My first experience of a Warner's break (at a different hotel) was around 10 years ago. It wasn't great and so I was a little apprehensive when hubby and I were invited to spend a 70's weekend with the family at Thoresby Hall to celebrate some 'milestone' birthdays. My concerns were quashed from the moment we checked in and we had a thoroughly enjoyable (if slightly silly) weekend!
Set in acres of parkland and with it's own extensive grounds, the hall itself is beautiful and contains the suites and 'posh' rooms, along with various bars, restaurants, lounges, games room, reading room, etc. Our room was on the 3rd floor of one of the modern accommodation wings; the ground floor rooms have their own little patios with table and chairs. Our room was very comfortable and a good size with bags of storage space and a huge bed made of two singles pushed together (I kept losing my hubby!). My only slight niggle was that the shower was over the bath with a glass screen to prevent soaking the floor; it was a little cramped and I still managed to soak the floor! This was outweighed, however, by the excellent water pressure, something I really appreciate in a hotel.
We were fed and watered on a Bed, breakfast and dinner basis. We were allocated a table for the duration of our stay and, within the restaurant opening times, could eat whenever we pleased. Outside of that food is served all day in the bar and lounge areas. The restaurant food was excellent. Breakfast was the usual self-serve continental and traditional English, with additional 'served to table' options. Dinner was 3 courses with the main course either carvery or from the menu and no one seemed to mind if a bit of 'pick'n'mixing' went on! In the main restaurant some people 'dressed for dinner', some didn't, both seemed acceptable. The alternative restaurant is in the 'Blue Room' and is the posh option for a fine dining treat, coming with an additional charge of around £20 per person. Again, one minor niggle; the bar food was not to the standard of the restaurant food, however it was reasonably priced and they do great chips!
The activities are varied, including quizzes, walks, dance lessons, 'shooting hoops', pitch and putt (on a rather rugged green), bowling, singing, archery, etc. The best activity, in my opinion, I didn't even get to go on... This is a walk around the grounds with a hawk or owl on your wrist while learning about the sport of falconry. The additional £10 charge looked well worth it to me. This activity is only available two days a week; Saturday being one, with various times available. Even so, I managed not to get a spot, which brings me to my main piece of advice regarding activities... places are very limited, so if you see one you fancy in the activity schedule you're given on check in, book yourself a place ASAP!
On to the evening entertainment. As already mentioned, this was a '70's' weekend. Friday evening was the normal welcome. The Entertainment Team introduced themselves and performed a medley of songs to sing, clap and sway along to; the resident comedian had the usual line in cheesey jokes, magic tricks and audience member participation (aka humiliation); and the resident band played plenty of favourites to dance the night away.
Saturday was the big ABBA event, with tribute band Abbadabbadoo. The evening began with silly party games. I'd gone for a lie down so didn't experience this first hand, but my husband had paired up with his sister and said they had a brilliant time! Then on to ABBA. Bjorn and Benny's wigs looked like they were kept in a cage when not in use, but the girls worked their way through lots of ABBA favourites. After a break they stopped being Swedish and became English to play a medley of 70's hits. There was plenty of dancing and singing along from the audience and the atmosphere was lively and friendly. Sunday night seemed to be the regular 'farewell' concert.
What I noticed with the evening entertainment was that many guests seemed to dine early so they could get good seats. Reserved VIP seats were available, but I didn't feel they offered good value for money. Then, as soon as the main entertainment finished, most people disappeared, many to the Pavillion bar next door to listen to a member of the entertainment team crooning or playing the piano. This meant the dancing 'till dawn disco had few takers and the music was kept fairly quiet so as not to interfere with the ongoing entertainment in the bar.
Thoresby also boasts a spa and swimming pool. As I wasn't too worried about treatments, I booked a couple of massages when I could be fitted in, but I think that anyone wanting specific treatments would be wise to book them before arrival. The spa is a modern, clean and comfortable environment. Personally, I would describe the massages as 'adequate'; I've had better and I've had worse, but they were relaxing and pleasant. I didn't try the pool, but it didn't look busy whenever I looked. The spa staff were all very friendly and professional, making sure the spa experiences were relaxing and calming.
In fact I think this is where Thoresby really shines - I found 99% of the staff to be exceptional in terms of their service, friendliness, professionalism, patience and thoughtfulness. Ours was not the easiest party to deal with, but we were genuinely made to feel like nothing was too much trouble. The young lady who served our table at mealtimes quickly learned our little quirks and had things ready for us without having to be asked twice; the entertainment team seemed to be constantly 'switched on' and, when not actually performing, they went out of their way to talk to guests and make them feel welcome; the housekeeping team clearly took pride in their work and also made us feel welcome and well cared for.
Our party ranged from 36 to 92 years of age, so it was interesting to see how Thoresby coped with providing a good experience that spanned the ages. On the whole I feel they succeeded. Hubby and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time and I came home very relaxed and upbeat. On telling my own parents about it I'm hoping we'll get to go again in the near future with the other side of the family. My hubby's parents, who visit Warner hotels regularly, advised us to ignore the brochure prices, as there always seems to be deals and special rates available.
So, my visit to Thoresby has turned me into a Warners advocate and I would recommend a visit to anyone who wants to escape the chaos of normal life for a little while.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A magnificent Grade I house, set on the edge of historic Sherwood Forest, Thoresby Hall really is the place to come and unwind in style. Modern spa facilities & Beauty treatments, and a choice of stylish new Signature and Historic and Standard rooms. Midweek and Weekend breaks inclusive of breakfast and 3-course dining, live evening entertainment and extensive leisure activities as well as 2 Rosette a la carte restaurant. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Thoresby Hall Nottingham
- Thoresby Hall Spa
- Warner Leisure Hotels Thoresby Hall Hotel Ollerton, Nottinghamshire