“ Address: Looe / Cornwall / Tel: 01503 262123 „
Some Much Needed R&R At The B&B, But It's Not For the Fat, Unfit or Feint-hearted! **************************** ************************************* Why we chose The Watermark ************************* I returned home from (yet another!) Tour of Duty in Afghanistan the first week of November 2010. I was pretty exhausted & in dire need of some quiet time away with my other half! He'd already done his homework in my absence, so he went on the Internet and secured a last minute booking. Alas, this is a necessary way of arranging our hols, as we've learnt the hard (expensive) way never to book or pay for any holidays in advance, as I either don't return home when I'm supposed to, or I come back injured & in no fit state to go on holiday! He arranged the whole thing as a 'welcome home' treat without telling me the destination or details. Two days later we set off on our magical mystery tour! We don't have big salaries, and we have two daughters (18yrs & 22yrs) who live at home, and they seem to think the elusive 'money tree' grows in our garden, which of course as it doesn't the dreaded 'B' word ('budget') is always a factor for us!! It keeps 'The Dubai Hilton' off our list of options these days! On this occasion however, hubby evidently decided to ignore the electricity bill & secretly blow our usual budget in order to get us some quiet accommodation in a picturesque location where we really could relax and he could wine, dine & pamper me (Awww). He therefore paid £270 just for the three nights basic B&B (Just between you, me & the entire www I checked our bank statement so I could write this review, and the meals, drinks & petrol made the B&B seem cheap! (Lol) Anyway, we wound our way down into Cornwall via the "scenic route", as he was trying to throw me off the scent as to our destination! For those of you travelling with a less devious husband, the route is actually quite straight forward................ Location & Directions ***************** SatNav postcode PL13 2DE, Looe is on the South Coast of Cornwall. It is approximately 7 miles from the A38 at the B3251 turning. It's 64miles (1hr 10mins) from Exeter It's 22miles (33mins) from Plymouth If you travel there by train, Looe is on the branch line off the main Penzance to Plymouth line. You need to change at Liskeard for Looe. The Watermark is then only a 15min walk along the river & quayside from the station at Looe, however there is a taxi rank at the station if you prefer. The alternative is that there is bus stop approx 5 minutes walk from main reception door. Looe is actually cut in two by the tidal river, and The Watermark is located across the bridge that spans the river. So technically, the hotel is in "West Looe" The hotel is situated very high up and a far way out along the headland, which means the noise of the town is not a problem & you are situated further out to sea than the beach area. It's a perfect location. Contact Details ************ The Watermark, Hannafore Road , Looe, Cornwall, PL13 2DE, UK Tel +44(0)1 503 262123 Fax +44(0)1 503 265654 ~ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.looe.co.uk/index.html Official Rating Details ***************** The Watermark has achieved a well deserved 4 Diamond Rating Silver Award. My rating ******** I would rate it as 4 or 4.5 out of 5 for our particular needs - however it would be a 5/5 if there had been a lift (elevator) & reserved parking!! 2011 Tariff ********* All prices are per person per night and include a full Cornish breakfast & VAT. Autumn/Winter - 1st October to 28th February, (except 24th - 31st December and Bank holidays) £45pppn. Spring/Summer - 1st March to 30th September, 24th - 31st December, Easter and Bank holidays £48pppn. Single Room Supplement - single room occupancy is charged at 75% of the double room rate. Rates for Children: 6 months to 1yr - Free of Charge 2yrs to 9yrs - £10 per night (sharing a room with 2 adults) 10yrs to 16yrs - £15 per night (sharing a room with 2 adults ) Single Night Supplement A supplement of £10pppn will be requested for stays of one night during high season and public holidays. Single Occupancy Supplement A supplement of £10 per night is charged for a single person in a double room. Vouchers ******** A lovely novel gift option if you're short of ideas, is that the hotel sells gift vouchers for you to present to someone for them to stay at The Watermark as a treat (so much nicer than cash I think). I'd certainly be happy to find one of these vouchers in my Christmas stocking (hint-hint, hubby if you're reading this!!) Staff/Management **************** Fantastic!! Nothing is too much trouble for the staff, they go all out to make your stay comfortable & relaxing. The hotel is a family run business. Husband and wife team Ash & Debbie and sister-in-law Sharon are on the go non stop from dawn till dusk. They were chatty, friendly, polite and most hospitable. Sharon especially, is a star! Even though it was our first visit, she welcomed us on the day we checked in as though we were well known regular visitors. There was nothing gushing, phoney or OTT about it, just a truly warm welcome. She explained that the hotel was very quiet that weekend but she would still be around all the time if we needed anything at all and to make ourselves at home (I did briefly panic that meant I'd have to wash up and cook the breakfast (lol). True to her word, she was there when required but never hovering or in your face. She personally showed us up to our suite, gave us a quick guided tour of the building & explained everything to us. There were small touches that went such a long way, such as when she asked our plans for the evening hubby simply stated we were staying in that night with special nibbles he packed & a bottle of wine etc in the room, she appeared with a tray, cutlery, side-plates, glasses, bucket of ice & a corkscrew. I was unable to sleep on one of the nights (the joys of post-warfare acclimatization!) and I went downstairs (in my PJ's and dressing gown) to the lounge with my book (so the light wouldn't waken hubby) Sharon brought me a drink and dimmed the big lights so I could sit with the lamp to read comfortably but so I'd be able to see out of the huge plate glass windows without the lights glaring on them. The fact that I was comfortable enough to go down in my dressing gown speaks volumes, as that isn't something I would normally ever do in a hotel! Lounge & Bar Area *************** The lounge has free Wi-fi if you require connection. It is an open plan contemporary looking lounge-bar. There are huge, comfortable leather sofas that call out to be curled up in! You can sit for hours watching through massive lounge windows & see what they describe as the "ever changing coastal scenery of returning fishing boats and marine life", the hustle of the town below & the changes along the tidal river. We watched an injured Sea-dooer being rescued & brought safely to the shore, fishermen on the pier, small trawlers at work, beach activities etc, all from the warmth & comfort of the lounge. They have two webcams permanently set up in the lounge that are trained on the amazing panoramic view outdoors. You can log on to the website 24hrs a day and look at the live-time view. (web site details listed above). There are lovely clean toilets downstairs near the bar, so you don't have to keep trailing up three floors to your room. Breakfast is served in the dining area of the bar/lounge. Bedroom Amenities & Additional Services ********************************* There are nine bedrooms at The Watermark. They are light, spacious & relaxing with clean fresh contemporary decor. We stayed in "The Helford Suite", but we sneaked a peak in two other rooms (that were unoccupied), whilst the doors were open as beds were being made up etc. The rest of the rooms we saw only via pics on the website. There's a good choice of bedrooms to suit most needs - doubles, singles and family rooms. All rooms are have en-suite facilities. Towels are clean, white & fluffy - my only personal gripe with them was that you are only given hand towels and bath towels, and I prefer bath sheets. I hate not being able to wrap a towel round me properly when I get out of the shower! Rooms are well equipped with quality guest amenities to ensure a comfortable & pleasant stay. Amenities such as - Remote Controlled Colour Freeview TV, CD Player, Kettle with an Extensive Hospitality Tray (including gorgeous biscuits, tea, coffee, Horlicks, drinking chocolate, milk etc), Luxury Complimentary Toiletries, Hair Dryer, Digital Safe, Alarm Clock, Radio and a very handy 'Welcome Pack' with brochures & details of restaurants and places to visit that are personally recommended by the staff. An iron and ironing board is available from reception, we just asked Sharon & she sorted it out straight away for us. Drying facilities are also provided for guests on request. Fridge facilities are available for guest use downstairs in the kitchen near the ground floor dining room. Wi-fi is available in the lounge and bar area, but we found that our O2 mobile phone reception & laptop '3' dongle connection was perfect in the room, we had no problems with it. By law, the bedrooms are of course all non smoking areas, which is something we personally find great as non-smokers, we used to hate hotels smelling of lingering smoke from previous guests! Although, ashtrays are provided out on the private balconies if you are a smoker. The staff do point out to you on arrival that the hotel is fitted with the latest Fire and Smoke Detection System etc and there is emergency lighting throughout the building, but they do request that guests with impaired hearing should make this known to them on arrival, due to the layout of the premises. Bedrooms Available **************** HELFORD - (This was our room). It was a double room with a sun lounge & private balcony! It had the most amazing sea view. The room was decorated in calming colours - sort of soft cream & duck egg pastels. It was looking a little faded & jaded, but was very clean. There was a comfortable double bed (good quality cotton bedlinen), shaker style furniture - two bedside cabinets, wardrobe, chest of drawers etc in the main part of the bedroom. There was a door leading to a small but clean & functional tiled en-suite with shower cubicle, and at the opposite side of the bedroom there were two smaller arches and one double door size arch that led you into the small sun lounge. In there was a sofa, coffee table, chest of drawers & the TV, kettle etc. The sliding patio doors in the sun lounge led out to private balcony which had a table and chairs. The room was warm and snug. The double glazing & heavy curtains meant that at night-time it was also quiet & restful. The totally amazing view was not just visible from the balcony, we were able to sit in the room or in the sun lounge and enjoy the vista! The Helford Suite had uninterrupted view overlooking the river, the Banjo Pier, the beach, all of the town of Looe & the coastline for miles!! At The Watermark, when they say "room with a sea-view" they truly mean it, and it isn't like some hotels where you can see the sea on a clear day whilst standing on one leg tiptoeing & balancing out of the far corner of a window!! We were staying there on the weekend that all the Bonfire Night celebrations & Fireworks Displays were being held in Looe and many other towns along the extensive coastline. Oh what a sight!! It was superb. We turned the lights off and curled up together on the sofa with a bottle of wine (or three! ;-)) and watched hundreds of fireworks light the sky with a myriad of dancing flashing colours for miles around. It was such a wonderful evening. We watched large candle-powered Chinese wish-lanterns being released from the cliff tops at the opposite side of the bay and be carried out in the pitch night sky for miles over the sea. I would highly recommend you grabbing the chance to stay for a romantic weekend in the Helford Suite during Bonfire celebrations 2011 if you get the opportunity to!! The other rooms are ............................... (as per brochure description) "FOWEY - Super king with sea view Decorated in contemporary coastal colours ,this room features a comfy super king size bed .Flat Screen TV. And patio doors lead out to a large private balcony overlooking the river and beach, and Harbour. The Bathroom is furnished with a shower over bath." "TAVY - Double room, no sea view Although having no sea view this room is warm and inviting and stylishly decorated with spotlights and flatscreen TV. The bathroom is furnished with shower over bath." "LYNHER - Double room Lynher is situated on the first floor, with patio doors leading out to a large private balcony overlooking the river and beach. The room is decorated in warm natural colours with a Victorian style queen size bed. The bathroom is furnished with a shower cubicle." "FAL- Single room This is situated on the side of the hotel and is a bright and airy room ,and features an ensuite shower room." "CAMEL - Double room A double room situated on our second floor. Decorated in fresh coastal shades, the room is well equipped with flat screen TV, and private balcony overlooking the beach and river. Bathroom features sandstone tiling and has a shower over bath." "TAMAR - Family room/Double Brand new for 2009 With its large picture window this is certainly a room with an amazing view. This is a family room situated on the second floor, which can also be let as a larger double room. The Bathroom is furnished with a shower cubicle. Double patio doors lead out to private balcony, overlooking the river and beach, and along miles of Cornish Coastline." "WEST LOOE - Family room Features a double bed and a single bed. Recently refurbished with wooden flooring and 32" flat screen TV. Although no balcony, the room offers a side sea view with views of the pier and coastline. The bathroom is furnished with a shower cubicle." The 'Camel', 'Tamar', and 'West Looe' rooms are adjoining rooms, providing access for carers or families. Alternatively, out of the main building there is .............. "The Terrace Suite" It is a large suite consisting of a double bedroom, a twin bedroom, a TV lounge, a small kitchen area (with small fridge & microwave), and a bathroom with shower cubicle. It has a large terrace overlooking the beach. There is a table and chairs and a gas BBQ. It's set up for a family of four or for couples seeking a larger suite. However, I've got to say that when we went to look at it with a view to returning this summer with the girls, we weren't at all impressed with it. When we viewed it, it was tatty, old-fashioned and shabby looking. But The Watermark website now (June 2011) has photo's of "The Terrace Suite" & it looks quite nice now. Certainly a lot better than when we personally viewed it in Nov 2010. Their webpage is ...... http://www.looe.co.uk/terrace.htm They state that ..."The Terrace Suite is equipped with remote controlled colour TVs, DVD player, CD player, extensive hospitality tray, luxury complimentary toiletries, hair dryers and alarm/clock radios." 2011 Tariff for the suite is..... 1st Oct - 28th Feb (except 24th-31st Dec & Bank Hols) £45pppn 1st March - 30th Sept - £48.00pppn All Prices are per person per night & include full Cornish breakfast & VAT. Think we might give it a try with our daughters later on this year, & I'll let you know what it's like. Breakfast ******** The Watermark say they pride themselves on serving "wonderful home cooked hearty breakfasts ..... Using the finest West Country produce", and they say "we invite you to relax with the daily newspapers and plan your day ahead". They don't just 'say' this, they actually follow it through and provide the food and the atmosphere conducive to a relaxed, satisfying breakfast experience. You certainly don't go out hungry in the morning. Background music is subtle and not annoying and there is full waitress service during breakfast. Breakfast Menu is ........ From the Buffet: Selection of fruit juices Grapefruit Segments Fresh fruit Large selection of cereals and muesli Warm Croissants and pastries English breakfast Tea Earl Grey Tea Cafetieres of fresh blended Arabica coffee Hot Chocolate Choice of wholemeal or white toast Selection of West Country preserves Cornish Honey To complement our Buffet, they also offered a delicious freshly cooked breakfast: ....... "Full Cornish Breakfast, with Sausage, Bacon, Hogs pudding, Tomato, Sautéed Potatoes, Mushrooms, and Eggs cooked to your liking". It was very well cooked, packed with fresh tasty ingredients & most enjoyable. They also offer a vegetarian breakfast of ..... Boiled Eggs, Poached or Scrambled Free Range Eggs, Poached Haddock served with poached eggs or Grilled Kipper Fillets. Gluten free diets can also be provided. Didn't try the fish, because although I like it, the smell of it first thing in the morning just doesn't do it for me!! Further Note Regarding Food ************************ The hotel doesn't serve lunch or evening meals. However Looe has got such a huge number of cafe's, restaurants and take-aways, catering for all tastes and pockets that you certainly won't be short of choice! We had some lovely meals during our stay. Hotel Policies (their words not mine!) (don't shoot the mesenger ;-)) ***************************************************** "Pets We are sorry but, although animal lovers ourselves, we are unable to accept pets. Guide dogs are accepted by prior arrangement. Feeding & water bowls can be provided." "Children We welcome children of 5 years and over. For children under 5 years of age proprietor's discretion is applicable." "Smoking Policy The Watermark is non smoking with the exception of outdoor areas and room balconies." "Car Parking This is at a premium in Looe, we do have 6 parking bays set on a very restrictive back road. We do not guarantee availability of parking spaces and parking is at the customers own risk. The Watermark does not accept liability for damage howsoever caused to customers vehicles parked on our property. Guest should carry out the normal security measures and carry adequate insurance." Parking & Access ************** Parking is a BIG drawback to staying at The Watermark! We have a 4x4 vehicle and it was a nightmare parking it in the hotel parking bay. There is only room for 6 vehicles and it's first come first served, you can't reserve a space! Although it is private parking, we came back on two days to find that locals or non-resident visitors to Looe had parked in the bays, leaving us nowhere to park (it's double yellow lines and horrendously narrow roads with tight bends everywhere around) There is "unlimited free parking along the sea front beyond the hotel" but it is one heck of a walk, and in the Summer I would imagine it's a nightmare finding a parking space full stop! The other major issue regarding parking is that even if you're lucky enough to park in one of the six small bays at the back of the hotel, you then have to go down two flights of very steep narrow wooden steps to the building's rear entrance, and then down three whole floors of VERY steep narrow stairs to get down to reception! It really is a pain!! You aren't allowed to go out of the building with your key (which has a very large wooden paddle attached to the key!). They explained your key must be hung up at reception as a fire safety measure so they know you're out of the building. The drawback is it means you have to keep traipsing up and down over three floors just to get the key instead of going straight to your room when you come in the back door. The very narrow stairs and the steepness made it hard work getting suitcases up and down from car to room etc. You can't load yourself up as you then can't physically fit up the stairs!! There is NO lift in the building. We were kn*ckered by the time we'd made three trips each on the day of checkout to get luggage, carriers of souvenirs, winter coats etc up to the car. The front of the hotel is no better, if you look at the photo you will see the building is built into a cliff so there are lots of stone steps from the road (where there is no parking at all) up to the 'ground floor' reception. I certainly wouldn't want to stay there with young children, or heaven forbid a baby in a pram! Wheelchair access is out of the question. Elderly or unfit guests would struggle and might not manage at all. Likewise, obese guests would not be able to get up the narrow stairs & along corridors with ease. A little bit about Looe ****************** Cornwall's Looe is a picturesque fishing town that was first chartered in 1270AD. It has an interesting history, with piracy, smuggling & seafaring having been a way of life in Looe for centuries. The town is dissected by one of the rivers, and there is a single road bridge crossing over it separating busy East Looe from the much quieter West Looe (where The Watermark is). There are two rivers and a tidal Harbour, a long pier called the Banjo Pier due to its shape. Some of the old cobbled streets by the bustling waterfront are lined with quaint buildings that date back centuries. Looe is the home to one of Cornwall's biggest fishing fleets, and you can watch them unload their daily catch down at the quay. There is a lovely family-friendly sandy beach for lazy days or if you're feeling particularly energetic the coastal paths offer views of reputedly some of the finest scenery in the country! There are lots of shops, restaurants, bars and an amusement arcade in the town, and local fishing, sailing & golfing to pass the time away. Summary ******** If you're fit and child-free and looking for a lovely relaxing break with stunning scenery & good food, then The Watermark is the place to stay. My rating ******* Would rate it as 4 or 4.5 out of 5 for our particular needs - a 5/5 would have been a lift & reserved parking!! ************************************************** Thank you for reading this review & hope you enjoyed it xx Acknowledgements & Other Information Sources *************************************** Some of the information in this review (i.e. Other bedroom details/descriptions & Menu etc) are courtesy of The Watermark website/brochure. This review may appear on either of my Dooyoo or Ciao accounts under my name "Zurich11"