We asked Glynis Sullivan to review this hotel from the perspective of its accessibility for limited mobility and disabled guests.
If you want a cruise on land take a Warner Leisure Hotels break.
‘Boddle’ – what!!! – well it is in Wales, the welsh language is rather difficult to understand but finding a fabulous Warner’s break isn’t. Just click to the website and choose one of the interesting, accessible places for you to enjoy.
I went to Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel in the beautiful area of Denbighshire, North Wales with my sister who has learning difficulties, so this was going to be an interesting exercise to see just how disabled ‘friendly’ Warner’s are.
Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel is approximately 10 minutes drive from Rhyl and about 30 minutes from Llandudno and it is a castle with a lovely hotel surrounding it. We drove to North Wales and there is ample car parking space, our welcome was friendly and well organised and our cases where brought to our room. The hotel blocks are all around the reception area so if you have difficulty walking then ask for a room near to reception as this is also where the restaurant area is and the evening entertainment facilities are. Our room was a Signature room on the second floor, not a good start for a disabled friendly hotel, but there is a lift, so no difficulties there. There are different rooms with various prices and locations around the grounds. The room was excellent, twin beds and very clean and comfortable. The downstairs rooms would have been preferable as they have easier access and a patio door where you can sit out if the weather is good. We were accompanied by another lady that has severe disabilities and another carer and the room had a very low toilet. We requested a toilet seat raiser and a seat for the shower, it was with us within 10 minutes and the chamber maid fitted both of them for us – this was excellent organisation and service.
Bodelwyddan is undergoing a refurbishment, we had been informed of this by telephone and the disruption is minimal. A new glass atrium is being built along with new accommodation in the Garden Lodges, which is due to finish in August 2015 (NB: For my follow up review where I returned to the hotel after the refurbishment see the bottom of this article – or follow the link above!). Don’t be put off going but after the refurbishment I am sure it will look amazing. This is where the ‘Cruise on Land’ begins, the reception will be in the glass atrium to give visitors the wow factor that you get when going on board a ship – or so the manager told me. The ‘cruise’ doesn’t stop there as in the welcome pack you are given your key and a map of the area and then an itinerary that explains everything that is going on throughout your stay. For example on Saturday, there is Tai Chi, a guided walk, morning quiz time, dance lessons, aqua fit, rifle shooting and fencing to name but a few of the activities taking place throughout the day. The hotel provides a coach to take you to visit Llandudno which costs £12 per person return on Saturdays, so if you want to leave the car or you haven’t come by car then a trip to Llandudno is excellent. This wonderful seaside town is very ‘flat’ for walking so it is disabled friendly too. So whether you have come to Wales for a relaxing rest or an action filled time this is the place for you, just like being on a Warner Leisure cruise ship!.
The hotel is set in the grounds of Bodelwyddan Castle with turrets and towers surround the area. The Castle is well worth the visit with its large collection of art and furniture. It was used as a recuperation hospital for soldiers in the First World War and in 1920 the Lowther College for Girls. The history of the Williams Family that owned the castle is very interesting and entrance is free if you are staying at the hotel. There is a shop and snack bar adjacent to the castle and a large draughts and chess board to enjoy. The swimming pool and salon spa are also in the main reception area so why not ‘splash out’ facials, massages and an holistic collection of treatments are on hand for you to indulge yourself. There is also a spa for men only, so no excuses men! The hotel grounds are delightful and have a maze, pitch and putt also a sensory garden, it is accessible and wheelchair friendly. After your ‘strenuous’ walk around the grounds a glass of Pimms is very welcome as you sit outside in the sunshine enjoying the wonderful scenery around this lovely castle.
The restaurants are in a little disarray at the moment due to the refurbishment and 1st and 2nd sittings are in force, however I understand that once the refurbishment is over anytime dining will be brought back. The food is good not cordon bleu but wholesome and filling, breakfast and evening meal is included in the price. With my sister and her friend not being able to walk very far we asked if we could be in the restaurant nearest to our room, this was not a problem and the staff where very helpful.
Evening entertainment is obviously a big draw to all the residents,as with any ‘cruise ship’ the entertainment brings people together to sing, dance and make friends. The standard of entertainers is certainly not up to the standard of the cruise ships but it was OK and with no driving home this is a big plus for people to enjoy a drink without driving. The Mulberry Lounge has a singer most evenings to entertain you after dinner then the ‘showtime’ starts in the Lowther Hall Cabaret Room. A seating area is allocated for you and your friends and it is advisable to go after sorting your room out to get your seating area allocated – yes, I found that rather strange but it does work and with people in our party that couldn’t walk well and if you access the theatre in the dim lighting then knowing where your seat is can be a bonus.
Overall Warner Leisure Hotels proved that they are disabled friendly and have staff that empathise with the difficulties that people with disabilities and their carers face. Warner Leisure Hotels does what it says on the ‘tin’ it is a friendly, enjoyable and an interesting experience. My sister and her friends are returning to Warner’s in August so that is a good recommendation and this time they are visiting Gunton Hall Hotel on an ‘All Aboard’ week, cruising with Warner Leisure Hotels.
I returned to revisit Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel after the refurbishments were put in place. You can read my article using the following link: Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel Revisted.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Warner Leisure Hotels