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A wonder of wellbeing

Words by Lowenna Merritt

The Headland celebrates its 120th anniversary with the new Aqua Club, a swimming and relaxation centre fitting with their unique take on the luxury hotel experience.

Cornwall’s only double five-star hotel has always taken pride in moving with the times. The Headland, a stunning Grade II listed building, sits overlooking one of the most picturesque views on the north coast of Cornwall, and with 120 years of heritage it has become an ingrained part of the landscape. Yet despite its age, it perfectly merges grandeur and tradition with modernity and contemporary luxury, creating a uniquely enjoyable experience which stands out from other modern hotels. Its abundance of beautiful rooms and cottages, Rosette-awarded restaurants and spa treatments all account for the hotel’s excellent reputation; guests here are made to feel like royalty.

A Grade II listed Cornish icon

The hotel has a rich history – it has housed various members of the royal family, celebrities, and even hosted the setting for the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Boasting 95 luxury rooms, five-star self-catering cottages, a Five-Bubble rated spa, a gym, and two award-winning restaurants, its glitz and glamour still thrives to this day. I take a closer look at how The Headland continues to reimagine the luxury hotel experience, in particular through its latest development, the Aqua Club.

© Anthony Greenwood

To celebrate their 120-year anniversary since first opening their doors to the public, The Headland team have created an architectural gem, featuring six pools and a poolside restaurant overlooking the Atlantic ocean. Owner Carolyn Armstrong envisions that the new £10 million Aqua Club will provide guests with “some much needed relaxation – and a place to escape and recharge – following a turbulent few months in lockdown”. Indeed, opening on July 25th, in the midst of the pandemic, was not the easiest of starts, but Carolyn and the Headland team are all excited for the opportunities the Aqua Club has to offer for the future of the hotel.

© Guy Harrop

The circular shaped building is a vision of tropical plants, stones and wooden architecture, designed and decorated to mirror the local Cornish landscape. The brief of the project was to create “an exceptional and outstanding building” which will “wow” guests, and the Aqua Club’s carefully executed Zen Hub does exactly that.

© Anthony Greenwood

Outdoors, a sun terrace overlooks sea views, with a heated sunset spa sitting encircled by an oceanfront edge pool. This is designed for maximum shelter whilst enhancing the view of the sea – swimmers can take a dip whilst gazing across at the wild waves of Fistral beach. There is also an outdoor vitality pool, shaped angularly with a Cornish granite menhir as the central focal point. This is designed to reconnect swimmers with their senses and create a moment of peace.

Indoors, pebbled curved walls and soft lighting surround three more pools. A 25-metre pool invites in anyone looking to get fit and take some exercise. A nearby hydrotherapy pool allows for a spa-like bathing experience, soothing aching muscles after long Cornish coastal walks. Additionally, parents’ minds can be put at ease as a children’s splash pool allows for all the family to swim in safety, being shallower than the other indoor pools with space for splashing about. The Headland has always welcomed in families and people of all ages, and the Aqua Club confirms this ethos, accommodating visitors of all ages, without sacrificing any of the luxurious atmosphere and amenities.

© Anthony Greenwood

After relaxing, bathing or exercising in the various pools, guests are welcomed to enjoy a post-swim meal in the Aqua Club’s very own restaurant. The Deck is a Mediterranean inspired eatery, offering al fresco dining out on the boardwalk decking. If shelter from the unpredictable Cornish weather is needed, guests are also invited to dine indoors on tables situated around a warming fireplace, with views from the curved glass windows of the pools and ocean beyond.

A mouth-watering menu offers homemade flatbreads, salads, coffee, cocktails and Italian gelato ice cream. For the grown-ups, The Deck also serves delicious sorbet tumblers – choose between Pimms or Aperol Spritz poured over scoops of fresh fruity sorbet.

The Aqua Club is designed to blend with the natural environment that surrounds the Headland, and the use of natural stone, alongside a living roof and planting on the stone hedging, allows for flora and fauna to thrive and causes little disruption to the surrounding ecosystem. As society moves towards a newer, greener way of living and operating, The Headland seems to embrace the natural beauty that Cornwall has to offer and carefully incorporates this into its design and architecture.

© Anthony Greenwood

© David Griffen

Hotel and cottage guests will enjoy complimentary access to the Aqua Club as part of their stay, giving them the opportunity to indulge their senses in the aquatic haven. These will also include access to the Headland’s very own luxury spa and gym facilities. The spa, like

the Aqua Club, is designed with relaxation at its core, and with a range of specialist treatments, massages and thermal pools, guests will truly feel at peace. The spa boasts a hydrotherapy spa pool complete with bubble seats, a swan jet, hot tub, Cornish salt steam room, Swedish sauna and aromatherapy showers, taking indulgence to the next level. After treatments, guests can recline in the cosy Relaxation Lounge before dining at one of the Headland’s three restaurants. At The Headland, nothing is done by halves and if you are a guest, you are invited to truly indulge.

© Guy Harrop

The Headland likes to do things a little differently when it comes to the luxury experience. There is no ‘adults only’ rule – in fact, children are welcome and valued at The Headland. Ran by the same family for generations, The Headland hopes to be the sanctuary where family memories are created for all visitors. And what better place to forge these than Cornwall, with its abundance of beaches and nature? It is the perfect setting to switch off from the outside world, to reconnect with loved ones and yourself, with offers such as the hotel’s current Storm Watching package enabling you to make the most of Cornwall, whatever the season.

Contemporary luxury is about relaxation, family, nature, delicious food and good fun – the Headland hopes to be the place where people find this.


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