When I was a high flying career girl (kind of), my job involved travelling a week or two weeks of the month and staying in nice hotels as I worked for a hotel website. Sound wonderful? Well it was, except that 90% of the time unless Mr E had some time off I had to do it on my own. That isn't so fun, there's only so many times you can ask for a 'table for one' without feeling a little bit lonely.
When I had Mads, I had to give up that part of my job as there is no way I would have wanted to travel all the time without her. And there is a part of me that misses it- there is something so lovely about sinking into clean, crisp sheets, discovering somewhere new, and of course ordering room service.
So when we were offered a nights stay at the Marwell Hotel in Hampshire, for all three of us, I jumped at the chance. It is quite a way from us but Mr E took a half day off work and off we trundled in the car to have a nice break away.
The Marwell Hotel is situated just a few miles from Winchester, which we decided to visit for dinner, and it is beautiful. The hotel is literally right next door to the famous Marwell Zoo, and as such the hotel has been decorated to be almost like safari lodges.
They have 68 bedrooms which are split between four lodges, we were in the Giraffe Lodge. Our family room was very luxurious, and there was plenty of space for the three of us. We didn't use the extra single bed as Mads is still in a cot, but the hotel very kindly provided a Cosatto travel cot for her, which was actually nicer than the one we normally use for her!
The most important part of any hotel stay- the bed- was very comfy indeed and every room has it's own balcony- the view from ours was gorgeous, especially when the sun was going down. It really made you feel like you were in the middle of nowhere.
The room had all the usual mod cons like a flatscreen tv, nice quality complimentary toiletries and comfy beds with lots of cushions.
The hotel has a lovely range of facilities, it has a nice modern bar area which serves snacks, a restaurant and a fully equipped swimming pool. We couldn't resist trying this out as Mads most favourite thing to do is go swimming. There is also a jaquzzi and a sauna too, as well as a couple of pieces of gym equipment.
The pool was definitely the highlight of our stay as we do have a little water baby, plus with the weather not being great it was nice to have something to do indoors. Use of the leisure club is complimentary, and it is very clean- there is no lifeguard but then you will more than likely be with your children at all times anyway, and there were some very nice members of the leisure team milling about while we were there.
We finished swimming and went out to dinner in nearby Winchester which I would really recommend going too, it is a very pretty and historic city, before coming back and having a nice early night as there isn't much else to do when you have a two year old in the room with you!
The next morning we got up and had breakfast in the hotels restaurant. I had the cooked breakfast which was very nice indeed, Mr E had the continental breakfast, while Mads ate an abundance of jam and toast. We thought that the service for breakfast was excellent, and I really enjoyed my cooked breakfast. Mr E enjoyed the continental but said that for the price he would have liked to have seen a little more variety, and perhaps some more fresh fruit. If you wanted more fruit you had to pay extra, and considering you pay more for bed and breakfast we thought this would have been nice if it was complimentary.
We were supposed to be going to spend a day in Hampshire but when we woke up the weather was so awful that we decided to just head home, which was a real shame as we would definitely like to have done some more exploring.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Marwell Hotel and we thought it was very family friendly, children will love the pool faciilities and the fact that the hotel is a little different- Mads was fascinated by the elephant outside that squirted water out of it's trunk on the way to our room. The hotel also has a really lovely outdoor play area and extensive woodland grounds to explore but because the weather was so bad we didn't get to try it out. Likewise it would have been nice to go to the zoo and they do special zoo packages for families, so it would be well worth coming for this reason alone as the hotel is literally set in the zoo's grounds.
We had a lovely stay and it will probably be our last hotel stay as a three before our new addition arrives. Now that is a scary thought!
We were provided with a complimentary nights stay at the Marwell Hotel but all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.