoon, after a long train journey , and I was welcomed in the best possible way; with some cocktails overlooking the ocean, a full 60 minute body massage and lovely dinner.

After we had a tour of their beautiful hotel and facilities, we dropped our luggages and I went down to their spa to try one of their 60 mins massages, which was super good. They give you the choice of three different essentials oils and I decided to go with the one for a ”deep muscle massage”. If you fancy a massage as well at your arrival, I recommend booking in advance because it gets booked up quite quickly.

Swim Club

Swim Club

Drinks with a sunset

After a lovely massage experience, Steve and I went for a couple of drinks in their brand new ocean-facing bar which was filled with a great ambience and accompanied with beautiful mellow live music. Now, if this doesn’t give you that cool, relaxing Byron Bay like vibe – I don’t know what will!

 

Living in a busy and stressful city, you often forget to take the time to unwind and relax. At that moment, this was just exactly what I needed. 

If you are visiting the Watergate Bay Hotel, I highly recommend trying their berries mojito and to head there at sunset time- trust me you won’t regret it.

After already being on cloud 9, yes heaven does exist apparently, we made our way over to their restaurant ‘Zacrys’ for a lovely dinner for two.

I was not only impressed by their delightful customer service but also the broad range of vegan options on offer on their menu. They gave us even more options than what was listed on the menu but we still decided to go with the classic tofu curry. I mean you can never go wrong with a curry right?

On reflection whilst writing this, I cannot believe how entertaining and adventure-filled our first evening was; no wonder why the long weekend felt like a week’s holiday!

Zacry's restaurant

Zacry’s restaurant

 

Breakfast, Surf and Lunch for two

The next morning, after indulging in delicious vegan waffles and classic English breakfast (In Zacry’s); we were booked in for a surf lesson at their very own surf school on the hotel grounds. This place was seriously cool, and definitely a highlight from our stay at the Watergate Bay Hotel. We had a whole morning of surf lessons and fun in the water, the weather and currents were perfect. They have small group sessions, which makes it almost private and the instructors are very knowledgable and always spend some one-on-one time with each participant. We had so much fun that we forgot to checkout in time; so we ran…yikes!

After surfing the Atlantic waves and building up an appetite (after that huge buffet breakfast) we went to the hotels beach-side restaurant ‘The Beach Hut’ for another feast for two. I enjoyed their delicious vegan jackfruit burger with a side of potato wedges. After filling up our bellies again we decided to pass a few hours at the pool followed by some tea and coffee in their quiet, adult only lounge to relax and soak up the amazing view!

Cornwall,

The communal room for adult

Oat latte and a view

One thing I loved about the Watergate Bay Hotel is that although they are extremely family friendly, you don’t feel like you are surrounded by children in any means, there are adult only areas of hotel (such as their beautiful lounge with a view and cocktail bar) and there are also strict child timetables for pool and restaurant !

 

Finishing the day the best possible way

Before leaving this stunning hotel and to help digest all our delicious food, we went for a little hike. Just next to the Watergate Bay Hotel, there’s an easy cliff hike to do that gives a stunning view of the Watergate Bay.

Cornwall

Cornwall

Watergate bay hotel

I can tell you that we will definitely be re-visiting this magnificent hotel, it was definitely one of Cornwall’s prized possessions!

Let me know if you end up visiting this wonderful place!

Cha

xx

Watergate Bay hotel Watergate Bay hotel Watergate Bay hotel

Follow:

Last week, we had the chance to visit my partner’s family house in Tuscany and although we did not play tourist too much, there was one thing I was dying to visit and it’s the Hot Springs.

For those who don’t know, hot springs are like warm bath which is produced  by the emergence of geothermal heated groundwater that rises from the Earth’s crust. Although it’s a well known thing in Tuscany, there’s still a lot of hidden Termal baths that are yet not known by the big public.

First thing first, here’s some Tuscany hot springs travel tips that you need to consider before heading there!

Plan your transport

The hot springs we went to was close to our house and was  potentially accessible by walk, I say potentially because let’s face it’s not an easy walk- a lot of hills on the way back. But usually,  you will need a car to access the hot springs since it’s rarely an easy access. Just to make sure you are aware, some of the Hot springs have limited parking spots so if planning to visit on the weekend plan ahead and leave a little earlier.

Remove Jewellery

It’s important to note that hot springs contains a high mineral content including sulphur which can tarnish jewelries and fad swimsuit, so make sure to remove any form of jewellery  (note for those ladies like me that are new with the engagement ring and  were about to splash into the hot springs with it…oops) and bathing suit if you are afraid that they might fade.

Come prepared

Many of the hot springs are free but they also don’t have any bathrooms or changing rooms, so make sure to bring your own towels and come prepared. Also note that there’s rarely any restaurants in the areas, so if you are like me and your always hungry make sure to brings some snacks; you can even plan a little picnic near the hot springs. Which brings me to a last tip, the hot springs don’t smell good; they have a strong ”egg” smell which comes from the sulphites and rich mineral deposits-  so don’t tell me I haven’t warned you!

Petriolo Hot springs

This is the hot springs that we visited because it  was only a very quick ride from where we were staying,. It’s a smaller hot spring, popular among  the locals but it was so adorable! It’s located halfway between Siena and Grosseto. The water of the hot springs are usually around 42°C (107 F)  warm (yes it’s super hot!) and so they are amazing for winter time displaying a high contrast between the heated baths and cooler air abover.  The Petriolo hot springs have built their reputation since the Roman age. The springs are located between Val di Merse and the Maremma. From there, you can hikes or event just visit the Termal pools therapeutic complex; which is a national wellness centre which offers many services – I haven’t personally used it so I can’t comment on the quality of their services.

Petriolo Hot springs

Petriolo Hot springs

Petriolo Hot springs  

Petriolo Hot springs

Other hot springs in Tuscany

We didn’t have time to visit more than once hot springs, but if you can make sure to check out these other hot springs:

  • Bagno Vignoni
  • Bagni di San Filippo
  • Saturnia’s thermal baths

 

FREE NATURAL HOT SPRINGS IN TUSCANYFREE NATURAL HOT SPRINGS IN TUSCANY

 

 

 

Follow:

The Ultimate beach guide for the Algarve

Note: This post was written in partnership with the Algarve Tourism Bureau. However, as always, all opinions are my own.

Portugal is definitely a region in Europe with many hidden gems.  I was over the moon when I got the opportunity to explore the Algarve.  The last time I had seen such beautiful beaches it was the other side of the wold in Australia. Arriving in the country with high exception, I can tell you that it did not disappoint. This  southernmost region of Portugal is composed of so many charming towns, and outstanding beaches that have stolen my heart!

The best way to get around the Algarve is by car, it’s a must since their public transport is pretty limited so trust me, rent or bring you own car as you wouldn’t want to miss out on the many wonderful spots!  My friend and I came from Lisbon by train and had our car rental the morning following our arrival. If  you are coming from the Faro airport ( the only airport in the Algarve) you can pick up your car rental from there.

There’s so many beaches and view points in the Algarve but here are some of my favourite!

1- Praia de Camillo

the magical wooden stairs

Praia do Camilo is knowns for his wooden steps which lead to a  Sandy cove; it’s long wooden stairs with about 200 steps, which makes incredible photos as you can see. During the high season, due to the fact that it’s relatively a small beach and it’s very popular, it gets completely packed quickly.

Praia de Camillo

2- Praia da Dona Ana

Praia da Dona Ana is only 160 meters long; it’s not a very large beach and it’s located between the town of Lagos and Ponta da Piedade. The cliffs surrounding the beach provide some shade, which is nice during the hot summer days. During summer time, the shadow from the cliff will cover a large part of the beach; up to late in the evening around 6pm. The sea at Praia da Dona Ana is quite calm, making it perfect for snorkeling and you can see a big variety of flora and fauna underwater. There are almost no currents or big waves; but the water can be quite chilly.

Praia da  Dona Ana

3- Praia do Pinhão

The gorgeous Praia do Pinhão is not far from Praia da Dona Ana, we actually walked from one to another.  Its tall orange cliffs create a secluded cove… almost too good to tell anyone about! It is untouched in terms of commericalism – there are no shops, umbrellas or deck chairs. So if you go early its a truly peaceful place to get in touch with nature, take a swim and watch the glistening ocean

Praia do Pinhão

4-Praia da Piedade

I highly recommend to hike around Praia da Piedade. It’s not only the most beautiful place to watch the sunset, but it’s also a perfect place to take a boat trip to, to go through the grottos. Is one of my favourite place in the Lagos, the view is absolutely breathtaking and I felt like every corner was unique and special. Definitely worth the hike!

Boat trip to the Grottos

We personally didn’t take the boat as we had our camera gear with us and we didn’t take the risk, but this is the spot!

 Ponta da piedade

Romantic Sunset

Probably one of the best and most beautiful sunsets I’ve experienced. It’s worth visiting this view point not only during a summers evening to enjoy a romantic sunset, but also during the day because the view is simply incredible

 Ponta da Piedade

 

Praia da Piedade

5- Praia de Carvoeiro

Prai da Carvoeiro was my own favourite, I would have totally see myself doing a couple days just on this beach. This charming town have a couple of restaurants and shops along the promenade. It is also quite popular among tourist, especially during the high season so make sure to arrive early and bring you own sun-bed. Lastly, the sea can be quite calm but can also have very strong waves, just be careful when swiming.  We also have been told that it’s possible to pay a small fee to some fisherman to have a boat tour, but we havent tried so let me know if you do it!

Praia do Carvoeiro

Praia de Carvoeiro

 

Praia do Carvoeiro

You can walk on the cliffs surrounding the beach to have a spectacular view of the beach and surrounding coast.

Praia de Carvoeiro

6- Praia de Marinha

Praia da Marinha is known to be one of the most famous beaches of the world, why? Because of its outstanding natural qualities! In fact, it’s widely photographed and used to commercialised the beautiful region of Algarve. You can see this beautiful from the top

In order to get down the beach, be prepared to have to walk (or maybe swim) through to access to the other side!

Praia de Marinha

Where we Stayed

  • Onyria Palmares

Onyria Palmares is a beach house located in the Lagos. The staff were extremely welcoming and the sunrise view  from our room was incredible. I even had the chance to taste their 4 course vegan meal, it was very tasty.

Onyria Palmares

Onyria Palmares

Algarve

  • Four Seasons Fairways

The Four Seasons Fairways is a beautiful place offering so many services; pool, gym, restaurant, stores and so much more. We had the chance to stay at the lovely three bedrooms villa  

During your stay, you can enjoy free bike tours if you want to stay local. The four seasons fairways has everything in one place!

Four Seasons Fairways

Hotel in the Algarve

I hope you loved my ultimate beach guide for the Algarve, Portugal! Let me know if ever you visit any of those beaches, this region as much to offer!

I know that on my side I will definitely be back again next year!

Lots of love,

Cha

 

The Ultimate beach guide for the Algarve The Ultimate beach guide for the Algarve The Ultimate beach guide for the Algarve

Follow:

I have been kindly invited by ‘The Heart of London Business Alliance’  for the very amusing Piccadilly Mother’s day tour!

Picadilly is a historic boulevard containing many iconic stores, elegant hotels and specialist shops which makes it an ideal place to celebrate mother’s day and treat your mother with the best on offer. The lovely selection of food activities that the Mother’s day tour offers are not only tasty but also extremely photogenic too!

Although, coming from Canada we celebrate Mother’s day in the month of May, I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity for me to show my readers in the UK some beautiful options for Mother’s day, which is approaching.

1- Fortnum & Mason

The luxury hampers selection

The history of Fortnum & Mason’s goes way back to 1707 where it was first founded by Duke street – throughout the years, it was built as a grocery store and had been an active supplier of quality food, and saw rapid growth throughout the Victorian era.

To kick off our tour, we were invited first to see the various selections of luxury hampers on offer which makes a perfect mother’s day present. You can find many great options to impress your mother, from a personalised champagne bottle to several beauty products – too many great options to choose from- click here to see more

Obviously, my own favourite – the vegan wine hampers

  
The chocolate and sweets department

Based on the first floor, you can stumble across a delicious selection of chocolate and pastries sweets. I am surprise by the abundance of dairy and egg free chocolate selections – don’t be afraid to ask the staff if you have specific dietary preferences as they will be happy to guide you in creating your own personalised box.

 

Up to the Parlour for some ice cream and loose tea leafs  

Up next to the Parlour, which is an award-winning home of the decadent ice cream creations, with a good selection of artisan coffee and tea. They treated us with delicious loose tea and ice-cream

Now, If you know me well enough, you should know that I love a good ice cream. How happy was I when they made me taste their outstanding vegan sunday which is called ‘Choonut’. They have actually two delicious vegan choices, click here to view them.  What does it contains you may ask? Brace yourself, it comprised of the following:  Chocolate and Coconut Ice Cream, Chocolate and Cashew Nut Ice Cream, Coconut Shavings, Millionaire Shortbread, Coconut Cream, Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate and Caramel Sauce

It was so tasty that my girl Ruby ditched her strawberry sunday to come help me finish mine!

I had such a lovely time with my friends, Steph, Ruby and Camilla!

At the Parlour

With my girls, from the left Steph, Ruby and Camilla

 

2- The Hatchards

We continued the tour with a behind the scenes tour of the Hatchards bookstore, a quirky centuries-old bookshop with a beautiful interior design made for browsing with an extensive selection of books which is another good candidate for a mother’s day gift.

My favourite part was learning more about this unique and history-rich book-store. Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop which was established in 1797 by John Hatchard. The store has been a landmark on one of the finest and most famous streets in the world, Piccadilly, since Georgian times, occupying the current building, number 187, for over two centuries.

Our guide was informed us that Oscar Wild was a regular customer and visited the shop with Lord Alfred Douglas the day before the first production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. Many of his books were signed sitting at the main table on the ground floor, known to this day as ‘Oscar’s table’.

  

 

3- The Terrace on Picadilly

To end this beautiful tour, we finished it with some bubbles and canapés in the stylish Meridien Piccadilly hotel ‘The Terrace’. Since we visited during the evening, after sunset, it was difficult to take high quality photos; therefore, I decided to use the restaurants media photos to give you guys an idea of what it looks like during daylight. I highly recommend going to this place during the day to fully enjoy the natural light and the bird’s eye view of Piccadilly’s landmarks, which is possible with their glass atrium design. They have created a special afternoon tea selection for mother’s day – you can book online via their website 

 

They kindly created a vegan selection for me to enjoy, which was very very tasty I must say. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you will all enjoy your time with your mother during this special day, as in my opinion, it is the most precious gift we can have. Please let me know if you do visit any of these places. Don’t hesitate to tag me on my instagram or leave a comment below.

See you next time

Xxx

Charlotte

 

Follow: