This weekend, Alton Towers Resort unveiled the CBeebies Land Hotel, the Resort’s newest accommodation offering which has been fully designed around little guests. TowersTimes were given the opportunity to take a look around the new hotel.
As guests approach the hotel, one of the first things they notice is the colourful theming feature which sits in front of the hotel entrance and has been designed for little ones to be able to climb on and interact with – a design concept which runs throughout the hotel. As guests enter the hotel beneath the rainbow arch they are greeted by dedicated staff and enter a vibrant lobby and reception area at the centre of which is a giant interactive storybook where young guests can press different points to trigger a range of lighting and sound effects. This is complimented by a whole range of other interactive features on the walls of the lobby area which not only caters perfectly to little ones’ natural curiosity, but also helps keeps them engaged in a safe environment whilst their parents check in. At peak check in and check out times, Little Monster from Justin’s House makes a special appearance to entertain children during reception’s busiest time. For those children who want to help mum and dad with the check in, there is a set of steps so that they can join them at the check in desk – just one example of how the hotel is ideally designed to include young guests at every point. Also located within the lobby area is the Toy Shop which offers a range of CBeebies merchandise, and can be accessed either by its main door, or via a children’s tunnel. One of the key features of the CBeebies Land Hotel is that only residents are able to access the accommodation. On check in, adults are given a purple lanyard and children are provided with a yellow wristband which identifies them as hotel guests, whilst all of the doors and lifts in the hotel are activated by your room key card. These simple, but effective measures ensure that parents can have complete peace of mind.
One of the areas where the CBeebies Land Hotel really excels is in its extensive entertainments programme. Staged in Musical Meadow, the hotel’s dedicated entertainment area, there are as whole host of activities, meet and greets, and shows scheduled from 7am in the morning until 9pm at night, meaning there is always something fun and interactive for little ones to enjoy, all of which is designed to be fully accessible. As with the entrance lobby, Musical Meadow is highly themed with foliage on the ceiling, and pillars designed to look like tree trunks to help children become immersed in the entertainment. On the main stage itself there is a large screen (similar to that used in the Big Fun Showtime Arena in the Theme Park), which is able to be used as either a general backdrop, or provide a range of interactive elements during the shows. In the evening, part of The Windmill Restaurant is converted into The Library to host Storytime at 7:30pm, a much calmer and more relaxing activity compared to the heightened energy of Musical Meadow where young guests are read one of a range of stories, all of which have been provided by McMillan as part of a partnership with the Resort with the titles being refreshed throughout the year. It is a credit to the Resort’s Entertainment Team that such a wide variety of high quality entertainment has been written, produced, and directed in house and in conjunction with BBC Worldwide, and it was clear from our visit that what we saw was proving to be a huge hit with guests.
Of course the key element of any hotel is the rooms. The CBeebies Land Hotel offers a choice of either standard rooms, which sleep up to 5, or themed rooms sleeping up to 7, with accessible rooms also available. Regardless of which type of room you chose to stay in, all of the rooms have an extremely high standard of theming and attention to detail, with the themed rooms in particular having a number of impressive touches. Each room has a separate adults and children’s area, in the standard rooms these are separated by the bathroom, whilst in the themed rooms it is a themed partition which separates the two areas. By having these distinct areas this means adults can relax once the little ones have gone to sleep without fear of disturbing or waking their children up. It is the little details however which really set these rooms apart. All of the rooms include several activities fixed to the walls for children to entertain themselves with, whilst the light switches are all at child height to make it accessible for both parents and children. In the bathrooms, the toilets have dual seats which include a children’s and adult’s seat, a step is provided to ensure young guests can reach the sink without any trouble, and separate toiletries are provided for adults and children. A great deal of thought has clearly gone into what to include in the rooms with each room providing a cot, baby bath, and bottle warmer as standard. The attention to detail also extends to the doors which all have finger guards on to ensure no little fingers can get trapped. Even the corridors and lifts on approach to the rooms carry a significant amount of detailed theming with all of the room and lift doors being brightly coloured, and the walls featuring the signature CBeebies Bugs. Like all of the lifts in the Resort hotels, those in the CBeebies Land Hotel will also feature their own music and lighting effects, however for those guests for whom this would prove too much, this can be deactivated by using a button inside the lift.
The CBeebies Land Hotel also includes its own dedicated restaurant – The Windmill Restaurant. Set out in three highly themed sections, The Library, The Castle, and the central section, the restaurant, like the rest of the hotel, features an impressive amount of attention to detail meaning there is plenty for little ones to look at and hold their attention. Each table is set up to include both adults’ and children’s place settings so that young guests feel part of the experience right from the moment they walk in and sit down. The focus of the menu is very much on healthy eating, with children encouraged to make positive choices, even the pizzas are made using wholemeal bases. At the centre of the restaurant sits a giant windmill, below which is the salad bar where guests can help themselves whilst they wait to a range of healthy snacks, something which helps to keep younger guests happy whilst they wait for their main meal. Children can even design their own pizza using a sheet and stickers given to them when they enter the restaurant, all they need to do is create their design and hand it to the chef who will then re-create it, another example of how the hotel engages its young guests at every point. Thought has even been given to the lighting in the restaurant which has a number of different settings throughout the day meaning it can be brighter in the morning and softer in the evening.
Rooms in the CBeebies Land Hotel are priced at the top end of the Resort’s accommodation offering, which to some extent can be explained by the high standard of finish, and wide range of entertainment on offer. However, this high cost may make a stay too expensive for some families. The only negative aspect on the accommodation’s opening weekend was that some of the exterior landscaping had not been finished, however it is understood that this will be complete in the next week.
What Alton Towers Resort have managed to achieve with the CBeebies Land Hotel is incredibly impressive. Right from the moment you walk through the rainbow arch it is clear that the accommodation has been finished to an incredibly high standard, from the background music composed by IMAScore (who have produced three new tracks for the hotel), the extensive range of interactive elements in both the communal areas and the rooms, and of course the extensive entertainments programme.
What are your thoughts on the new CBeebies Land Hotel? Share your comments over on the TowersTimes and SouthParks Forum.
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