Why this hotel hasn’t got five stars I will never understand – come on AA give Bodelwyddan more stars!! It deserves it.
Warner Leisure Hotels in North Wales has undergone a very impressive ‘make over’ during the last two years. When we visited last time work was in progress, so it was a pleasure to return and see for ourselves the massive improvements that have been made to this lovely hotel (read my previous review from two years ago).
This time we had the opportunity to ‘test drive’ the Garden Lodges, which are situated away from the main hotel but still have easy access to all the facilities. The Garden Lodges are very well appointed and are all situated around beautiful gardens with two water features and pools that give a charming, tranquil feel to the ambiance of the whole area. Last time I visited Bodelwyddan Castle, I took my sister who has a learning disability with me and, as her needs are still paramount, I wanted to see how Warner had improved their disabled facilities in the Garden Lodges.
Our Garden Lodge was purpose build for a disabled person and you could not ask for better facilities for anyone that needs an easy access apartment. It has a good sized bedroom with twin beds and a wet room with a seat for showering and support handrails for easy access around this room. The sitting room is also well appointed with a settee and chair for comfort, a fridge and TV plus tea making facilities. A patio door leads out on to a seating area with table and chairs overlooking the garden and fountains so that on a good day you can sit outside and enjoy this lovely area. I was very impressed with all the facilities and I contacted the reception about any other facilities that can be offered for a disabled person. They were very helpful and offered a high rise toilet seat for the bathroom and a wheel chair can be borrowed for the time spent at Warner. Tip: when booking it is best to reserve the wheelchair for your stay.
The Garden Lodges are situated in blocks 1 to 6. Blocks 3/4/5 are on two floors and the ground floors have a patio and the top floor, a balcony; all are very well appointed and get booked up quickly throughout the year. They feel like your own personal apartment set in beautiful surroundings. Parking is provided for each of the Garden Lodges which makes it easier as you don’t have to find a space in the general parking area. Our Garden Lodge did have an adjoining room so if you come with family or friends or if you have a disabled person with you and you need support then the adjoining room is a bonus. The Garden Lodges are made of wood, stone and Welsh slate and compliment the surroundings wonderfully well. Time and imagination has gone into this construction and it certainly blends with the countryside.
The only slight ‘negative’ is that the Garden Lodges are away from the main building which houses all the activities and restaurant, so you have to walk about 200 meters down to the main area. There is a covered walk way in case the well known Welsh rain starts to come down but if it is fine, a lovely walk through the walled gardens up to the Garden Lodges is a very pleasant way to walk either down or back. But it can also be a ‘positive’ as it is away from the busier areas and is calm and tranquil and of course the exercise is very good for you!
As you arrive a Bodelwyddan the personal touch starts. One of the staff is there to greet you and point you in right direction for the reception or the Garden Lodges where another staff member is waiting to show you to your Lodge. As you approach the main reception area you can not fail to be impressed, the glass atrium has been built to the highest spec and has dovetailed the old and new together with style. It is light and airy and doubles up as a lounge and bar. It is a lovely place to meet other guests and is a comfortable pleasant area to have coffee or a drink all through the day.
Beyond this area is the main St David’s restaurant which is also in the glass atrium and seats at full capacity 452 people. Now that sounds a lot of people but as it is anytime dining, it is never full as people stagger their meal times and there are various seating areas to choose from. When you arrive you are asked by reception to choose a table to sit at throughout your stay. If you are staying in the Garden lodge you will have an allocated table but if you wish to change that is fine with the obliging staff.
The dining experience is held in St David’s Restaurant which has a variety of seating areas. We had our meals in the School Library area which is smaller and more intimate than some of the other areas but all are well appointed and comfortable areas to eat a hearty breakfast and a 3-course evening dinner where a buffet and carvery are served. However, you can get service at your table and the waiter will bring all your three/four courses to your table including the wine or beer of your choice, a full and comprehensive menu is available. The breakfasts are excellent ranging from the full English to crepe’s and lemon but if you prefer the breakfast menu service a very palatable eggs benedict will set you up for the day ahead. The evening meal is a carvery or al a carte from the waiter; a choice of meats are available and some excellent fish. The desserts are a must so loosen that belt!!!
When you arrive at any Warner Leisure Hotel you are given an Entertainments Guide for your time there. The guide has all the activities that are happening in and around the hotel. You don’t have to leave the hotel if you don’t want to as a host of activities are available to cater for all tastes. These include Fitness Classes, Trivia Quizzes, Archery, Grounds and Estate Walks with a guide, Rifle Shooting, French Boules, Dancing Classes, and my favourite, Wine Tasting!!
Most of the activities are book at the Spa Reception in the Mulberry Lounge. This is another area for guests to enjoy drinks and snacks which are served throughout the day (always check your guide for times of activities and openings). The Spa and pool areas are being upgraded this year in May, check the dates – Warner promise very little disruption to clients.
If you come to Bodelwyddan by car and don’t wish to use it whilst you are there, Warner have a coach service to take you on a Snowdonia Experience available every Sunday or a Whistle-stop tour of the Vale of Clwyd available on Thursday. Llandudno (transport only) is on Wednesday and Saturday. Llandudno including Great Orme Tramway is on Wednesday and Saturdays. Bodnant Garden (transport only) is on Sundays.
Welcome to the party – that is how you feel when you go to see the entertainment each evening – the entertainment staff work very hard to encourage you to enjoy yourself and music, quizzes and with good tribute acts this all helps you get a ‘party’ feeling. If you are staying in the Garden Lodges reserved seating is situated in the Gallery, which is a lovely balcony overlooking the dance floor but if you have any walking problems then ask if a lower table could be found for you nearer the dance floor which will be reserved each evening.
A Gold and Silver VIP evening experience are special deals which include a reserved dressed table plus a complementary drink, waiter service and nibbles. Both prices offer different treats so if you have a special occasion, this would be a lovely way to celebrate the evening in style.
Warner Leisure Hotels have really made some impressive changes to this medieval castle hotel, spending £6 million plus on the refurbishment. The added glass atrium blends in so well with the traditional character of the castle with its ramparts and fabulous stone structure which also includes a museum, cafe, shops and an inventors exhibition, all of which can be accessed free if you are staying at the hotel, just show your room card or key for entrance. If you are able bodied or disabled, Warner will ‘pull out the stops’ for you and you do feel everyone is making an effort for you alone.
Warner Leisure Hotels plan for your holiday experience with care. If you just want to sit and chill out in the beautiful Garden Lodges and read your book or be more active and join in the activities or go on a coach tour to see the beautiful countryside, the choice is yours and Warner will give you the best possible break. Come and join the party!
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Warner Leisure Hotels