Some of you may notice how young Millie looks in these photos. Please do not panic – she is not aging in reverse Benjamin Button style…I may have forgotten I hadn’t written up this review from 7 months ago!
During my half-term holidays, I headed to Manor House Hotel, Okehampton, with Millie and my parents. My husband couldn’t get the time off work so I left him at home…I did feel a little bad leaving him behind but as soon as we hit the M6, I nearly forgot he existed!!
The Manor House Hotel is part of ‘The Manor House Hotel and Ashbury Hotel’ group which are believed to be “the only sport, craft and spa hotels in the UK.” The hotels offer a huge variety of sports and crafts with the Ashbury Hotel site being the UK’s largest golf resort. We decided to stay at the Manor House Hotel site as they offer more of the craft activities (but you can access the activities across both hotels). The sporting activities available are golf, tennis, badminton, squash, table tennis, snooker, darts, archery, air rifles and laser shooting, to name a few. Over the school holidays, team sports are available such as football, netball, basketball etc. The hotel offers 14 dance and exercise classes as well as access to a gym and 5 golf courses. Deposits are needed for a lot of the sport activities but the facilities are free of charge. If sport isn’t your thing, there’s also a huge range of craft activities such as pyrography, pottery, candle making, painting/sketching, jewellery making, glass engraving, glass painting, fabric painting and picture framing to name one or two! The tuition of the craft activities is free and you only pay for the item you’re making ie. if you paint a mug, you pay for the price of the mug but all prices are very reasonable. You have to book in advance onto each activity and sign up sheets are available near to the TV room.
The Manor House Hotel is easily accessible with a pushchair (or wheelchair) but you may just need to walk a bit further to avoid steps and spend a little longer looking at the map to try and figure out the best way round. This was quite a feat for me as my map reading skills are pretty poor.
Although Millie was a little too young to try the craft activities, we did give bisque painting a go. The staff were happy for me to bring one of the highchairs from the dining room down to the craft room which meant Millie could sit, paint and not escape. However, it did not stop her from eating the paints! This experience made me give up on the craft activities but luckily there was plenty of other activities to keep her entertained. They have a very impressive large soft play room with tunnels, things to climb on, Wendy houses, ride on cars as well as a padded, artificial grass outdoor area with climbing equipment, a castle play area and swings including baby swings.
As well as this soft play area they have another large soft play ‘funhouse’ with some awesome slides for older children, a games room and smaller soft play area for younger children.
Other activities for children include ten-pin bowling, a climbing wall, giant chess, mini-golf, roller skating and ice-skating.
As well as the soft play areas, they have two brilliant pools with slides and a special toddler pool with mini slides and shallow water. Millie loved the pools and it was a great chance to build up her confidence in the water. The hotels offer an ‘Acorn Kids club’ which is available for 5-10 year olds, twice a day on selected days throughout the school holidays.
Another activity we enjoyed was the pushchair/wheelchair friendly adventure golf course. For any of the golf fans out there, each hole is a miniature replica of holes from the other golf courses across the two hotels.
I went on a little trip around the (huge) hotel to find out what changing facilities were available. Close to the TV room are changing facilities which are big enough to bring the pram in with you. It has a drop down changing table with strap and a proper nappy bin. In the swimming pool changing rooms there is a changing table with strap. I also found one female toilet with a changing table but couldn’t find any others (even when I had the map to help me!).
The dining room is really big and you are given the same table to sit at each night. This meant the highchair we were usin stayed in the same place throughout our stay which was handy. They had a range of seating for babies/toddlers including two booster seats which you attached to chairs and both wooden and plastic highchairs. The hotel is all inclusive and the range of food available is huge. You will never go hungry during your stay, that’s for sure! If you’re an avid tea/coffee drinker like myself you might be a bit annoyed that the only hot beverages available during the day are from a machine so they aren’t very nice! The tea/coffee served with dinner is nice though and there is of course a kettle available in your room.
They have evening entertainment here too but I never got to see any as I was in bed by 8 every night! I was looking after Millie but in reality was so happy to be able to watch dvds on my laptop in peace!!!
The room was basic and quite small but I was able to squeeze the pram in and Millie had a cot (which was quite small but Millie slept through every night so it clearly didn’t bother her!). I didn’t have a bath on my room which I did think would be a problem but the shower was quite large so Millie was able to sit in the shower and play with some bath toys without the water falling on to her and then I held her to wash her body/hair. The one thing I worried about before we got there was where I would store her cow’s milk. They have a fridge in the kitchen and staff from the kitchen or the night porter would get the milk when I needed it. The kitchen staff did use some of the milk one day (despite it being named) but they ended up giving me nearly a full 2 pint carton to apologise!
It’s perhaps worth mentioning that my phone signal wasn’t great but they do have free wifi. You have to re-enter a password if you don’t use it after a while though so it can’t be relied on if you’re expecting What’s App messages or emails.
The room costs obviously vary depending on how long you stay and when you stay and is quite complicated but as a guide my room was between £300-£400 for 5 nights (all rooms are full board). Although we were there over half-term, my half-term wasn’t the same as most counties so the price didn’t rise like it usually would. Below shows part of the hotel’s tariff information relating to how much children pay as a percentage of the adult tariff.
We had an excellent time at The Manor House Hotel and would love to go back now Millie is older and could try more of the activities. It’s a very family-friendly and child-friendly hotel with a huge array of activities to keep the whole family entertained.