The Headland Cornwall

Looking for luxury in the surf capital of Cornwall, TLE checked into The Headland Hotel & Spa. Perched on a cliff overlooking Fistral Beach, this imposing Victorian red brick hotel made quite the first impression…


Two minutes from the iconic Fistral Beach – one of Europe’s best surfing spots – and surrounded by the Atlantic on three sides, you’d be forgiven for thinking the ambience here might be a bit sand-between-the-toes-bohemian. But while this gorgeous Gothic pile is anything but stuffy, the main hotel itself retains an enigmatic Victorian grandeur, softened by its adorably relaxed dog policy, cosy crackling fires and friendly staff.

Check In and Welcome

It was dark by the time we arrived, but the main entrance was lit by way of candlelight. Through the wooden revolving doors we went and into the impressive wood-panelled reception area where we checked in with ease. We were staying to check out the hotel’s award-winning self-catering cottages and while these are less than a five minute walk away, I’m not the type to turn down a free buggy ride so we hopped aboard and were driven to our front door.

The Cottage

Unlike the Victorian elegance of the hotel, the clifftop cottages are designed with their surroundings in mind. Think cool coastal living and you’re on the right tracks. The downstairs bedroom was dressed in shades of seafoam and featured a very inviting modern four poster bed. The bathroom was bright white and spotless with a wonderfully comfortable bath and waffle robes (my absolute favourite). Upstairs was the real show stopper however, thanks to the beautifully beamed ceilings and sea glimpses.

Being a self-catering cottage there were all the basics you’d need for a longer stay as well as a few fun extras such as a freshly stocked fruit bowl and mini macaroons. While there were a couple of ‘cup cafetieres’, coffee snobs would do well to pack their cafetiere (and coffee), as I couldn’t find one. Fans of herbal tea were very well catered to however and there was a great selection to choose from.


The first ‘Five Bubble’ rated spa in the region, The Headland Spa is seriously worth checking out if you stay. Self-catering guests have unlimited access – just remember to bring along your door card which opens the door (I forgot and had to ask the spa reception each time I wanted to go in – oops).

Walk down the stairs in the centre of the grand reception and follow the signs for the spa. You’ll walk first into The Spa Lounge which boasts sweeping coastal views. If you feel like a bite to eat – or simply a cup of mint tea, like me – you can order and relax here.
Once in the main spa area you’ll have access to the swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. I had a great time trialling all the facilities before heading off to a private treatment room for a Swedish massage, which was very restorative. I left feeling a good inch taller!

And if walking the Cornish coast path and trying your hand at surfing doesn’t entirely wear you out, you’ll also find a gym kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment including weights and cardiovascular machines.


We were booked in for a 7pm table at the hotel’s modern dining restaurant, Samphire. We headed to the bar first for a drink and were given a little dish of olives and nuts, which was a lovely touch. At 7pm we headed into the restaurant which was already starting to busy up. I started with the autumn salad of Helston blue cheese, blackberries and walnuts. It was incredibly tasty yet light – ideal for a starter. My dining partner enjoyed the truffled cannellini soup.

Next up we both ordered the Cauliflower Royale with a toasted walnut dressing and shaved Cornish Gouda, we both enjoyed this though it benefitted from extra salt and pepper. For desert my dining partner order the majestic sounding ‘Nutella gold ingot’ which he consequently devoured and proclaimed was his favourite course.

I finished with the Polmarkyn goats’ cheese bon bons which were, incidentally, my favourite course too. Each bon bon of goats’ cheese was rolled in a different herb or spice and it was a complete treat when paired with the bottle of ‘Cedre Heritage’ Malbec we ordered with the meal.

Final Thoughts

The Headland Hotel & Spa is a grand and stylish base for exploring Newquay and the rest of Cornwall. The self-catering cottages are a coastal lover’s dream as is, for that matter, the easy access to the South West Coast Path and nearby beaches of Newquay. Be sure to book a table at Samphire, the menu changes with the seasons and – if you visit during summer when it’s still light out – you’ll enjoy the menu with a side of excellent sea views.

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