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Parc In The Centre Of Nowhere.
Center Parcs (England)
Member Name: beautybabiex
Center Parcs (England)
Advantages: see review
Disadvantages: see review
I love the idea of a fairytale romance, my boyfriend never stops heaving about this and decided to book a cosy romantic weekend away from the drama of life. When he told me we were going to Centre Parcs I was quite shocked as I didn't expect him to come up with it, he normally suggests Alton Towers!
We stayed in Oasis Whinfell Forest which is just off the m6 and it is fairly easy to find. I liked how helpful the staff were at the entrance and the fact you drive through to check in so no need to hop out of the car to run into reception. As we had pre-registered online, we managed to get in quite quickly, when we approached the little desk we were given a map to find our accommodation, key and a pass to stay in the car park. It was quite basic but the map was incredibly helpful as my boyfriend and I are not the best at directions! We arrived at the Parcs around 4pm due to the drive to get there and a stop for food, if you arrive early you will have to wait till 3.30pm to get into your lodge for the first time which I think is a bit extreme as most want to get in as soon as possible to relax. If you pay more you are able to enter from 1pm though. Lucky we managed to get straight in for a nap on the sofa.
Our lodge cost £309 for the two of us for 3 nights (Friday-Tuesday) and this gave us our romantic lodge. We stayed in what they call a 'Original Style Executive 1 Bed Penthouse' and when I looked on the website it appeared to be the 4th up the ladder in comfort. The price does vary depending on the dates you stay and the type of accomodation you choose. I can't remember the exact location but I do remember it was beautiful and close to everything we needed, but far enough away to feel like we were alone. As we went during the snow period at the start of the year, it was very beautiful to look at the lodge and it looked like a little ski chalet. Inside we had a little toilet room and a cupboard with all our essentials such as an iron, ironing board, hoover, etc. We didn't actually need to use any of this but its nice to know that its there incase we did. Moving in a little further there is a big room which is a kitchen/dining/living room, but its big enough for you not to worry that it is all three in one. There is a 6 seater table which I don't honestly see why we needed when the lodge slept two people. There is also a corner sofa which is quite comfortable but reminded me of something you get in a mobile home and there is a television. We also had the luxury of a log fire which we both couldn't wait to turn on and snuggle up in front of. We did have some logs already outside our cabin so used these but we were charged £8 approximately for them, although they lasted us all weekend so I'm not too bothered. The kitchen was a part of the room and had all the essentials such as an oven, microwave, frying pan, pots, glasses, cutlery, plates, bowls etc. We also had a kettle so lots of cups of tea and hot chocolate!
Our master bedroom was quite nice. We had a nice sized bed which made my boyfriend extremely happy as I seem to sleep diagonal and take up all of the room. We had a bedside cabinet either side of the bed and a wardrobe in the corner. It did fit all of our weekend clothes in but staying any longer and it might of struggled. The main bathroom was more on an ensuite and had a shower cubicle which was cornered so it was quite a squeeze for 6ft4 Joshua but I was fine, and obviously a sink and toilet. I loved that we had a heated towel rail so you had a lovely warm fluffy towel when you emerged from the shower rather than a cold one.
I was a bit disappointed to find there were no basics such as washing up liquid, tea towels and others so we headed to the most local supermarket we could find to buy them and some food. I do think for such a price they should of included at least Tesco Value priced products for ease of guests. At least I know for my return though.
When we stayed, due to the weather some of the activities were not running and lots were oriented to families anyway so we didn't bother with them. We booked to use the tennis court but got given a voucher to use something else instead as it was too icy to play tennis outside. Instead, we opted to go indoors and join in with a basketball game (men vs women, women won). Other activities in the sports centre include badminton, rollerblading, mini golf and many more but they come at a cost. You can book these at the reception downstairs and you can also purchase or rent equipment from the shop to use. The sports centre does have a cafe but we didn't go up there as we brought food and drinks with us so we didn't spend more than needed. Outdoors you could do activities such as walk climbing, tennis and many others which were shut due to the weather on our visit - silly snow!
During our stay we were offered lots of spa treatments which are strictly for over 18s, we opted for a couple as they were quite expensive. Prices range from £35 upwards for treatments. The spa is open from 9-9 and you need to book in to ensure you get a treatment and don't have to wait around. We went on the Monday which was our final day and we were told it was discounted to £22 for their sauna, salt room, spa pools and reflexology foot baths. I enjoyed the hydrotherapy pools as it felt like a massage which helped Josh's muscles a lot as he does football 5 times a week. We did get a Multi Steam Balinese Bath which was gorgeous and really relaxing with all of the scents filling the room, this was by far my favourite treatment. I am sure there was a few more but I can't remember them.
We did release our inner children in 'Waterworld' which is an indoor swimming pool and has a number of slides and rapids for children to enjoy. The rapids do go outside which can be quite chilly but it gives you a gorgeous view of the lake, they do go quite quickly but if you can touch the bottom or grab onto the side then you won't be dragged away with the water - I managed to go round a few times due to being in fits of laughter and unable to swim fast enough to get out. Waves do come on every now and then but they aren't very big or high so they simply make you bob about a little bit more. I did love that the pool was heated as it made you warm up a lot compared to the cold outside.
The slides in waterworld are quite good but I have to admit they are a lot more suited to children and I preferred just floating around the pool and enjoying spending time with my boyfriend. You can buy a locker at the pool for £1 but we just left our towels and hoodies/tracksuit bottoms on the side of the pool for walking back and everything else at the lodge.
Spa pools and saunas were around the swimming pool and for over 18s only so its relaxing and isn't full of screaming kids. These were free but I am not sure whether Josh pre-paid to use them or not. The sauna was quite a reasonable size and it was very good compared to some that you get, the jacuzzi pools were also really relaxing but could of been warmer as I was quite cold.
Next to Waterworld was Leisure Bowl which we visited twice as my boyfriend loves bowling. A game lasts as long as you make it last and it costs £14.95 a game which includes your bowling shoes. I think its expensive compared to prices such as Hollywood Bowl but I suppose they can make it pricey due to where it is. I wouldn't say it is the nicest bowling alley, but it gives a good game and is enjoyable all the same.
As we were there from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon, we did take two of these days to explore the sights and go for a wonder to spend quality time together. There is usually lots of wildlife but most were in hybernation so we didn't really get to enjoy them and only saw a few squirrels and Josh claims to of seen a deer - but I don't know how true that is!
I have to admit, we didn't eat out much because of the price of the food and the fact the lodge had already cost us so much. The restaurants ranged from £4-£12 per meal and there was: Lucianos Italian, Yangs Chinese, Chez Pierre, Radina Pradesh Indian and surprisingly no carvery! All of the restaurants were spread out around the estate and seemed to be walking distance. I love that there is so much range so it caters for everyone but they could of done with a traditional English restaurant for a roast dinner!
I would definitely recommend staying here as it is very clean and beautiful accomodation in a stunning surrounding. There are many activities to be done but avoid going in the winter period like we did if you would like a fun filled weekend. We didn't mind so much as we got to relax and just spend time together which was the point of the weekend. One thing I didn't like was my lack of phone signal but at the end of the day - you're there to relax! I will definitely be going back and advise you to check it out also.
Summary: amazing weekend away
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