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To the sound of the ocean

Life is very definitely a beach at Polzeath Beach House; a place where contemporary hotel luxury meets surfside splendour.

Words by Hannah Tapping

The car is filled with excited anticipation and chatter but, as we crest the hill on the last few hundred yards of our journey, silence falls. What we see before us takes our breath away; an endless vista across the Atlantic ocean that looks as if it’s on fire, such is the intensity of the setting, sun and lines upon lines of perfect surf advancing to the beach below. I knew that Polzeath was famous for its surf and sunsets but I wasn’t quite ready for such an impressive natural display; what better welcome could there be to a stay on the north Cornish coast than this?

We pause as the sun makes its final dip behind the horizon before driving down to Polzeath Beach House, our home for the weekend. This contemporary boutique hotel, which is also home to nine apartments, four of which are duplex, is literally a pebble’s throw from the beach as a small road is all that separates it from the dunes and the surf beyond. Greeted by the receptionist, for whom nothing is too much trouble, check-in to Daymer, our three-bedroom apartment, is seamless. Armed with our key cards, we take the short set of stairs to our floor (there is a lift if you don’t fancy the climb) eager to discover our accommodation. My family know me well and let me venture through the door first to check that everything is spick and span! There was no need, the apartment is immaculate in every sense.

While the children bagged their bedrooms (accompanied by delighted squeals of “we’ve got robes!”) we explored the rest of the apartment. The open-plan kitchen and living area was spacious and equipped with everything we needed for our stay. The en-suite master bedroom was a haven of calm and both this room and the living space face the sea. We couldn’t wait to throw open the bi-fold doors to capture the view and as soon as we did we breathed deeply of the glorious salty sea air while being lulled by the noise of the ocean. In our elevated position on the first floor, with the waves just beneath us, it felt as if we could have been on a cruise ship.

There couldn’t have been a better moment to open a bottle of bubbles, and while the children were engrossed with the important matter of the WiFi code, we sat on our balcony and took stock. With views of the Atlantic to compete with, the interiors have been kept deliberately un-fussy with a minimalist Scandi-meets-nautical vibe while still exuding warmth and tranquillity. Lots of cosy cushions and throws blur the line between hotel and home and although we had been there for less than an hour, we did truly feel at home. I think that having a mix of apartments along with hotel rooms is a really clever combination, especially for families as it makes catering much easier and everyone has a space in which to relax.

It wasn’t long before tummies were rumbling so we were glad we had booked a table at the restaurant downstairs. Polzeath Beach House has partnered with Harbour Brewing to run the Atlantic Bar and Kitchen, a laid-back eaterie on the ground floor of the hotel where all food comes with a side of sea view. It was clear that this is a popular haunt with visitors and locals alike and we were glad we had booked as even in the off-season it was busy. We had heard that the wood-fired pizzas here are somewhat infamous so, of course, the children opted for these. We chose from the daily specials; a succulent steak with parmesan and rosemary fries and pan-fried hake on a spicy bean stew washed down with a Harbour IPA and a glass of chilled white from the excellent wine list. I have to say it was one of the best meals I have had for a long time. The restaurant’s surfside position and ocean vista is clearly a draw in itself and so it was refreshing to find that there was no resting on laurels here in terms of food, drink or service which were all every bit as good as the view.

Once replete, we took a nightcap with us to the resident’s lounge where we spent a happy hour playing boardgames before deciding a stroll before bed was needed to ensure a sound sleep. As night had fallen, the lights of Polzeath were sparkling brightly in the distance and our gentle meander along Atlantic Mews was accompanied once more by the gentle thrum of the waves.

After a deep sleep on super-comfortable beds we were greeted by a blue-sky day. Heading to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee I found my son ensconced on the sofa gazing out to sea through a pair of binoculars that had been thoughtfully provided. “It’s going off out there!” he pronounced, and he wasn’t wrong. The surf was incredible, the kind of swell that makes your fingertips tingle with anticipation. The parking spaces below were filling up with surf vans and we were treated to a ringside seat of surf action over breakfast.

Before we ventured out for the day I had some work to finish, so I took myself off to one of the desk stations that are cleverly provided in Polzeath Beach House’s central atrium. This bright and light space is as handy for work and homework as it is for some quiet reading and is testament to the fact that each corner of Polzeath Beach House is made for relaxation. As a seaside retreat nothing hasn’t been thought of; shoe covers and trays so that sand stays where it should, a secure surf store to the rear of the hotel and partnerships with local surf company Wavehunters for hire and lessons.

With work done for the day, we walked the few steps to the cliff edge, climbing down on steps hewn into the rock. I’m a cold-water convert and was looking forward to a dip in the sea. I found a tiny sheltered cove between the rocks and as I floated in the cold salt water I looked back up the cliff to where Polzeath Beach House stood sentinel, its windows keeping watch over the watery world below. It’s been a while since I have felt so at home away from home. With every comfort catered for and a location that is rarely rivalled, Polzeath Beach House stole my heart.

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