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Muddy Reviews: The Esplanade, Newquay

This much loved family hotel is back with a four star makeover. So close to the beach that it's practically on it, Muddy checked in and switched off.

THE LOWDOWN

This contemporary beachside hotel is as family friendly as they come. Having spent the enforced lockdowns of 2020 revamping and upgrading all bedrooms and interiors, the result is a relaxed and inviting holiday base. You could spend an entire week here at The Esplanade Hotel and on the beach in front without ever venturing into the town let alone further into Cornwall.

THE VIBE

Laid back and relaxed with super friendly staff, the service is efficient and discreet – you’ll feel looked after without being smothered, and I can highly recommend the tray charge to have one of their excellent cocktails brought to your room whilst you do kids bedtime. Nothing like watching the sunset with a cold drink in hand while keeping one eye on your little darlings as they nod off in matching bunkbeds having spent the day on the sand.

That’s not to say it’s like holidaying in a kids camp though, there’s plenty on offer for the adults too (and with their sister hotel virtually next door, you can also escape to the spa for some actual alone time too, perhaps in shifts, should you need).

PILLOW TALK

The highlight of the rooms is the awesome sea view, above (so much blue!) and the kids were thrilled with their bunk beds. Super spacious and the chic muted ocean colour palette was very relaxing. It would have slept up to six, so perfect for larger families, which can sometimes prove difficult to accommodate without booking two rooms. My only observation was that with no divider between the kids beds and the rest of the room, once the kids were asleep, we had to watch a film rather quietly.

The beds were super comfy, there were plump white robes and slippers (essential to wear down to the pool), and the natural and sustainable toiletries in the bathroom are from Plymouth based GAIA – I’ve been using the sleep balm ever since my visit to the Fistral Beach Spa earlier in the summer, and they definitely give a spa-like feeling to mundane bathtimes. Kids are not left out either, with Childs Farm bottles provided for use during your visit.

There was also the usual hot drinks, wardrobe space and even a table, plus plenty of space to stretch out and play games.

KID FRIENDLY

In a word, yes. From the kids library by the front door, to the menu, to the build-your-own bear on your bed to keep them company, kids can see they are welcome at every turn. Mine loved the milk and cookies put out for the late shift.

We didn’t end up venturing to watch a film as we were only staying one night and mine were super keen to spend as much time as possible in the pool but we put our heads in and the reports from those who were watching that it was awesome. We particularly liked that the soft play and pool tables downstairs are next to the restaurant which kept them well occupied until the meal was served.

The surf school is just next door, the beach outside the front, the pool and cinema areas downstairs, and free kids activities laid on all school holidays, so definitely something to keep each and every child happy, no matter their tastes.

SCOFF & QUAFF

We were booked in for dinner, bed and breakfast, so we headed to the Cove restaurant pretty much as soon as we’d checked in, and found it welcoming and laid back, with plenty of space between tables. The menu was seasonal and fresh and had some good kids options beyond the standard ‘kids menu’ type food, including squid, soup and crudités, and the adults enjoyed the gnocchi and seafood linguine.

In fact, the portions were larger than I’d imagined so we opted to have our pudding later on, something you might want to bear in mind if you eat in the restaurant every day. The puddings were also delicious, by the way, devoured instantly after we’d all been for a swim.

We had our cocktails delivered to our room along with our pudding, so we didn’t try out the Elements Cocktail Bar in person, but it had a warm inviting vibe much like the rest of the hotel and would be definitely a draw if you have older tweens and teens. I’ve sat and watched the sunsetting over a G&T at Fistral Beach Hotel next door, and the floor to ceiling view is just immense over the water (we watched this time from our window upstairs instead).

Breakfast was similarly crowd pleasing to the evening meal the night before, with mini pastries and pancakes going down well. We were up early, isn’t everyone with kids, and were pleased to find breakfast well under way even at 7am.

SPA

Well, there is a pool, but spa is definitely the wrong word here as there are no treatments – or even much relaxing depending on your kids – but the indoor swimming pool is perfect for family swims ( pack your noodles and floats) and there’s a toddler pool as well as a hot tub and sauna. If treatments are more your bag then you’re still in luck – you can head to sister hotel Fistral which is practically next door and has an adults only spa complete with the full gamut of treatments and relaxation (highly recommend the surfers massage even if the closest you’ve been to catching a wave is struggling into a wetsuit).

OUT AND ABOUT

The beach is our playground, they say, and with the UK’s premier surfing beach right outside the front door, it’s a good one. Definitely no need for much outside space when there’s miles of sand and waves for days. Sometimes accolades are overplayed but Fistral definitely brings the goods – there’s serious waves to be caught here (and in the winter when Cornwall’s only “big wave” the Cribbar fires you’ll find all the big names down the other, north, end of the beach).

Fancy a go yourself? Get booked in to the Quiksilver Surf School, or, you could try coasteering, or even the monster SUP which takes up to eight people on one enormous board. Land based sports more your thing? Newquay Golf Course is nearby and welcomes visitors, or there’s the pitch and putt at Gilmores just up the road, where you can golf alongside some taco eating.

While the hotel does have everything you could want, if you do seek alternative food, there’s The Fish House, Fistral or Rick Stein‘s place both at the other (north) end of Fistral (where you can also find takeaway fish and chips alongside surf hire), or, head to the harbour (above) where you’ll find The Boathouse – a collection of street food vans and tables on the harbour side where you can order a mix and match of food to your table. You’ll also usually find people swimming – just stay away from the harbour entrance as it’s a working harbour, and it’s here you can take a boat to fish for mackerel or just watch the fishing.

Up in the town itself, you’ll find Cove 24 and we like Box & Barbor and Pavilion for a coffee.

Activities wise, littlies will love the rock pools at low tide just outside the front door, but just on the other side of the town you’ll find Newquay Zoo. If you fancy another beach you’re spoilt for choice – head round to West Pentire and you’ll find Muddy fave Polly Joke as well as family friendly Crantock and dog-friendly Holywell. Head north of Newquay and after the town beaches you’ll come to Mawgan Porth which is often a good bet for a surf if the waves at Fistral are too punchy.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Families and those seeking a sea view away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre.

Not for: Anyone seeking an adults only break – but you don’t need to go far, you’ll be wanting the sister hotel, Fistral Beach Hotel.

The damage: From £160 DBB for a standard double.

The Esplanade Hotel, Newquay

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