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No way is this a Blackpool hotel?!
Big Blue Hotel (Blackpool)
Member Name: k444tmc
Big Blue Hotel (Blackpool)
Date: 24/03/13, updated on 24/03/13 (75 review reads)
Advantages: great staff - beautiful rooms- entertainment in rooms for kids - clean - next to pleasure beach
Disadvantages: nothing major
I have been with my boyfriend for 6 months now and with me having a 7 year old daughter and him a 3 year old daughter - who get along great - we decided to have a trip away together now that the weather is starting to get nicer. We live up north in Cumbria and the obvious choice for us and everyone round here for a weekend away is Blackpool - being just a 2 hour drive and having lots to offer in terms of entertainment for the youngsters.
Most people my age in the UK love Blackpool and others would prefer to stay away - the usual reason for this is because of how dirty the place is in general and the horror stories you hear of some of the hotels... one in particular that I went to with friends a few years ago had you leave with the smell of fry up permenantly attached to you free of charge as well as free pets in the form of bed bugs from the rooms... So this time we wanted a really decent hotel without any of the horrors so the kids didnt get scarred for life!
The choice of the Blue Bay Hotel came from my boyfriends previous experiance where he had one of the cheaper rooms which he stopped in overnight for a swimming competition - and he had nothing but praise for it in the sense that it is not like the others in Blackpool! A look at photos, guest reviews and room details sealed the deal for me as well! For two adults and two kids we had the choice out of two different types of family rooms - which were superior and deluxe. We opted for a deluxe room as it was a lot more spacious, with a sofa and a playstation 3 in the childrens room. The superior rooms looked the same apart from they had a playstation 2 instead and there wasnt as much space. It worked out a difference of just £20.00 for the full weekend for the better room and it was defintetly worth it in my opinion!
We booked the hotel just last month and the total for the stay between Friday 22nd March 2013 - Sunday 24th March 2013 was just £235.00. In my opinion this works out really well because its between four of us for 2 nights and you get a buffet all you can eat breakfast included with free WiFi, free parking and a special entrance to the Pleasure Beach. It worked out a lot cheaper this particular weekend as its the weekend before the entertainment really kicks off in Blackpool such as the circus ect... However there was still plenty to do with two children and being quieter means not as many queues at the theme park! We checked the prices after this weekend out of curiosity and the price can work out over £400 for the same two night stay - so we got a bargain!
Getting There and First Impressions
We had set off from Cumbria around 11am on Friday and expected to be at Blackpool for no later than 2pm as we had pre-booked some tickets to the Sealife centre which had to be used this day - and then to check into the hotel later on. We actually arrived just before 4pm due to the snowy conditions causing first an accident on a main road near home and some backed up traffic on the motorway due to the snow causing yet more havoc. So as you can imagine with two bored kids we were not in the best of moods due to the days drama and were anxious to check into the hotel and settle down for the night as soon as possible. Around 5pm we arrived at the hotel which is literally right in front of the Pleasure Beach and drove straight into the hotels secure car park which was a one way system. Due to the freezing weather and young children in tow we were a little unimpressed that the closest car park space we could get was at the back of the hotel where there was a door but not one you could use to get inside! However I can hardly hold this against the hotel as that area was unmanned and everyone else obviously had the same idea as us to park as close to the entrance as possible!
The hotel from the outside is very well kept and painted completely blue in colour - hense the name! - with white windows and bits of detail. If you havent seen a picture of the hotel you may think this sounds tacky just like Blackpool in general but in my opinion looks very nice and a bit out of place compared to the other scabby places opposite which is a great thing!
Walking into the hotel and first impressions of the reception gives you very high hopes for your weekend - very warm compared to the outside and there is plenty of comfortable seating and even free apples in bowls which the kids loved! There was two or three hotel staff on the reception who were very happy and friendly and within two minutes we were checked in and had our swipe cards for our room - much quicker and pleasant than other hotels I have stayed at!
At quick glance in the reception you had your resturant / breakfast serving area on the left through another doorway, general toilet area behind the reception desk and to the right was another doorway which lead to the lift and stairs and also access to the ground floor rooms. We were on the third floor of the hotel which when you got to the floor to get to our room you had to walk down a long hallway full of hotel rooms and then walk down another long corridor along the side to get to where we were going. This was one of the only downsides for me as it was quite a treck from the lift with two young tired children in tow.
On the way to the hotel room the corridors were really nicely presented with cream walls, decorated with nice pictures, pine doors and blue patterned carpets. To get into your room rather than have a key like many other Blackpool hotels you get a keycard which you pop into the lock and it electronically opens.
The Room and if it Lives up to Expectations?
When you walk into the hotel room the first area on the left was the childrens bedroom/area. This particular area was painted vibrant green and blue and consisted of a bunk bed and two flat screen TV's moulded into the wall - one for each bunk - which the kids could watch different channels at once if they wanted to. Each TV came with its own remote control and at the bottom was a Playstation 3 with two controllors. To our dissapointment knowing the kids wouldnt use the Playstation as they are a little young, we found this was secured to a wooden moulding which couldnt be removed - the idea was that we were going to take this through to our room to play at night when the children were asleep but I understand the hotel did this to make sure the device wasnt stolen! Opposite the TV area is a snakes and ladders game stuck to the wall with magnetic pieces with a huge blue dice - and the children got a lot of use playing this over the weekend! So far, so good - the children were very excited at the prospect of bunk beds and spent the first couple of hours climbing up and down and watching their own TV's - I thought the two TV's were a great touch from the hotel as there is nothing worse than children arguing over what to watch! Another great touch in the childrens were were the round lights which could be located above each bed which could be operated easily by young children at the touch of a button - this is great if you have one child who needs a night light when they go to bed or if they want to read as it doesnt disturb the other child.
You then walk past the childrens area and to the right is a shelfing area to put clothes and other bits and pieces and a coat rail attached to the wall and shoe hole. This particular area is a dark brown wood colour and goes very nicely with the overall theme of the room. The area is very spacious with plenty of room to put all of your things.
Opposite this storage area is the bathroom which consists of a corner sink and mirror, a toilet with a shelving area above and a bath with shower it. Like all great hotels you get nice little freebies standing up on a wooden rack which include shower gel, bubblebath and shampoo. On the sheving area above the toilet there was plenty of towels for both hands and for the bath. Hotel staff also came in on both mornings and changed all the towels and topped up the essentials such as toilet rolls. On the left hand side of the door is a heated towel rack which kept the bathroom very warm and for me it was great to step out the shower straight into a heated towel!
When you come out of the bathroom towards the main section of the hotel room to the left of ours was our bed - which was huge, I would say bigger than a queen size bed and could easily fit three people in it comfortably! This was tried and tested as we had both kids jump in on both mornings to watch some TV before we got up properly. All sheets and pillows were white in colour, including the ones in the kids rooms, and none had any marks or stains which you do worry about in some hotels. Our bed had four pillows in total which some decorative ones on top, but we had two spare pillows packaged in a plastic pocket on top of the storage unit for extra comfort - which we used! On each side of the bed was a "floating" bedside table with a copy of the ever useful bible!
Opposite the bed area was a huge dark wood coloured desk with extra storage shelves above which we used to put things like teabags, sugar and coffee which we had brought with us. On this desk was also a telephone which could be used to call other hotel rooms if needed, numbers outside the hotel (which were charged to our card) and the reception in case of any problems. Next to this was a 20" flat screen TV with a wide range of channels and even a DVD player which also played music CD's. With the desk also came with a tall back comfortable beige coloured chair.
Next to the bed was a big beige coloured sofa which would comfortably sit four adults and also converted into a sofa bed incase there was a total of four children - opposite the sofa was a blank wall with extra shelves under moulded into the wall. In my opinion rather than having a tiny 20" TV opposite the huge bed it would of been better suited to have a large TV on this huge blank wall. In between the plain wall and sofa was a large area which would of comfortably fitted a cot - which the hotel can provide - but as we had two children over the age of 3 this didnt apply and therefore I cannot comment on how good the cots are there.
One thing I want to add is that you can control the room temperature and there is air conditoning - the rooms are VERY warm anyway so even in this cold weather you find yourself using the air con more. Other things you get in the room include an iron with ironing board, hairdryer and kettle complete with four clean cups and sachets every day.
The next morning we had a good look out of the window at the back of the room to see what the view was like - according to information on the website it states all the family rooms have a view of the pleasure beach to the rear - and true to its word this is exactly what you get. This may not be to everyones taste but with having young children they loved this and seeing the rides working - the big dipper ride went under our hotel window and you can also view the Pepsi Max ride and Grand National ride with ease.
In general the room was beautifully decorated and nothing looked out of place and pushed into a corner which is typical of Blackpool B+B's - everything worked that was supposed to and the room was entertaining enough for the youngsters.
Facilities we used and were they any good?
Being a social networking freak, one of the things of the hotel that appealed to me was the free WiFi as I am used to having to pay an extra charge to get this service and I hate having to use my 3G. Before we set off on the Friday I just happened to have dropped my iPhone 5 from the top of the stairs in my house and have been phoneless since as it refuses to turn on. However so I could keep up with family, friends and things back home I fetched my laptop along to use at night when the kids were settled into bed. Other devices we took with us were my daughters iPod touch and my boyfriends iPhone 4s. On entry to the hotel on check in they give you the WiFi username and password to gain access on a piece of paper - the username and password both change each day I'm guessing for security purposes so you do have to ring the reception when this happens to update. On connecting to the hotel router it prompts you for the log in details and you are good and ready to go. The internet was very fast and could keep up with what we were all doing which included Face-Time calling, Facebook and online games - as well as the use of the other hotel guests. What annoyed me about the WiFi is if you left your device alone for a little while you had to log back in again so you always needed the log in details to hand - but as far as I'm aware this tends to happen in most hotels so its nothing I can fault them on. The only real issue we had with the internet was this morning before the check out at 11am - where the internet stopped accepting our log in details. I did call the reception thinking they had changing the log in details where they informed me they hadnt. I was the only person at this point who had reported a fault so they went into detail querying what the error was to try and resolve the issue. In the end they gave me a slightly different username to try but unfortunately this didnt work - however as we were close to checking out this wasnt a huge issue but I felt like I was missing an arm not having internet access!
Food, glorious food!
Included with the price of the room was a buffet breakfast which was available between 7.30am-10.30am on the weekend - but is available until 10am on week days. You really feel like you get your moneys worth at this hotel compared to general Blackpool B+B's are there is so much choice available and you can really eat as much as you want. When you step into the resturant in the morning you step into a board which advises you to wait until you are seated. On both mornings, there was only ever one family in front of us and you barely have to wait long to be assisted. A friendly member of staff then leads you to a clean, spacious reserved table and you simply go and help yourself to some food. There is something for everyone here which ranges from everything you see on a full english breakfast (minis hash browns :-( ), to all cereals which adults and children love, dried and fresh fruit, a range of croissants, toast, yogarts, fresh juices and every hot drink you can imagine. The choice was brilliant in the sense that my boyfriends 3 year old literally changed her mind at what she wanted to eat every two minutes and she got to try a bit of everything because it was covered in the room price - anywhere else and it would of cost us a fortune! There was always a member of staff on each section constantly topping up the food and keeping the areas clean and tidy - as well as staff constantly jumping on the tables when families had left to clean up in time for the next party and when we had finished with cups and plates. I was so impressed with the breakfast meal as a lot of places leave dirty tables next to you for ages!
By the time we got to the hotel on the Friday it was past 5 o clock and the kids were quite tired and hungry. Our intension was to go out for somewhere to eat but it wasnt practical considering the day we had and we decided to try the room service. The hotel promised to deliver what you have ordered within the hour with a menu included in the room information pack which is the same as the lunch menu where you have a choice out of salads, pizza, childrens meals, burgers and lite bites. You order simply by calling downstairs and you can either pay in cash downstairs before the food arrives, on the door when they deliver the food or they can add it to your bill. We chose to pay in cash on the door. Outdoing our expectations the food actually arrived this night within just half an hour and the staff delivering the food were very friendly and curtious and nothing forgotton or left off the order. This particular night my daugter ordered a pizza which arrived in a takeaway box, my boyfiends daughter ordered fish fingers and chips and me and my boyfriend both ordered a Big Blue burger with chips - which was a salsa style burger. All food arrived beautifully presented and cooked and tasted perfectly according to everyone else - and I really enjoyed my tea that night! When you are done with your food you simply leave out the trays and plates outside your room door for them to collect - very practical with young children. My only issue with that was I did notice at night time and in the morning a lot of people were leaving their trays and and plates outside the doors and they didnt seem to be collected by the staff very often. Many items on the menu could be ordered 24 hours a day and others up until 11pm - and the ones available at certain times were clearly marked on the menu. If you decide you want room service they do charge you an extra £5 but to the likes of hotel guests like us where the comfort of the hotel room is better than trecking down to the resturant this is a very small price to pay! We enjoyed the service so much that when we arrived back at the room on the Saturday from a very cold day at the pleasure beach we used the room service again, and was once again delivered in a decent amount of time and just as good as the night before. All prices on the menu were reasonable in our eyes and the total bill was coming to between £25-£35 including the charge on both nights.
Other Facilities in the Hotel
According to the website there is a range a leisure facilities which we simply didnt need or have time for whilst we were there! Those include a personal fitness trainor at request, massages and professional occupational / injury consultants. We didnt feel the need or have the time to try out any of those things but I suppose its great to know they are there! If you do visit there and feel the need for these services you do need to book them 24 hours in advance and they are subject to availability.
To my own shock there is a well stocked bar next to the area where you eat your breakfast which you can go down to at night or order to your room - but neither of us touched a drop of alcohol over the weekend but its great to have that there as a lot of hotels do not have bars... but I suppose this is still Blackpool so it does need it!!
We were a bit worried before we arrived if we were going to be roomed next to a group of young people who were going to be noisy and drinking at all hours of the night but apparently the hotel is split into wings where your down your corridors and in the floors above and below are just for families so they were the only ones to annoy and vice versa - but that worked well as after a certain time where all the kids in the hotel were going to bed and quietening down ours were doing the same. It could be a bit noisy where you could hear the kids in the room above running round and causing noise but I'm sure the room below us thought the same of us - and it wasnt constant so it wasnt a big issue. The other room types such as singles and doubles were placed in different areas of the hotel. We felt a bit jealous looking at photos of the other rooms as they had a boutique look to them and looked even better than ours!
I can honestly say this is the BEST hotel I have ever stayed in at Blackpool - not that it has much competetion or anything! The price we paid when we split the cost didnt work out that much more expensive than a general B+B for this weekend when you think you get an all you can eat breakfast included. I love the fact that the Pleasure Beach own this hotel and offer a special entrance to the park out the back exclusive to guests - this means you enter the park at the same time as those who get to the main gate at opening time but you can do it from the comfort of the hotel! If you havent pre-booked for the park you can also buy the wristbands and tickets from the reception desk.
The room and everything we saw was remarkably clean and you were constantly seeing cleaners in and out of rooms getting everything ready for the next guests and keeping everything tip top for those guests returning later in the day.
The room in my opinion was just amazing and the kids loved it and didnt want to go home. The bunk beds were a great touch for overexcited kids but the snakes and ladders game on the wall and seperate TV's did help to keep them entertained. The Playstation was a great bonus and although we got no use I need to add you can rent games from the reception for a refundable deposit - although we didnt use this considering what good I have seen of the hotel in general I cant imagine there is any issues with this.
All staff in particular the hotel reception were so polite and were just generally happy to help you with any query you had whilst you were then - and were even partial to a bit of conversation and banter with you which is unusual as many hotel staff just tend to grunt their way through the day.
Generally this is a great hotel whether its for a family, a couple or if your there for business. Its in a great location with the Pleasure Beach to the rear and main road in front with loads of places to eat in small walking distance from the hotel.
Personally I would DEFINETELY go back here and really does make Blackpool feel less scummy than I am used to. I would recommend not going on a weekend thats not supposed to be busy / during the week or just before/after season as the prices do go up depending on when you want to go. Would highly recommend the Big Blue Hotel to anyone who goes to Blackpool who is sick to the back teeth of horrible places to stay.
I really hope someone from the Blue Bay reads this review so they know what a great weekend we had with them - as I have previously explained the weekend didnt start great due to the weather but stopping in such a great place really put us in a great mood and we didnt want to leave!
Summary: by far THE BEST HOTEL IN BLACKPOOL!
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