An email inviting you to review a hotel is always a nice treat – and one I never take for granted in my day job at Junior Magazine and here on my little corner of the internet.
But, what attracted me to this particular invite was the brief to review the hotel from a child’s point of view. With a campaign called, ‘KidsAdvisor’ – asking us to forget TripAdvisor – as, we all know when you become a parent the kids are the ones we try to (mainly) please when it comes to family breaks. So, who better to ask to review a family hotel – than a child?
The hotel under our (mini) inspection was the 4 * Courtyard by Marriott Luton. Admittedly, a hotel near Luton airport is not the first place that comes to mind for a ‘family weekend getaway’ when you are not booked on a flight. The pull though, was its close proximity to ZSL Whipnade Zoo and other family friendly attractions and, of course a chance for me to put my feet up and let the little one do all the work! (If only she could edit the images, upload the copy, do the social…but, she needs to start somewhere, right?)
Armed with her weekend See-Ya suitcase by Olli Ella, her clipboard and an excitement beyond measure (Miss Marnie was taking this new role very seriously indeed) – we headed to Luton after school on Friday night to check-in.
And, here’s what she thought…
The ‘KidsAdvisor’ Hotel Inspector: 12 Reasons to stay at Courtyard by Marriott
- Is the hotel nice? “The hotel is very big and we had a lift to our room.” The outside of the hotel was very impressive – modern looking with a large open plan reception, bar and lounge. Although, possibly quite a corporate and business hotel – we felt very at relaxed to be staying there as a family.
- Were the people at reception friendly? “The lady at reception was very nice to me and offered me a fruit shoot.” The reception staff were friendly, relaxed and laid back in that nothing-is-too-much-trouble-just-ask kind of way.
- Do you like the room? “Ummm… yes, the room is very nice. I love that we have two-bedrooms and two TV’s! And, lots of space for my toys.” Although, they don’t offer family rooms as such – the interconnecting rooms are great for space – for both parents and children. With a king size bed/twin beds, a desk, mini-fridge, ironing board, tea and coffee facilities spacious bathroom and a roomy wardrobe a long weekend here wouldn’t make you feel squashed.
- Own bed? Is it soft and squishy? “I had two beds all to myself. Perfect for bouncing on too. I loved my balloons, teddy and carton of juice just for me.” The beds were sooo comfortable. Which in a hotel is vital. Miss Marnie did receive a lovely welcome pack – as did we. We were extremely impressed with the rooms – they were comfortable, clean and you really felt like you could make yourself at home which isn’t always the case in 4* hotels.
- Can you use You Tube on Wi-fi? “I can watch You Tube mummy! Look on the massive screen.It’s like the cinema” With 60″ wall mounted TV’s that pleased both the husband and child – it’s safe to say they were an instant hit. Being about to access You Tube on there too blew her mind. The free high-speed wi-fi was also added bonus.
- Nice bathroom & some bubble bath? “I couldn’t take a bath – but I like showers better.” Being an airport hotel all the rooms have a eco-friendly walk-in shower. A selection of Nirvae Botanicals toiletries (only in hotels) were available and replenished daily, so great if you have forgotten those essentials.
- Did you sleep all night? “The bed was so soft – I didn’t want to get up in the morning.” The hope of a family weekend getaway is that everyone gets some rest. We slept a little too easy here. The rooms were quiet, the bedding was crisp, plush and comforting. The added bonus of blackout curtains is great for babies, toddlers – and weary parents.
- Was breakfast yummy? “They had baked beans – yummy. My favourite cereal and apple juice – can I have another bowl?” The inclusive buffet breakfast is served in Kitchen & Bar at Courtyard – an open dining and bar area. So you can cosy up in a booth, sit at the communal long table or grab a table and armchairs near the window (although you do look out on the carpark – it’s still light and airy). Served from 4.30am! (for early travellers) until 10am there is plenty of choice. Full English, continental and a great coffee machine.
- Was there lots to do? “I like that I have lots of chairs to choose from – and that there was a box of games and I want to sit at the bench are when we have dinner please.” Although, no specific children’s area the lounge and reception space is vast enough to ensure you never feel like you are in anyones way – even with the busy influx of business trip folk and meetings. The same applies to the restaurant space.
- Would you tell your friends to stay? “NO! I want to keep this hotel for myself!” I think she actually means yes! In fact I would highly recommend the hotel not only for the super amenities but it is so close to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (which we visited on the Saturday of our stay), as well as Warner Bros. Studios and The English Heritage Wrest Park.
- Would you like to come back? “I would stay here again because I liked watching TV in bed!” As a family if we are going away to go to say a Zoo or theme park we will often book into a hotel chain to save on additional costs for boutique style hotels and to maximise our day trip time. I would most definitely check out Marriott hotel first from now on. They offer everything we need and I particularly like the laid-back vibe. My husband was also extremely impressed – and he never likes anything!
- Did mummy & daddy have a nice time too? “My mummy and daddy looked very happy all weekend. We had a very nice time and I hope we can come back soon.” Planning a weekend getaway when you have kids at school needs to be easy. A Friday night drive in under an hour and 20 mins from our home in Surrey was a plus point. Then to arrive and know you have free parking, free wi-fi, all day dining (10am-10pm), a small shop-area (where you can get drinks, snacks, toiletries and travel essentials) and a comfy room awaiting you sure helps you leave those week-day stresses behind.
“I would like to go again very soon. I liked having my surprise on the bed and my very own bathroom!” 12/12
AD: We were offered a complimentary family stay at Courtyard by Marriott in exchange for this blog post. I would say all views are my own – but, most of them are Miss M’s!