JUST a short drive off the A55 lies a world of imagination “just for grown-ups” - filled with a ‘pillow menu’ and homemade cookies!
Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel, owned by Warner Leisure, underwent a seven million pound redevelopment back in 2015. It now boasts 45 new Garden Lodges, a Mulberry Coffee Lounge, glass atrium aswell as new dining and entertainment facilities.
After visiting the hotel shortly after its re-launch, for a cheeky cocktail in the new lounge, I was invited by Warner to ‘check-in’ overnight to see how the upgrades were looking now some 18 months on.
Our welcome by receptionist Alison was warm, not too formal but polished. Our allocated lodge was 845 - set just a short distance from the main hotel and overlooking landscape gardens, ponds and fountains. We were given our own numbered parking space - but when we arrived, a car was already parked in it - so we ended up parking in space 844.
With its picturesque leafy surroundings and tranquil vibe, before we had even turned the key to the lodge door - we had that ‘escaped - from the hustle and bustle’ feeling and with the added sunshine, we felt like we really were on holiday.
Rooms with views - in and out
The lodge was incredibly spacious, clean, light and refreshing and felt contemporary - a mix of soft blues, greens, purples alongside wood and brick effect wallpaper.
There was an electric fireplace and every detail had been thought of - from umbrellas to special touches such as metal stag head coat hangers, Welsh Spoons and Celtic decor, a foot rest and a rope lamp. We were greeted by a notice - ‘Welcome to you signature experience!’ Waiting on the table was a complimentary bottle of wine, two packets of Pipers Crisps plus two chocolate chip cookies (the cookie was divine).
There was also two fluffy robes in the wardrobe and on the bed - a pillow menu, where you could take your pick from Cashmere Blend; Marino Duck Down Surround and Healthy Living.
Our lodge came with a private patio area. Across the way from us were two hotel guests, easily in their 70s, relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. The hotel largely presents itself as a third age holiday hotel (over 50s) and despite being in our late 20s/early 30s - I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the amount of activities being ran by the hotel.
There was a full schedule for the weekend including walking, archery, curling, French Boules, line dancing, swing jive, tai-chi, table tennis and aqua-fit. Headlining the evening entertainment that night was solo artist Faith Tucker (who was outstanding).
You could even opt for a complimentary film.
Before heading off to explore the grounds of the hotel, we made use of the security box in our room. Unfortunately, we made an error and managed to lock items in the box without setting a code. We phoned reception and were told that someone would be sent round ‘promptly' and in less than five minutes we had a knock at the door from staff member Dave.
After coming to our aid, he went a step further. We didn’t have towels in our room to take to the leisure centre, so he arranged for us to pick some up when we arrived there.
Facilities, Food and Drink
The Mulberry Leisure Club benefits from a swimming pool, bubble pool, steam room and sauna aswell as gym. The pool area has a slightly tired feel to it, but is a nice size and well maintained.
We dined in St David's restaurant at night and during breakfast. We had to wait 10 minutes or so to be seated. We weren’t aware that the table you were seated at became your allocated table for the rest of your stay, so there was a bit of confusion at breakfast the next day when we sat at a table which had been assigned to another couple.
We opted for the buffet. The choice of food was superb. The night was themed ‘mix grill’ – there was sirloin steak, gammon, pork chop, black pudding, pork and herb sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, chips and onion rings and more. For dessert, we ordered a creative and tasty artisan vanilla pod ice-cream and a bread and butter pudding. We opted for a glass of Rosé with our meal. We were a little surprised, however, that we were asked to pay for our bottle immediately on its arrival and halfway through our meals.
Breakfast, with the variety of food on offer, was equally good – think pancakes, pain au chocolates, sausages, bacon, hashbrowns, yogurts. It is all there!
What we saw of the entertainment was impressive. The hotel’s refurbished Lowther Hall has a gallery bar, allowing guests to have a different view with its tiered seating. The hall was packed to the brim and guests clapped and took to their feet when it was announced that one lady was celebrating her 100th birthday.
Whilst we were waiting for Faith Tucker, one elderly couple demonstrated their fancy footwork on the dance floor. Twisting and waltzing, they turned the floor into their own personal dance hall – whilst we happily watched, sipping our cocktails with Len Goodman-sized grins....
Their 'Strictly' worthy performance got a '10 from me'!
Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel is a Grade II listed Victorian property on the North Wales coast. For further details, click here