It was a wet Wednesday when I got the email; did I fancy a holiday to review the beautiful Bluestone resort?
Does Mr Tumble have something special?
Does Pooh like honey?
Do mums drink gin?
My sister and I, with four kids in tow, were there in a flash. Well, five hours actually. Bluestone is in Pembrokeshire, Wales - but it's definitely worth the schlep over the bridge. Blue skies, beautiful views, and big smiles at the arrival gate immediately put us in the holiday mood.
Our chalet was located in Preseli View and wow, did it live up to its name; on our first night we watched the sun setting over the hills and fairy lights twinkling in village below feeling very excited about the week ahead. Child-friendly trappings included a high chair, travel cot and enough space to scoot Trunkis indoors. Perfect!
Our first day unfolded outdoors. The kids scooted through car-free countryside, raced through willow tunnels and mucked about in shallow streams, all before we even got to the main attraction. At the Tree Tops adventure playground Sarah and I treated ourselves to Welsh Cakes and Hot Chocolate from Miller's Bakery while the kids roamed free, trip-trapping over wooden bridges and swinging on climbing ropes.
Day two saw us venturing to the Blue Lagoon to splash about in the Waterpark. The Wet Play area in the Nipper's Pool was perfect for toddlers. They loved clambering about in the rock pools and squirting Mummies with the water toys. The four-year-olds lived it up playing pirates in the water-filled shipwreck, Torrwr Mor, and winding down the lazy river between bouts in the wave pool.
By day three, we were ready to chill out and indulge in some grown-up treats. Sarah checked into the spa for a birthday treat and fell asleep having a facial - dreamy - then we all headed down to Camp Smokey. This rustic restaurant is hidden at the bottom of a steep ravine and surrounded by towering pine trees and babbling streams. Time seemed to slow down as we sipped wine and roasted marshmallows on the campfire while the kids splashed about with pooh sticks.
The facilities at Bluestone were amazing. Other highlights included the Circus Zone; a sensory play area for little ones - complete with giant chill-out sofas for adults - the bouncy castle, Lego area and giant play frame in the Adventure Centre.
But the stars of the show were definitely the staff who went beyond the call of duty to make our stay fun, easy and tantrum free. At the Blue Lagoon, we were provided with free lifejackets and the reassurance of extra supervision in the Nipper's Area. Out and about, Rob, the bus driver, seemed to have a sixth sense - picking us up at the bottom of many a steep hill or rough path just when little legs were getting tired. He did a great job of humouring the kids when they invited him for a playdate too!
Behind the Scenes Tips
- If you're traveling with more than 2 under-fours per adult you won't be allowed to take both children into the main Blue Lagoon pool at the same time. But you can still enjoy the water - set away from the wave pool is a Little Nipper's Cove of rock pools and toys where lifeguards provide extra supervision.
- The resort is vast and hilly. Scooters are a must. Still, brace little ones for tired legs. Rob the bus driver was our hero this time, but we'll hire a golf buggy or bike, complete with tag along cart, for our next trip
- I hate to moan, but the restaurant food was a bit of a let down... no amount of lovely service from the staff could make up for floppy sandwiches of processed cheese, but we got round it with some lovely picnics supplies from the on-site bakery. The shop was reasonable too, and I hear the nearest town - Tenby - does great fish and chips, with a side-order of stunning views.
- If you need something, just ask. The staff is amazing. Extra towels, multiple spa appointment changes, and information were all arranged with a smile.
- Make the most of the complimentary kids entertainment in the evening. Glass of wine while the Free Rangers play musical statues with the kids? Don't mind if I do.
- My biggest tip of all? Just go. You'll love it.