Thinking about a family friendly minibreak in a beautiful old manor house? My sister recently tested out Moonfleet Manor Hotel with her 3 and 5 year old. Over to you Georgina….
We’ve eschewed hotels this year in favour of self-catering options. This has generally given us more bedrooms, more chillout space for the evenings, and more flexibility with meals. However, I’d often looked at the ‘Luxury Family Hotels’ group and wondered if they could offer us something a bit different.
I called the central ‘Luxury Family Hotels’ booking line to find out more about our options. We were booking pretty last-minute, and it was the school Christmas break, so most of the hotels within the group were booked up. They were incredibly helpful on the telephone, and very patient in talking me through the different hotel settings and rooms that were available. They are all country house hotels with a child-friendly ethos, including a complimentary crèche facility and baby-listening services. The exception to this is Thornbury Castle, which is only suitable for children aged 8+.
I was looking for two separate sleeping areas – either a suite, or two interconnecting hotel rooms.
We opted for a ‘Deluxe two-bed family room’ at Moonfleet Manor, in Weymouth.
We also pre-booked:
* Evening meals and babysitting. They offer a children’s ‘high tea’ from 5pm, or you can eat together as a family from 6pm. We booked a babysitter for each evening so that we could enjoy dinner and some drinks without the kids. We have used baby-listening services before, but we felt happier paying extra for a sitter, in case our kids got out of bed and went wandering!
* Creche sessions. They offer 2 hours of complimentary crèche sessions each day, which were at 10am-12pm or at 3pm-5pm, and need to be pre-booked.
* Spa treatments. They have a full list of beauty and massage treatments available, and I booked a massage.
Location and Arrival
It took us 3 hours to get to Moonfleet Manor from our home in NW London. Check-in was simple, and we were able to use the facilities before the 3pm check-in time, including the crèche. Happily, our room was ready and available just after lunch. The main house has two lovely large lounge areas with log fires, and there are two additional buildings; one containing the crèche and the pool, the other containing the indoor play area and the spa treatment rooms.
Our ‘Deluxe two-bed family room’ comprised a double bedroom, a twin bedroom, and a separate bathroom. It was situated in the main house, while there are rooms located in other buildings around the site.
Both bedrooms were generously sized with lovely cosy furnishings, and a TV (with DVD player) in each room. The style was homely, rather than sleek, but in a good way. We were given a list of kids items that were available on request, and a bed guard was brought round to the room as soon as we asked for it.
Our kids attended sessions each day in the Four Bears Den. This purpose-built crèche was bright and clean, well equipped with toys and run by lovely staff. The sessions ran for 2 hours and our children enjoyed playing and doing arts and crafts. The crèche has its own outdoor play area, which must come in handy during the summer months.
* Verandah – Children’s play area
This was a real highlight of Moonfleet Manor. The Verandah is a separate building adjacent to the main house. It houses the spa treatment rooms and also an enormous ‘playroom’. There’s soft play, scooters, small bikes, pool tables, trampolines, a climbing wall, a 2-lane bowling alley, and a small indoor football area.
Our children absolutely loved running around and playing in here, and I particularly enjoyed relaxing on the sofas and reading a paper while they were doing so. A total win-win.
* Outdoor playground
There’s an outdoor play area by the pool with some simple playground equipment and a huge sandpit. It was a bit too cold during our stay for us to use it much.
* Hotel playroom
Inside the main hotel, there is a playroom full of toys and games. We loved the fact that we could sit and drink a coffee (or cheeky glass of wine) by the fire in the hotel lounge while our kids ran around and played in the playroom.
* Evening films
There were two films shown each evening on a big screen for the kids, with popcorn available at a small charge.
* Walking and exploring
The hotel has plenty of pairs of wellies available, and there are several nice paths leading directly from the hotel. We explored these while our kids were in the crèche, but there is also a ‘Toddle Waddle’ that is suitable for little feet.
Pool and spa treatments
* Swimming pool
The swimming pool area is located in a separate building from the main house. There are spacious changing rooms, a sauna, and a large warm pool divided into three separate sections with different depths. We enjoyed playing in the pool with the kids, but it didn’t really feel like a ‘luxurious’ place where I’d want to relax for some grown-up time while they were in the crèche.
The spa treatment rooms are located in the Verandah. There’s a comprehensive list of treatments available, and I had a lovely hot stone massage.
Eating and Drinking
We thought that the quality of the food on offer at Moonfleet Manor was excellent. There’s a lovely breakfast buffet, with plenty of additional hot items available from a menu. For lunch and dinner there’s a great a la carte menu, alongside a varied children’s menu. We also tried out the afternoon tea one day, and our kids really enjoyed the children’s version!
We were more than happy to eat virtually all of our meals in the hotel during our stay, as the food and service were both lovely. We had one meal out – lunch at the nearby Kings Arms in Portesham, which we would also recommend.
‘Luxury’ really does means something else to me now when I go on holiday with young children. It’s not about marble staircases and uber-fancy restaurants. It’s about being able to truly relax, knowing that your kids can enjoy themselves. At Moonfleet Manor, you don’t need to be on edge worrying about whether your children are going to disturb other people, break stuff, or even just get bored. I don’t mean that the place is ruined by marauding kids. It’s just that the facilities, and the exceptionally friendly and thoughtful staff, mean that you really can relax and have a lovely family holiday. It was cosy, homely, and relaxing, and we are looking forward to returning there.