Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A great family hotel for Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Are you a fan of Blackpool?

Would you take your family to stay in one of its many charming B & Bs?

No, me neither.

Call me a snob, call me what you want in fact, I’m just not very comfortable with noise, queuing for absolutely everything and having to map my day out as to limit chance encounters with stag and hen parties.

How times change.

What I look for in a hotel, for us as a family unit, is great location and for a place that actually means ‘family friendly’ when it says it.

I’ve fallen for hotels before that had sold themselves as family friendly, but what they really mean is child friendly.  There’s a huge difference, the former – and what I’m looking for – is when children are just as welcome as adult guests, but both are clearly thought of when it comes to catering and facilities.

Some hotels cater so much for their younger guests that the adults are an afterthought, often leading to the children having a great – hedonistic like – stay, but the adults guest leave even more stressed and frustrated than they need to be.

For the third time this year we were the guests of Best Western, staying at the Best Western Glendower Promenade Hotel in St Annes.

And once again we found a hotel fitting my definition of family friendly.   Best Western does a great job of providing hotels comfortable for children and their parents, without neglecting adults travelling alone.

There’s free high-speed Wi-Fi.  This hotel even had a communal computer and printer for guests, that we used to do reconnaissance on the local attractions, and I saw children playing games on it, as well as the suited and booted using it to make the world keep spinning.

Its restaurant provided both an appetising adult grill menu, varying each day, and a child’s menu.  My boy, Max, chose meals from both during our stay.

Downstairs it has a gym, a full-sized snooker table and table tennis as well as a Nintendo Wii set up on a large cinema screen.

The Glendower Promenade hotel is positioned right on the sea front of St. Annes.  Virtually opposite the pier housing arcades, kid’s rides, bowling and cafes and is within walking distance of a cinema, the Lytham St Annes Mini Links Golf Complex, the beach, a park as well as an indoor swimming pool that hotel guests have access to.

There’s even a garden including a Les Dawson statue to pay homage to.

But the real reason for choosing this hotel was its proximity to the Pleasure Beach.  I do really like Blackpool, I’m just not a fan of staying in it, I’ve made far too many bad calls on B & Bs in the past to risk putting my child through the same.

With this hotel being only three miles away, and on the right side (the first thing you reach by car is the Pleasure Beach) it was perfectly placed.

The sun had his hat on, and a short while after a lovely cooked breakfast we were parked underneath The Big One roller coaster.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Pleasure Beach, and perhaps the first time I’d visited without a hangover, and we really enjoyed it.

We got there for the rides opening, and had ridden on four of the most popular ones within the first hour.

The place did get busier, queues increased, but at the really busy times we chose rides that have a high turnover per ride.  Perhaps I should put together some Blackpool Pleasure Beach tips for others to use.

I’m sure there will be critics of the Pleasure Beach but we found it to have a very good array of family friendly rides.  There was no waiting around for Max to go on rides we deemed too tame, or ones I wanted to go on and couldn’t because my son was scared.

Taking him on the Revolution (loop-the-loop roller coaster) took him to his limits, but that was enough for me too.

There was a general agreement that the Steeplechase was the most enjoyable ride for us.

Away from the Pleasure Beach we found loads of places we could go.  We love a game of crazy-golf on holiday, and were spoilt for choice.  We chose a challenging course right by the tram stop before you get on the Blackpool promenade, meaning we could take advantage of the free street parking.

We didn’t quite get the timing of our visit right, as the Blackpool Illuminations were starting a few days after our visit, and being where we were would have been ideal to see them from.

But I think it’s a hotel we are highly likely to return to.