There is nothing quite like a trip to the seaside to recharge the batteries. As the school holidays approached Mr H and I were ready for a little break so when we were offered a little spring getaway to review the newly refurbished Travelodge Hotels we jumped at the chance. Since visiting Blackpool in September to see the illuminations Lil G has been asking to return almost weekly. I guess that’s called being four years old! There is something so magical about watching the excitement spread across a little ones face when they see the Blackpool Tower in all its glory, as you make the drive towards the promenade.
The sea air, the smell of fish & chips, and lets not forget the stickiness of candy floss as you devour a bag in seconds! And then of course there is the shop after shop selling all the seaside treats which excite your little ones. Whoopee cushions are the new thing for Lil G, that and pirate swords filled with smarties, which can you believe it has still not been eaten! Sadly we didn’t quite get chance to paddle in the sea as it was rather cold and very rough what with the storms but we did enjoy some lovely walks along the newly refurbished promenade. Which I have to say is looking lovely and perfect for a little stroll and look out to sea.
Whilst Blackpool isn’t most peoples first choice for a little getaway, it is a place I have so many fond memories of visiting as a little girl. Who doesn’t remember riding their first rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach or a donkey on the beach? Blackpool still has a lot to do in terms of brightening up the town centre and cleaning up the main street but I do believe there is still a lot to offer for families. We certainly had a super fun weekend. We found some under five year old friendly activities including the Sandcastle Waterpark and Blackpool Tower, and ate in two really fantastic family friendly restaurants which I’ll share with you in another post. Do look out for it. A few photo’s as a little teaser…
But first let me tell you about our thoughts on staying in the Travelodge South Shore Hotel. We were pleasantly surprised with how modern it was, the look and feel certainly felt refreshed from the last time I stayed in one which I have to admit was a few years ago. The new colour scheme is bright and welcoming which always makes you smile when you walk in to a room. With onsite parking, a restaurant and in walking distance to the promenade and Blackpool attractions it was in a great spot. It was clean and tidy, the staff were helpful and more than happy to assist with any questions you had.
One thing is for certain Lil G enjoyed his stay. Although he did try to nab the big bed as apparently it was the biggest he had ever seen! Don’t you just love the excitement of a four year old when staying in a hotel? Unlike all Travelodge hotels the South Shore came with it’s own restaurant which is always a plus. Not having to leave the actual hotel for breakfast always helps when you have a little one. If only it would be acceptable to wander down in your pyjamas!
We were given a family room which had a King bed and a single bed. Sadly the single bed was positioned against the window and was made up with a very thin quilt. As it is still quite cold at night and noisy given the exact location of our room (main road side, ground floor, traffic lights) we opted to make up the pull-out bed which came as part of the King bed. It meant that it was away from the window and with an extra quilt from reception Lil G was just fine. I was disappointed to see that the towels and drinking facilities were only set for two given that we were a family of three. We didn’t realise until later in the evening which was a little frustrating as we had on our pyjama’s on and didn’t fancy walking to reception.
I wonder if a little more care could have been taken in selecting our room given that we had a child. The location of our room was not chosen wisely but as the hotel was so busy we didn’t have the option to move.
I won’t lie I didn’t have a great nights sleep, which I think is more me than the bed or environment. Lil G and Mr H slept like a dream and woke feeling very refreshed. Despite it being a little noisy at 9pm as the hen and stag parties left for a wild night out in Blackpool we certainly weren’t disturbed during the night. Phew. Something which crossed my mind when we arrived and saw all the pink tutu’s and tiara’s. Every parents nightmare.
As part of our stay we also received breakfast which if truth be told is always a part I look forward to. A good old fashioned English breakfast, a fry up and lots of it. Lil G always loves to explore the breakfast bar and just as I thought there was an abundance of choice although no fried eggs. Eek. The breakfast bar was perfect for a hungry four year old. I think he went back 3 times. A parenting win!
Breakfast is served from 7am until 11am and despite arriving around 8.15am I was disappointed with how cold and stale the breakfast looked. We attempted to eat some but chose to wait for when the containers were refreshed. Mr H said this is the downside to staying in a budget hotel which serves a buffet style breakfast, I just wanted my breakfast to be hot. The tables were clean and quickly turned around once people had finished so I can’t imagine you struggling to sit. The reception staff were really helpful when we booked in and made us aware of the less busy times, which is why I was so surprised when the breakfast looked less than appealing on arrival.
Due to the breakfast being less than desirable we decided not to eat in the hotel at night. I do believe from looking at the menu that there is a number of choices for little ones as well as adults. Instead we chose to head in to Blackpool and eat in a restaurant we had been recommended.
If you are looking for a low cost hotel which is situated in a great location, clean and welcoming then I can highly recommend The Travelodge South Shore. I wouldn’t say it is perfect for families due to the number of parties we saw, but I also would say that it isn’t one to be dismissed. I guess it depends on your budget really and what it is that you are looking for in a hotel. Such personal choice isn’t it. For our little family we wouldn’t look to return.
I think this is where Travelodge need to rethink their positioning in the market. In my opinion the rooms are still designed for group bookings. For those enjoying a boozy weekend rather than a relaxing family stay. Or maybe it is just me. Families of young children, are looking for something different than a group of people celebrating a birthday. A little bit of home comfort, a little extra room. I have never seen a smaller bathroom and bath tub.
When offering a family room I believe the space needs to be split in to two, not two rooms just separated. The child needs to be in a separate area away from the main room. As a parent it is very difficult to have a light on, talk to your partner, or even watch a little television in fear of waking your child. The bathrooms are noisy and on one occasion woke Lil G. On a positive note it does mean that you often go to sleep early which as a parent is always welcome! Mr H thinks it is ok, it offers a simple room if not a little basic but it certainly is what the website tells you.
Have you stayed in a Travelodge on a family break recently, what were your thoughts?