Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Gullivers World Hotel and Gullivers Splash Zone, Warrington: A review

Tree house beds: kid heaven!

Should I share?

I was torn as to whether to share this brilliant find with you.  But I just had to.

Oh my! What a fabulous hotel!

Despite Gulliver's World theme park being technically closed at this time of year, the hotel, and neighbouring Splash Zone is still open.

So we decided to book an overnight stay at the hotel, in a family room, for one night.  Some friends of ours and their children booked too.

We set off around lunchtime on Saturday, and arrived at 3pm, in plenty of time to quickly ooooo and aaahhh at our room, more on that later, grab the children's swimsuits and wander across the car park to the Splash Zone.

Gulliver's Splash Zone

The Splash Zone is great for 6 year olds and over. It is essentially the sort of mini splash park you get at family hotels in Spain, but instead of being outside, it is inside, in the same set up as the popular soft play zones that have sprung up in every town in the UK in the last 10 years.

The adults are not allowed in the "splash" area, so there is no need for grown-ups to bare all in swim wear (bonus!). You basically set up camp at a table around the splash area and watch your children wear themselves out.

Picture courtesy of Gulliver's Splash Zone

Little Miss George decided Splash Zone was a bit too much for her. There was a large bucket of water that emptied itself over the top of the slides roughly every 15 minutes, which she was almost directly under the first time it did it after our arrival. Her expression was one of shock and ultimately horror. Within another few minutes she'd decided the water was too cold and too scary for her and wanted to get dried and dressed.

Princess Peppa and her friends (7, 5 and 5 years old) had a great time, particularly once they discovered the flumes, but there were a few larger lads causing trouble and pushing, shoving, splashing and generally bossing the little ones around.  Typically their parents said nothing.  It is a good job they didn't directly upset or hurt my girls, as I would have had to speak up and probably get myself lamped!

The Gulliver's Hotel, Warrington

What else? Well you get a timed slot of 2 hours in the Splash Zone, so once the older girls had tired themselves out it was off to the rooms to finally unpack.  You don't have to go far.  The hotel is basically a one minute walk on the other side of the Gulliver's car park!

Tree house beds: kid heaven!
The rooms in the Gulliver's Hotel were great.

There is a separate bunk bed area, curtained off, for the kids.  It has the look and feel of a tree house, and each bed has its own TV with access to CBeebies, and an in built DVD slot.

So at bedtime we had them sat watching different DVDs! Each bed also has its own bedside cubby hole for favourite alarm clocks, books or cuddly toys.

It's these little touches that makes this place special. 

Other small touches that count?

Separately controlled lights for each of the children's bed to accompany their separately controlled TV/DVD players with remote controllers. 

A booster step in the bathroom so the children can reach to brush their teeth and wash their hands.

Plug socket protectors in all plus sockets they can access, both within their tree house bunked area and also through out the hotel in the corridors.  This is something I have not seen done so well or consistently before.

There was even a free jelly bean dispenser in the room, and a full bottle of blackcurrant juice in the room on arrival, alongside the tea and coffee making facilities for the grown ups. 
The rooms have been designed for families so there is plenty of space in the rooms for grown ups as well as the little ones.  In other hotels I've stayed at the rooms for families are the same size as standard doubles, but with extra beds squeezed in.  This was certainly not the case here and the benefits for visitors are clear to see.

Parents only!

They have thought about the parents too.  Pretty flowers in the bathroom and Bayliss and Harding hand wash and shower creme provided.  The bathrooms have a lovely serene feel and again are spacious enough for the whole family to brush their teeth at once - if you were so inclined!

Bathroom beauty
Free lotions: woo hoo!

And what about the food?

In case these touches are not enough, how about the ability to order take-away from a variety of local take-away establishments - they provide the menus at reception - which you can order and then eat in the hotel restaurant. Yes. Really. We obviously bought drinks at the restaurant, but the staff there even chased the take-away place for us when it got delayed.

The playroom by the restaurant
They do provide food at the restaurant, but I think they recognise that allowing you to pick your own from elsewhere if you'd like basically keeps you happy. Cor blimey (say I). That's customer service that is.

I'm still not finished though.... there's more...

Once the children have finished their food at break neck speed - a trick I find they are only capable off when they have friends that they'd rather be playing games with - they can go into the playroom right next to the restaurant.  When I say right next to, I mean that there are windows above the booths in the restaurant that, if you kneel on the seats, you can look through into the playroom.  They are over on the right hand wall (unfortunately just off the edge of this picture).  Additionally, the doorway to the play room is in full view of every table in the restaurant and you'd pretty much have to walk past almost all tables to go in or out of it, so the children can't easily sneak off anywhere.  You have sight lines on their exit!

The playroom has a games console, a two storey play house, bean bags to chill out on, a large supply of Lego, a football table and so on.

I am sat here, in my PJ's, tapping away utilising the FREE WIFI - so free you don't even need to faff about subscribing, or logging in - whilst my hubby sings the girls to sleep after a late evening meal and a play in the play room.  I am already thinking of re booking.

What did the children think?

This place has, according to our friendly waitress, only been open since July 2012 and apparently also has pirate themed rooms and a further batch of 52 rooms, including Princess-themed rooms planned.

For now, the Tree house theme is BRILLIANT! According to its main customer base, Princess Peppa (6) and Little Miss George (4), and their three friends who stayed over with us. I over heard this conversation in the morning of our stay as we were dressing to go down to breakfast.

"Let's ask Mummy if we can stay here another night" said Little Miss George. "Then I could have the top bunk."

"But it's school tomorrow" replied the ever practical Princess Peppa.

"That's alright" said Little Miss George "Well just ring them and tell them we can't go."

I giggled to myself. It's lovely that they want to come back, and before we have even had breakfast!

Well worth a visit, even with a closed main theme park.  A weekend break the kids, and you, will love.


Discover The Gulliver's Hotel like we did.  We stayed in a Family Suite and it was only £60 for the night as the theme park was closed, but we had a great time at the Splash Zone and enjoying time away with our friends in a great setting. 

Current prices for week commencing 8th April 2013 for a Family Suite are £119 for the room, including breakfast for all.  You can get a better deal buying a package: for only £159 you can get a Gullys Family Fun Package which is a two night bed and breakfast package including 2 days entry to the theme park, a 2 hour session at the Splash Zone and evening entertainment. I tripled checked that rate, and yes, it's for two nights.

Note:  This is not a sponsored post.  We visited Gulliver's Hotel and loved it.

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