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The Headland: luxury hotel at the heart of Newquay Cornwall

When hotels are able to open after lockdown the Headland Hotel in Cornwall might just be the place to blow away the hibernation cobwebs. Perched right at the end of the glorious Fistral Beach in Newquay and surrounded by, well, nothing but coast and countryside all around, social distancing will certainly not be a problem here.

review headland hotel newquay cornwall

The Headland luxury hotel is an imposing sight on the Cornish coastline

The hotel has invested in all sorts of anti-Covid measures, from PPE to an electrostatic sprayer which will rapidly clean and disinfect entire areas of The Headland Hotel and its nearby cottages. New measures such as one-way routes, fixed times for dining, replacing buffets with a la carte options and more outdoor dining should certainly help alleviate concerns, while its 31 private ‘sun traps’ will be a great way to top up your vitamin D in total privacy.

If the Headland looks familiar, then you might have seen The Witches, the film of Roald Dahl’s book which was made here starring Anjelica Huston in the early 1990s (it was called the Hotel Excelsior in the film). Or you might just have seen picture of the Newquay coastline which it’s fair to say, it dominates.

review headland hotel newquay cornwall

This luxury hotel has been welcoming guests and withstanding the elements for 120 years

Located at one end of Fistral Beach, just minutes from the waves, the Headland hotel is a seriously impressive-looking building, a vast square block of stone which looks like it could handle anything the elements could throw at it. It could hardly be a more exposed spot and yet this luxury five-star hotel has been withstanding storms, wind, rain, surf and even the occasional heatwave for 120 years.

Opened in 1900 in the face of severe local opposition, the Headland was the height of luxury for its time, boasting electric lights, heating, plumbing and opulently-decorated bedrooms. Having fallen on hard times after the Second World War, the hotel was rescued by John and Carolyn Armstrong who bought the hotel in 1979 and who still own it today. After four decades of investment and hard work, the Headland is now back to its former glories, with 95 bedrooms, a luxury spa, modern gym and award-winning dining.

To book directly with the hotel, click on: The Headland hotel
To compare the latest prices for The Headland click on: – HotelsCombined – Expedia
To read more reviews and for the latest prices click here to go to The Headland hotel and spa on TripAdvisor

To arrive at the Headland – as I did late last year when coronavirus was still an unknown word – is to get a glimpse of how the hotel used to be in days gone by. A doorman came out to my car to help me with my bags which were quickly spirited up to my bedroom; the entrance lobby is plush and smart and leads into the main lounge where people were enjoying afternoon tea, and the wide staircases, polished brass and thick carpets all contributed to a sense of old-fashioned luxury.

headland hotel lounge

An upstairs lounge at the Headland

review headland hotel newquay cornwall

My bedroom was large and luxurious, with stunning views of Fistral beach out of my window

Thankfully it all feels very modern rather than faded glories. My bedroom was large and luxurious, with a king-sized bed, high ceilings, modern bathroom with roll-top bath and separate shower, and best of all, stunning views of the rolling waves of Fistral Beach. If the sun had been shining and the temperature a good few degrees warmer then I would have thought I was in Bondi Beach, Australia, given the epic sprawl of the bay.

review headland hotel newquay cornwall

My bathroom with roll-top bath and great views of Fistral beach (which turned out to be very hard to capture in this type of shot in both sunshine and rain!)

This isn’t to show off the Cornish weather (which did improve the next day) but to show the great view from my bedroom – you could hardly be closer to Fistral beach

However as I was in off-season Cornwall the weather was on the bracing side and so, not at all reluctantly, I took myself off to the Headland hotel’s spa instead; an oasis of warmth and relaxation, with an indoor swimming pool with hydrotherapy jets, loungers and a airy cafe. Launching this summer, all being well, is the hotel’s brand new multi-million pound Aqua Club spa which will contain six swimming pools, a sun terrace and a new restaurant, The Deck.

review headland hotel newquay cornwall indoor spa pool

The indoor swimming pool at the Headland’s spa was the perfect place in which to relax

spa at the headland hotel

The relaxing loungers in the Headland hotel’s spa

Dinner for the night of my stay was in the hotel’s Samphire restaurant which makes the most of the hotel’s beachfront position and offers great views in the summer months. The decor feels traditional but the food from chef Christopher Archambault was lively, fresh and modern with a heavy emphasis on locally-sourced seafood.

review headland hotel newquay cornwall

The Headland’s Samphire restaurant has great views of the coast and both the food and service were very good


My seared tuna loin looked and tasted great

Particular highlights were the starter of grilled mackerel with leeks vinagrette, while the mains of roast rack of lamb with potato rosti and seared tuna loin were both excellent, as was the service from our friendly waitress which included recommending a Brazilian red wine Miolo, which was delicious.

bar at the headland hotel

The bar at the Headland hotel was brighter and with a more contemporary style than the rest of the hotel

For those wanting a little less traditional feel, the hotel’s vintage cocktail bar felt surprisingly modern, with bright colours and an excellent range of cocktails and craft beers. I tried not to indulge too much though as the next morning promised an extra challenge: a surfing lesson. An early night’s sleep was on the cards.


Fistral Beach didn’t look particularly inviting first thing from my bedroom window but thankfully the sun soon came out from behind the clouds

The next morning the view from my window was wild, wintry and grey – hardly the surfing conditions of my dreams. I headed to breakfast with trepidation (which wasn’t helped by the rather odd-looking ‘Avocado mash-up’ which I’d bravely ordered – the coffee was good though) and by 10am I was walking round the corner of the hotel to the Headland’s very own surf school.

By some Cornish miracle the grey skies had been replaced by clear blue skies, sunshine and white foaming surf, and the whole prospect of a surf lesson looked far more fun. I was lucky enough to have a one-to-one lesson for a couple of hours with the excellent Dom Moore, founder of the Headland Hotel’s Surf Sanctuary, who not only got me back on a surf board for the first time more than 10 years but made sure I caught as many waves as possible before exhaustion set in.

Getting some practice in before going in for the real thing

Dom was a great source of information about the local area and its history and how to find great surfing spots so whether you are a beginner, a rusty surfer or want to get to the next level of surfing then I would definitely recommend an hour or two with him on Fistral. It’s a great way for all ages to blow away the cobwebs and I was buzzing after my lesson. While my previous surfing experiences have usually ended trying to get changed in the open air and freezing half to death, the luxury of surfing at the Headland hotel was that I could just pad back to my room and enjoy a steaming hot bath with view of the very waves I’d just been tackling.

Just one night here felt like an entire break and it will be just what the doctor ordered after weeks of lockdown. Fingers crossed reopening goes ahead as planned – the Headland hotel says it is ‘so looking forward to welcoming our guests back when it is safe to do so.’

The Headland, Fistral Beach, Headland Rd, Newquay TR7 1EW
Call 01637 872 211 or email [email protected] for general enquiries.

The Headland Hotel and spa is a member of Pride of Britain Hotels collection which can be contacted at and 0880 089 3929.

Surf Sanctuary offers private two-hour surfing lessons from £90 pp.
An overnight stay is priced from £150 per room (two sharing) including full English breakfast.

To book directly with the hotel, click on: The Headland hotel
To compare the latest prices for The Headland click on: – HotelsCombined – Expedia
To read more reviews and for the latest prices click here to go to The Headland hotel and spa on TripAdvisor

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Mullion Cove hotel, Cornwall

Mullion Cove hotel, Cornwall

With a picture-perfect location on beautiful Mullion Cove on the Lizard peninsula and a brand new indoor spa and outdoor swimming pool, a stay at Mullion Cove hotel will be full of coastal walks and great view.

Read my full review of Mullion Cove hotel here

Brudenell hotel, Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Brudenell hotel Aldeburgh Suffolk

Brudenell hotel in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

It’s so close to the beach that the waves have been known to come in during storms but come rain or shine, a stay at the Brudenell hotel will have you soaking up the fresh air on the Suffolk coast.

Read my full view of Brudenell hotel here

Thurlestone hotel, south Devon

Thurlestone hotel, south Devon

With an outdoor pool, indoor spa and and stunning views of the Devon coastline, a stay at Thurlestone hotel in south Devon will be a relaxing escape into the past.

Read my full review of Thurlestone hotel here

The post The Headland: luxury hotel at the heart of Newquay Cornwall appeared first on ALadyofLeisure.

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The Headland: luxury hotel at the heart of Newquay Cornwall


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