Where is it?
The Woolacombe Bay Hotel is situated in the heart of the traditional seaside village of Woolacombe in North Devon, a place that boasts one of the most stunning stretches of golden, sandy beach in the country, if not the world.
Nearly three miles long, and backed by spectacular sand dunes and wonderfully rugged typical Devonshire countryside, the beach has both Blue Flag and Premier Seaside Beach awards for its cleanliness, water quality and facilities.
Not surprisingly, it is hugely popular, with excellent surfing, while at the same time being very safe for families with young children. Perfect for a traditional bucket and spade holiday, there’s even a miniature railway and old-fashioned swing boats to keep your little ones entertained.
What’s the hotel like?
The hotel is an elegant Victorian pile that conjures up images of a gentler, more refined age.
As its name suggests, it occupies a prime position, overlooking the bay, amid beautiful, lush green gardens that include a children’s adventure playground, heated swimming and paddling pool, tennis courts and even a nine-hole golf course.
Marble steps and a traditional rotating wooden door lead you into the hotel itself, where you are immediately transported back in time by the high ceilings, crystal chandeliers and comfortable lounges.
But while undoubtedly luxurious, the hotel is in no way pretentious, catering very much for the needs of families with young children. From the moment you enter, the warm and relaxed greeting from reception puts you completely at ease.
Are the rooms nice?
In contrast to its old-fashioned façade, the hotel’s rooms are all fully equipped with every modern convenience, from fridge and tea and coffee making facilities to plasma screen TVs and Wi Fi connection, if needed.
The décor is bright and attractive, with a slightly nautical theme appropriate to the hotel’s seaside location.
Suites come with two bedrooms, a small lounge, dressing room, bathroom and shower-room. Family rooms are also available, as well as self-catering apartments, offering greater flexibility.
What makes it so family-friendly?
Aside from the aforementioned facilities, that also includes an indoor swimming pool should the notoriously fickle Devon weather get the better of you, the hotel also organises a daily rota of activities, from horse-riding to surf school for the older children, and a crèche for the under 5s.
This is a godsend should you want to take advantage of the health suite or spa and indulge in a sneaky sauna or massage.
Come the early evening, the hotel cranks up the children’s entertainment with a nightly show from 6 to 7pm featuring some great acts, including a bubble magician and a wildlife show, both of which had the adults gripped as much as the children.
Then from 7pm to 9pm Kids Club kicks off, when DVDs, soft drinks and snacks will keep your little ones occupied while you enjoy a child-free dinner with your partner in the rather grand Doyle’s restaurant.
Is the food good?
Breakfast is a buffet feast, with every conceivable type of breakfast combination available.
You can also order directly from the kitchen such favourites as kippers and smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
Dinner is served in two sittings.
At 5pm it’s the children’s mealtime, with mums and dads sitting with their little ones as they tuck into a variety of kiddie-friendly dishes as sausages and mash and lasagne.
Then, come the adults’ mealtime, the kitchen slips effortlessly into fine dining mode, with a nightly-changing four-course menu with emphasis very much on quality, locally sourced ingredients.
For parents of babies and very small children there is a baby listening service during the evening meal, users of which can be identified by the yellow plastic ducks on their dinner tables.
How do I find out more?
Either visit the hotel’s website at www.woolacombebayhotel.co.uk, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01271 870388.