I was recently offered the opportunity to review the Marwell Hotel in Hampshire. The hotel is situated just outside the bustling city of Winchester, handily located right next door to Marwell Wildlife - a 140acre zoological park (there are Zoofari packages available at the hotel, see their website for more details). It's the location to the wildlife park that makes the theming of the hotel so apt - immediately you feel like you're in a safari lodge somewhere exotic!
First impressions were good. Check-in was swift and the staff working behind the desk were friendly and told us everything we needed to know. It's a nice touch that DVD players and a range of films are available for use in your room on request. As we were only staying for a night, we didn't need to use this service but can see how it might be a very good thing if you want some peace and quiet! There are also games consoles available for use in the lounge bar should you wish.
We skipped off to our room, an executive family room (No 212), through the enclosed glass walkways. Being about 2 degrees outside, the walkways were a little chilly but as we didn't hang around in them for long, it wasn't an issue. It was nice to look at into the woodland from these walkways and gave it a real feel of being quiet and remote. There's an outdoor play area which is great for the children, although we didn't spend any time out there due to the weather - you'd really hope that Easter would be a bit warmer wouldn't you?! Our room itself was very pleasant. It wasn't huge for a family room but was perfectly adequate and had everything we needed. It was very tasteful in design and colour scheme (very similar to my own!) and was spotlessly clean. The children were very excited about sleeping in bunk beds for the first time and luckily we didn't have any squabbles over who was going on top bunk.
We enjoyed spending time just chilling out in our room, watching TV (flatscreen, with full Freeview channels and all working perfectly - I've been in many hotels where the TV has been rubbish!) and the fun activity packs that were provided for the children kept them quiet for ages - they were a really welcome distraction whilst Mr M and I demolished the yummy biscuits with cups of tea!
As we didn't have many other plans that day, we'd spent the morning/afternoon exploring Winchester's centre and it's imposing cathedral, we decided to make use of the leisure club swimming pool. My children love to swim and were very excited about this! We'd packed our swimming costumes in anticipation and the hotel provide all the towels for you. The pool was nice and quiet and had a lovely temperature - no shocks of getting into cold water. One slight downside is the depth, there's no real shallow area so the children were confined to a tiny spot near the wall - however I guess leisure club pools probably aren't really built with children in mind and it didn't really hinder their enjoyment.
At night we had a few drinks in the bar area - there was plenty of room to sit and the bar staff were chatty and friendly. The drinks weren't unreasonably priced and there was a range of bar meals available if you were peckish. After this we had a very peaceful nights sleep in our comfy beds and heard no external noise at all, everything was very quiet, just how you want it!
In the morning we enjoyed breakfast in the dining room which was very pleasant. There was a range of cereals, yoghurt, nuts and berries available as well as fresh juice and a selection of hot food like sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs etc. Tea and coffee, toast and croissants was brought to the table. The food was hot and the quality was good, there could be no complaints there!
After breakfast it was time for us to check out. Again, the reception staff were helpful and pleasant, making sure everything had been okay with our stay. It was - we had nothing to complain about. The hotel was welcoming, the room was quiet, clean and comfortable and the food that we ate was delicious. I would definitely return to the Marwell Hotel again in the future.
Disclaimer: I received a one night stay with bed and breakfast for my family in return for this review. All words and opinions in this blog post are my own.