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Includes use of Swim Club before dinner in Zacry's

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We believe that business should bring benefits for the local community. From creating quality, long-term employment opportunities to building assets that will benefit local people for years to come, people are at the heart of our decision-making.

Arts On The Beach Eko The Puppet (1)

Reimagine the ocean

Our first Arts on the Beach event took place on the 9 & 10 September. A free family weekend of street theatre, aerial performance, dance, music and creative workshops. And... a 13-foot roaming puppet. Sustainability-minded festivities inspired by the ocean - and protecting it.

Giving through partnership

As we work to increase our impact – in our community and on the environment – we’ve changed how we support the charity partners nominated by our team, Newquay Orchard and Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Yes, we’re continuing to provide financial support, as we have in the past, but we’re also going further.

Newquay Orchard is making great use of outdoor furniture previously used by the hotel, and receives leftover food from our kitchens. We’re also looking at how our kitchens can support projects to help people back into work, as well as how our chef team can support them. Look out for executive chef Neil Haydock cooking up recipes from the orchard’s veg box soon. 

We’re teaming-up with Cornwall Wildlife Trust to help spread awareness of its conservation projects. Soon, the Front of House team won’t just be able to tell you about your dinner reservations and Swim Club, but will also answer your questions on Cornwall’s beavers and explain what Living Seas means. 

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Photo of two RNLI lifeguards and vehicle

Community at Watergate

We provided a home for the Watergate Bay Surf Life Saving Club and continue to work closely with the RNLI to provide life-guarding services at Watergate Bay. Together with our regular beach cleans, these are major parts of our commitment to ensure everyone can enjoy, and benefit from, the natural environment on our doorstep. We also work with the Marine Conservation Society to help protect the beach, and sponsor Surfers Against Sewage in their fight to keep the oceans healthy and clean. We actively support organisations providing important services, including Cornwall Air Ambulance and through the Cornwall Community Foundation.

View over the hotel and the beach in the snow at Christmas

Guaranteed jobs, all year

Before Will and Henry Ashworth took on Watergate Bay in 2000, the hotel – like all visitor accommodation in Cornwall – would close every winter. Pioneering a new approach by encouraging guests to get out on the beach whatever the weather, we’re proud to have been a year-round employer for over 20 years. Off season? What’s that?

From launching the Extreme Academy to bold winter marketing campaigns (including ‘stay for free and pay for dinner’ in the early days and, now, Taste of the Bay) and innovative free events like Polo on the Beach and Arts on the Beach, we’ve always been forward-thinking about the way we do things. At our heart, it’s about wanting to get people on the beach every day of the year.

And with year-round guests come year-round jobs. Almost all of our team have permanent roles with us, whether they opt for the flexibility of variable hours, or a guaranteed standard contract. It’s built into our business model.

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Resetting shifts 

We know how the balance of work and life each week can have a big impact on our team. That’s why our chefs can now work four 10-hour shifts with three days off, and rarely work more than 45 hours a week. 

“A decade ago it was the norm outside of London for chefs to be working five split shifts a week, often working 60 hours plus per week,” says executive chef Neil Haydock. “Now, if any chefs do time over 45 hours, it’s paid and there are always two days off for their own time. At its best balance, three days off is a chance for the kitchen team to get away for a few days or spend quality time with loved ones and friends.”

Better flexibility in the working week extends to home working for other teams. “I prefer coming into the office and seeing my team,” says Ellie in the Reservations team. “It’s a cheerful place to work and the fact that most of my friends work here says something! But on weekend shifts I can work from home; it’s a real positive that the business supports flexible working.”

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Mini Bus Transport

Home making 

Finding a good quality place to live is a challenge for hard working people across Cornwall – our team included. So we invested in creating real, high quality living spaces for our team. Based in Newquay, a short commute from Watergate Bay, team members pay a discounted weekly rent and can hop on a hotel minibus to work, reducing the number of individual vehicles making the daily commute. 

A yoga class taking place on the beach with the sea in the background

Working well

Break for yoga on the beach, a day dedicated to a fit and healthy mind, or post work workout in a spinning class – we organise events during the year when our team can look after their health, body and mind during the working week.

Swim, surf, SUP, skill up

What’s a typical day like for a gap year student at Watergate Bay? The short answer is, there isn’t one.

You might find yourself checking in guests at front desk, fixing a mean martini in the Beach Hut, learning about marketing and social media with the brand team, delving into sustainability issues with our managers, or cooking local, seasonal dishes under the expert eye of executive chef, Neil Haydock

And when you’re not learning from the best in the business, there’s surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, sunsets over the sea, and two miles of sandy beach to explore. Up for it? Check out our Gap Year programme with a difference.

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GAP Year

GAP Year programme

Carving the future of food

Our executive chef, Neil Haydock, has joined forces with Cornwall’s finest local producers and restaurants to create The Future Chefs Management Course. Want to train under head honcho Neil and take the industry to new heights?

Check out our careers on YouTube

Watergate Bay Hotel Chefs

The Future Chefs Management Course

Taking care of careers

From haberdashery training for Kids’ Zone workshops to cutting-edge kitchen learning, we’re creating opportunities for career growth. At our academy programme for new chefs, we offer the next generation of aspiring chefs an opportunity to sink their teeth into a new cooking career with a free 12-month apprenticeship placement. 

Learning about local suppliers, perfecting knife skills, chef mentoring and becoming a dab hand with dough culminates in a chance to join the kitchen as a chef de partie.

And our interest in professional development goes beyond the kitchen, too. “During my first six months in reservations, my managers supported me to take on more responsibility and to go on courses,” says reservations supervisor Georgia. 

Jack in the Kids’ Zone developed new skills so he can lead workshops on textile crafts and Watergate Bay’s Beach School sessions. “We work closely with the local community too,” he adds. “A local charity, Beach Guardian, visited to talk to us about pollution on the coast in Cornwall and show us how to make Christmas decorations from discarded ghost fishing gear – knowledge and skills we’re sharing in Kids’ Zone sessions.”

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Fifteen Cornwall

In 2006 we founded the Jamie Oliver-inspired restaurant, Fifteen Cornwall. This social enterprise closed in 2019 having trained over 200 young people, the majority of whom are still working in Cornwall’s food industry. Another important legacy of Fifteen is that the charity delivered cooking programmes in the wider community which still continue.

You do you

From volunteering for a charity that uses horse riding as therapy for disabled people to learning the dark art of pastry making, everyone at Watergate Bay gets two days to feed their passion. Find out how Izzy in guest services spent her You Day exploring her passion for baking with renowned bakers Da Bara.

We want to ensure the people who work with us have a healthy and happy time both off-duty and on; one way we show our appreciation for the work that goes into every stay at Watergate Bay.

Whether it’s making it financially easier for the team to stay fed and energised at work or access to free surf hire and lessons for when they hit the beach to unwind and socialise after a shift. A great half price deal on a Swim Club massage treatment at the hotel or a discount in our shops, restaurants, and bath and body products.

And we spread that happiness even further with room discounts for our team and their family and friends too.

Finding mental balance at work

Every day at Watergate Bay we help hundreds of people to find calm and balance. And that includes the team who work here, too.

Earlier this year, our senior managers took some well-deserved time out to complete the Burnt Chef Project training course and we’ve signed-up to the MIND Mental Health at Work commitment. 

From self-care tips to supporting colleagues with their mental health, the course has all the skills needed to keep a team balanced and content at work. Because a happy hotel starts with the health of its people.

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Burnt Chef

Burnt Chef Project

When the daily commute is the best part of the day

Wind in your hair, the sound of rolling waves, clifftop views and even a dolphin sighting if you’re lucky – all before you’ve even started your shift.

When you’re lucky enough to work amongst the elements, there’s no better way to commute than by bike. It’s a 100% emissions-free fitness booster, mood lifter and money saver. That’s why everyone who works at Watergate Bay can save up to 48% on the cost of a bike and cycling equipment through the Cycle2work scheme.

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Eclectic effect 

Our diverse team brings a delightful mix of ideas, perspectives and culture to life at the hotel, from influencing what’s on our menus to chatting to guests in The Living Space. Chef Ramesh Swaminathan talks about his cooking heritage and what drew him to the Cornish coast. 

Be yourself – life’s better that way

We want everyone to feel like they have a place at Watergate Bay. Find out how we put diversity and inclusion at the heart of our words, photography, social media and more.

Read our policy

Watergate Bay Hotel view from the coast path

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National Lobster Hatchery Marine Conservation In Action


Learn about our 10-point 'greenprint' Sustainability Promise at The Beach Hut, our chemical-free cleaning products and our buy one set one free Lobster Friday initiative. 

Flotsam Flo


Life at Watergate Bay is all about balance. That includes finding a way to balance having a great time among the elements with looking after the elements. 

Burnt Chef

Our Impact

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