Written on: 26/09/2010 by sammie1884 (1 review written)
We have been going to Center Parcs since I was a child (so for about 20 years) but this was the first time in 10years we have been to Longleat because Elveden is closer we normally go there.
I was a bit worried about going back after reading some of the reviews on here, I think some people expect far far to much for there money!!
As soon as we got there I remembered why I loved Longleat so much - The Dome (Plaza)! If it rains (luckily for us it didnt) most things are under one roof.
Activities: We booked most of our activities online before our holiday so that most of our extra activities were paid for before we got there, this worked out very well for us because we was booking activities once a fortnight in the 12 weeks before we got there so that it spread the cost and we was still able to save spending money. We used the AquaSana in the evening session so it was only £40 a couple and used bowling on an off peak time to get it at a special price. Center Parcs can be as expensive or cheap as you make it. We had a toddler with us so a lot of our time was spent in the pool which is free. We also spent a lot of time going on nature walks and looking out for wildlife. As the forest is so big you do not really notice the amount of people staying there (unless your villa is far away and you use the land train, which is always busy).
Accommodation: As we went for a special occasion we chose to stay in an Exclusive Lodge (62). it was in a fab location just behind the village square so very central and it had 3 parking spaces, which for us was very handy because we had an elderly relative with us, who did not have very good mobility. Our villa was lovely and spacious, the kitchen was well equipped although the oven (if I remember rightly this is the same in all accommodation) was very out dated and did not work well at all. We had maid service which in my opinion was dire we did all the changing of towels and they did not change our beds when they should of. We also had a steam room, sauna and hot tub all of which were great and we defo got our moneys worth using them!!
Restaurants: This is the part I was really dreading because of all the reviews on here, but actually I was pleasantly surprised with most of our restaurant choices. When we arrived we decided to have lunch in Cafe Rouge, which in my opinion is over priced for what you get, although the food was very nice.
The next restaurant we ate in was Hucks, the menu had been shortened since we last came but I still struggled to choose what to have as there was lots of nice things to choose from, what is also good here is the children can have buffet so that they can start eating whilst the adults are waiting for theres. The childrens play area in hucks is not as good as it used to be, not really suitable for toddlers (there is a tiny toddler soft area but this did not amuse my 2 year old lol) Everyone really enjoyed the meal at hucks and we all felt it was money well spent. (came to just over £100 for 6 adults and 1 child, we all had drinks, main, sides and dessert)
We then had a take a way from dine in. I would say the the Chinese and Indian was well worth the money and they are not in any way like a ready meal (as someone has suggested on here!)but I would say the pizza is a little over priced for what you get and I prob would not order that option again.
Me and my hubbie went out for a meal to Ortega the spanish tapas restaurant which was fantastic! By far the best meal we had there, in fact we loved it so much we went there twice! We had never had tapas before but decided to try it and it was lovely, there was lots of choice, the staff were really friendly and it was excellent value for money. What is also good here is that if you have someone who is a bit fussy they also have some plain dishes and lovely baguettes, so they cater for everyone.
We ate at the Pancake house for lunch one day, the only downfall here is that you can not book and it gets full up from 11am when they open there doors! So you have to be patient! It is a lovely meal if you like savory pancakes and a real hit with the kids.
On the last day we ate at The Grand Cafe, the portion sizes are MASSIVE! It was really really lovely food and reasonably priced I would of liked to do afternoon tea here to but we just ran out of time. The downfall with this restaurant is the lack of enthusiasm from the staff.
Parc Market and shops: I 100% agree with what others have written about the parc market, it is very over priced. We went in there to get basic bbq stuff for 7 people and it came to £55!! The gift shops are the same, a bit over priced and I noticed that the amount of center parcs branded gifts had gone down, which is a real shame.
Tips for others:
My main tips would be to buy breakfast and lunch stuff to take with you and just top up in the parc market.
Book activities before you arrive to save time and money, also look out for special offers and off peak prices.
Bring a torch for the evenings
Although it is now quite a pricey option, it is well worth paying extra to pick what villa you want when you book, any in the central area are great.
Maid service is not as good as it used to be so I would save the money and go for accomodation with none (we have booked up to come back next year in a woodland lodge, they do not have maid service, are modern and are about £300 cheaper than an executive with maid service)
Make use of the pool, it is free, the best time to go in there is in the evenings after 5pm as it is less busy.
I hope this has helped some people if you have any questions that I have not answered here then I would be happy to answer them.
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Written by GRACIEF