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“Enjoyable short break with great accomodation”

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Bluestone National Park Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 12, 2009

We stayed in a Caldey Lodge in Forest View which was 1 minutes walk from the pub , restaurants & shops & 15 mins walk from the swimming pool.
The lodge was great , comfy beds , lovely kitchen & kitted out with pretty much everything that we needed. The wet room ,which has had numerous mentions ,had under floor heating so the floor dried quite quickly & caused us no problems at all.
The blue lagoon was good fun with great water slides & good wave pool , my son loved it. We hired a court in the sports hall for a small fee & had a fun game of short tennis .
My wife booked a beach ride through bluestones & thoroughly enjoyed it. I tried to book the coasteering but the company recomended was fully booked so i used celtic quest (cheaper) & we had a fantastic afternoon .
I found the staff to be friendly, the food in the tafarn was good & the pizzas were lovely.
The village is built on the side of a hill , we found this no problem but electric buggies are available to rent if required.
Would we go again Yes - great accomodation , good facilities & a beautiful part of the country.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
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3  Thank 1blade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 11, 2009

We arrived a bit early ahead of the 3.30pm mass check in and so were directed to the Landsker Sports Club to pick up passes for the Blue Lagoon. The staff we first encountered were very friendly, one at the check in gate with a very professional run down of the complex and again in the sports club welcoming new arrivals.

Once allowed in to the site at 3.30pm a procession of cars made their way to their designated lodges / cottages. It was a bit like a Ryanair flight where cars were actually queuing ahead of the barrier being lifted !! Did they think their lodges were going to be given away?

We had a nice spot down in Forest View which funnily enough had a forest view with a nice patio area to the rear. We had a far more private area than most of the other lodges but as we're sociable types it wasn't really that important to us.

Our Skomer Lodge certainly had 'wow' factor as a first impression although this was slightly tainted by a) a blocked loo, which to be fair they fixed right away b) a late delivery of a high chair which was filthy and had mould growing on it. We phoned to have this replaced which again to be fair they fixed quite quickly c) the underfloor heating in the main bathroom didn't work and d) the extractor hood didn't work either which meant that even making a bacon roll or two resulted in a fairly smoky lodge throughout.

On a positive note, it had a great living area, good bedrooms and terrific en-suite bathrooms upstairs. I'm interested to read the many people who had problems with the TV; it wasn't rocket science and the visitor guide book gave clear instructions.

The first thing that struck me was the complete lack of baby / toddler facilities. There were no baby swings or soft play areas (other than a few cushions in the Landsker Sports club which is situated at the top of site). I get the whole concept of Bluestone wanting guests to pay for activities but come on ! A few play areas dotted around the site wouldn't have blown the budget. It would also have been a nice way of kids and adults alike making friends on site. Bluestone clearly own enough surrounding land (see golf range / field comment below).

There were also no open green spaces where kids could have had a game of football for example.

I personally liked the 'no car' Policy other than for disabled guests and we laughed at the lazy families who we saw buzzing about on golf carts for goodness sakes!! Exercise is good for you; it is no wonder we are having an increasing obesity problem in the UK. We decided against bikes as the site is relatively small with only a half hour walk from the entrance to the furthest point. We have a 1 year old daughter and we survived no problem with the hill.

The Blue Lagoon was terrific but I couldn't imagine it would be much fun during peak periods. We had the big pool almost to ourselves yesterday and the lifeguards were happy to let us take our toddler round the lazy river. The water flumes were great also for all ages other than little tots.

We didn't buy any other activities and instead used Bluestone as a base to visit other parts of Pembrokeshire including Tenby which was a terrific day out and the weather was superb also.

The golf range and chipping green were laughable. The golf range was an overgrown field with some mats and distance markers. The chipping green I missed completely on my first walk down the hill, again grass needing cut and right next to the road. The Teddy Bear's Picnic looked awful (we didn't go). The path around the 'lake' had some drainage issues and was quite muddy in places so you had to double back.

The Bakery was good, Pain au Chocolat's excellent and the staff were really friendly, the Store was fine for basic essentials and although the staff in the Pub were friendly, it was a little lacking in atmosphere. The food was very average in the Pub which seems to conflict with others comments so perhaps I was just unlucky. A Chicken Caesar Salad with lettuce saturated with dressing and chicken so dry you needed a drink of water with each mouthful. I can make better myself at home.

To be fair all the staff I came across were pretty friendly but you weren't left with the impression that they were trained to any degree, and didn't really leave you with that special 5 star service. Only a young South African woman at the check in seemed trained and well informed.

Overall I was disappointed and the overall package didn't live up to our expectations, expectations created by Bluestone's literature, website, promotional material etc.

The highlight during our stay was some evening visits by the local badgers, yes badgers !! which as anyone will know are extremely difficult creatures to find. We left some pork pie on the patio and they came visiting 2 nights running (2 of them last night). I think they will miss us tonight more than we will miss Bluestone.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank bagmeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2009

This village has everything you will need for your stay including restaurants, shopping, activities, etc.

The customer service is the best I have experienced. The staff is friendly and helpful.

The rooms are clean, modern, and spacious.

I stayed here for 3 months and had a wonderful experience. There is a laundry service and excellent housekeeping.

I hope you enjoy your visit as much as I did!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled on business
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1  Thank TravelsFullTime4Work
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2009

Fabulous accomodation, and layout. Hills are a bit steep, making bike hire slightly unneccessary. Great on site activities, and the bar was really nice, with excellant food and staff.

Some of the walks were very muddy, but I suppose there isn't much that can be done about that, unless boardwalks are put in.

Would love to see it in a few years when the trees are more mature.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank MaryMungoandMidge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2009

Date of stay: Monday 31st Aug - Friday 4th Sept 2009.
(Discounted off peak price of £299 for 4 nights - midweek)

Due to the above the water park gets very busy even during the quieter off peak times!

This was a big disappointment for us as we went there off peak specifically hoping it would be quieter for our young daughter, but instead it was filled with teenagers and families from the local area and consequently...lots of long queues for the slides! The park itself was very quiet in comparison though, as this is residents only.

Very clean looking place on the whole but the lodge we stayed in was not particularly clean inside, and also was not ready when we pulled up outside at check in time (3.30pm) We had to wait in the car in the rain for 25 minutes, whilst they finished cleaning it. We stayed in a 'Ramsey' lodge and I agree with previous reviews that the wetrooms (no bath) in the lodge were inconvenient, as they just fill the small floor area with water. Also there is no seperate toilet.

We only dined in the one of the restaurants on one evening, and that was enough! An open kitchen area serving up steaks and fish etc. As we sat and waited for our food I observed the chefs handling raw meat and fish, then WITHOUT washing their hands, they were handling cooked food and plates...this forced me to leave without eating my meal as I couldn't stomach it after such poor hygiene standards, and cross contamination risks.

Activities for younger children were ok but expensive (As I expected though to be honest, having been to Center Parcs every year for the last 7 years and paying equally as expensive prices for this sort of thing)

On the plus side they have golf buggies for hire at £20 per day for a 4 seater, £25 for a 6 seater or £45/£50 for 3 day hire, and when you compare this to cycle hire for the same amount of people, then I suppose it's not a bad deal and they were convenient and fun(especially as the water park is so far away from the lodges)

We took our own cycles and found the cycle track a sufficient distance for children, but the ride to the water park has very steep hills for the younger/older ones, and we were glad to have a golf buggy for one of the days.

The Well Spa was lovely and we had a nice afternoon in there for £10 each which was reasonable, but that price was discounted from £15 with a voucher they gave us on arrival.

The highlight of the week was the firework display at the lake which they have every Thursday evening, and luckily for us it was a clear and mild evening (the only day it didn't rain but I can't blame them for that ;-)), the children really enjoyed it and for the ones who had made lanterns at the lantern making session, they got to light them and float them on the lake... which looked lovely at nightime.

If you compare the amount of things to do with Center Parcs, then you would be disappointed as it is nowhere near as action packed. However if you are looking for something quieter then it would be pleasant. If the water park was residents only then this would make a big difference. Unfortunately (and aside from the other issues) I wouldn't go back for that reason alone. I'm just glad we had the discounted off-peak price, as it just wouldn't have been worth the money had we paid the £600-odd full price.

A few other things I've just thought of:

* The sports centre was horrible...really basic like a modern 'council built' leisure centre.

* Right next door to Oakwood, so handy when you run out of things to do.

*Lodges are not private from each other like at Center Parcs and your patio area is practically shared with the neighbour so if you're barbequing you can literally join them. not a problem though during our stay due to the bad weather.

* No trees surrounding the lodges like Center Parcs. Very open and airey which I actually preferred.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank CM4879
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2009

We have just returned from a really good holiday at Bluestone. I read the reviews before I went so was prepared for a few problems along the way.

We stayed at the Caldey Lodge and was really pleased that it was v clean and tidy on arrival and didn't need an extra clean up. I was prepared for the wet room and took an absorbent cloth to wipe the floor and an old baby bath for my toddler to use. It worked really well for us. The kitchen was well equiped with Bosch kettle toaster and smeg dishwasher etc.

The lodge was only a 10 minute walk to the village and 15 to the pool so we really didn't need our bikes and trailer. Next time we wouldn't take them. It was very easy to take the pram to the pool but you had to leave it in the lobby. We ended up using our child carrier backpack most of the time.

We went to the bakery for a pastry and coffee in the morning. It was really nice, very good coffee and helpful friendly staff. It was really quiet too. We also ate in the pub which was excellent and seemed to be popular with parents of small children! We ate at 5pm so both the Granary and Smithy were empty which was a shame.

We would have liked more facilities for little ones. For some reason there isn't a baby swing which would be handy. There is a good play area but its for slightly older children. The Blue Lagoon was nice, we went in the lazy river with our toddler in a baby float seat and that was ok. The waves were quite big so we had to retreat a bit further back, it was great fun though. The cafe here was also nice.

I tried the spa, it was compact but very clean. I had a facial that started with a foot massage, bliss! (Quite expensive at £55 but included use of the spa) The steam rooms in the spa were particularly hot and really clean. The hot pool outside was also good and very quiet again. Oddly they didn't have hairdryers in the changing rooms or a mirror near the plugs, they would be better off adding dressing tables rather that a sofa in the changing room. I later found you can borrow a hairdryer from reception. They did have ESPA shampoo and condition to use which was nice.

In general it was a good place for a holiday. We needed to venture out to Tenby for a change of scene and next time we would try Folly Farm or Oakwood.

Its no where near as large as Center Parcs but at least the site makes it easy to get your car out for a trip and they have a lot of information about places to visit.

The only downside was that there was not much for a toddler to do, so come prepared. I will be booking again next year as I thought it was a great location and good value at £299 for a mid week break.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank Bristolites
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2009

I am a father of two, a 13yr old girl and 11 yr old boy. Having seperated from my wife last year this was my first time away with my kids on my own and i was looking for something that would keep us all busy without being in our faces, if that makes sense. I decided an "activity holiday" would be good and having looked on the internet the two initial camps seemed to be either the Kayaking / climbing / walking till you drop type or the Centreparc type. The former is not my kids and the latter just did not seem right. By chance I came across Bluestone and with a late booking internet offer available for the Caldey Lodge i thought "why not".

When I told the kids we were going to Wales they were not excited by the thought, five days away from the computer and TV was a daunting prospect and clearly they were worried about their survival prospects. I have to say I was worried about mine.

My original idea had been to book a lot of the activities with Bluestone, you get a booklet with onsite and offsite things you can do, but at the last minute and with the weather in mind i decided we would "wing it" and I would sort things out as needed. Also in fairness, the very friendly girls on the desk didn't give me that much confidence they knew much about the external ones. Anyway, there are many good websites with activites you can do and book direct. Also next door is Oaklands, Folly Farm, one called Heathcote or something similar. Tenby is down the road and on and on. There is loads to do for kids of all ages and in all weather. Regardless of Bluestone there is no excuse to be bored in Pembrokeshire.

So with 4 day cheap deal we set off, kids being "polite", but thinking "this will be bad" and me with an open mind. So what did we find ...

The initial welcome at the arrivals kiosk was very friendly, it was pouring with rain,so the lady on the desk sped us on our way with minimal trouble. We found out lodge with ease and the initial reaction from the kids was "this is OK", "this is cool", so i immediately felt at ease. My reaction was that the Lodge was clean, well furnished, warm and easy to look after. The bedrooms are good, with storage if you need it, we tend to live out of bags, the Kitchen area is well equiped with a quality dishwasher, all the utensils you could need and good cooker. There were two leather finish sofas, very easy to wipe clean after the kids have done their worst. The floor was wood tile effect, again good to keep clean. Sounds funny to say, but staying somewhere that it is easy to keep clean and tidy is great ... I am a veteran of many holiday homes that are not and if i had come with a 3 and 5 yr old i would have been pleased with this.

I read loads of things about the wet rooms before I went on this. Frankly i don't know what the fuss is. It had a heated floor, a great towell rail and was very clean ... what more do you want. Did it have enough selving for a 13 yr old girl ... well no, but it's a holiday and she kept stuff in the room. Could it have been bigger ... well why ? It was fine and worked well for us. We always had dry warm towels, plenty of hot water and it was always aried and fresh. I thought it was great to do it this way. in some places where you have shower cubicles they end up after a few years being moldy and shoddy, Bluestone wet rooms will stay fresh for sometime.

So accommodtion ... A+, just come expecting to put some of your washing stuff not in the wet room.

What would I have brought with me ? A few dishwasher tabs, some Cif cleaner and things like breakfast cereal, juice cartons, buscuits etc as well as kids favoutite meals as they kids did not want to eat out all the time and chocolate and lots of it !. There is a good shop in the village that is not overpriced, but the selection is limited.

The TV. I have read that people had problems here. Frankly i was just pleased to have a good TV, Freeview and a DVD player. We found the volume had to be turned right up when playing a DVD and the first time we turned the DVD player off it took a few moments to work out how to get the TV back. But frankly it was not rocket science and after that we had it mastered. Not PhD stuff ...

OK, so we arrived, accomodation great. What of the site.

Well it is hilly, but frankly i would have been disapointed if it was flat. It is great there are no cars during the stay. We took bikes and dealing with golf karts is a little better than dealing with the Surrey BMW set whizzing past you with a lack of regard for you.So A+ Bluestone for stopping cars and please don't give into the moaners. I can understand those with young kids being concered, but you can hire the golf karts and leave them round the site. Saying that though I would not have brough my 3 and 5 yr old to Bluestone ... but that's just because my two always knew how to break my wife and myself when there was a tricky hill to climb. If you can manage the hills take them, it is fab and when the sun shines the walk is OK.

We took our bikes, there are bike stands everywhere and my kids actually wanted to go out on their expensive bikes unprompted ... goodness me, usually you have to prod them out with some bribe of an ice cream or new H+M top at the end ... thank you Bluestone for showing them biking can be fun ! The hill was OK the cycle up and coming down was a blast !

We checked out the village. Newton Stores as I have already said is reasonably priced and will enable you to see out your stay. There is a bread shop too with good food. We eat out twice at the Ganary and the Smithy. I thouht the food was high quality and reasonably priced, which is something i rarely say these days. The kids food was the same and they were very happy with it ! My only disapointment is we didn't get to the pub or the posh restaurant ... next time ! We did have breakfast on the last morning. it was OK, the Ommlet my daughter had was disapointing and the Sausages were two "rural" for my son and me who have been living off Sainsbury's chipolates for the past few years ... butgood food. The services in the morning was a little rushed comparted to the morning, however i only got charged for two kids breakfasts, even though my kids chose virtually an al la carte. Fair play to Bluestone again ...

OK, So accomodation good, site good, shops good and food good ...

The Blue Lagoon is fab. My 13 yr old girl is self conscious about swimming pools, but she loved it. The both had a laugh and we spent nearly two hours there each day. The sports hall seemed under used, we really liked it. There are 4 PC's there, so il allowed my kids 30 mins a day to catch up with their Facebook friends which they really liked. between 4 and 5 they were usually able to get a screen ... enabling me to have a beer to chill out. We tried all the sports too, from Pool, Table Tennis etc .. they did not cost too much as they give you vouchers for 8 activities when you arrive (not sure if they always do that).

Well Thumbs up for the Pool and sports too.

We were there Monday to Friday, it rained alot, but we had a fab fab time.

Would I go again? YES
Was it value for money ? YES
Would I have paid full price ? YES

So that's my view. be careful if you have really young kids that it is really you, it's easy to get caught up in the "rural dream" as parents of toddlers because that it what you used to do prior to kids ... it's not the same and if you aren't the type to put up with stuff don't go. For older kids, well we thought it went a treat !

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank Zenman1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bluestone National Park Resort

Address: The Grange, Canaston Wood, Narberth SA67 8DE, Wales
Location: United Kingdom > Wales > Pembrokeshire > Narberth > Canaston Wood
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Canaston Wood
Price Range: $100 - $600 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 344
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bluestone National Park Resort offers fantastic free range holidays for families, couples and friends! The all-weather luxury short break destination in Pembrokeshire is like no other. Whether you want to relax and unwind or play and have fun during your break there is something for everyone! We offer breaks for generational families wanting to spend quality time together, romantic short breaks, and catch up getaways with friends. Guests can choose from a range of luxury lodges set around a private Welsh village where you will find the cottages and studio apartments, restaurants, shops, a pub and its very own holistic spa and thermal rooms. Choose from heart pumping activities in the Steep Ravine with its high ropes and zip wire around the old Camp Smokey; splashing fun in the Blue Lagoon water park and outdoor fun indoors at the Adventure Centre with its climbing walls, ball pits and Wild Wood Cafe. For those wanting to chill and unwind there’s The Well Spa with its holistic treatments and invigorating thermal rooms. Combine this with opportunities to visit the nearby coastal towns and countryside communities and you have a perfect short break destination, whatever the weather. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bluestone Hotel Narberth
Bluestone Resort Narberth

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