Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall

Every few days I get asked where I would recommend for a relaxing and fun weekend break. I often umm and ahh, ask questions and debate in my head, but usually my answer is Cornwall. Watergate Bay, on the North Cornwall coast, is one of my favourite places to stay in this part of the world. A stylish, seaside hotel with great facilities, good food and comfortable bedrooms… it ticks every box.

I have been shown round the hotel a few times, as research for my Weekend Journals Cornwall guide book, but last month was lucky enough to visit for a short and restful staycation.

Watergate Bay

Soon after check-in, when the rain had paused, I ventured out to the beach for a bracing afternoon walk. Watergate Bay organise and run surf lessons and sometimes, if you are lucky, you may spot a group of dolphins in the waves.

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There are different room types to accommodate guests’ preferences, but all are decorated in a contemporary, seaside style with muted colours and stripey accents. The big beds are ultra comfortable, topped with thick feather duvets and plump pillows.

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In the mornings I found myself in the Living Space with a milky coffee, tending to emails while enjoying the seascape surroundings.

Watergate Bay

For a real treat, book yourself in for a relaxing treatment at the hotel spa or just visit for a refreshing swim in the pool. I got my fitness fix each morning with a few lengths… even if it was just to justify having a bigger breakfast!

Watergate BayWatergate Bay

The Watergate Bay eateries have a focus on local seasonal ingredients and seafood. At lunchtime, the Beach Hut is a great spot to feast on fresh fish and chips or a hearty steak. Most head to Zacry’s in the evening for a more sophisticated and special dinner, which is also popular with guests who are not staying at the hotel. The menu is international with influences from world cuisines… I particularly enjoyed my Indian inspired vegetable curry.

Watergate Bay

A continental breakfast can be enjoyed in the room, but I recommend heading down to Zacry’s restaurant where the delicious buffet includes buttery pastries, cooked breakfast and make-your-own waffles.

Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay is a magical place to escape to for the weekend, with your partner, a group of friends or the whole family.

Find out more about Watergate Bay in the Weekend Journals Cornwall book here.

Honest Burgers, Liverpool Street

There are very few chains in London which make the successful transition from one-off triumph to multi-branch brilliance. Honest Burgers however, now with fifteen branches across London, has spread from Brixton market to some of the city’s most prestigious postcodes.

honest burgers

Liverpool Street is a full of suits during the week, but when Saturday dawns the hipsters come out to play. I love visiting this area on a Sunday morning for the colourful Columbia Road flower market, and afterwards I am often in need of sustenance. Honest Burgers Liverpool Street is a large venue, with a pretty white tiled exterior and lots of space for groups inside.

Choose from the short and simple menu… I always go for the classic Honest burger with Dry Aged Beef, onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber and lettuce. There are often special varieties of burger to choose from, using extra indulgent ingredients or a different cut of meat. Every burger arrives with an irresistible pile of rosemary-salt dusted fries.

Honest cater for non-meat-eaters with Cauliflower Fritter burger and poultry fans should opt for the Chicken burger. On the drinks list there is a range of tin-cup cocktails and local craft beers, but my favourite is the homemade lemonade, which I find is sharp and citrusy enough to cut through the rich burger.

honest burgers

For weekenders in the area Honest Burgers now serve brunch too, a lavish list of dishes to get you ready for the day ahead. I’m looking forward to going back to try the avocado with Brindisa chorizo, guacamole and fried egg on sourdough and the Bubble and Squeak.

Read more about Honest Burgers Liverpool Street here.

Shangri-La Vancouver

Every time I walk into a Shangri-La hotel, a sense of calm washes over me, body and mind. The Vancouver establishment is no different, although it is located in the centre of the bustling city, inside there is a quiet and serene atmosphere. It is business-like but always with time for luxury.

We were extremely comfortable in a deluxe one bedroom suite, which felt like a mini apartment. Every detail and amenity is here to ensure you have a seamless stay. The living room area was kitted out with a writing desk and plush sofa, and a bottle of red wine and a platter of lovely cheeses was laid out for our enjoyment.

The suite was decorated in creams and muted greys with accents of red from the oriental artwork on the walls. The kingsize bed looked very inviting, topped with numerous bouncy pillows. For ease and comfort the blinds and curtains are controlled by digital panels next to the bed… perfect for jetlagged customers who want to watch the sun rise over the city.

Next door the en-suite white marble clad bathroom definitely had the wow factor, with a regal bath, glass encased shower, cosy bathrobes and L’Occitane toiletries. I enjoyed several bubble baths during my one night stay!

The Asian influence is evident throughout the building and all its facilities, but there are also touches of international charm, which I noticed particularly in the upmarket eatery, Market run by acclaimed chef Jean-Georges. We ate here for dinner and breakfast the next morning, and on both occasions the food was wholesome and tasty.

In the evening Market has a glamorous feel, the lights are dimmed and everywhere I looked elegant couples or trendy friends were chatting and laughing. We trusted our waiter with the cocktail choices, all of which are made with house-made syrups and fresh ingredients. I would recommend the Ginger Margarita, a spicy, sweet drink with a salty kick. Our dinner was a feast of Mediterranean style dishes. I soon regretted us only ordering one portion of corn ravioli with cherry tomatoes, shallots and basil, as it was a delicate and delicious bowl of pasta, a must for vegetarian diners. For main course we tried a simply cooked beef tenderloin with bearnaise sauce and Parmesan crusted chicken with white asparagus. I found the chicken bland and unexciting, there was too much on the plate and it needed seasoning, but the steak was a faultless piece of meat, tender and rich and cooked to perfection with a crispy caramelised edge.

For breakfast the choices are much more obviously Canadian. The French toast with spiced apple, bacon and maple syrup is unmissable and the omelette was delicious too. Every morning the team offer a complimentary smoothie and we were pleased to taste the pretty purple blueberry special.


My favourite part of this city sanctuary hotel was the sophisticated Chi spa. I spent a wonderful ninety minutes here totally immersed in a signature Shangri-La treatment. The Chi Aroma Vitality began with a tea ritual, whilst my tired feet were cleansed and massaged. Then I was left to warm my muscles for ten minutes in a private steam room before I lay on the silky soft bed for a full body massage.

Whilst staying at the Shangri-La Vancouver, I was blissfully unaware of the city life outside. Suddenly searching for exciting shops and cafes didn’t seem so important, as I felt so content at the hotel. As a guest in an unfamiliar foreign city, I don’t think you could hope for anything more.

More information and book a stay at Shangri-La Vancouver here.