In issue 8 of We Are Family magazine our editor considers what it takes for her family to feel comfortable on holiday. Sands Resort in Cornwall did a great job of it - here's Hannah's review.
Review: Sands Resort in Porth, Cornwall
We headed to Sands Resort in Porth, Cornwall for a two-night spa stay; an independent hotel up on a cliff overlooking the sea just outside Newquay. Owned by a local family, it specifically caters for the need of families.
After a long car journey we arrived stiff and tunnel-visioned and, as usual, only vaguely managing to contain our kids, who were enacting their own versions of Bruce Banner becoming The Incredible Hulk. Rowena quickly took the role as cattle-herder while I swiftly checked in. Reception staff knew who we were and quickly sorted out the elements of our booking; some unexpected changes were arranged with ease. They offered to help with our luggage and didn’t press it when we declined.
Throughout our stay all the staff had a perfect balance of friendliness without intrusion, professionalism and efficiency, quickly putting us at ease. Whether passing in the corridor or chatting to the captain at the kid’s Pirate Club, we never felt that our identity as a lesbian-parented family was of significant relevance – we were just another family for them to welcome to their hotel. Family meals were at times more like trying to manage a baby rhino and a fully-grown chimpanzee, but the staff were unfazed by the chaos and were helpful and friendly.
The family-feel has been well thought out, after years of listening to customer feedback apparently. The hotel is well looked-after with bright, fresh, durable and understated décor with an element of fun to it. The corridors are lined with thick, stripy carpets (great fun for little boys to chase down) and the reception has inviting sofas placed in front of an amazing feature wall clad in billowing sails. There was a noticeable lack of warning signage: no ‘DO NOT CLIMB’ or ‘MIND THE STEP’ here - we could choose when we needed to reign our kids in. The main room in our spacious family suite (with a great sea view) had a low wall next to the bed – perfectly placed for little boys to hurl themselves onto the bed. Noah took full advantage of this and we felt we could let him, so long as he was careful.
The resort facilities are extensive yet not obvious: indoor and outdoor pools, soft play, teen/adult games room, kids play room, mini-golf, a maze, giant chequers, adventure play… every corner we turned held another surprise. The hotel is within walking distance of several amazing beaches which meant we managed to fit loads into just one day – we played in the maze and grounds, walked along the cliffs to the beach, explored rock pools, had lunch then ice creams, came back for Rowena and I to have tag-team massages (which were amazing!), played in the soft play and games rooms, watched a bit of telly, took the kids to dinner, took Noah swimming (Eli was done by then), then another tag-team session – this time swimming and the steam room - before we went for our grown-up dinner.
This was the icing on the cake. The hotel has a reception monitoring service so we could have a romantic meal while the kids were safely asleep in our room. So, dinner as a couple… in the couples’ dining room… and No Kids! We didn’t even have to worry about getting back for the babysitter! Some good food and prosecco served by another friendly member of staff and it was like we were a young couple who had just met all over again.