"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Center parcs...

The morning of our hols dawned.
Excitement levels were high in some quarters but unfortunately, for some reason, tolerance and patience were in short supply all round :-(
The journey was not a long one but we had shopping to do and stopped off to do that.Milly was so excited about going swimming and going down the slides, that her whole focus was on getting to Centerparcs and she had zero reserves for anything else.I won't go into details -things were said that would have been best left unsaid - we all have times like it -  it wasn't the start to the holidays we would have wished for though... 

First impressions of Whinfell were not favourable.
We decided to take advantage of the facilities and arrived earlier than the 3.30 check in time.It seemed everybody else had decided to do the same... This in itself was not a problem, the que seemed to be moving quickly enough.We were sat in line and Alan was doing his usual thing of deciding whether to risk swapping lanes and hopefully get through quicker.I reminded him that we were in no real hurry and that the cars in front were moving so let's just stay where we were... then a member of staff come over and took the decision from us by motioning us to another booth.We then moved quickly enough and got to the front, with one car in the booth doing the check in routine.

Around half an hour later - it became obvious that the car in front had broken down and had to be pushed out the other end of the booth .Knowing what the hold up was would not have got us seen any sooner but it would have made the wait easier if we had known the reason - it would not have taken a moment for a member of staff to let us know.

It took less than five minutes for us to pass through as I had registered online before setting off...
Eventually into the car park and by the time we parked up it was less than an hour until the time we could get into the lodge.We thought it would make sense to wait to get into the lodge and then go to the pool rather than getting out of the pool to go and get the car during the time the gates were open.Sounded like a good plan - however at 3.30 everybody else was keen to get to the lodges as well!!!

After another very long wait to get out of the car park we made it to our lodge.The lodges looked quite run down and the area surrounding them had a neglected air.After a cursory exploration we threw the luggage in and took the car back to the park before we headed - at last - to the pool.Alan had had a quick check round the kitchen and noticed there was only one breakfast bowl in the cupboard and mentioned it to the customer services desk before we went to get changed.

All of us had got on each others nerves and were not in the best of spirits but it didn't take long before the pool - especially the slides - melted the bad vibes:-)

I got out earlier to head home and warm up the pasta and meatballs I had made at home and after tea we got ourselves settled in.Milly was so excited about having an en suite in her room she had it as her face book status:-)

The lodge was billed as an executive lodge and I have to admit to a feeling of disappointment on entering.It was clean and there was a lot of space but it was stretching things to call it Executive! Maybe back in the 80's - when it last appeared to have been decorated - it was the height of Executiveness:-)

Then things began to turn around.A man arrived with the bowls that were missing.He was apologetic and very pleasant.Excellent prompt customer service.

Another plus point were the bed and bedding very comfortable and good quality,and nice fluffy white towels.

After a slow start the next day we went on to spend six hours in the pool -Milly spent most of that time doing a circuit of the slides and the long walk and climb back to them once she had gone down them:-)I was persuaded ( against my better judgement) to go down the slide that went out doors...
I panicked at how fast I went down and the slightest turn sent me sideways,I banged my head off the side at one point, ricocheted to the other side and ended up thrown off the bottom in a big heap underwater and coming up gasping for air conscious of the people standing on the bridge watching the show!

I can laugh now but I was mortified - and more than a little sore:-))

As I was making the tea that night I opened the fridge door, the plastic strap that holds the bottle in the door broke off and a bottle of wine fell out and smashed with wine spilling out all over the kitchen floor.Tea was put on hold whilst I cleaned it all up ( Milly and Alan had stayed in the pool a little longer ) and mopped the floor and tried to clean the carpet.

I informed customer services the next morning and they were pleasant and assured me someone would be sent to sort it.When we got in late that night the fridge was fixed and there was a bottle of very nice red wine and a box of Belgian chocolates on the table :-)

Thursday we had hit our stride and found a nice area to sit with comfy seats.We took a bag with books and snacks and my purse.One of us would get comfy and read whilst the other did the rounds of the various pools and slides with Emily - she did make a few friends on the slides ( by this time I had eventually had a go on a very short, straight slide and that was the one she would go on with me)  at those times she would ask if we wanted to go and sit down :-)
Emily wanted to eat instead of going home for tea that night so Alan went to order her meal at the burger bar and a portion of chips for himself -  just to keep him going :-)
He was gone some time and eventually arrived with a big smile on his face.Because he had had to wait for the food they offered him a burger as well to compensate!

On the Thursday morning - my birthday - I was made a full English breakfast and opened my cards and a voucher from my family for a Spa Day :-)

As we were getting ready to go to the pool the housekeeping ladies arrived and on seeing the cards they said they would be able to bring a bottle of wine and some chocs round for me later on! And true to their word there was a bottle and some chocs waiting for us when we got in :-))

 The first impressions were not great but at the end my memories are of clean, adeqate - if somewhat dated - accomodation, helpful and professional staff with wonderful customer service and a clean, well run pool area.Can't comment on any of the many activities on offer as Milly had not wanted to book any (we decided we would save the money to put towards our London trip) and the restaurants were out of our price range on this trip so will have to try them next time we go.Apparently the new style lodges are much better appointed ;-))


Michelle said...

Belated birthday returns!!! Xx

dawny said...

sounds like you had a really good time :-) some really good memory making time :-)

Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday. Glad the holiday turned out well in the end. Center Parcs did a good job in supplying wine and chocs: can't be bad lol!

Shirl x

dawny said...

hey Lynn, I was just mosying through this post again , popped over after you'd commented on mine, and I was reading the flume ride again :-) I found ther speed thing disconcerting when i went on one last summer, and I ended in a heap under the water too. I reckoned I went loads faster then as a child because now i weigh so much more !!! the laws of physics were against me lol bet the water went up your nose too?
Age does change things doesn't it! I can't do skates now either ;-) xx

Claire said...

It's a couple of years since we have been to Whinfell - I'm waiting for staff to forget the time when M did a poo in the pool *blush*. Also we have since discovered Rydal :-) Prior to that we used to go every year though. It's basic but cheerful and if you go off season (we often went in January), and stuck to the pool as opposed to the add on stuff, it represents great value I think. Customer service is excellent. Once staff opened the shop in the middle of the night to get us some calpol when H came down with chicken pox and I couldn't get her temp down to a level I could cope with. Another time we had a problem with out fire and they were straight onto it. Pleased it worked out well in the end :-)