So, this weekend we were one of the first families to stay at the CBeebies Land Hotel at Alton Towers Resort. I'd been following the construction quite closely. Wondering how Alton could pull off a hotel aimed at younger families. There are themed hotels at all the Merlin Parks now - some brilliant, others not. Alton Towers Resort hasn't had the best few years, however the ship is steadying and the future is looking brighter oop there!
The 76 room hotel has rooms and suites themed around some of the biggest CBeebies shows - including Postman Pat, Something Special and In the Night Garden. There are some standard 'Bugbies Rooms' too. The rooms are all 'family ready' - each one has everything a young family could need. There's a clever 'dual' toilet seat, toddler steps, and baby bath in the bathroom. Theres a travel cot tucked away with sheets in a clever drawer, and a bottle warmer and fridge too. The rooms are generously sized, even a standard room could comfortably hold five, six if you include a baby in the cot.
There's ample room for the cot to be opened too, so many hotel rooms only JUST have enough space for a travel cot. It's clear that the designers have thought it all through. There's also some welcome climate control in the room too, which keeps the room at constant temperature.
What amazed me was the sound proofing when you're in the room. Usually 'family hotels' are a pain because you can hear other families. Kids charging down the corridor, doors slamming. Generally thin walls so you can hear every noise around you. I had an amazing nights sleep - I couldn't hear a thing from anyone around us. I suppose it's also helpful if your little one is screaming the place down, you know you won't be annoying your 'neighbours'.
The Windmill Restaurant
Meals are served in the 'Windmill Restaurant' - it can cope with 200 covers with seating in booths, and at tables. It's split into three sections - the library, the central area, and the castle. The food isn't traditional hotel schlep, they are health conscious and designed for smaller folk. My favourite thing is that kids can design their own pizzas by sticking the ingredients onto a 'naked' pizza. Their sheet is then given to the chef who will cook it exactly to their design. The pizza sauce is packed with ten different vegetables too - and it's bloody good.
Dinner is served from 4.30pm to 8.30pm. After dinner service is finished, the 'library' area becomes a 'quiet-zone' for bedtime stories as an alternative to the Entertainment in The Musical Meadow.
Speaking of which..
The Musical Meadow is the central entertainment area. In other hotels usually such an area will spring to life in the evening and be empty during the day. Not so at the CBeebies Land Hotel, there is a PACKED entertainment schedule, all day, every day. A mixture of meet and greets with some of the CBeebies characters, and live action shows based on CBeebies counterparts. It's a smart idea, if the weather is a bit gloomy you don't have to traipse around the park. You can relax and be entertained. Then, when the weather is better - take a trip into CBeebies Land in Alton Towers!
Also, the CBeebies Land Hotel is 'exclusive' - only residents are allowed. I love hanging out in the Alton Towers Hotel, or grabbing a quick drink in the Splash Landings Hotel. However, I understand why Alton have chosen to make the CBeebies Land Hotel exclusive. They want the entertainment and facilities to be enjoyed by those who have paid for them, rather than anyone who's driven into the resort. Plus, because there is so much going on elsewhere, and two other hotels, along with the Enchanted Village, there are plenty of other places for non residents to explore.
Anyway - that's a brief overview of the CBeebies Land Hotel at Alton Towers. I'll write up a full review in the next few days... Keep an eye out!