The Headland Hotel
One of Newquay’s two grande dames (the other is the Atlantic), the Headland is a big old Victorian landmark overlooking Fistral Bay, Newquay’s main beach. Luckily it’s been updated inside: hotel rooms are smart, seaside-style affairs with with modern four-poster and canopy beds, and the hotel also runs a ‘village’ of cottages on the clifftop by the tennis courts (Cornwall is all about holiday cottages). Summer rates from £300 ($514).
The Watergate Bay Hotel
With 69 fun rooms perched right above one of Britain’s most famous surfing beaches, the Watergate Bay was already in the premier league, but it went stratospheric in 2012 with the opening of its Swim Club: a spa, gym, café bar and ‘private members’ retreat’ designed by the people behind Soho and Shoreditch Houses. The spectacular beachside infinity pool is the star of the show.
Summer rates from £245 ($420).
Definitely our pick for a galactic clientele, this adults-only eco hotel, on the cliffside overlooking Mawgan Porth’s sweeping beach and the airport on the headland behind it, The Scarlet is one of Cornwall’s most stylish affairs: modern, floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere, beach-appropriate sculptures everywhere and a very exclusive spa which does everything it can to dissuade non-guests from booking. The hot tubs on the cliff outside would be perfect for shuttle watching. If you’ve got kids, sister property, the Bedruthan Steps Hotel, is around the corner and geared towards families. Summer rates from £285 ($489).
[Photos: Headland Hotel, The Scarlet, Watergate Bay Hotel]