SOMETIMES I find it a real drag to get out of bed, especially on cold, dark mornings.

But at The Headland Hotel, the views make it easy to get up and stay up.

It was pitch black when we arrived at the hotel on the Friday night, set on a cliff-top overlooking Fistral Bay in Newquay.

You get the raw feeling that the sea is all around you when you approach down the driveway, but this Cornish delight would have to wait until daylight.

One of only 50 hotels in the UK to be awarded 4 Silver Stars by The AA, The Headland has 95 rooms and suites, plus a collection of self-catering cottages.

Right from the beginning, its owners had grand ambitions.

Their aim was to create a Victorian masterpiece to make every hotelier from Penzance to Portishead green with envy.

The project began with opposition and even the odd arson attack from locals, so it is said.

Despite these set-backs, the hotel was completed and received its first guests in June 1900.

It was the height of luxury for its time, with its lavishly decorated rooms, hot and cold running water and electric lights.

Fast forward 118 years, and waiting inside the main Victorian red brick building is the promise of roaring fires, individually-designed rooms, fine dining from executive chef Christopher Archambault, and pampering and wellness in the spa.

After checking in, the receptionist took us up the lift to the third floor, and led us to our room, a Fistral hybrid suite.

It boasted an impressive bathroom with a large bath, separate shower and two wash basins, plus a lounge area and good-sized bedroom with king size bed.

My wife and I resisted the temptation to tuck into the fruit platter or hotel-branded fudge, though, as we had booked into the restaurant and time was ticking.

After a quick glance in one of the many mirrors in the suite,we headed back down to dinner.

The Samphire restaurant was a little less formal than expected, judging by the slightly casual attire of some diners.

Billed as a two-rosette awarded modern dining restaurant serving "vibrant, contemporary fare in a timeless setting with the perfect view", the famous sands of Fistral Beach were cloaked in darkness.

But our friendly hosts made sure our attention remained on the food.

Highlights of the three-course menu included the mains - crisp pork belly served with a delicious ham hock croquette, and a rather generous portion of chicken breast with chorizo jam - and the figgy panna cotta.

Washed down with a hotel-branded bottle of house red, and we were just about ready to retire for the night.

Half-waking the next morning, I staggered over to the window to assess our surroundings.

And what a view it was, even without glasses on.

Our bedroom was directly facing the beach and bay. We sat on the window ledge together, just watching.

The pale blue sky, the winter sun, the first few hardy surfers and dog walkers of the day. It really was stunning.

We had breakfast in the same room as dinner, and again we could appreciate the incredible location.

After bacon and syrup waffles and a hearty porridge, we were set up for the day.

Port Isaac - where Doc Martin is filmed - is just over half an hour away, and was well worth the trip. Popping into the fudge shop which is transformed into a pharmacy for TV, we chomped fudge and gossiped with the owner about the secrets of the show.

Around the corner, we had a Cornish cream tea, complete with heart-shaped scones served on black slate. It's hungry work this tourist lark.

If scones and fudge weren't enough, by the end of the day we'd ticked off more traditional snacks - local ice cream, a pasty and fish by the sea back at Rick Stein's in Newquay, a short stumble from the hotel.

Newquay as a town seemed a little frayed around the edges, but is trying to bounce back after years of headlines regarding hen and stag dos.

After another night of sleeping like babies, and another half an hour spent admiring the views from the window, it was time for breakfast, a quick nosy around the immaculate spa area and checkout.

Any minor grumbles?

There was a wedding reception during our stay, which made parking difficult, and service at breakfast was a little on the slow side.

But with views and facilities like those on offer at The Headland Hotel, these quibbles quickly fade into the background.

The hotel is currently investing in a new leisure complex, due to be completed by late 2019, offering an easy excuse for another visit.

Fact box

Address: Fistral Beach, Newquay, TR7 1EW

Tel: 01637 872211



A Fistral hybrid suite is priced at £285 for B&B and £345 for DBB per night, correct at time of going to press.