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We managed to escape to one of our favourite places during February half term, the seaside! We were invited by Sands Resort Hotel and Spa, just outside Newquay in Cornwall, for a two-night stay and we couldn’t have been any more excited. Having stalked the hotel’s website and instagram feed before we left, we couldn’t wait to be by the sea, enjoy a hotel breakfast and take advantage of their family friendly facilities.
As we arrived in Cornwall, the weather really welcomed us. It was a warm, spring like day with beautiful sunshine and blue skies. We couldn’t believe our luck. As we arrived earlier than we were allowed to check in at the hotel, we headed to my all time favourite beach just up the road at Watergate Bay to kill a few hours and to get some much sought after Cornish sea air in our lungs.
At just before 3pm, we parked up in the hotel car park and ventured inside. Our first impressions were really good. Olly had spotted the crazy golf and play park at the rear of the hotel and I couldn’t get over the view; to the front of the hotel is Porth Bay with views across Newquay’s coastline and to the rear is beautiful rolling Cornish countryside. It’s in such a beautiful spot.
After a swift check-in and introduction to the hotel and its facilities, we found our room on the first floor. It’s worth noting that the hotel doesn’t have a lift so you probably wouldn’t want to haul your pushchair up the stairs. Instead you’re welcome to leave your pushchair in reception which is open 24/7 or leave it in the car like we did. We were in Room 24 and were given a Contemporary Suite which had two bedrooms (one suitable for children with twin beds and a cot and a kingsize bed with additional living space), a small bathroom and plenty of storage.
We were immediately impressed with the children’s bedroom. There were two single beds and a cot made up ready for our boys. The larger bedroom has a huge bed facing the window with the best view out across the bay and additional seating by the window. It’s a brilliant layout and one that really worked for us as a family with young children.
The bathroom was small but had all the usual facilities you would need. There was a shower over the smallest bath I have ever seen but just the right size to bath young children in. There was also a bin in there for nappies which we appreciated and used.
The room facilities were great. All the beds were made for us on arrival, tea and coffee making facilities were available above a small fridge and there was a TV in both the rooms. There was also a hairdryer in the desk drawer as well as an iron, ironing board and portable fan. In the children’s room, there was also a baby listening monitor, should you want to take advantage of the hotel’s baby listening service.
Free hire of baby equipment
One of the things I loved about the hotel was that they offered free hire of baby equipment so you didn’t need to pack it all. Anyone with a little one will know how much stuff they need, thankfully Sands Resort Hotel have really clean and good quality equipment available to use completely free of charge. We hired a bottle warmer during our stay for Freddie’s milk but you can also hire cots and cot linen, pushchairs, baby carriers and bottle sterilisers.
Food – Dinner in the Beachcomber Restaurant
As part of our stay we were invited to try out a meal in their restaurant on one of the evenings. We decided to make life easy for ourselves (oh how it backfired!) and book in for dinner on the first evening of our stay. We booked dinner for 6:30pm thinking it would have given us plenty of time to unpack and sort the boys out however we really should have paid more attention to the meal times in the restaurant and booked earlier.
Families are able to take advantage of a family supper between 4:45pm and 6pm or family dinner from 6pm until 9pm. Children can eat on their own (with adult supervision) with adults returning to eat later on or eating all together as a family. We decided to eat all together at 6:30pm for a family dinner in the restaurant. From what we saw, the hotel has three dining rooms; one for families of young children, one for families with older children and an adults only dining room. We were sat in the dining room with other families with young children.
Unfortunately, Freddie, our one year old, decided he was far too tired to eat or be sociable at the table for dinner. He didn’t want to eat bread, any snacks or have anything to drink, he had reached the point of no return and needed to go to bed. We ordered from the a la carte menu and hoped he would calm down with a cartoon on YouTube and whilst this gave us some respite from his unhappiness, it only lasted until our starters arrived.
My husband Greg ordered the melon, strawberry and halloumi salad to start and I ordered the classic prawn cocktail. Olly, our six year old, ordered chicken goujons from the children’s menu. The food came out within a ten minutes and was beautifully presented and tasted really good.
For main course, Greg ordered the Pork Belly Burger with chips and I ordered the Sands Buddha Bowl which was made up of roasted vegetables, avocado, vine roasted tomatoes, squash, seeds, antipasti and beetroot. I added a side of grilled halloumi with my main too. Olly didn’t fancy any of the meals on offer from the a la carte menu so opted for pasta without the sauce. We could have ordered some food for Freddie but as he wasn’t co-operating, we didn’t see the point. The restaurant offer Ella’s Kitchen pouches or a blend of anything on the menu which is brilliant if you’re weaning.
Whilst my husband ate his food, I entertained Freddie walking him around the hotel and then we swapped. Thankfully we didn’t see anyone bat an eyelid at Freddie’s behaviour and I was so relieved, it was so embarrassing! The staff were very helpful and accommodating and this gives me hope that they’re used to uncooperative children.
My husband took Freddie to bed whilst I stayed with our six year old for dessert. I ordered a couple of scoops of ice-cream whilst Olly ordered the chocolate brownie. Both desserts were served promptly and looked fantastic. I felt a little bit guilty that Greg had missed out on dessert but knew he could always escape the room to hide in the bar later!
On our second day in Cornwall, we opted to go back to the Beachcomber Restaurant and pay for the Family Supper option (open between 4:45pm – 6pm) instead of visiting a restaurant elsewhere. We had been out for the day on the coast and wanted to come back to the hotel to rest and enjoy the rest of the hotels facilities. This was a much better time for us to eat as we are used to eating earlier at home. The family supper option is great for families as children are giving a choice of popular hot buffet food whilst adults can choose to eat something from a smaller limited menu. We all found something we wanted to eat so whilst I ordered another Sands Buddha Bowl for me and Shilts ordered the Angus Burger and chips, we fed Freddie a pouch of food (warmed up in the restaurant microwave) and Olly enjoyed fish fingers, chips and vegetables.
We found the option to have an earlier dinner much easier for us. Our boys ate at their usual dinner time and we were able to enjoy the hotels soft play facilities after dinner before bedtime.
The Family Supper cost us £39.50 (for two adult meals, one child meal and three desserts) excluding drinks which I think is great value for money. The hotel drinks were very reasonable too.
Breakfast at Sands Resort is served buffet style in their Beachcomber restaurant between 7:30am – 10am. There was plenty of choice on offer with cereals, toast, croissants, fruit and yoghurts all being served as well as a selection of hot foods under the hot lamps. My husband loves a hotel breakfast and will always have eggs, sausages, bacon and toast with his cup of tea. Olly is rather partial to a bowl of Coco Pops and a bacon sandwich which he loved and Freddie, enjoyed some toast and yoghurt. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more fresh fruit available, I only saw chopped apple. Freddie enjoys softer fruits such as melon and strawberries for breakfast at home and unfortunately these weren’t on offer during our stay. There is a microwave available to use in the restaurant should you need it.
Family friendly facilities
The facilities at Sands Resort are absolutely fantastic. There is plenty for children of all ages to do in and around the hotel grounds. Inside, there’s a warm swimming pool with a smaller infant pool for babies. There’s a games room with air hockey, a pool table, table football and table tennis. Inside the bedrooms, there are Playstation consoles and games can be hired from Reception.
Additionally, traditional board games can be hired too. There is also a huge play room on the lower ground of the hotel with two soft play areas; one for older children and one for toddlers. We used the play room after dinner on one of the evenings and our boys loved to explore and play with the wooden kitchen and Lego.
Outside of the hotel there is a fantastic selection of things to do. There’s a play park with a wooden pirate ship for letting children’s imaginations run wild. There’s crazy golf with balls and clubs available to hire for free from Reception which Olly loved playing with his Daddy.
There’s also a maze which Olly loved running around in trying to find his way out. There’s a wooden adventure playground with zip wire and climbing frame. There was also a bouncy castle, huge draughts, a tennis court plus football pitch and foot golf to enjoy. There’s also an outdoor swimming pool (heated between June to September).
The hotel also loans out wetsuits, body boards, windbreaks, bucket and spades from the Surf Shack at no extra cost which is fantastic should you wish to save on space in the car when travelling down to the hotel.
During school holidays every child 0 – 7 years will receive a complimentary morning childcare session and additional sessions can be added for £5 per session, per child. Children aged 8 – 14 years can attend O-zone club during school holidays which is always free of charge.
Every child aged 0 – 3 years staying at the hotel outside of school holidays will receive a complimentary morning childcare session and additional sessions can be added for £5 per session, per child.
Unfortunately, my six year old is a very anxious child and isn’t comfortable with other adults looking after him so we didn’t use the on-site childcare available. However, we did check out the childcare room and it looked incredible. There was plenty for children of all ages to do and it looked very safe and comfortable.
Fellow blogger Samantha from North East Family Fun stayed at the hotel during the same period with her family including older children. You can read her review here.
During school holidays, there’s an extensive children’s entertainment programme including clowns, magicians, a puppet theatre and more. During our stay there was a silent disco and a children’s entertainer which the children loved.
Something for the adults
The Ocean Breeze Spa is on-site at the hotel and I booked in for a treatment before we checked out on the Saturday morning (got to take advantage of nap time somehow!) I booked in for an eyelash lift and tint with Chloe (which I paid for) and had to have a patch test 24 hours before my appointment. The Spa smelt wonderful and I had a really lovely relaxing hour as I had my treatment. I was really pleased with the results too!
The hotel is located just outside Newquay in Porth on the main coastal road. It has incredible views over towards Newquay and out to sea. As we took our car, we found getting to the hotel really easy and parked in their onsite car park. We used the hotel as a base to explore the local area and visited Watergate Bay, Padstow and Crantock. We didn’t venture into Newquay as we didn’t have enough time but should we stay here again we would walk down to Porth Beach which looked fantastic for children on.
We checked the price of our hotel room with breakfast during our stay and it would have cost us £180 per night. Whilst initially this sounds a little more than we would usually pay, given all the free use of the facilities, childcare sessions and breakfast for the whole family, it makes it a really attractive option for a family friendly break at the seaside.
Would we go back?
Absolutely! We found Sands Resort Hotel and Spa had absolutely everything we needed in terms of facilities, accommodation and location. Freddie slept through for the first time in months whilst he shared the bedroom with his big brother so I want to return tomorrow! It was a really friendly hotel where children could be children (without us worrying about the noise) and there was always something for them to do. Other than our own minor mistake at booking dinner too late on our first evening, we had a really lovely stay and we’re already making plans to revisit the hotel in the warmer months so we can enjoy a Cornish summer break.
We made a video of our trip as we wanted to capture some footage of Freddie walking on the beach in his wellies. We weren’t asked to make this video but it’s lovely to see what we got up too and what the hotel is like inside.
Disclosure: We stayed at Sands Resort Hotel and Spa for two nights with breakfast and an evening meal in exchange for this review. We paid for the second evening meal and drinks and my eyelash treatment in the Spa. All words and images are my own.