Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay, Watergate Bay, Cornwall $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Outside it looks like a typical seaside hotel from the early 1900s, but after a two-year refurb completed in spring 2007, it's a contemporary space fronting a two-mile beach of powdery sand and surfable Atlantic waves that attracts droves of young Londoners on the weekends. Bedrooms are unfussy, with white wooden floors, clean-lined furniture, fluffy white duvets, flat-screen TVs, DVDs, and CD players. Handmade Cornish bath products, made nine miles away, add a local touch to the simple, white-tiled bathrooms. Definitely pay a few dollars extra for a sea view. Dining options on the inlet include Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall and the hotel's Brasserie, which serves a contemporary Cornish menu (pan-fried sea bass with buttered cabbage, smoked bacon velouté, and gnocchi, for example). Guests also chow down in bare feet and bikinis at the sometimes chaotic waterfront Beach Hut. Activities partner Extreme Academy offers everything from surfing to kite-buggying (a wind-powered, three-wheeled buggy).
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