von Essen Hotels. Three little words well worth remembering, especially if you are a frazzled Mum being driven quietly bonkers by the groundhog-day grind of childrearing.
My first ‘off duty’ von Essen night was spent at The Royal Crescent in Bath http://www.royalcrescent.co.uk, a breathtakingly decadent setting for a very grown up evening off.
I checked in with flat batteries and checked out, 24 luxurious hours later, feeling fully charged. A blissful day flip-flopping around doing a whole lot of nothing in a fluffy robe is, evidently, a sanity restoring prescription.
The food rendered me speechless and, during a lull in conversation while I savoured every morsel of scallop (and the accompanying frothy, fancy flavours that were swept across the plate in artistic daubs and swirls), I overheard a fellow diner proclaim that she wouldn’t leave the restaurant until the chef had ‘divulged how he defied the laws of physics and captured a liquid passion fruit centre in a powdery chocolatey ball of yummyness’. I am paraphrasing, aforementioned diner was dripping with diamonds and used an entirely different vocabulary, but you get the gist.
I didn’t let the over indulgence deter me from a costume clad morning and headed for the spa, after breakfast of course! I may not have burned off many calories but the pool, plunge tubs, sauna and steam Karahafus gave me a pious post work out glow without having to lift a finger.
The staff were so attentive, in a friendly un-intrusive way, that when I left The Royal Crescent it became evident that I had lost the ability to think for myself. I forgot to pick up my bag and forgot where I had left the Sat Nav, but best of all I forgot just how stressed I had been the day before.
Next up was Woolley Grange, the family friendly spa hotel where relaxation and children can co-exist.
Peanut the dog, a roaring fire and a glass of wine made me feel instantly welcome.
Little touches, like toys mounted at child-height next to the pool lockers, are evidence that Woolley Grange has been designed by people who understand the subtle stress points that can un-hinge a family day. And they have taken care of them all so that you can enjoy a hassle-free holiday.
Forgotten water wings? They sell them, right next to the pool, so you don’t even have to get everyone changed to dash off and find some. Expecting sunshine and caught short by un-seasonable showers? Borrow some wellies. Forgot the dog? Take Peanut for a walk!
Since becoming a Mum I have got used to entering establishments apologetically; post offices, banks, cafes – the twin buggy and I are always in the way and in your face, even on a well behaved day where everything goes according to plan. By comparison Wolley Grange felt like Narnia, a strange land where staff are genuinely pleased to see children.
The OFSTED registered crèche offers peace of mind and a chance to explore the grounds sans buggy but Woolley Grange is quirky and cool enough to keep older children happy too, be they 15 or 50. The old-fashioned values, modern conveniences and lashings of luxury ensure the stage is set for a memory making family holiday. Just add kids! (Please don’t tell mine I left them at home… I now have the perfect excuse to go back, twins in tow!)