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False Teeth and Spotted Dick
Member Name: cmh4135
Date: 10/12/01, updated on 10/12/01 (1344 review reads)
Advantages: good accommodatin, food and entertainment
Disadvantages: Caters mainly for the older guest
Warner's are a travel company that specialise in Short Breaks in the UK "Just for Adults". Now, don't go getting the wrong idea here…"just for adults" in this context does NOT mean XXX rated!
The first clue should come from the advert - a gentle affair where the models are definitely vintage!
The first Warner holiday that my husband and I (both 27) took was about a year before we got married. We stayed at the Bembridge Coast Hotel on the Isle of Wight. As we drove up the driveway all we could see were bowls players and Zimmer frames interspersed with the odd motorised wheelchair. Uh-oh, I think we got this very wrong…..
Warner's market to the 40+ age group with most of their clients being retired. They have several venues throughout the UK classified into three groups; historic, character and classic resorts. The Historic Hotels are mainly listed buildings of significant historical or architectural interest, often with lovely grounds. The Character hotels are like the Historic without the obvious history and the Classic resorts are rather like upmarket Butlins camps with chalet-style accommodation.
The Warner group prides itself on the quality of its accommodation and the two venues that I have stayed at have certainly borne this out. The rooms are large and clean with good furnishings. You may get a bit of a shock when you go into the bathrooms though. They are all designed with mobility in mind and there are grab rails everywhere and the mirror is placed very low on the wall. Not all rooms are wheelchair accessible but many are and many of the properties have lifts to maximise accessibility.
All of the breaks are Half-Board and the food is good! Breakfasts are huge and well served with plenty of variety. You have the option of buffet-style or waitress service so again these resorts are ideal for those with less mobility. Likewise dinner is waitress service with buffet opt
ions. There is a carvery everyday together with an a la carte menu. Puddings are old fashioned in the extreme - loads of stodge and school dinner favourites. Occasionally you are treated to something a little more adventurous but don't bank on it! Many of the Historic hotels have an additional a la carte restaurant that is available at extra cost. Perhaps a downside for the younger amongst us is the meal arrangement. Meals are taken quite early (dinner starts at 6pm) and you are allocated a table at the beginning of your stay which is yours for the duration. Dining is rather like dining at a school whose pupils are residents of old-peoples homes. This might not be everyone's cup of tea and if you are not comfortable in a mixed environment where the old and disabled mix with the more able bodied then Warner is not for you.
Drinks at the bars and in the restaurant can be charged to your room and prices are less than London pubs and bars so you are not being taken for a ride.
The daytime focus of Warner holidays appears to be bowls (although we have never joined in). All venues have facilities and some have championship indoor greens so the weather can't get in the way. Bowls breaks seem to make up about 75% of the guests with informal tuition and contests taking place over the break. The more active are not left out however. Leisure facilities are available at all resorts and most have health suites.
Speciality breaks can be taken at a number of resorts throughout the year including Murder Mystery weekends, Hot Air Ballooning, Falconry and Gardening. These book up well in advance, although places are often available without the speciality option.
In the evenings Warner comes alive. All venues have resident bands and entertainment teams and many breaks are "Star Breaks" where the likes of Kenny Ball, Katrina and the Waves, Des O'Connor and Darren Day take to the stage for the evening. These breaks also s
ell out fast. If you are into Big Band music or Orchestral music there are weekends dedicated to this along with sounds of the 50s/60s/70s weekends. The entertainment is truly first class.
So, what made us go here! Quite simply it was good value! We wanted to go to the Isle of Wight for a long weekend and having looked at a number of hotels I stumbled across Warner's website (www.warnerholidays.co.uk) and was amazed. For the same price (or less) than hotel accommodation on the island we could have half board accommodation, leisure facilities, entertainment and ferry travel included. Since we only wanted a base it did not bother us that the hotels are aimed at the older market.
Well, we had a whale of a time! The rooms were good, the food was excellent, the facilities fab and the entertainment enthralling! Both Andrew and I dance, not the clubbing sort, but ballroom, latin and R&R. Loads of people got up to dance to the live bands and we fitted right in! We had such a good time on the Isle of Wight that when we next fancied a break we decided to look at Bodelwyddan Castle in North Wales, again to use as a base to go walking in Snowdonia.
Bodelwyddan is a fairy-tale castle. It is a real old castle set in fantastic grounds, complete with a box-hedge maze. We went in January and seeing the mist surrounding the castle as we came back from a days hiking was magical.
This holiday will also stay with me because of one group of people that we met. With most guests around 60 years of age Andrew and I stood out like sore thumbs - if you don't like being conspicuous and you are young then this probably isn't the holiday for you. On the first night we went into the entertainment room to listen and dance to the band. A lady came straight up to me and pointed a gentleman out to me and asked would I go and ask him to dance, today was a special day for him. I was a bit bemused that she knew I could dance but nevertheless asked the
gentleman whether he would like a waltz. He accepted and wow! what a fantastic dancer. We talked as we danced and it turned out that he had lost his wife a year ago to the day. He used to dance with her and, I guess, this is why I had been asked to dance with him.
A little later in the evening the lady who had asked me to dance with the gentleman came over to speak to us. She was so embarrassed. She said that she thought that Andrew and I must have been staff and now, having realised that we weren't she wanted to apologise. I told her that it really was not a problem although I had been slightly confused as to how she knew I could dance! It transpired that she was in charge of a stroke rehabilitation group and that this was their annual holiday with the group. Later in the evening the gentleman asked me for a quickstep, which I gladly accepted. He told me how pleased he was to have been able to dance on the anniversary of his wife's death and how she would have been proud of him. It was a feeling that I will never forget, making someone so happy without trying!
Prices for their breaks start from under £100 for a three night break. Warners have also started offering short cruises within Europe which look to be equally good value.
I would thoroughly recommend Warner holidays to everyone unless you are younger and uncomfortable being with older people or disabled people. They offer good accommodation, food and entertainment and a good base from which to explore the local areas.
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