Inside the self-catering Cornwall Hotel designed by Interior Design Masters 2022 winner Banjo Beale

This year’s winner is BBC One MA Interior Design from Alan Carr Brendan “Banjo” Bell, an Australian living on the Isle of Mull, won a coveted design contract at The Village, part of the Watergate Bay Resort in Cornwall.

Fans of his fun and vintage style can now immerse themselves in his creative vision at Winnow, a self-catering property that sleeps 10 a stroll from the Atlantic.

where is she?

In the middle of the north coast of Cornwall, three miles north of Newquay – the Atlantic Coast Line terminus of Barr, with connections to Exeter and London Paddington – and about a five-minute drive from Newquay Airport.

Atmosphere

Watergate Bay itself is a “ski resort on the beach” with hotel accommodations—built in 1900 as a railroad hotel for a branch line to Padstow that never came—plus apartments, four restaurants, coffee and pizza kiosks, and a surf school.

Surfers in wetsuits cruise around the beach and its approach path, riding the waves from dawn to dusk. during meWhen visiting, the contemporary hotel was occupied by multi-generational families enjoying family time at the beach.

Residence

At the top of The Village is Winnow, a group of hillside apartments overlooking the hotel. Although it doesn’t have sea views (there are others in The Village), it’s right down the southwest coast path and overlooks the Watergate Valley.

Arranged over two floors, with a living area and kitchen upstairs and four bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs, it has been completely remodeled by Banjo, with bespoke wallpaper designed by Abigail Amy Davies. It’s a visual delight, although we found the better-fitting sofas and armchairs to admire from afar.

Natural textures and greenery dominate the space, which is inspired by the landscape – charred wood-panelled walls, palm trees and succulent plants, giant clam shells and raw oak kitchen units. Sustainability was key, with chairs that look like leather but are made of pineapple tops and some from plastic bottles (although plastic toiletries are provided).

The Twin Bedroom (Elliott White Photography)

Banjo has also sourced plenty of items at antiques markets, from the dining room lampshade that was once a Hungarian chicken coop, to ship dioramas and oil paintings. He also picked up bottles of driftwood and barnacles from the seashore, and a lobster bowl from a local fisherman. He says he’s inspired by storytellers like Wes Anderson and Roald Dahl, bringing fantasy worlds to life.

Each bedroom downstairs takes on a distinct character through colour. The master bathroom is like stepping into a glamorous nightclub, all deep-sea colors and iridescent tiles, complete with a deep soaking tub and powerful shower. There are two additional bathrooms with moveable surfaces and a large shower.

Dogs are welcome, and while there are stairs between the two levels, an outside path leads from the front door to the bedroom patio doors. The two hotel rooms at Watergate Bay are fully accessible, as are the restaurants.

Food and drink

The kitchen is large and equipped to cater to a large family (factor of delivery shopping first), but it is well worth taking the time to enjoy the Watergate restaurants. The Beach Hut is located right behind the sand and serves cakes and pastries, as well as grilled fish of the day, bucatini crab and moules mariniere, as well as cocktails. Seafood is so high at Emily Scott’s seawall restaurant that you’ll be hard-pressed to find a romantic sunset view.

The southwest coast course can be seen from Winnow’s balcony (Elliott White Photography)

Reserve a table at Zacry’s for fresh sourdough and whipped butter and stay for char-grilled meat and fish, or vegetarian dishes like broccoli with dhal, spinach and coconut yogurt.

what should be done

It’s all about the waves. Wavehunters provide daily lessons (surfing and SUP) on the beach, as well as board rentals and yoga sessions. Surf lessons are available for all abilities from ages seven and up, in two-hour sessions from £40.

If you don’t feel like facing the Atlantic, no less entertaining as a spectator, either ramble in the vast sands at low tide or – for hotel guests – take the tours of the glass-fronted pool overlooking the beach.

Two miles of sand at Watergate Bay (Image: Andrew Boxall/Getty)

On land, you can cruise the Southwest Coast Trail straight from the Winnow Gate, heading north to Mawgan Porth, Bedruthan and Padstow or south to Newquay and the St Agnes Heritage Coast.

Camel Creek Adventure Park is about 20 minutes’ drive away and is ideal for families with young children – small coasters, teacups, slides and a splashing area as well as farm animals, reptiles and stables.

You will love…

The hotel’s glass-fronted sauna and terrace hot tub combine to create a great place to relax while watching the waves any time of year or day.

Victoria Allen, Guest Experience Manager for Beach Retreats also recommends: “Guests can get involved in becoming a beach lifeguard by volunteering for a few hours removing plastic waste on beaches – it’s a great way for tourists to support Cornwall.”

How to book

The Village is in Watergate Bay, Cornwall. Winnow sleeps 10 years and costs from £1,888 for a stay of at least three nights, beachretreats.co.uk/self-catering/cornwall/watergate-bay/winnow

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