Bluestone Wales. Let’s set the scene … stunning views, blue skies, the sound of birds tweeting and rabbits thumping, woods all around you, beautiful coloured houses. Idyllic. Do I need to say anymore?
As with all good stories, let’s start at the beginning…
This gorgeous park, is unlike any other holiday we have taken as a family. When offered the opportunity to stay on a National Park Resort in a little lodge, we were delighted. Lil G is a little explorer at heart so for us this was the perfect setting. Bluestone talks of free range fun and it’s 500 acres of Pembrokeshire countryside. One where you’re encourage to run free, to explore. Perfect.
And here are our thoughts… from the check-in, the staff, to the accommodation, the waterpark, hiring bikes, playground fun, the Spa and marshmallow heaven at Camp Smokey you won’t be disappointed.
Check-in … Arrival is from 4.30pm however you can arrive on site as early as 11am and enjoy the facilities. Be prepared to queue for the check-in desks and then for the drive down to your accommodation however if you’re lucky the children’s entertainers will be on hand to tap on your window and talk to your little ones.
The staff … From the first person we spoke to, until the last we were greeted with smiles, conversation, helpfulness and joy. The young guy who checked us in actually saw us again on our 3rd day as we entered the waterpark, can you believe he remembered us? He recalled his conversation with Lil G, I couldn’t help but smile at this. Such attentiveness allows Bluestones to say this is a luxury resort.
Accommodation … Mr H was wowed. As was I. Lil G within moments of finding the snug area with the biggest beanbag said ‘This is a little bit fun mummy’. I had read a few reviews before our visit, and if truth be told the accommodation was the part I was most nervous about. I had read that some are tired looking, in need of cleaning and general maintenance. Our experience couldn’t have been far from that. It was spacious, dreamy, sparkling clean, well dressed and had the biggest wet room and shower I had ever seen.
We were popped in a Skomer Lodge, with the views of the forest which couldn’t have been more splendid for my morning cup of tea. The view from our bedroom was devine just as it was from our patio. You really did feel like you had escaped from the hustle and bustle of life.
The Blue Lagoon Waterpark – A mixed review if truth be told. What we liked … Free entry as a guest staying on Bluestones. Free baby swim nappies. Bluestones guests are also treated to the first 2-hours private swimming. A nice touch indeed on both accounts. Very very clean, with regular sweeping and lots of staff on hand. A really superb baby and toddler area which was cornered off. A great idea to prevent the bigger children wandering in. The wave machine was a HUGE hit and often was cheered by the guests when the klaxon sounded to make you aware it was coming on. Lil G loved this and the lazy river.
What didn’t we like … There weren’t enough family changing rooms. The food and drink were over priced. More specifically for us, there just wasn’t enough to entertain our nearly 4-year old. Don’t get me wrong we visited each day however within an hour he was bored. Why? Because he couldn’t go on any of the slides. You have to be over 1.1m to venture on to the slides. What’s missing are some smaller slides for the children in between the baby area and the big slides. Definitely a 2-year gap between the sections in our opinion.
Bike hire … We chose to do this on arrival just in case the weather turned. We were lucky that we had glorious weather for the duration of our stay. Really quick, very simple to book. The attendant was quite honest in that he has a huge supply of bikes however the trailers are in short supply.
There are maps on site of all the trails outside of the resort however you could just cycle around the site if you didn’t quite fancy going that far. There are bike parking racks all over the site, as well as at your accommodation so you are encouraged to take them when travelling around. One thing I would say is that you do need bike locks. We weren’t advised of this and therefore had to leave our bikes in our porch rather than in the rails outside of our lodge.
Playground fun … Quite simply spectacular. Lil G is much happier outdoors, and as we rather dislike indoor play so for us this area was perfect. There was lots to explore. And a great deal of seating area surrounding the areas for parents to watch on as their littles played happily. You should also try the hot chocolate at Millers Bakery, to die for! As are the pastries, but be quick as the good ones are often gone before 10am!
The Well Spa … Luxurious. Such a lovely setting. Much bigger than I first thought. On initial inspection of the brochure I was a little put off by the cost however as a little treat I spoke to the team and they made me aware of an offer of the day. An express facial and a file and polish for £40. Great value for money. I was very impressed to hear that the Spa is strictly for Bluestones guests which again is a nice little touch.
Both of my treatments were fantastic and pretty much ran to schedule. Abi who looked after me was lovely and again very attentive. Due to timing on my part, I didn’t get to experience the Spa facilities however on wandering through they really did look fantastic.
What we didn’t take part in … The various indoor activities for toddlers. The Adventure Play Centre and the restaurants in the main village. There was a very impressive schedule however we chose not to do so as they are all activities we can do at home. We wanted this little holiday to be about new experiences. Which is exactly what we stumbled across next…
Toasting marshmallows at Camp Smokey… Our fondest memory of our little holiday. The most beautiful setting. I would go as far to say that it is the hidden gem of Bluestones. So many people I spoke to during our stay hadn’t heard of it. The food was fantastic. The cute little rules were just that, cute. With activities for the littles and a gorgeous walk back to our lodge. It is a must visit. I have devoted a whole post to Camp Smokey which you can read here.
We also ventured off site and visited the rather gorgeous Tenby, Saundersfoot, Barafundle Bay and Holly Farm. I will be popping up a little post about our time off site in the coming days.
In summary … We had a superb few days, we made memories, we absolutely loved the free range fun and were overwhelmed by how much there was to do on site. You really wouldn’t need to leave. And as the park is a car free zone you do not need to worry about your littles as much. They can wander. They can be free.
Thank you Bluestone Wales.
* We were gifted a 4 day break at Bluestone Wales in exchange for an honest review. All words are my own.