Drayton Manor Hotel
User Review( votes)
On Friday 28th September we collected G from school and headed off to Drayton Manor, Tamworth with a loaded car. We were having a stay in the Hotel and then a day in the Theme Park on the Saturday. The journey from Chelmsford was actually pretty good and we arrived there at 6.30pm. I’ve never been to Drayton Manor before but it’s very close to the M42 and well signposted. However, arriving at the Hotel we hit a small problem. The Hotel car park was TINY and, to compound the problem further, the parking spaces are small so there were a few spaces taken up by idiots who can’t park their 4×4’s correctly! We managed to squeeze into a space and made our way into the hotel.
The hotel has been open for a year now and is still looking remarkably fresh. You’re greeted at the entrance by a selection of statues of the odd looking ‘people’ from Thomas the Tank Engine and, as you enter the Reception, a Thomas themed model carousel in front of you. The reception desk is further in and check in was quick and painless. The Reception area was very open, bright and modern, G was ‘Wowwing’ at the vastness of it all. We made our way to the second floor in the lifts. These were slightly annoying because you needed to swipe your room card to make them move. If two sets of families got into the lift and want different floors, you had to swipe, press the floor, swipe again, press the next floor. I understand it’s there for security, but frankly it was just too much with all our luggage and after a long journey.
The lift lobbies on each floor had models of two ‘Thomas’ trains coming out of the wall. Each floor had two different characters and it was a nice touch, but did look a bit odd in the very clerical and modern looking hotel. We made our way to the room and were very pleased with what we found. The room was actually fairly spacious, despite having the travel cot and the sofa bed folded out. There was a lovely 42″ TV on the wall, a fridge, safe, big desk and plenty of power sockets too! The rooms are definitely designed for ‘business’ as there’s no cutesy charm that you find at Alton Towers or LegoLand Hotels, just a nice functional, swish looking room – ideal for corporate people.
After a quick shower and change we went down to dinner at 20.30. The restaurant was, like the rooms, very plush and corporate – the only thing that made it look slightly ‘family’ were a few Brio train set tables (without the trains!?!). The restaurant was quiet; just us and probably three other families. We all found something we fancied on the menus (you can see the adult one here and the kids one here), and placed our order with our lovely waitress. The food arrived promptly, and it was DIVINE! The quality was excellent, the portions sizes were good too; even G’s very plain-sounding ‘Macaroni Cheese’ was spot on. I opted for the Pork Belly and Potato Gratin. I actually felt sad when I’d finished it!
Loz did ask the waitress if there was any entertainment happening in the hotel for the kids. There wasn’t. The restaurant actually shut at 21.30 so we were left wondering what we’d actually do with G and J as it was a bit too early to go to bed! We chose to go to the bar where we found several other families seeking sanctuary and passing the time without any entertainment. The bar area was again, very swish and finished to a high standard. The staff didn’t seem to mind the children all charging about. It would have been nice to have some sort of entertainment or even background music. Alas, no.
G and I decided to hit the Arcade which had a fairly limited selection of machines. A few fruities, Guitar Hero, a few Grabbers, a Need for Speed Racing game (one side of it was broken!), and an old Chase HQ 2 cabinet. Annoyingly the only cash point in the hotel wasn’t working, so we had to raid Loz’s purse for a bit of change to play a few of the games. Once we’d spent the money, G and I decided to have a little explore around the hotel. She was keen to find what floor the ‘James’ engine was on, we went up and down the lifts trying to find it. It was on the first floor and one of the lifts didn’t stop at that floor as it was broken. Still, it killed some time and at around 10pm, we went to bed!
It’s fair to say I had one of my worst nights sleep ever. Not because of the room though – the bed was nice and comfy. Immediately to my left there was G on the sofa bed, and by my feet was J. G has a tendency to fidget in bed, and J is a noisy sleeper too. As J had a late night we were hoping that he wouldn’t wake in the night for a feed. He did! To save putting all the lights on in the room to change him and sort out the bottle I actually took him in to the bathroom and changed him on the floor, then sat feeding him on the toilet. Not ideal, but it meant Loz and G weren’t as disturbed and to be honest, it wasn’t actually too bad. He was on his best behaviour and went back to sleep peacefully. Something that nearly woke him as I moved back to the bedroom were the loud squeaky hinges and handles on the bathroom door. They were LOUD and definitely in need of some WD40!
The morning arrived far too quickly and Loz woke early and took J down for breakfast while G and I slept in. When Loz was finished she came back and I took G + J down for breakfast with me. There was a fabulous selection of cereals, fruit, and cooked breakfast items that you could help yourself to. Like our evening meal, the quality of the cooked breakfast was wonderful, I really enjoyed it and was sorely tempted to head back for seconds. I refrained and tucked into a croissant instead! The time was creeping up to 8.30am and the restaurant was starting to get busier. It was definitely sensible to have an early breakfast.
We headed back to our room to start packing up our things and get ready to check out. Loz had to take some photos for her review so I took G and J to the park at the back of the hotel. It’s fairly basic, but it was enough to keep G entertained for a while. It’s a bit of a PITA to get to the park because there is no path from the ‘decking’ area at the rear of the hotel directly to the park. You have to come off the decking, traipse across the grass, then join the path to the park. If you’re in a wheelchair or pushing a buggy it’s horrible. We all went inside to look at the Drayton Manor Shop which was open from 9am-10.30am. In all honesty, it wasn’t a Drayton Manor Shop, it was a Thomas the Tank Engine shop. Practically nothing in it but slightly over-priced Thomas merchandise.
We met Loz in Reception and checked out of the Hotel, loaded the car and wandered over to the theme park, which I’ll review later.
All in all, the hotel is great. It’s very modern and reasonably priced for a Theme Park Hotel. The thing is, it’s not a typical Hotel attached to a theme park. It’s very focused on the corporate market, despite the odd Thomas theming bits around the hotel. You can’t help but feel like you’re in a ‘business’ Hotel, which is fine in some respects, as it’s all finished wonderfully and certainly looks the part, but if you’re a young family looking for a night in a hotel with a bit of family entertainment in the evening you’ll be disappointed. Despite this, it has a fantastic restaurant and probably worth a visit, especially if you have a Thomas obsessed child! Just don’t go expecting the ‘family experience’ that you’ll find at Alton Towers.