Nothing works up an appetite like a few lengths in the pool. For a step up from the leisure-centre vending machine, check out these luxury swim and dine experiences in the South West
Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall
If wild weather halts your plans for an evening dip in the sea (or if you just can’t face the chilly waters of the Atlantic in winter), Watergate Bay Hotel’s Swim Club is the next best thing. The 25-metre infinity pool stretches to the horizon, bound only by the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the waves breaking on the beach below, making it the closest thing you’ll get to wild swimming while keeping warm.
The hotel’s Swim & Dine package (£55 per person) gives visitors two hours to soak up the views from the pool, take a dip in the Canadian hot tub, sweat it out in the sauna and do a few laps before indulging in a three-course dinner at Zacry’s.
The menus at the contemporary beachfront restaurant change seasonally, but guests can expect to dine on the likes of grilled octopus with pickled shallots, crispy quinoa and uchucuta sauce, and barbecue-glazed pork belly with ‘nudja macaroni cheese, charred cabbage and fennel salsa.
Early birds eager to seize the day can get their lengths in before breakfast at Bristol Lido. The Swim & Breakfast package (£35 per person) is available from 8am and includes up to two hours use of the pool and spa facilities before an indulgent brunch at 10am. Sunrise dishes include the likes of turkish baked eggs, and hot-smoked salmon with crème fraiche, soft boiled eggs, pickles and sourdough.
Of course, you don’t have to rise at the crack of dawn for the Bristol Lido experience. Lunch (£40 per person) and dinner (£45 per person) packages are available throughout the day and include a two-course meal at the poolside restaurant. The a la carte menu has a Mediterranean leaning, so expect South West ingredients such as Devon scallops and Cornish red mullet crafted with a Spanish twist.
People have visited Bath for thousands of years to ‘take the waters’, so this luxury hotel on the edge of the city is a fitting spot to indulge in day of water-based rejuvenation.
Homewood’s Refresh & Relax package (£79 per person) allows non-residents to make the most of its spa facilities – including the heated outdoor pool – for up the three hours. Swimming under blue skies and de-stressing in the indoor hydro-therapy pool are followed by a two-course lunch or afternoon tea in the Olio Restaurant.
The Headland, Cornwall
The Aqua Club, a new swimming and wellbeing destination at The Headland in Newquay took three years and £10m to complete, yet the investment paid off when, within a year of opening, it was named as the tenth best hotel swimming pool in the world by The Week.
Swimmers are spoilt for choice as the no-expense-spared spa features six pools (three inside, three outside), including a 25-metre pool reserved for lane swimming. After smashing the kilometres, serious swimmers can soothe their muscles in the alfresco hydrotherapy pool.
There are three swim and dine experiences currently available at The Headland: Sunrise Swim & Breakfast (£45 per person, including a three-course breakfast), Laze and Lunch (£50 per person, including a one-course lunch) and Sundown Swim & Supper (£55 per person, including a two-course dinner).
Highbullen Hotel, Devon
Highbullen Hotel, nestled in north Devon’s rolling hills, is a popular destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and unwind in nature. If you don’t have a weekend to spare, treating yourself to its Dip & Dine package (£15.95 per person) is a good compromise.
The 20-metre indoor pool is encased in glass, so you can gaze over lush greenery while gliding through the water. Available Tuesday to Thursday, the offer also includes lunch in the restaurant; replenish your energy with dishes such as Dorset Blue Vinney and pea risotto, and slow-cooked bolognaise with homemade tagliatelle.
Like 5 of the best swim and dine experiences? Check out our collection of South West solo breaks here.
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