Once upon a time there was a beautiful place called Bluestone, everyone spoke fondly of it and called it a special place, and even though they lived less than two hours away one family had never been… But one day they got their chance…
We decided to keep the holiday a surprise from the girls and on the Monday morning, when they were expecting to be going to school, I revealed to them that actually we were going on holiday instead. I filmed their reaction and it was absolutely priceless, the eldest asked a million questions with a happy but shocked face and the youngest burst into tears, but once recovered joined in with the questions and excitement.
I then had to go for a quick job interview and my husband was left with two over excited children and a car to load up. Oops, sorry!
When we arrived at Bluestone Wales the first thing my youngest asked was “why is everything called BLUE? I like PINK!” and in a small child’s mind this is important I guess, the fact that her sisters favourite colour is blue didn’t go down too well either, but she quickly got over this terrible realisation and started to ask where the blue stones were? It might be a long week if this was to continue I thought…
Check in was very swift, we didn’t even need to leave the car, and the lady who gave us our key cards and welcome pack was very helpful, explained everything and answered our questions quickly (we didn’t ask her where the blue stones where located though of course, we’d find them ourselves).
Luckily the focus on the name was quickly replaced with shouts of “Wow there is a pool! AND an activity centre?!” and not forgetting- “Can we do that Mummy? Can we go there Mummy?” clearly they wanted to do all the things, and since we weren’t able to enter the accommodation until 4:30pm, we had a chance to get started and try out the activity centre and the Wild Wood Cafe, before we to the lodge. The slides and climbing frames were a hit, and all children love bouncy castles so that was appreciated too. There was even free crazy golf and it was the perfect place to let the kids blow off steam after a two hour drive and constant questions.
Are we nearly there yet?
How much longer?
I have to say the Wild Wood Cafe was lovely, the decor was different with a woodland theme and some pretty lights climbing up the large tree in the centre, the solid wood furniture was good quality and fitting, there was also plenty for the children to look at and explore, and the signs explaining that children are welcome (with a touch of humour) were a nice addition. Parents are able to relax knowing that children are more than welcome and catered for. This is what I would have expected for such a resort and I wasn’t disappointed. The food was lovely, included the best chips I have tasted for a long time, and even though the chicken in my burger was a bit dry (possibly because of the time of day), I still enjoyed my chip roll and the rest of the family enjoyed their food too.
When we had made our way to the lodge, a bit tired and with full bellies, we were in awe at the size of it, it was a lot bigger than we imagined and was like a home away from home (except a LOT nicer than our own home), there were two bedrooms, both en suite (one with heated floors), a bath in the double bedroom en suite with shower, and a wet room with shower in the twin bedroom en suite. There were lovely views out of the upstairs windows and since it is an ‘upside-down’ lodge we were able to appreciate the views from the living space and kitchen the whole time. Everything was also well maintained and clean.
As the husband and kids unpacked and settled themselves in I took a trip to the nearest Aldi (about 20 mins away), to stock up on food for the week- there are plenty of places to eat in Bluestone and from what I could tell they were all good quality and comfy, but we chose to really embrace the self catering aspect of the lodge. The Ramsay lodge we were staying in had all the mod cons of a modern kitchen and plenty of cutlery, plates and dishes, cooking equipment and even a dishwasher- this was a relief as I absolutely love my dishwasher, and am usually sad to have to leave it at home when we go on holiday. We were even given a small pack of eco friendly washing up liquid and dishwasher tablets, plus some extra bin/ recycling bags and cloths. The eco friendly theme was evident throughout the resort and good to see the environment is considered being on a national park. The bunny rabbits hopping about and many species of birds we saw clearly appreciate this effort as well.
I checked the weather before we left and the best day was on the Monday and Tuesday so we popped to Anna’s Welsh Zoo on the Tuesday and then spent the rest of the week swimming and in the activity centre pretty much.
I am not a great swimmer, in fact I am not a fan of swimming for fun at all to be honest, I think it’s partly because I wear glasses and my options are either swim half blind or have the hassle of the glasses getting foggy or wet, which is annoying, so when the husband and kids ‘suggested’ quite forcefully that we should go swimming every. single. day. I was less than pleased, however the Blue Lagoon is a little different to other pools, the lazy river that runs outside offers a perfect contrast of warm water and cold air- with some rain and sleet falling on our heads at times! The splashing area, with tipping buckets and plenty of water falling down, was fun for the kids, and I enjoyed emptying some buckets of water onto the husband’s head (even if it was by his own request). A big feature of the Blue lagoon was the wave machine, which went off every half hour or so, now I have experienced wave machines in pools before, which are usually quite tame, however this one was far from tame! It was very powerful and I could see everyone enjoying being thrown around and splashed, these waves were very authentic! I have since discovered that on Friday evenings the wave machine and lazy river are all ramped up to maximum power, with music and lights added, which sounds like great fun!
A point I would like to make about the Blue Lagoon, and the whole of the resort actually, is that the staff were alert and watchful the whole time; the life guards weren’t sat around chewing their nails or looking bored, and were very happy to answer questions and direct people when needed, they didn’t allow anyone under 16 into the hot tub for safety reasons, and they checked the height of the smaller swimmers when they were going to get on the slides to make sure they reached minimum requirements, because of this I felt comfortable knowing that myself and the family were safe at all times and should anything go wrong they would be there in seconds. I did feel a little bit bad for the life guards outside monitoring the lazy river when it was particularly chilly and raining though.
The weather was a bit cold and wet (well is was West Wales in January) so we didn’t adventure too far around the land or lake etc, but we did pop to the village for some milk and it was very pretty, there was a play area, a couple of eateries and shops, including a mini supermarket, toy shop and wine shop- everything you need really.
Without gushing too much, we all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Bluestone last week, the staff were helpful and friendly, and also seemed very happy in their work too, the accommodation was truly 5* and the activities, free or otherwise, were all very good quality and there was something for everyone- from dinner shows for the family with the mascots, to the adrenaline filled activities such as the steep ravine (check out the Bluestone site for a list of everything on offer).
One of the signs as you enter Bluestone says you can do as little or as much as you like and that is certainly true, this trip we chose to spend most of our time in the pool or activity centre, whereas next time (there will certainly be a next time), it will likely be warmer and we will take advantage of the lovely walks and trails that the site have to offer, but we were more than happy splitting our time between the pool and lodge, making warm drinks and just spending quality time as a family, you really can tailor make your ‘free range living’ holiday at Bluestone and that is the magic of it.
I would also point out that Bluestone is a suitable destination for everyone, I thought that it was more for active families who are regular bike riders and whilst these families would and do love this resort, older or less active people would get just as much out of a holiday here, disabled people are also accommodated for and there are golf style buggies available for hire. However as the resort is car free it’s a safe environment to take some nice walks as well, and if you get tired just hop on the land train that runs all day.
I had heard of people calling Bluestone a special place and feeling very sad when they have to leave and I now get it, I might have had a little tear in my eye when leaving, I think Bluestone is fantastic and it turned out to be one of the best family holidays we have ever had. The children left happy and exhausted, as did I, and it was just what we needed to blow the cobwebs away (those ‘fresh’ Pembrokeshire winds are good for that), the stunning scenery was therapeutic as well.
Having a lovely warm cup of tea (or three), in a toasty warm lodge every night after all the fresh air and swimming was really lovely as well, very relaxing.
Comments like “the best day of my life!” and “I really don’t want to go home Mummy, imagine if we could live here” say it all. So thank you Bluestone for letting us experience a wonderful family holiday, giving us some great memories and some extra time together as a family in wonderful surroundings. I am one very happy #bluestoneblogger and now carry a Bluestone keyring with me wherever I go… Yes a little sad, but it really is a wonderful place.
Disclaimer- We were guests of Bluestone for the durtion of our stay for the purpose of this review.
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