Our three bed executive lodge at Center Parcs, Whinfell Forest provided us with the perfect base for a weekend of relaxation, adventure and quality family time. As a family of five we are increasingly finding that renting self-catering holiday homes instead of booking hotel rooms is the way forward so we were excited to see what our accommodation at Center Parcs had to offer.
Having never stayed with Center Parcs before I can’t compare our Executive Lodge to their more basic offerings however I can tell you that we were impressed by the spacious, family friendly layout.
The Lodge comprised of a large open plan living space with a well equipped kitchen and a dining table to seat eight along with three bedrooms – two doubles and a twin, each with their own en-suite bathroom. Our Executive Lodge also had a sauna though I must admit this wasn’t something we were particularly interested in using and would have been much more excited had we had a hot tub to lounge in after the kids were in bed!
The beds were comfortable – not too soft, not too firm – with plenty of pillows and luxury bed linen which was a joy to slip into after a long day of family fun! Nobody had any trouble sleeping that’s for sure.
The Executive Lodges offer a daily maid service which was such a treat – the benefits of a self catering property with the freshly made beds of a hotel room! It was so lovely to come back to our accommodation after a morning at the pool to find the dishwasher had been emptied and the beds made, it’s the little things that can make such a difference isn’t it?
Although we didn’t watch much TV the kids were frustrated by the lack of channels, that said Dave and I did find ourselves watching a badger on one of the site channels one night whilst waiting for Love Island! It was surprisingly engaging – a bit like Big Brother with wildlife I guess. Each room also featured a flat screen TV but I don’t think we even turned them on.
Had the weather been kinder to us then our private outside space would have been wonderful – we had a table to seat six, space for a BBQ and room to play without being overlooked by other guests. As it was, it was fairly grey all weekend so during the odd moments of sunshine we popped across the road to the adventure play area rather than sitting around at the Lodge. I must admit I would have loved to have been able to sit out there of an evening and enjoying a gin & tonic!
As part of our booking we had a “Family Grocery Pack” waiting for us on arrival – this is something which can be ordered online beforehand and is really handy as it means you’re all set up for breakfast the following day without having to think about it too much. As it was we planned to self-cater the majority of our trip – personally I think it’s just easier (and cheaper) when you’re travelling with little ones. Although there was plenty of cupboard space and a wine fridge (which Dave took something of a shine too) the actually fridge itself was fairly small and it took some careful packing to fit in our groceries for the weekend – certainly something to bear in mind when you are planning your meals beforehand.
Everything about our Center Parcs Executive Lodge was well thought out – there was plenty of storage space for bike helmets, coats, bags or even a pushchair in a cupboard right near the door. This cupboard also housed the usual household bits and bobs – an ironing board, a mop – all the things you have no desire to use on holiday but might actually need. I loved that the patio doors had leaf stickers on them – not just for decoration but to make sure people realised the doors were shut so they wouldn’t walk into them. Each bathroom had a large towel rail which heated up quickly and was great for drying out your swimming stuff ready for the next day! The Executive Lodge was a really generous size for a family of five – Dave and I both said it would have been ideal for a family of four plus Grandparents. We loved how close it was to the Adventure Play Area and the Village Centre which was easily within walking distance (though we tended to cycle just for the novelty factor!)
I filmed a quick video tour of our Executive Lodge Whinfell Forest if you want to get a better feel for the size and layout:
*We stayed with Center Parcs free of charge for the purposes of writing this post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own*