Family Friendly Cornwall: Review of The Sands Resort Hotel

If you’re looking for a family friendly hotel in Cornwall, Jetlag & Mayhem recently tested out The Sands Resort & Spa in Newquay.

Sands Resort Sign

Who went (ages of kids)

Elli and hubby James, with our son (almost 5 yrs old) and daughter (18 months old)

Where did you go?

Sands Resort Hotel and Spa, Watergate Road, Porth, Newquay, Cornwall 

When did you go?

A 2 night mid-week break in early September at the end of the school holidays.

How was the weather?

After a few weeks of pretty solid rain this summer we went fearing the worst, but luckily our days in Cornwall were mostly dry – with just a few short wet spells. No need to unpack the sun-cream though…

How did you travel there?

We drove from London down to Cornwall, although the traffic was slow going travelling in the bank holiday week.

What did you think of the hotel?

We really enjoyed our stay at Sands Resort Hotel & Spa. Although the exterior of the hotel doesn’t look particularly glamorous in style at first glance, it is a genuinely family-friendly place combining well thought-out facilities on site for families and beautiful beaches nearby. The free children’s entertainment in the early evenings was a nice extra – ours laughed a lot at the Billy Wiz magic show (plenty of ‘it’s behind you’-style gags and as ‘Bwizz’ is one of the five or six names our toddler can say, he must have made a good impression!). We would have made it to the puppet show on the other evening if we’d been able to persuade our children to leave the pool.

How was your room?  What baby/kid amenities had been provided?

We stayed in a tastefully decorated Contemporary Suite with 2 interconnecting bedrooms and a wonderful sea view. There was high excitement on arrival as the adjoining room had bunk beds as well as an extra single bed so our son was spoilt for choice for where to sleep but of course opted for the top bunk! The hotel provided a large cot with a proper mattress for our 18 month old which made a nice change from the hastily-assembled small sized travel cot you tend to find in hotels and B&Bs and made settling our toddler down to sleep a lot easier. Other handy items included a bathroom stool to help little ones reach the sink/toilet, bathmat, fridge (for storing milk etc.), an extra TV in the kids’ bedroom with a DVD player, and also a PlayStation (DVDs and games can be borrowed from reception). A baby listening service is available each evening via a monitor installed into the rooms so parents can have dinner or a drink in the bar downstairs while the kids are asleep.

Sands Bedroom

Sands Bunkbed

How were the facilities?

Very family friendly. Guests can borrow many bulky infant items without extra charge (buggies, kiddie carriers, bottle warmers and sterilisers, cots, highchairs). We especially loved the ‘Surf Shack’ outside, stocked with lots of useful things for the beach – wetsuits and body boards (available in a wide range of adult as well as children’s sizes so there’s no excuse for not giving it a go!), buckets and spades and even windbreakers. 3-wheeler all-terrain buggies (for the beach or coastal path walks) and double buggies also available to hire for £5 a day.

As well as a small indoor pool (which was lovely and warm), there are outdoor sports facilities to enjoy on site if the weather’s dry, including a 9-hole golf course, tennis, basketball, croquet, plus a maze with mini animal statues for the kids to find in the many dead-ends! The two bouncy castles and pirate ship in the playground area were a big hit with our children too. There is also a gym on site (which we didn’t have the energy for!), and a small spa – I had a very relaxing massage one morning whilst the kids were kept entertained in the kids club – bliss!

Cornwall playground Cornwall maze

The hotel restaurant has family-friendly meal service times (including an early children’s tea) and seating areas are organised into a family dining zone, a section for families with older children and an adults-only dining area. Whilst this means that families with younger, messier kids (like ours!) can relax during mealtimes without worrying about disturbing other guests, it did make for a pretty intense and noisy dining experience in the family section! The food itself was fine, and all the regular kids favourites were available. Our son enjoyed his burger and chips (for younger ones, baby food jars are available or the staff can puree a dish from the menu). The breakfast buffet was really good, offering plenty of hot and cold options, even including a selection of Cow & Gate products suitable for the early weaning stages.

Sands Dining Room Sands - Meal Times

Was there a kids club and did you use it?

Yes. Kids club sessions are divided into different age groups and time slots, and run throughout the year, with nice clean play rooms and friendly staff. (They’ll look after babies too, although don’t offer a feeding service.) Our children had a great time on the morning session they attended. They played with the selection of toys, bounced around in the little soft play area, and enjoyed a snack. Hobby clubs (for ages 4+ and 8+) run during the school hols – T-shirt decorating, ceramics painting and movie nights were on offer the week we stayed.

Sands Playroom

How was the beach?

That area of Cornwall is famous for surfing and body boarding, and the coast close to the hotel is absolutely beautiful, with the gorgeous sandy beaches at Porth and Watergate Bay within walking distance (down steep hills!) or a few minutes drive in the car. Newquay is very close by too.

Cornwall beach

Did you do any trips/excursions?  

We’d already been in the area for a few days beforehand and had covered a few of the major Cornwall attractions including the Eden Project, a wildlife spotting boat trip and the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay – so whilst staying at Sands Resort we spent most of our time on the beach trying out body boarding, making the most of the hotel pool and eating out at some of the amazing restaurants nearby. We also drove up to the pretty fishing town of Padstow one afternoon (c.25 mins by car) for more foodie adventures in the heart of the Rick Stein empire, followed by a brief visit to the small National Lobster Hatchery to see the teeny baby lobsters.

How was the food?  

As it was the end of the summer and our son was about to start school for the first time, we celebrated by treating ourselves to not one but two special seafood lunches out – yum! Firstly at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall overlooking nearby Watergate Bay and the next day at Rick Stein’s Café in pretty Padstow- both restaurants were very welcoming of families at lunchtimes, and the food was amazing.

How were the hotel staff?

All the staff we met at Sands Resort were extremely friendly and helpful.

Would you go back?

Definitely! The layout of the suite we stayed in was perfect for a young family like ours, with the added benefit of the glorious sea-view sunsets, and the options for keeping our kids entertained on site were plentiful and well organised. Our son has already been asking when we’ll be going back!


Disclaimer: Jetlag & Mayhem stayed as guests of the Sands Resort.

1 comment

  1. Cathy Winston

    We stayed here in May and it’s a lovely hotel, they’ve really made it so child friendly. Interesting to see the difference between school holidays and term time too.

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