Following on from the first part of my Sands Resort post I want to tell you about the facilities and activities. You could easily spend days at a time not venturing much further than the hotel grounds as they have such a great range of facilities for both children and adults.
Before we’d even set foot inside the hotel our children had spotted the two large outdoor play areas. They are generously sized and although we played in both I can see that one is more suited to older children and the other (above) toddlers and pre-schoolers. The outdoor entertainment doesn’t end with the playgrounds; there are bouncy castles you can plug in and use at will, a maze, tennis courts, a climbing wall, outdoor pool and even a nine hole golf course (perhaps one for the parents!).
The outdoor pool was being completed while we were staying and it looked amazing. Designed for fun and to make the most of solar heating it is surrounded by sun loungers and lawns. The children could have quite happily played here all day everyday and the thoughtfully designed spaces mean that children can make the most of playing with new friends. On a windy day we found that the play areas were well shielded from the wind by the hotel itself making it a great retreat. None of the on site facilities (including the gym) carry an extra charge so you won’t break the bank by breaking your partner’s serve.
If you’d rather be indoors there is a soft play room, indoor pool and older children’s games room as well as bar and lounge areas. Some rooms have internet access or you can log on to the hotel’s wireless in public areas.
The stunning outdoor facilities don’t end once you leave the hotel. Directly outside you can join the cliff path for a walk – you can even borrow off road pushchairs or baby carriers to save you bringing your own. A couple of minutes stroll down the road are the beaches of Whipsiderry Beach (via steps) and Porth Beach (flatish access). We spent a lovely morning playing in rock pools on Porth Beach, sheltered from the wind by the high cliffa either side. When the tide is out the beaches feel like they go on forever.
You can head to the wonderfully-named Lusty Glaze Beach or Watergate Bay for body boarding or kite-surfing lessons or up to the surf school at Polzeath.
If you fancy some pampering then Sands Resort has its own spa. They have a tempting range of treatments from facials to massage and can even arrange for their hairdresser to give you all a new look. The spa prices seem pretty reasonable when I compare them to my local spa.
There is a children’s club which for a small charge (currently less than Â£3 per child per hour) you can book your children into. It is registered with Ofsted and offers a range of activites split into age groups. While your children are in the children’s club at least one of you is required to stay within the hotel grounds but you’re able to slip off to the gym, for a massage or even have a nap! Milla and Monty spent a couple of hours at the pirates children’s club while we packed to go home. I joined them to get a taste of what’s on offer.
First and foremost the supervisor and children’s club workers were some of the nicest women I’ve had the pleasure to meet. They engaged with the children, comforted and settled children who were a little wobbly about being left and I was 100% impressed with their attitude. Something the Sands seems to do very well is breed a happy staff culture and the children’s club staff are no exception.
The children’s club rooms are equipped with books, art materials, small world toys, a role play area and baby corner. There is a toilet and baby changing facilities all within the main space keeping children in sight of all staff. Milla and Monty were most impressed with the soft play and ball pool situated in one corner of the room and led the charge for some tumbling fun. They are not limited to indoor space and take every opportunity to take children out into the grounds to play.
During the holidays there are enhanced activities on offer for children over eight such as bush craft and llama trekking so it is well worth finding out in advance what else might be on offer.
My only disappointment with the children’s club was that the rolling rennovation programme hasn’t reached it yet. The decor was tired and dated which didn’t fit in with the feel of the hotel. The majority of toys were visibly old and some were even ‘repaired’ with parcel tape. If it were me coordinating the refit of this area I’d start from scratch: donate the toys in playable condition to the local charity and check out Bambino Goodies for ideas for new toys. I gave this feedback to Sands Resort and they have assured me that the more tired toys have been removed form play which is a positive step.
If you have older children there are clubs suitable for their age groups and even hobby clubs where they can try their hand at arts or cookery. In addition to the children’s clubs there are free evening entertainments including discos and puppet shows.
I’d be hard pushed to suggest ideas for extra facilities as Sands Resort has met and exceeded my expectations. Add to their amazing facilities all that Cornwall has to offer you really are spoiled for choice. Check out the first part of my review to find out about what you can expect from a stay at the Sands Resort.
Prices are from Â£700 for a week dependant on the time of year; always worth checking for late availablity and special offers. We stayedÂ for two nights in May 2011 as guests of Sands Resort.