Having grown up in West Wales I was over the moon to return for a holiday review for a week in Bluestone National Park Resort with my family. Once we had decided on dates to arrive and leave, the Bluestone team were very helpful in organising any activities and information we needed to make our stay extra special.
Not only do you receive email notification regarding your upcoming stay (with plenty of suggestions for things to do at the resort) but you also will receive a phone call a few days prior to your stay to make sure everything that can be done, has been done, to give us a holiday that is perfect for us.
A top tip for any first time Bluestone holidaymakers would be to check in online before your stay, it’s very simple and will cut out any unnecessary time once you are at the resort.
Once you arrive at Bluestone and have checked in to reception, you will have your keycards and everything you need for your stay. You can access your accommodation from 4.30pm onwards, but are given full use of the facilities within Bluestone until then. Due to the fact we live in the Midlands it did take us a while to get to Bluestone’s Pembrokeshire location so we only had a few hours until we could access our lodge, however we were quite content spending time in the indoor soft-play centre which the children really enjoyed, while we were able to unwind and have a coffee after the long journey.
Once 4.30 has arrived you can drive your car to your accommodation and unpack all your luggage and you have all evening until you need to return your car to the main car park.
Once we could access our lodge, it was lovely to have a good look around the lodge and we were not at all disappointed and have to say that every aspect of your stay is well thought out and each room is very well appointed, and you also have an outdoor area with where you can dine al fresco and enjoy the fresh Welsh air.
From my partner’s perspective who is a shift worker, this break to Bluestone was the perfect getaway and even if we took out all the activities we did all week, he would have been quite happy to just enjoy the lodge and the walks around the resort for the week we stayed at he found it so relaxing. I can really see why such a cross section of people stay at Bluestone because it is not just for families, it is for everyone, singles, couples, business people, families, groups, whatever your situation you can create a bespoke holiday at Bluestone and find your perfect break, which can be full of adventure or opt for a more relaxed and recuperative break. I think that is the beauty of the Bluestone resort, you can tailor your break to whatever you would like it to be, making your holiday a unique and very special one.
The lodge itself as I have said is perfectly appointed with plenty of space in each of the bright airy rooms, even the porch area is big enough to store all your bikes, coats and shoes very comfortably.
We stayed in a Skomer lodge in the Knights Rest area, which was near the lake and just a 5 minute walk from the resort village. There were two twin rooms, one downstairs and one upstairs and one large double room upstairs. The double room had an en suite with a walk in shower as did the twin room upstairs, while the twin room downstairs had the benefit of having a large wet room/ bathroom with a large bath, toilet and shower right next to it. All the bathrooms come with heated towel rails and plenty of luxurious fluffy towels to use during your stay, and all the linen for the bedrooms is supplied as well.
The first thing both my girls did was to unpack and put all their things away! They were so excited to be on holiday they couldn’t wait to make their rooms look homely with all their nick-nacks around them. With coat hangers in the wardrobes and plenty of drawer space you really do have the room to unpack all your belongings, and each bed has at least one bedside cabinet with a nightlight on, giving even more drawer space for books and toys etc.
At the top and bottom of the staircase are stair-gates, not useful to us as we have older children but if you have young children they would be an invaluable feature to keep your children as safe as possible.
I must mention the little “Nook” (as we called it!) upstairs between the twin and double bedrooms, a complete favourite spot for both my girls (it kept both a 9 year old and a teen happy!!) with a huge bean bag to recline on and a T.V and video too it makes the perfect spot to have a bit of peace and quiet away from the grown ups! I think this would be a big hit with all children as it offers a really special place in the lodge just for them.
Don’t worry if you do decide to have your visit in the colder months as this has been very well thought out by Bluestone Resort and each room has heaters to ensure you stay very warm. If you have young children, there is one highchair and one travel cot supplied at the lodge but i’m sure if you needed more the Bluestone team would be able to arrange additional ones for your stay.
The living room and kitchen area are spacious and have an open plan feel, the decor was very contemporary and clean looking throughout the lodge, and all the mod cons were supplied in the kitchen so you can opt to cook up a feast for your family or choose to dine out instead, and when you are on holiday it’s great to have the choice. If you need to stock up on your food items there is a small shop in the village but it is a bit pricey, so we opted to stop on the way to Bluestone at Tescos in Carmarthen to get some food and also at Asda in Pembroke Dock during the week to buy a few more things that we had forgotten.
In the kitchen you will also find a handy cleaning pack with a tea towel, a sponge, a few dishwashing tablets, some washing up liquid and a cloth and a dishwashing sponge. If you would rather not go out to shop you can opt to have all your groceries delivered to your lodge from the village shop so they are ready when you arrive at your accommodation. Every aspect of your holiday has been carefully thought out to cater for everyone.
Something that certainly was handy to have in the lodge was Wi-Fi (Free all over the resort) it’s an essential part of daily life for me as a blogger (not to mention the kids!!), to be able to do a little work in the evening and have Wi-Fi in the lodge was really handy, so I can understand why so many business people enjoy a break with the assurance they can get some work done during there stay.
In the village there are plenty of options if you don’t fancy cooking, there is a pub on site The Knights Tafarn where traditional family pub meals are served, we had a family dinner there on the first night that was very tasty and good value, also The Farmhouse Grill that was tasty and very filling! If you are looking for a healthy option during the day Caffi Môr ( translated in Welsh as Sea Café) offers some very tasty snacks and lunches and is situated in the Bluestone Health Spa. The Oaktree Restaurant offers an Italian Welsh fusion although we ran out of days to visit, the menu looks delicious.
If you visit the Bluestone Blue Lagoon and are tired after a big swim session you can dine at The Fish Shack which offers good value quick tasty options for the family.
The Wildwood Cafe is perfect after a long session in the soft play area, and it offers great family food and in the evening you can take the family to a “Once upon a time” show while you eat. If you are after a lighter snack Millers Bakery has a large selection of bakery delights to go with your favourite hot drink (or ice-cream!), and if you sit in the outdoor seating area you can have the opportunity to sit and watch the little birds looking for crumbs, my girls loved doing this and wanted to go back every morning to spot them!
Don’t forget before you leave for your holiday all the restaurants offer the chance to pre-book so you don’t have to worry about not getting a table on a specific day.
If none of these options appeal to you and you really don’t want to cook, don’t worry as Bluestone has a Takeaway Service that is varied and not too expensive and the beauty is that it will be delivered to your lodge door when you need it.
I was recommended the locally produced honey ‘Coed Canlas‘ from Nick Tonkin in the Village shop and I highly advise you to try it if you like honey, deliciously produced using traditional methods we all loved it so much I bought another before we left!
On Site Activities
The Adventure Centre has plenty to do to while away the day, with soft play, a bouncy castle, crazy golf, climbing walls, a huge tree house and arcade games (Lara won an Olaf and a Sven cuddly toy!) also they have a brilliant huge Lego wall for the
adults kids to play on and write their names in if they want to. So there is a lot to do at The Adventure Centre and you really can spend a good few hours there with so much for the kids to do and see.
The Blue Lagoon was one of our favourite places to spend some family time, the warm water and fun slides give you plenty of time to have spend a lovely few hours playing. The girls particularly liked the Lazy River which takes you outside (put some sunscreen on first as if a little sunny you will catch the sun!) with a place to stop and sit on some steps and then back into the main pool area, a really fun addition to a great pool.
Of course my thrill seeking partner loved the slides and we all had a go, some of us liked it a bit more than the others! But I like the fact that there is something for everyone, including the little ones as there is a separate area for very young children to have some splashy fun.
The Outdoor Play Area – situated in the Village is a really fun area for kids and from the minute both girls spotted it on the first day they wanted to go back again and again to play. You can have a play around here and then pop over the the Millers Bakery for an ice cream, don’t forget to walk up to the top as the view is just lovely.
There are a huge range of activities to do at Bluestone – you will be spoiled for choice but we decided to use the Blue Lagoon and the on site play areas during our stay and went out to visit Pembroke Dock as well, so we really ran out of time on this stay to do any, but next visit I will certainly be booking some fun family activities for us to do.
Bluestone offers a 5* Spa treatment centre called The Well Spa, which I highly recommend as both my partner and I took the opportunity to enjoy a Spa Experience and facial which was wonderfully relaxing, read all about my thoughts here.
As soon as my Siobhan and Lara (my daughters) saw the Village they sang ‘Bal-a-mor-ey” as the pretty coloured pastel houses look just like the children’s program they used to love! I love the way they have designed the Village as it has a warm friendly feel to it and you can even opt to select a house or apartment in the Village, and I noticed they even have very handy vending machines which are stocked full of cartons of milk and cheese!
Getting Around Bluestone
Bluestone is set in an idyllic location within 500 acres of national park, and if you have been lucky enough to visit Pembrokeshire before you will know just how beautiful it is. From the reception area of Bluestone right down to the lake you will come across lots of hills (it is Wales after all!) so if you have very young children or if mobility is a problem, it may be an idea to hire a golf buggy or a bike during your stay.
We took our own bikes and decided as we had my mum visiting during the day (she lives locally) that we would save her legs and hire a golf buggy for the week (it was £80 for the week) a very good way to get around just don’t forget to charge it up regularly. There are plenty of parking areas all over the resort and room for five in the buggy, and as the resort is a car-less one, there is little chance you will see any during your visit.
If you would rather walk around the resort it is easy to navigate your way around and you will soon become familiar with the resort layout, don’t worry though if you do get lost the friendly staff are more than happy to help point you in the right direction, and if you need it there is also a bus service to take you around the resort, as we hired the buggy we didn’t use it but it’s a very handy service that would be of benefit to save time – and your feet!
My Overall Thoughts
Having a week away with my family means the world to me, it’s a time to reconnect, talk, play and make lots of wonderful memories. Bluestone gives you the opportunity to forge a lasting break of precious memories, we had a fantastic time and not only did the both children have a fun week but us adults did too! With so much to do and organise you won’t run out of things to do, or if you would rather just have a relaxing holiday in the fresh countryside air of Pembrokeshire this is the perfect place to go.
I would like to let you know that the staff really make Bluestone very special, so helpful and friendly and no problem is too small. How do I know this you may ask? Well we had an awful few hours when we had lost our car keys! A dreadful and stressful time, we checked the lodge and couldn’t find them, and then we retraced our steps from when we last had them all over the resort with no luck.
We also went to reception to let them know and to the Blue Lagoon and The Adventure Centre as well, everyone was incredibly helpful and particularly Laura who was absolutely wonderful and followed up to make sure we didn’t need any other help. The end of the story is a happy one, I can tell you that we didn’t lose the car keys in the resort grounds but we ended up finding them in the trouser pocket of my partners pair of jeans which I had tidied away in the drawers!
I had unpacked every item from our suitcase and I think he didn’t expect I would be so meticulous while we were on holiday! Laura made sure we were ok and also followed up to check we were ok the next day, as well as alerting all the key staff members of our dilemma as soon as we notified her, she really did go above and beyond her duties and we were so grateful as it was a stressful few hours contemplating calling out the RAC I can tell you! It’s these little things that ensure your stay at Bluestone goes from great to fantastic as we always remember what happened and how it was resolved, and know that when (not if!) we return if we have any similar problems they will be swiftly resolved by the brilliant staff.
Bluestone Resort is within a National Park so expect to see lots of wildlife roaming around outside your lodge, we were on daily ‘Bunny Watch’ as we had a family of bunnies in our garden! With plenty of birds, rabbits, squirrels, ducks and lots more to see it is lovely to share these special sightings with your family especially if they don’t usually get the chance to see such things up close.
Before we left for our journey home the girls of course wanted a few souvenirs to take with them to remember our stay, you can go to the Blue Lagoon shop where they have a selection of toys and Bluestone souvenirs and you can also get some lovely gifts from the Adventure Centre – as you can see from some of the photo’s Lara chose a cute fox cuddly toy which she hasn’t let out of her sight since!
The activities available while exciting and fun are a little limited for older children and our teenage daughter was hopeful that there would be some activities that she could join in with, having said that both my girls (aged 9 and 15) loved the Blue Lagoon and the Village Outdoor Play Area equally.
The location of the resort was quite far for us, it took us about 5 and a half hours to get there, so if you are booking for a week stay and you do live quite far I would say it would be a good idea to think about adding the weekend onto your holiday as I really wish we had done so, a few extra days would have been wonderful as we spent the Monday and Friday doing a lot of travelling.
Really these are the only negative aspects I can highlight as we had a really relaxing and lovely stay, we will happily return to Bluestone and are already planning our next visit, except next time we will extend our stay to enjoy even more of what Bluestone has to offer.