After an uneventful drive westwards to the delightful holiday retreat of Bluestone, we had visions of having to navigate remote country lanes and poorly signposted warrens before eventually getting there.
We were therefore very pleasantly surprised to find that it's clearly signposted from about 50 miles in advance and was an absolute breeze to get to.
A very friendly welcome at the drive-through reception ensured that we knew exactly what we needed to do to find our lodge and get settled in.
Bluestone is a car-free environment and with the exception of a short while to transport your bits and pieces to the lodges, cars are left at the car park up near reception throughout the stay.
We did find though that quite a few visitors who had arrived for check-in early were left standing around the car park for quite a long time before being able to access their accommodation.
Even if you venture down to your lodge on foot, the lock system is timed and won't allow you access until the allotted time of 4.30pm.
However, you can use all the facilities at Bluestone so be prepared and have your swimming stuff to hand or have something planned at least so you're not twiddling your thumbs or dealing with bored or over-excited children.
There is a cycle/buggy hire centre on site where you can hire bikes or electric buggies for the duration of your stay at Bluestone.
We hired a buggy, which proved very handy for those little trips around the site.
Bluestone is built on the slopes of a hill and those who are a little less energetic or mobile might appreciate the wheels to get up and down the hills.
The lodge was absolutely gorgeous!
It was one of their 3-bed Skomer' lodges, which sleeps 6 in sumptuous, en-suite comfort.
The kitchen was fitted out with all the essentials (including a set of good-quality, sharp knives), the lounge was relaxing and comfy and the bathrooms were stylish and functional.
There was also a little mezzanine area, for those who wanted a mini escape from lounge culture, to sit on huge beanbags and watch a different TV channel or listen to an MP3 player while reading.
On our first night we ate at the acclaimed Carreg Las restaurant.
It is cosy and welcoming, yet refreshingly informal and the food was absolutely superb.
Between us we tried most of the dishes on offer and none of them disappointed.
The Tafarn Pub downstairs offered a real relaxing pub atmosphere with reasonably-priced bar food on offer for those who didn't fancy a full sit-down restaurant meal.
The Blue Lagoon Water Park is absolutely brilliant and you can safely assume that there aren't many children out there who wouldn't love it!
To be honest, there are plenty of activities available for everyone, be it archery and high-ropes for the more adventurous, or some less energetic pastimes such as a leisurely country walk or a visit to The Spa for those who appreciate a bit of pampering and 'me-time'.
There's a whole range of activities for children too, ranging from babies to teenagers.
These activities include Toddler Sense, Mini Pirates, Mini Rangers, Junior 4x4 Off Road Safari, Junior Wild West, Kayaking, Bush Craft and many, many others.
The Well Spa is lovely & relaxing if a little small.
We were there at a relatively quiet time and so it was fine but it would be easy to imagine the various saunas and steam rooms being choc-a-bloc at peak times and so not easy to chill in.
The Spa has 15 luxurious Treatment Rooms and offers a comprehensive range of facials, massages and basically everything you would normally expect from a top-notch Spa.
One thing to ask yourself after a Spa visit is would you go again and would you recommend it to a friend. Well, it's a Yes on both counts!
Bluestone proved to be one of those breaks where you could choose to do as much or as little as you like and not feel out of place doing either.
It is set in a beautiful green valley and offers luxury living in beautifully appointed accommodation.
It's the perfect opportunity - and excuse - to switch off for a while, forgetting the pressures of work and home.
We hasten to add that if you're thinking of spending your break glued to your mobile, forget it!
There's very poor mobile coverage, so leave the mobile behind and enjoy!
**The Crawford Family November 2011**
**Kathryn had the Decleor Aroma Expert Youth Facial with the additional Vital Eyes Treatment and says 'It was genuinely one of the best facials I've ever had. I
had a broken rib at the time and was worried about how I could possibly relax on the bed for that length of time. I needn't have worried. It was so relaxing I actually fell asleep.
Next time I visit Bluestone, I want to try the 'Hot Stone Back Massage and Crystal Clear Facial Massage' as it sounds lovely!' **
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