Mummy Hew and I talked at length about whether we wanted to expand the Hew Family. We looked at the pros and cons of having an only child and whether that was something we wanted. We decided that we wanted to extend the Hew Family but that there were a few things that we wanted to do as a family of three first. We went to NYC in March without Gracie, for a week. I missed her but it was epic. We decided that as we had a holiday we needed to treat Gracie to something extra special. I decided that I would book a weekend away at CBeebies land. It was a surprise for Mummy Hew and Gracie. Although I am crap at surprises and as soon as I booked it I told Mummy Hew.
I booked CBeebies land months before the CBeebies land hotel had even opened. We were fortunate enough to be one of the first families to stay in the In The Night Garden suite. When I told Gracie that we were going to stay at Igglepiggle’s house she was so excited. She told all of her friends at nursery that she was a lucky girl and that she was going to have a sleep over with Igglepiggle.
On the day we got up and packed the car. Gracie packed her Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy toys and couldn’t wait to get there. We spent 2 hours in the car with the classic ‘are we there yet’ for most of the journey…..and that was just Mummy Hew. We pulled into the Alton Towers gates and followed the signs for the CBeebies land hotel. I had this sudden knot in my stomach, that feeling of excitement that only happens on Christmas eve. I felt like a giant kid. We pulled into the car park and could see the CBeebies hotel in the far corner. I parked the car (on the new tarmac of the carpark) and got out of the car. It was fucking magical. I could hear the CBeebies music play across the car pack, i’m not sure if it was me or Gracie that was more excited.
We made our way to the entrance of the CBeebies hotel. We took the obligatory family photo outside the hotel in the CBeebies airplane. We walked up to reception and I was literally speechless. The reception felt like we were in the tele. It was bloody epic. we made our way to the reception desk, this was an experience in its self. There was a small set of steps made out of suitcases to allow the kids to climb up and check themselves in. We checked in and made out way to our room.
The lift, the doors, the corridors, the windows, literally everything was designed with kids in mind. I was really impressed. I kept saying to Mummy Hew ‘look at that’ ‘OMG did you see that”, it felt like we had entered into a different world and every thing was brand new, it felt as though there has been no expense spared.
We checked into our room, had a quick nose around. I can’t put into words how excited I….Gracie was to look round the room. It was split into three areas. The adults room/lounge area, the bathroom and the kids bedroom.
The kids bedroom had bunkbeds and a pull out bed, a giant Igglepiggle on the wall, some toy/game thing on the wall, carpet which looked like the sea…..it was as if you were on Igglepiggle’s boat, it was so good.
The Bathroom had a giant Makka Pakka set in the tiles, there were a number of baby friendly bath products and a split toilet seat for adults and kids.
The adult bed room/lounge area was decorated with giant murals on the wall, it felt as though you were in the night garden. It was epic.
We made our way down to CBeebies land in the park – it was good but I was less impressed compared to the hotel and suit. The area of the theme park had a number of rides, the queue times were upwards of an hour for each ride and there wasn’t much to do when queuing up. We went on a few rides but Gracie wasn’t overly bothered by them. I felt that the rides and the CBeebies area of the theme park were quite dated. It could do with having a few quid spent on it to bring it up to the spec of the hotel. We have also visited Peppa Pig world and felt that the rides, park and overall theme park experience was better than at CBeebies.
As Gracie was less bothered by the rides we decided to take advantage of the short queues in the rest of the park and Mummy Hew and I went on a few rides. We took advantage of the single riders queue and didn’t have to wait for anything. As the afternoon turned to evening we decided to call it a day and make out way back to the hotel, which was far better than the theme park itself.
Gracie loved the evening entertainment, it felt a little bit Butlins red coat entertainment with a CBeebies twist. They had party music and your classic kids type party games. At 19:30 Igglepiggle and Upsey Daisy made an appearance……..I met the actual Igglepiggle! They had a library room where one of the staff read books to all the kids before bed, Gracie read ‘Dear Zoo’ before we made our way to bed.
We got Gracie ready for bed and she was out like a light. I then took a closer look at the room. I wish I hadn’t. I noticed that the carpet in the kids bedroom hadn’t been hoovered, so much so that there was a nail clipping (it definitely wasn’t ours) on the carpet. I had a look in the Bathroom and could clearly see the toilet hadn’t been cleaned, I did check with Mummy Hew whether the giant fucking skidder in the toilet was hers…..I was informed it was not. I noticed the mirror in the room was dusty (slightly picky I know but it definitely hadn’t been cleaned). There was so much dust on top of the tele I wrote ‘clean me’. I was bloody livid. I went down to reception to express my dissatisfaction. to be fair the lady working reception was really good and said that she would move us to another room, I explained that Gracie was asleep and that I didn’t want to wake her. She also offered to send house keeping up to clean the room, which I also declined as Gracie was asleep. I stated that I was disappointed that there was so much effort that had been put into the hotel, yet the basic cleaning hadn’t been done. She noted my concerns and advised that I would need to speak to a manager in the morning.
The following morning I couldn’t be arsed to speak with reception. I followed up my concerns with an e-mail and was offered 20% off my next stay. I declined but thanked them for the offer – I was more annoyed that the room was only two weeks old and it felt as though it hadn’t been cleaned thoroughly in the time it had been open.
We spent the morning in the hotel, breakfast was exactly as I expected. There was everything you could imagine and was all pretty decent quality. Everything about the restaurant was child friendly and we couldn’t find any fault with it. We had the chance to meet Postman Pat and Bing (wanker), he’s just as cocky in real life and we went back to the theme park. Mummy Hew and I got to go on the Smiler. I can honestly say, it is probably one of my favourite rollercoasters of all time……even though it broke down, luckily for me it was just as I was about to get off. I spent 20 minutes sat waiting for the harness to be released because they were jammed shut.
That evening I had made reservations at the Rollercoaster restaurant. If you have the chance to go it is worth while. We were seated and the waitress talked us through how you order your food and drinks on the tablets on the table. When you food is ready it zooms round the Rollercoaster in the restaurant before landing on your table….right in front on you. Mummy Hew and I loved it, it was probably a bit wasted on Gracie. The food was reasonably priced and tasted alright, it was bit TGI Fridays inspired.
Over all, we had a great weekend. The hotel and suite was really good and you could see every single thing was done was with kids in mind. It was just so frustrating that the room wasn’t cleaned to the standard I would have expected. It wasn’t cheap either, I paid just over £500 for the suite, which included breakfast and entrance to the park. We could have added the water park for an additional amount but we decided not too. Gracie loved it. We loved it. Would I recommend it, yes I would. Would we stay again….definitely. I’m not sure I would pay £500 a night the second time round though….hopefully as it ages the prices reduce.