If you were watching my twitter and Instagram feeds last week then you might have noticed we were in Bluestone Wales on holiday. One of the many things that blogging does is open up amazing opportunities such as this. When we were offered a four night stay in exchange for a review I jumped at the chance.
The booking was all made via email, so I can’t rate the online booking process. However once the booking was made I was provided with access to the online side of things and received emails as the holiday approached reminding me to check in online and highlighting the activities that I could also book whilst we were away.
The break away sort of snuck up on us. We had Emma’s first birthday and a few other things going on which meant that we didn’t really give much thought to the time away! We hadn’t really planned a great deal other than actually the week we were going. However I did take a quick look on the site and it all seemed fairly easy to navigate around and book bikes etc if required.
The standard check in time is 16:30 (you can pay to check in earlier if you wish and you can access the activity centre and pool before this time). We arrived around 17:00. and the check in was quick. I had already registered our details online so we drove up to the first available window (there are four) and after giving my name and car registration we were given our welcome pack and off we headed to find our lodge. All very prompt and slick.
When I had initially booked with Bluestone we had been allocated a two bedroom lodge. Our preference is to be in a three bedroom due to Emma’s awful sleeping pattern (she wakes if in same room as us and no way we can have her and Daniel sharing). The team advised me to contact them a week before we were due to arrive and they would move us to a three bedroom lodge if one was available. I did this but the only three bedroom lodge available was overlooking some development work that is being undertaken. We declined the three bedroom lodge as we thought we would opt instead for the quietness instead, concerned that if it was noisy then it might disrupt Emma’s naps.
When we got to our lodge Monday evening we were surprised to see it was across from the entrance to a development site. We hadn’t been advised this at any stage nor when we checked in. I fully appreciate that development and maintenance works take place, and of course these happen out of season but it was a far cry from the setting we had expected. I did what I would have done had we paid for the stay (rather than being offered it in exchange for a review) and contacted the team I had been liaising with. To be fair, they apologized for the mix up and offered to relocate us to the three bedroom lodge. We accepted this as where we were was particularly noisy due to a generator powering a jet washer (being used to keep the path clean as machines moved earth across the foot path).
To be fair to Bluestone they dealt with it quickly and courteously and I can only assume they would be the same for other guests. Although I do think they should mention the development work that is taking place at the point of booking. The developments can be seen from most parts of the resort (and heard to an extent) but where we were it was really loud – and had we had to stay in that lodge for the week it would have been a lesser experience for us. The bit of the development site we were near was far quieter and there was no site traffic (which meant we didn’t have to worry about opening the door and Daniel running out).
Anyhow…. I am happy to say that in both lodges (A Ramsey Lodge and a Gateholm Lodge) the accommodation was superb. It was clean, fresh and bright. The living space was spacious (in both lodges) and the bedrooms were also excellent. In the two bed lodge both rooms were en suite, in the three bedroom the double room was en suite (and there was a separate bathroom too).
The beds were super comfy – having had to bed hop a bit in order to get Daniel and Emma to sleep I can vouch for
three of the five beds in the three bedroom lodge! There was no need for black out blinds either as the curtains made the rooms really dark (a must with small children). The showers were all really powerful (in both the two and three bedroom lodge) although I did find that the baths and sinks did seem to take a long time to drain. This isn’t a huge issue unless there is a bathtime incident with your youngest child which necessitates the bath being drained, cleaned then refilled to reclean the children – twice. The less said about this the better I think….
The kitchen is well equipped with a good oven and hob. The hobs were touch activated and had a child lock on them which was good. There is also a microwave, fridge and a dishwasher. Bluestone provide you with three dishwasher tablets and a small amount of washing up liquid as well as dish clothes.
My only slight complaint on the accommodation front would be that there was no tea/coffee provided. Only a minor thing but it would have been nice to be able to get a cup of tea after the journey, just one tea bag and a sachet of coffee would be nice. The other one was a lack of hairdryer. I thought that was a pretty standard thing these days to be included. It’s the one time I didn’t take a hairdryer with me so it meant that I had wet hair each morning waiting for it to dry.
The big plus for us was the WiFi. Most families will find themselves in their lodges from early evening due to little ones having an earlier bedtime. Having free wifi as standard across the entire resort is brilliant as it means that you can still access the news (twitter… instagram etc) and does make a difference to the stay. The signal was strong and reliable across all the areas of the resort we headed to.
The site itself is beautiful. It is well maintained and clean. I mentioned he development work but other than the first lodge we were in we didn’t really notice the hum of the machines etc. The resort is quite hilly so many families had hired golf style buggies. We hadn’t as we decided we would just walk most places. There is a beautiful lake as well as a little village centre, that really does feel like a village, and this had a lovely playground area too. There are nature trails and cycle trails to help take you around the site. It really is picturesque and very calming. What I loved was the expanses of open space, perfect for kicking a football in. We were very lucky that the weather last week was particularly good so we could enjoy having a stroll around the site without the fear of getting soaked with rain etc.
I suspect that there is an awful lot of wildlife to be spotted here. We saw some lovely birds, which Daniel found fascinating as well as frogs and rabbits. There is an awful lot to be spotted I suspect, if you’re not with a noisy bouncy toddler!
Overall we were really impressed with the resort and the lodge. The team sorted out the problem we had really well and I can’t ask more than that. Despite a distinct lack of sleep (thanks Emma!) we left feeling rested which is something!
Over the course of this week I will be sharing my thoughts on the other aspects of the resort including the village centre and the swimming pool.
Have you been to Bluestone? What did you make of the accommodation?