We stayed here for three days/four nights in July, having seen the TV advert and decided that it would be a good start to our Summer holiday and provide plenty of things to keep our children entertained (two boys aged 8 and 1).
The good points. The staff are very friendly and efficient. The range of activities on offer is exceptional and all included in the price, which we thought was superb value for money, and the facilities are all maintained to a very high standard. The food was delicious - my initial reservations about it being stodgy mass catered food were quickly dispelled as there was plenty of choice and it was really tasty. They even provide a (very limited) high tea for young children which suited our toddler perfectly. The hotel and grounds were spotlessly clean and really beautifully kept (although the décor was rather tired and very outdated in places). The crazy golf was a fantastic addition and kept us entertained in between activities. The two soft play areas were also amazing with tons of play equipment - our boys spent hours in there and it was where our youngest learnt to walk which was really special. Our boys also LOVED the bug show!
The bad points. The rooms are desperately in need of a make over and are very dated - chipped wood, artex walls and ceilings, very sad looking bathroom. Our 'family' room was tiny - an extra single bed and a cot had been squeezed into what was essentially a double room, along with a wardrobe, two bedside tables and a chest of drawers. There was literally no room to move between the beds and the cot and nowhere to store our bags. We were tripping over them all week and it felt very cluttered. Furthermore we had been allocated a room on the first floor and there was no lift or buggy park at the foot of the staircase, meaning we had to lift the pushchair up the stairs each time (and store it in our cramped room) or keep it in the car and go back to fetch it every time we wanted to leave the room. This might seem like a really small and petty detail but we found it very frustrating. Surely when you book a family room with a one-year-old it wouldn't be too much to ask to be on the ground floor? Even the maid cleaning our room commented on how inconvenient it must have been for us.
Whilst the range of activities was good, we found that many of the specialist activities (go karting, archery, shooting, craft activities etc) were already fully booked when we arrived. Sign up sheets are posted three days in advance and people are quick to sign up first thing in the morning, so if you are not quick off the mark, or only staying a few days like we were, you are likely to lose out. When we arrived at tea time on Monday we found that many of the activities for the following two days were booked up. I particularly wanted to do glass painting but it was only available on one of the days we were staying and the slots were already filled. Booking of courts for tennis and badminton etc was readily available though so we made full use of those and the swimming pool (the flumes are great). Lastly, I learnt from the website that you can book treatments at the spa in advance of your stay, but having called twice and left messages, and then having spoken to someone who said they would pass on a message, no-one called me back so I missed out on that too. Goodness only knows what it must be like in the height of summer and the school holidays!
Despite the negative aspects mentioned above, we did enjoy our stay and our eldest son in particular was non-stop with sports and thought it was brilliant. We thought that it represented fantastic value for money given that it is full board and inclusive of all activities. If you want a luxury hotel break then this is not for you. If you want a good value family break with plenty on offer and you are not fussed about staying in accommodation which swings towards holiday camp style then this is for you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Manor House and Ashbury Hotels are situated on the foothills of the Dartmoor National Park in West Devon. Set in over 600 acres of beautiful countryside, we believe the hotels have the highest level of facilities in the UK. With all our breaks exclusively FULL BOARD you are guaranteed great value. Golf is included FREE on 99 holes, giving the option of 7 eighteen hole golf courses which vary in length from Kigbeare at 6528 yards Par 72 to the Willows Par3 course at 1939 yards. Some of the other facilities available FREE of charge to all residents include 8 indoor and 5 outdoor Tennis courts, 13 indoor Bowls rinks, 8 Badminton courts, 3 Swimming pools with spa facilities, 10 lanes of 10 pin bowling, 20 Snooker tables, and Target ranges featuring Archery, Air Pistols and Air Rifles. Our "Fun House" is a fantastic 300 sq metre soft adventure play area set over 3 levels with astra slide, tube slides, ball pool and much more! Our Gameszone offers hours of entertainment for the kids with Xbox / Playstations, pool tables, air hockey, dance stage and more! PLUS 4 FLUME WATER SLIDE COMPLEX! Our unique Craft Centres offer 17 tutored crafts including Pottery, Glass Engraving, Enameling, Hot Press Printing and Woodwork. All of these crafts feature expert tuition with minimal cost prices applied. With the huge choice of sport, craft and leisure facilities available, you will have a truly amazing break that won't be easily forgotten. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Manor Hotel Fowley Cross
- Manor House Hotel Fowley Cross, Devon, England