It was during our recent family break in Cornwall that I was reminded how awesome it is to see the sun set over water. This was the view that greeted us when we arrived to review Sands Resort Hotel & Spa in Newquay and it signalled that we were going to have a great weekend.
But it’s not just the glittering views and proximity to the beach that have won Sands plaudits as one of the UK’s favourite family hotels – the facilities are brilliant too. I’d even go so far as saying Sands isn’t just a family-friendly hotel, it’s family-focussed.
Here’s what we experienced when we were invited to stay for a few nights in February.
If you’re looking for more holiday and days out inspiration check out our essential guide to family holidays in Cornwall.
A review of Sands Resort Hotel
We had a two hour drive to Cornwall after collecting Tin Box Tot from school on a Friday night. By the time we arrived we were frazzled and hungry. Thankfully Sands Hotel – which is family-run – knows all about the eating habits of little people and lays on an early family supper. We dropped our bags in our room, quickly admired the sunset and headed straight for the Beachcomber Restaurant.
Family dining at Sands Resort Hotel & Spa
The smaller, family supper menu is served between 5pm and 6.15pm to allow parents to feed ravenous toddlers on kid-friendly dishes. For starters there were nachos, scampi bites, mozzarella sticks, fruit salad or chicken goujons. Then for our main course we picked from a chicken roast dinner, burger, fish and chips or lasagne.
Pudding could be chosen from the al a carte menu with desserts ranging from Cornish ice cream with lashings of sauce and sprinkles to creme brûlée and cheese cake.
There was plenty of choice for little diners and us parents didn’t feel we’d missed out either.
However, had we decided to save ourselves for the full al a carte menu that is served from 6.30pm we could have put the girls to bed and used the hotel’s free baby monitoring service (7pm to 11pm).
If we were staying longer than two nights, and our room hadn’t been a long walk from the restaurant, we might have given this a go and enjoyed a date night. It was good to have the option.
Breakfast was also served in the restaurant and had a good, fresh selection of cold and hot options.
Highchairs and plastic cups were available for young children, and we noticed that couples without children were seated in a separate area to spare us having to worry about the kids disturbing them.
Our sea view family suite
Back in our suite, with appetites fully indulged, we were able to appreciate what a great family room it was. Aside from the view (did I mention that already?) we had two sleeping spaces connected by a corridor.
Off this was a family bathroom, another sink and a large curtained storage area and clothes rail. This is also where we found an iron and board, clothes airer, safe and fans.
The layout was perfect for allowing us to put the girls to bed and relax on the sofa and chairs at the bottom of our extraordinarily comfy Queen size bed.
Also in the living space was a fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, a TV and Playstation. There was also a generous selection of baby and kid equipment that we could borrow from reception including buggies, baby bottle sterilisers, bottle warmers and DVDs.
The room decor was bright and fresh with plenty of reminders that we were holidaying by the sea. This was reflected in the rest of the hotel which is decorated with bold splashes of colour, modern furnishings and retro lighting that I adore.
Credit has to be given to the house keeping staff who obviously take great pride in keeping the hotel looking its best.
Family activities at Sands Resort Hotel & Spa
Where to start? Something a lot of parents will appreciate, especially as this is a family hotel with a spa, is the kids clubs. There are age appropriate clubs for babies through to 14-year-olds during the Cornish school holidays. We visited on a weekend outside of the holidays and childcare was being laid on for 0 to 3-year-olds.
A bonus is that you can get one morning session each day for free. This allowed Mr Tin Box and I just more than one peaceful hour to relax in the hotel lounge with a coffee and sea view.
If we didn’t already have plans to get outside and explore the area we might have booked the girls in for longer (£5 per child, per session) so we could indulge in the Ocean Breeze Spa. I was particularly tempted by the Moroccan Spa Experience.
Tin Box Baby enjoy the session and asked to go back the following day, which gave us time to pack up our room without the ‘help’ of little hands.
As well as the adult-only spa, Sands has a beautiful pool and steam room for guests, outdoor games, a play area for young children and an adventure playground for older kids.
There’s a maze where our girls enjoyed discovering different animals in hidden nooks, a pitch and putt golf course with an amazing Cornish country view, a bouncy castle and outdoor pool.
Things to do near Sands Resort Hotel & Spa
Sands is in a great location for exploring Cornwall’s Atlantic coastline. It’s just north of the surfing town and an eight minute walk from the golden sands of Porth Beach, so surf schools are in abdundance.
We were extremely lucky with the weather during our stay and found plenty to do outdoors but Sands have a handy wall of recommended things to do that included wet day fun.
If you get lucky with sun and blue sky like us your options are endless. Follow the coastal path right outside the hotel for an awesome vantage point of the coast, or take a short road trip to one of the beautiful beaches in either direction.
We stopped at Mawgen Porth for an ice-cream and ascended the 120 steps down to the rock pools and caves at Bedruthan. On our last morning we travelled further up the coast to somewhere that’s been on my Cornish bucket list for some time – Tintagel Castle. It was stunning.
If you happen to arrive in Cornwall with out wet suits, body boards or buckets and spades Sands have these for you to borrow.
Summing up our stay
We were genuinely sad to leave Sands Resort Hotel & Spa. A combination of fresh sea air and lots of fun at the hotel and in the Cornish sunshine ensured the Tin Box girls were exhausted at the end of each day.
Knowing that we could eat early in the restaurant or let the kids be kids in the stylish hotel lounges without worry of upsetting other guests made it a very relaxed stay.
The activities on offer, friendly staff and a high standard of facilities made this an exceptionally good 3 Star hotel. If you’re looking for a family hotel in Newquay Sands Resort Hotel & Spa is definitely one to check out.
If you like a bargain then take a look at the hotel’s ‘Free night on us‘ offer which gives you one night free if you book three or more nights – ideal for parents with pre-school kids looking for a midweek break by the sea in Cornwall.
Looking for more inspiration for things to do in Cornwall? Read our guide to family holidays in Cornwall. Or check out our recommended holiday parks in Cornwall, touring caravan sites in Cornwall and other self-catering breaks in the South West of England.
Disclosure: we were invited to review Sands Resort Hotel & Spa and received a complimentary stay in exchange for writing about our experience on the blog. All views are my own and those of my family.
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