If you follow me on social media (particularly twitter or instagram) it probably won’t have escaped your notice that we had a bit of an adventure last weekend. I will write more about what we got up to in a separate post but for now I want to tell you all about our accommodation for the weekend!
We were invited by Q Lodges to stay in a stunning 4 bedroom lodge at Slaley Hall Hotel & Spa. With the lodge being pitched as comfortably sleeping eight, we decided to test it to maximum capacity and invited Granny, Grandad and Aunty Nic along for the ride.
Check in for the lodges is reasonably late at 4pm however you are welcome to check in and use the facilities early then pick up your lodge keys at 4pm. As it turned out, we arrived pretty much bob on 4 o’clock after a lengthy drive from Manchester (highlights including a broken DSLR and a non sleeping toddler but I’ll tell you all about that in another post!) Check in itself is a fairly painless process – it’s worth bearing in mind that you do need to present your driving license to be able to get the keys for the golf buggy which comes with your lodge. I foolishly hadn’t brought mine but luckily Dave had his with him! Once we had collected our keys we set off back down the drive to find our lodge.
The lodges create a little village on the grounds of Slaley Hall Hotel & Spa – set back from the road and far enough away from the hotel that you feel like you’re living in your own little world. Although we were given a site map in our welcome pack and check in – all three drivers made exactly the same mistake when trying to find our lodge as the road lead you naturally round to the right but our lodge was up a little side road to the left. We all commented that this issue would have been easily solved by a little sign post letting you know which numbers were up which roads if that makes sense.
Our lodge (number 12) was right at the top of the site, sitting at the end of a spacious cul de sac with ample parking for all three cars on the drive alongside our golf buggy. The golf buggy comes in really handy when it comes to accessing the hotel and spa facilities. I don’t think the kids would have thanked us at all for making them walk up to the hotel when we wanted a swim, it’s just that bit too far. (That said my parents quite happily walked up there to explore the grounds and have a coffee in the hotel.)
There’s no messing about getting into the lodge, no alarm codes or anything like that, just pop your key in the door and you’re in. In to a beautifully open hall way with a huge staircase leading upstairs.
The lodge is “upside down” in layout with all the bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs (Ben and Chloe thought it was hilarious to be told to “go downstairs to bed”). Our four bedroom lodge featured two twin rooms (one with a fabulous en suite), the main house bathroom with a sauna, a double room with a king size bed and swish en suite – (his and hers sinks if you please!) and the piece de resistance of a master suite – a super comfy queen size bed and an en suite with shower and jacuzzi! Luxe. Every room felt enormous.
The grand staircase led upstairs to the main living space . . . and what a space! An open plan kitchen, dining, living area perfect for spending quality time together. Despite the wood clad ceilings, the room is beautifully light thanks to the enormous windows which lead out onto two balconies. The upside down nature of the property means that you don’t feel over looked by other lodge residents – it all feels very private. My Dad described the lodge as being the best of both worlds – access to the hotel and facilities with the freedom of your own space – making it perfect for families. We didn’t have to worry about disturbing anyone nor being disturbed. The only niggle we had with the layout was that the stairs and floor were very noisy – the two main bedrooms were underneath the living space and there was no way on God’s green earth that anyone was going to be able to move around upstairs without disturbing those below, no matter how quietly they attempted to move around! This was a little frustrating on a morning when the kids were up and we didn’t want to be!
Bearing in mind we were visiting with children – we were pleased to note the stair gate fitted at the top of the stairs to prevent any accidental falls and also a guard across the front of the hob to deter inquisitive fingers. (Dave admitted that he found it irritating when he was trying to cook but we both agreed that it gave us peace of mind.) A highchair and travel cot is available on request – I should mention that I did in fact request both of these over the phone in the week before we arrived however neither were waiting for us in the lodge. I didn’t bother to chase this up as Amy much prefers to sit on a “big girl’s chair” and luckily was quite happy to sleep in one of the single beds (they are much higher than she is used to but she doesn’t move much and I put a pillow down one side to prevent her falling onto the bedside table).
The whole lodge is beautifully furnished right down to the fake flowers and plants for a homely feel (though they made me nervous with three kids around!) The kitchen had everything we needed from two fridges, a dishwasher and a washing machine to the Tassimo coffee machine (you need to bring your own pods – we forgot) and Denby plates. Should you not want to cook there is a take away service provided by the hotel or you are of course welcome to eat in one of the hotel restaurants. Dave and I ate in Hadrian’s Brasserie on Saturday night and whilst the menu is limited, it was delicious – though we both thought our starters were much too cold. (Our meal cost upwards of £80 but it was an anniversary treat so we didn’t mind too much.) We also enjoyed a drink in the bar after our meal – a cheeky Cosmopolitan thanks very much.
We took the kids swimming a couple of times over the weekend. The low lighting and comfy loungers around the pool make for a relaxed atmosphere and I was a little conscious of swimming with children in a spa pool – just in terms of not wanting to disturb other guests. Who wants kids splashing and screeching? Luckily we weren’t the only ones there with children and they were actually really well behaved. There is a super shallow little pool perfect for the likes of Amy (not that she was at all interested in swimming) and a slide – though I think “slide” might be a slight misrepresentation, it was more a sit down and push yourself along till you splash off the end . . . bizarrely I seemed to be able to slide down as did another child we saw but Dave, Ben, Chloe and most other guests seemed to just get stuck. I’m really not sure what was going on but it was definitely not a “slide”! Luckily the kids didn’t seem all that bothered and they spent lots of time up and down it! There’s also a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room within the pool area but unfortunately we weren’t able to test those out with three little ones in tow!
We booked in for spa treatments on Saturday tea time – an express facial for me (£35), a back, neck & shoulder massage for Dave (£35) and a full facial for Mum (just over £50 I think). We didn’t book these till the night before as we weren’t sure what our plans were for the weekend so we struck lucky that there were available appointments, of course the sensible thing to do if you know you want to book treatments is to plan these ahead of time! We all really enjoyed our treatments and for Dave & I in particular it was a lovely, luxurious break from our parenting duties! (It also made me realise I need to make more time for things like that!)
Golf tuition and out door activities are available on site but the weather really wasn’t great while we were visiting so we didn’t try any of these out.
Check out is at 10am, which felt very early – particularly after the 4pm check in – however I can see that the lodges would take quite a lot of preparation for the next guests. It is worth bearing in mind that electricity charges are payable at check out – I didn’t find any information about this before our visit but we were given a clear tariff on arrival and were very careful to ensure we didn’t run up a huge electricity bill – the main costs being on heating from what we could see. Being conscious of our bill, we didn’t heat the hallway and kept the bedroom doors shut only turning the heaters on just before bedtime which was perfectly adequate as the rooms heated up quickly (though also cooled down reasonably quickly too) and there was plenty of bedding. Upstairs was perfectly cosy and we were certainly never cold up there. I can imagine that should you be staying over winter it would be easy to end up with quite a substantial bill from keeping the heating on. As it turns out, our bill was covered so I don’t actually know how much we spent.
We thought the lodges were great for a family visit but would be an equally suitable get away for a group of adults (friends, a small hen do etc). A three night stay in a four bedroom lodge isn’t cheap by any means but overall we felt it was worth the cost particularly if you were splitting it across a couple of families or a group.
Thanks for having us Q Lodges, we had a wonderful weekend at Slaley Hall Hotel & Spa . . . Chloe didn’t want to leave . . .
*Disclaimer – We were invited by Q Lodges to stay at Slaley Hall Hotel & Spa free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*