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“Center Parcs - Whinfell Forest - NOT HAPPY”

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Center Parcs Whinfell Forest
Certificate of Excellence
Lytham St.Annes
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Center Parcs - Whinfell Forest - NOT HAPPY”
Reviewed June 26, 2008

We were really looking forward to getting into our Exec Lodge, equipped with pool table, PS3 and Sauna, as well as the other amenities we'd booked. The web site sold the lodges really well.
How disappointed we were to arrive and discover that although we were in an Exec Lodge, we did not have the above 3 'entertainment' facilities. However we didn't let this dampen spirits, because essentially we had everything else we expected.
HOWEVER !!! There were 6 adults, 2 toddlers and 1 baby with us. On the first night, the kids, were running around on the carpet, bear foot. Imagnie the shock when we looked at their feet and they had literally turned black!! The carpets were filthy. On top of this, the thermostat didn't work, you could only have hot water at one place at one time i.e. couldn't have a shower whilst the washing machine was on. Additionally, the kiddies indoor play area had been 'cancelled' during the week we were there. The one week when the weather was bad. No reactive thinking. Our first meal out meant we had to wait 1hr 40 mins for our food to arrive. Not good with starving children.
Overall the place is good - lots to do, if you don't mind paying for it, but we were very unhappy with cleanliness, forward thinking, service and reaction to problems.
We complained and got some money back, but its only money, and essentially our holiday was not a good experience.

Helpful?
5 Thank Benb1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2008

Recently enjoyed a short weekend break at Centerparcs, Cumbria. It is set in a beautiful landscape and myself, my other half and the two kids (7 and 5) were eager in anticipation. Myself and my other half had been to Centerparcs in Elveden so had a benchmark and knew what to expect. We decided to book an excutive lodge close to the centre of the village.

Arrival is very swift and easy and I would advise getting there early as possible to take advantage of the facilities although you can't get into your lodge until mid-afternoon. The lodge itself was very nice, clean and contained all the mod cons.

We headed straight for the pool but were left disappointed as it was vastly inferior to the Elveden pool as large amounts of the pool were out of bounds to non-swimmers. There were also no real rapids to speak of and the pool was a bit all over the place. It wasn't bad but fell way short of Elveden so maybe we had been spoiled somewhat. The kids were happy enough but couldn't understand why it wasn't like the pictures they had seen in the brochure.

The kids chose which activities were undertaken but with the children being five and seven they fell between baby/toddler and ten years up where there was a distinct shortage of activities, for example my boy wanted to go quad biking but had to be ten. Still we chose rollerskating, Robin Hood archery, hired bikes for the day and did the treasure hunt. The activites are quite pricey but this is a 'known known' and they were great fun. I wouldn't prebook though as the kids tend to get tired and didn't always feel like doing one thing after another.

The staff were excellent, friendly and really welcoming. Any tuition that was required was thought out well and pitched at the right level for the children to understand.

We only ate out one night as the restaurants are slightly more expensive than usual (I live in London). There is a great choice of food and we chose to eat at Yang's chinese which was a very good standard. The rest of the time we chose to eat in our lodge for convenience and to try and minimise costs.

Checking out was complete bedlam. When getting out of your lodge by ten in the morning make sure that you have loaded your car by seven and put it back in the car park. Head for the pool or activities and hopefully you won't be aware of the mass panic.

Should point out that if you are staying on site day passes can be obtained if you have friends who wish to visit.

Overall we were generally pleased with our experience and the kids loved it. However a couple of minor points, although we paid slightly more for a location close to the facilities (we were two minutes from the main centre) next time we would book a lodge further out as at most it is a ten minute walk. It wasn't really worth the extra money. If we were to go again I would choose either Nottingham or Elveden as the pools are a lot better at these two parcs and this is where we spent a lot of our time. For this fact I would knock one rating point off. Family entertainment at night time was quite sparse but everyone was so tired doubt we would have gone!

A great value alternative for a break especially at the moment with long haul airfares being so expensive. Give it a go you might just like it!

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank The_Mad_Hatter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
newcastle, UK
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 14, 2008

Center parks seems to be one of the places that all people with children end up. So, equipped with a toddler and (also obligatory) grandparents we booked a mid-week break in early June. I can see why people love the place, and reading some of the reviews I can only agree that the facilities are great, and that you could enjoy a fantastic and relaxing break there. However, I returned feeling that we probably won't be back, despite the fact we actually had rather a nice time.

The main issue I had was with the feeling of being 'stuck' in the park. Yes, you can leave (unlike the Hotel California!) but it's a bit of a faff to do so, and you feel you've payed to be there, so you may as well stay! It was a bit surreal to know that the glorious lake district was on the doorstep, while I was spending my time in a fake 'tropical paradise' or an indoor high street pretending to be a french cafe. For all I knew I could have been at center parks on the moon!

We stayed in a four bedroom comfort lodge in Forresters Lane. It was well equipped, comfortable, although more than a little bit dated. There was also a very strange sewage like smell coming from one of the bathrooms. There was plenty of room for all of us, and it was great to be able to eat around the huge table either inside or outside on our patio. The lodge was so well placed that at times you could forget there were any neighbours apart from the friendly squirrels, rabbits and various birds.

The facilities at the park are all excellent. Our toddler loved the pool, and the tots fun zone, as well as the outdoor playground outside the sports complez. The lakeside area is very pleasant and we were lucky enough to see lots of newly hatched ducklings swimming around. Walking and cycling around the forest is pleasant, although a fair few hills to cope with if you're a bit out of shape!

The cost of everything else in the park is daylight robbery. Nearly £7 for two glasses of wine is just criminal. £6 for a game of green bowls, £5 for table tennis. We payed £20 for two glasses of wine and two desserts in the cafe rouge. Take your own food rather than eat out there, unless you can cope with being ripped off for a meal out.

So, in conclusion, center parcs is a pleasant environment, well equipped and especially good for children. However, I think that all the benefits we got from our stay there could have been achieved by renting a cottage in the lakes which was well placed for day trips and for going out in the evening with grandparents to babysit. Center parcs feels a bit to me like the pizza express of holidays. You know what you're getting, you know that you'll like it. Next time I think I'll try the quirky little joint down the road.

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank fibernie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlisle, Cumbria
Level Contributor
76 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2008

We have just returned home after our second long weekend break at Whinfell. It was wonderful the first time we went, so of course we had to make a second trip just to make sure!

On both occasions we have stayed in an Executive Lakeside Apartment. This type of accomodation is perfect for couples, and couples with young children, as it is not too big and is very close to all the amenities. Our apartment was lovely and clean and tidy on arrival, and daily maid service helps maintain this throughout your stay; this is included in the cost of the apartment.

The Lakeside Apartments are an easy 3 minute walk away from the main village center where you can find a lot of the shops, restaurants, the bowling alley, and the swimming pools. A 3 minute walk in the other direction takes you to the Sports Plaza and Aqua Sana. We didn't think it was worth hiring a bike during our stay, although the cost of hire is very reasonable.

The surrounding are simply perfect. The ducks and rabbits provide much entertainment on the little patio outside your apartment! The lake is literally a 5 second walk from your patio. It is very peaceful, and away from the village center the only sounds you are likely to hear are those of birdsong. We ate at a selection of the restaurants on offer and found that both the service and the food was excellent and reasonably priced. We took advantage of the use of the pools (sub-tropical swimming paradise) on several occasions and it is gorgeous. The water is warm and you can sit with a drink in the poolside cafe, ready to get back in the water again! There are an excellent selection of slides and flumes in the pool, and we never seemed to have to queue for them for longer than a couple of minutes at peak times.

We enjoyed our stay so much that we have booked to go back in a couple of months.

We cannot recommend Center Parcs Whinfell more highly - you'll have the time of your lives in the most beautiful of surroundings.

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank cathandpete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
127 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 2008

We booked a new style woodland lodge. With a contempatory theme throughout, the lodge is simpley laid out with a toilet at the front door, and reasonable sized hall way for storing buggies or bikes. Walking into the lodge from the hall way we had a simple dining room with a table and 4 chairs. There was a proper cot in the dining area which took away a bit of space as we didn't need it.

One bedroom with twin beds with simple decor, was there with a bathroom nextdoor with a shower which could be complicated to work as it was a bath tap too. The bathroom was a good size though. Towels were provided but weren't changed during our stay due to no maid service.

The kitchen was well stocked with gas hob and oven and a microwave and dishwasher too. The applicances were built in meaning you had to search the first few times.

The living area had a nice sized corner sofa with a little unit in the middle and a leather chair at the end. Plenty seats for just 4 people. A flat screen TV was inbedded with a DVD player and a fire which logs could be bought in the supermarket.

The double bedroom was small but was reasonable with a LCD TV up high.

The patio doors in the living area led to a patio with nice metal furniture and a stone build BBQ on which Disposable BBQ's can be used.

The lodge was very tidy when we arrived and we did have to hoover and ensure the lodge was tidied before you left with bed linen being left in the hall for easy pick up before the change over.

The bonus we found to the lodge was the chalk board in the dining room. It kept the children amused for quite some time. Plenty wild life surrounded us and the main wheelie bins were close by but the bin under the sink was a bit confusing the first day we were there and felt the recycling was badly worked out.

Whinfell Forest is set in lovely surroundings. You are directed to the arrivals hut when you arrive where you check in and then leave your car before going to explore the woodlands. The "Butterfly Centre" houses Restaurants such as Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Rock Legends. It also has the bowling Alley and the Swimming Pool which has a variety of pools, slides and flumes all over as well as a wave machine.

The sports plaza has the aqua sana attatched and if you have children you can have 3 hours with them in the kids clubs while you go to the aqua sana for 2 hours. The sports Plaza has a cafe and a Bar and a Starbucks. It also houses golf simulators, table tennis, badminton and tennis as well as roller blading etc. Outside the sports plaza is a playpark and the climbing activities such as the climbing walls, the abseiling and other things.

The rangers lodge can have a host of walks and nature things where owls can be seen and talked about and other birds of prey as well as finding out about the natural wildlife round whinfell.

The park is clean and no cars are allowed. Biking is recommended if you have a lodge which is far out. But most things are in easy walking. Only the swimming pool is free and all other activities have to be paid for. It is worth doing the new online booking and budgetting. The eating out can work out expensive but so much is available at resonable prices in the supermarket that cooking in your lodge or BBQ'ing can be good fun. Although if the forest is dry BBQ's are banned for safety reasons

  • Liked — The ease and layout
  • Disliked — No washing machine
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Groovee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancashire
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 2, 2008

We have just returned today from a 5 day holiday in Center Parcs. This was our first time here and was really looking forward to it, although not sure what to expect.

We decided to arrive around 2.30 as we didn't want to arrive too early and have no lodge to go into. We got through arrivals very quickly and picked up our bikes no problem.

We stayed in Forrester Lane, comfort plus. A two bed lodge. My first impression was good. I did bring all my own cleaning solutions and gave the place a once over, It wasnt 4 star hotel standard, but was clean. It was in need of some paint and modernising and we did find a few cobwebs!!. But overall I was happy.

The children shared a room and loved this. Kitchen had all the utensils we needed. We didn't use the dishwasher as we don't have one at home so I never bothered.

We had a log fire and was able to buy logs from the local shop (£5) we enjoyed sitting around that watching TV.

We cooked mainly in the lodge and only ate at the Sports Bar twice for lunch. this was really good. The children (age 3 and 5) liked the Tots fun Zone and for once this was free!! this has recently been changed, so our two went in every day!!.

We spent most days out on the bikes as the weather was good. The views are fantastic and well looked after.

We only did two activites, as this was our first time at Center Parcs we didnt want to over power it and took it easy. We decided on 'An outing with the Owls' this was great. you get to touch the owls and feed them - which I did- and the kids loved it.

We also did 'Lets Paint' the boys liked that also.

The pool was okay, in need of some TLC I think. Only went in once, but this was mainly down to the weather, being nice, we was outside mainly.

Overall we had a lovely holiday. We do want to book again, but I think I will look into the accomodation a little more. I would like to stay in a 'new' style lodge.

  • Liked — The outdoor surroundings. Well maintained and easy to get about
  • Disliked — The lodge deco. In need of modernising.
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TPBlancs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheshire
Level Contributor
81 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2008

Having enjoyed a previous holiday in a Lakeside Lodge, we were seduced by swish images of refurbished lodges on the website, so we booked a midweek break in a 6 bed executive villa (in Heather Glade), at Whinfell from 21 April. There were good and bad elements to our holiday.

Good points are: Centerparcs hasn’t won the Tommy Award several years running for nothing, it’s fantastic for kids of all ages; in particular, the on-site restaurants – always lots of highchairs, we ate out many times and we found the food to be of a consistently high standard, staff are generally friendly and helpful. There is a good range of cycles for hire for parents/children/tinies – including Burley carriages and child seats. The Subtropical paradise is great, further to previous reviews, they seem to have fixed the heating problem and all flumes, pools were in operation during our two visits. (Note to parents#1: you don’t need to buy swimming aids, free lifejackets for all sizes of sprog from 18 mths upwards are available by the wave pool). The Sports Plaza and Leisure Bowl were good too.

For us, check in was fast and efficient, as they had a lot of lanes open.

Problems started when we arrived at our accommodation. We had been expecting a revamped lodge. Big disappointment – the same tired, marked and grotty green carpets with cigarette burns greeted us, the same saggy and careworn sofas , the kitchen was shabby in places, there was no washing machine; however, it was clean.

But then, there was, The Smell. Strangely, it lurked by the patio doors, and less unfathomably, in all three bathrooms.
We rang Housekeeping who promptly dispatched a manager. She was very good at dealing with our concerns, she traced the smell to a broken toilet and she arranged for maintenance to fix it that day. She also sent cleaners in to do a ‘bleach clean’; yes, The Smell, was that bad – they did another one the next day too – so, this was not the best start to our long awaited holiday. Finally, The Smell, left us, hurray!

On our last holiday, the Lakeside Lodge had an open fire and a Bosch combi boiler and electric showers – these were all excellent. Heather Glade lodges do not have open fires – another disappointment. They also have no gas – instead they have electric heaters and electrically heated water. The first morning we ran out of hot water after two adults used the (power) shower for a total time of approx 15 mins. Again, we had maintenance come out, thinking there must be a fault. Except there wasn’t. We were told the cylinder holds 200 litres of water (what? for a 6 bed lodge?!) So, with two fabulous power showers available in the lodge, (both using about 16 litres of water per minute), if there are 6 people in the lodge, each of them can only have a 2 minute shower! Bear in mind that there will then be no hot water left for anything else for a good 1.5 hours while the tank reheats.

Executive accommodation provides you with towels – ours were small and seriously unfluffy – you can also hire towels from the Parcmarket, but they are the same towels, so don’t waste your money – take your own instead.

Executive accommodation also provides you with maid service each day, this turned out to be a bit of a lottery – we had a good service until the Thursday when the job was half-done.

Note to Parents#2: Unless they upgrade it, avoid the ‘Make a Memory’ activity, it is a rip-off. The ‘clay’ isn’t real clay, despite what they tell you, it does not air dry, and it does not set, the memory box is made of cheap cardboard. The spiel in the activities brochure suggests that the staff run the event, they don’t; you, the parent, are expected to instead. The young lady that 'ran' our session was almost useless and completely disinterested. They crammed approx 15-20 sets of parents and toddlers into a tiny room – and at £7.50 per child, it really did smack of greed.

WARNING#1...... despite (misleading) images on the website and in the village centre – only a select number of lodges have received the full revamp. A few others, like ours, have had beds and curtains replaced and have been repainted. Some lodges including those in Meadow View, haven’t received the merest titivation at all as yet!

WARNING#2......We were told upon booking that there is an on-site laundrette – WRONG! It closed a few months ago, the nearest one is now a 10 min drive away in Penrith!! Washing machines are only available in select lodges. Even the £1500/week mansions don’t have one, but then they do have an outdoor hot tub – so go figure!

So, to conclude, Centerparcs gets a lot of things right, and a few things wrong. I suspect they try and cut corners here and there. Perhaps the truth is quite simple, and that somewhere in the higher echelons of the company, there sits a fat cat that got greedy.

  • Liked — The new Sealy beds
  • Disliked — tiThe Smell, the lack of hot water, the general tatness.
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank WisteriaView
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Center Parcs Whinfell Forest

Property: Center Parcs Whinfell Forest
Address: Whinfell Forest, Penrith CA10 2DW, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Eden District > Penrith
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Penrith
Hotel Class:5 star — Center Parcs Whinfell Forest 5*
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Center Parcs Whinfell Forest Hotel Penrith
Center Parcs Whinfell Forest Penrith, UK - Lake District

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