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Bedruthan Steps hotel in Cornwall

23 replies

donnie · 14/04/2003 18:20

We will be going there for 10 days in June and I wondered if anyone could pass comment on the place ? my dd will be 19 months old. It is costing us a fortune !!

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Pancake · 14/04/2003 20:02

I have been to Bedruthan Steps twice now (once when ds was 3 months old and again at 15 months) and we LOVED it! The hotel is just sooooooooooooo child friendly (obviously as that's what it's known for)! The food is fabulous and the beach is literally at the bottom of the hill. It's easy to get to Newquay and Padstow etc. DS had a ball and the baby-listening in the evening was heaven as it meant dh and myself could relax and enjoy knowing someone was listening out for ds. The food for the children is varied and their is loads on offer and you can go back for as much as you want (great way of experimenting with new meals). I think it's been renovated quite a lot since we were there (year before last) so it should be even better!

I hope you're going to treat yourself to some pamper sessions!

The more I'm writing this the more I'm now thinking of booking a long weekend!!

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judetheobscure · 14/04/2003 20:24

We went last year and all had a fabulous time; the location couldn't be better and the services for children were spot on.

However it is pricey, and for what we paid, I would have expected better food, both for us and the children. The kids food is varied, lots of it healthy, but the set up is very school-dinnerish.
The adults food was again very nice, but not up to the standard of 4* hotels. Don't know what star-rating the hotel has.
Also, some areas of the hotel were a bit on the shabby side. Don't want to seem like I'm knocking it because we had a great time. But I wouldn't go there without the children. Also, I think it's useful to be warned. I remember my first encounter with CenterParcs being terribly put off by the "army barracks" type accommodation, but that hasn't stopped us returning twice since.

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LizP · 14/04/2003 21:12

Donnie, We went last May and are going back again for a week this June. We also expected better food (more local seafood) but it was OK. This year they are meant to have a new a la carte place doing seafood as well as the main dining room. The childrens food suited our children (and they could cope with the allergies). Agree that some rooms are looking a bit tired - but they are meant to be renovating them. Last year we had a seaview room which we found really hot and airless - and the plastic coated cot matress didn't help the little one sleep. This year we have a seaview villa - so there is a bunk room and hopefully it will be cooler. Still we, and especially the children (last year 1 and 2.5) had an excellent time - hence the return trip. Also if you don't want to drink a whole bottle of wine with dinner you can have it kept for the following day - we didn't discover this until near the end of our trip - so then we could order a bottle of red and white!

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Furball · 14/04/2003 21:55

Mumsnet has a 'Find the Best' page here - It came top in the review. Not been so can't comment.

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donnie · 15/04/2003 10:44

thanks for all your comments folks - I might ring up and make a few enquiries about the room , baby's mattress etc - very helpful thanks !! It is obviously incredibly popular as when I rand last sept to book for this year they told me their suites and large apartment type rooms were fully booked until 2005 !!!!

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grommit · 15/04/2003 11:54

We went last year for a few days. It is a great break for the kids and for the parents as the listening serivce allows you to go for an evening meal. My only problem with the place was that I felt a bit like a clone - all the people staying there were about my age with small children. When a parent talked to me at the play area on the first day I felt a bit like I was talking to a fellow inmate! I would also agree that the adult food is not 4star but the kid's food was great. Lots to do in the surrounding area as well

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bossykate · 15/04/2003 12:49

i'm going on sunday for a week so will report back.

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Sheila · 16/04/2003 12:39

I went for a week when ds was around 16 months (15 months ago now so this is old info!) and must say I loved it. There was loads for ds to do (even without resorting to the childcare), rooms were well-equipped and the food was generally good.

Main problem seemed to be the lack of staffing - after a 5-hour drive from London we had to wait a further hour on arrival (at around 3pm so we weren't exactly early) before our room was ready, and weren't even offered a cup of tea! Also service at breakfast was a bit hit and miss, for the same reason. Wouldn't trust the baby listening in the evenine either - take a monitor. We went back to our room one night at 9p.m. to find ds standing up in his cot screaming his head off, and we hadn't been told.

Other downside seemed to be that there's not a lot to do with a toddler locally - we found the beaches v. windy and cold and once you've done the Eden project there's not much else, so you do end up spending a lot of time at the hotel, so it's just as well they provide a lot of entertainment!

On the whole I would thoroughly recommend it, and its' actually cheap compared to other similar hotels (Woolley Grange et al.)

Hope you enjoy yourself - I'm jealous!

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marbeth · 20/04/2003 17:05

We have been to bedruthan steps for the last five years.Our son is now five so we have been going with him since he was nine months old.All holidays have been great but we found it got better for him each year as if could do lots more.Last June had really nice weather.Food is good and we enjoyed getting dressed up for dinner.Never had any problems with in room baby listening.Make sure you visit natonal trust at bedruthan steps as lovely tea shop for lunch.Also do childrens picnic boxes.Have a great time wish we were giong back this year.Now we are restricted to school holidays think it is very expensive.This year can go to 4 star in Jamacia all inclusive for 14 nights for what it would cost us to go to bedruthan in August for 14 nights.

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Slinky · 20/04/2003 21:14

I've just had a look at this hotel following on from this thread.

It looks very nice - but was just wondering:

a) what sort of accommodation would be available for us - me, DH - 3 kids, aged 7, 5 and 3. All I can see is adjoining rooms sleeping 2 adults, 2 children.

b) Eating arrangements - DD1 would either have to eat with us or on her own, whereas DS1 and DD2 would have to eat together before the rest of us? Is that right?

It looks very nice but the eating arrangements would bother me. I wouldn't want DD1 eating on her own.

Has anyone done the Self-catering cottages with this holiday?

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judetheobscure · 20/04/2003 22:29

We had an apartment suite which had a v.large sitting area with 4-poster bed and en-suite bathroom, a bedroom with 3 single beds (could be made up as 1 double and 1 single I think, a v.small with no external window single bedroom and a 2nd bathroom.

Don't think there would be a problem with your 7 year old eating with the others at the children's teas - our 6-year old did and there seemed to be other older children around.

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Slinky · 23/04/2003 21:25

Well after ordering a brochure from their site last week, it arrived this morning.

It looked very nice and I did a few sums - and was horrified at the price for the 5 of us to go!! It is a lot cheaper for us to go to France (which we have already booked for this year anyway)!

DH wasn't overly keen on it - found the kids "set-up" very regimented - very "children should be seen and not heard" (his words LOL).

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judetheobscure · 23/04/2003 22:45

The only time when children should be "seen and not heard" is in the evenings (no under 7s in the main restaurant except on a couple of evenings a week; no under 14s(?) in the public areas of the hotel after a certain time (11pm I think). I personally liked this arrangement and was rather annoyed by a few guests who didn't adhere to them. After all it's not just a holiday for the children.

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Marina · 27/04/2003 19:13

So how was it then bossykate? Did you have a good time?

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bossykate · 28/04/2003 13:48

marina, a fantastic time, thanks! i'm putting together my review...

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bossykate · 29/04/2003 21:14

Hello everyone

As promised here are my impressions of Bedruthan steps based on a visit last week.

Disclaimer! I've only got a toddler, so my perceptions of what might be good for older children are mere speculation!

Kids' stuff

Facilities for children are excellent. For example, two indoor play areas ("Jungle Tumble" soft play area segregated for under and over fours, and also cars, trikes and many other wheelie objects for racing around on in the ballroom - not as big or grand as it sounds but plenty of room to tear about), and two playgrounds outside. Children's pools both indoors and out. Children's video channel in the rooms (although Titanic was one of the movies played, which is not suitable for young children IMO).

We formed a love/hate relationship with kids tea-time - an wide range of food available, including healthy options, e.g. organic or home made purees for babies, and fresh fruit, veg, wholemeal bread and butter, cheese cubes, yoghurt as well as the inevitable chicken nuggets/beans/chips combo. You could also get cartons of milk there. Loads of high chairs. There are also plastic cups, plates, and all utensils available. One of the playgrounds was just outside, so there was time for a play there before bath/story/bed etc.

I say love/hate relationship as it was utter mayhem! A multitude of excited, happy children and rather tight-lipped, ashen-faced parents. It's rather Butlins, but it works. One of the highlights of the holiday for me was the ability to walk away from the devastation of ds's meals there, knowing someone else would have to clear up the blast area of discarded food...

There are a number of children's clubs (based on age) with qualified staff. I thought the staff at ds's one were good, and there was a good range of toys there, and they also did creative work there too, painting, sticking etc. He wouldn't stay there after his first session, having cottoned on that we were going to leave him, but that is another story! TBH, there were so many things for him to do it was very relaxing just hanging out while he played.

For older children there is a games room, plus there are a number of activities such as pony trekking, swimming lessons, surf school, and many others. For younger ones, there are also strategically placed Brio trainsets and slot machine fire engines, helicopters and trains to ride on.

Everything is so well thought out for children - I couldn't fault it. We didn't miss the flexibility of self-catering at all, and we got a break from most of the chores.

Someone commented below that the baby-listening service wasn't up to scratch. From my observation, there was a member of staff dedicated to the baby-listening service, and we observed a number of parents over the week being called back to their rooms...

Beautiful Cornwall

The location is wonderful. There is a marvellous sandy beach a few minutes (for adults and older children, it's very steep) walk away. But within a half hour's drive there are at least six other beautiful beaches, including Porthcotan, Bedruthan Steps and Watergate Bay.

The cliff/sea-scape scenery is among the best in the country, with miles of beautiful walking along the coastal paths - best for older children or those with baby-carriers.

Padstow and Rock are not far away for the upmarket experience of designer boutiques, cafes and historic sightseeing. We also enjoyed the Lappa Valley Steam Railway and were only prevented from cycling a part of the Camel Trail by some iffy weather on our last day - cycle hire places aplenty including baby seats and tag-alongs. The Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay (ugh - horrid place) is a good outing on a rainy day, a good collection and very well laid out. However, it is very small, and if you have a toddler, it would probably only hold their interest for a maximum of an hour.

We also visited The Eden Project. Shudder. A victim of its own success, much like IKEA, and only marginally more fun, with less to offer toddlers!

The Grown-Up Experience

It is in this respect that things do not meet the same high standards. For example, the building is like the misbegotten hybrid offspring of a 1970s Travelodge (or is it Student Hall of Residence?) and Whacky Warehouse. I was dismayed when we arrived, as I didn't think it boded well for the rest of the week, but TBH I didn't notice it after the first day, as the kids' stuff was so good.

There are wonderful sea-views from both bar and restaurant. The Bar is adults only and dinner time is adults and 7+ only. These seem to be the only restrictions on children in the whole set-up. Catering is top of the upper/middle range of hotel hosted wedding receptions. Service - consisting of local teens and surfers working to support their habit - is polite and well-meaning, but not polished.

By now some of you are undoubtedly thinking, "What a snob!". Well, yes, OK, but as a number of people have mentioned, this place isn't cheap, and I would have expected a bit more sophistication for the cash. However, having said that, IME it is much better value than, say, Woolley Grange or Babington House.

Following on from the theme of how do you recognise other mumsnetters, I did spend a lot of time wondering if there was anyone else from mumsnet last week! So if anyone was there, I was the slim, perfectly groomed, well dressed, young looking mother with the immaculately behaved toddler!

The clientele is very - um - Boden clad... And of course, nothing wrong with that, she said hurriedly, ducking...

Last Word

In short, we had a fantastic, relaxing time and it was a pleasure for us to see ds's pleasure in all the things he was able to do. Like any holiday in the UK, it will be much more fun if the weather is good. I wouldn't go without kids, but would go again with ds without doubt.

I hope this helps and if anyone has any specific queries, I will do my best to answer.

Good holidays everyone!

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Ems · 29/04/2003 21:49

bossykate, that was a great report, very useful for future, thanks!! Glad you had a great time.

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donnie · 29/04/2003 22:42

thanks bossykate for your comprehensive review which I read with interest. I am looking forward to going in about 6 weeks time...

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judetheobscure · 29/04/2003 23:18

bossykate - great review - I agree with everything you said.

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BearintheBigBlueHous · 30/04/2003 10:32

Ditto Bossykate - thanks. We don't wear Boden, but like our comforts. You mention Babington have you (or has anyone else) been there - is it worth the £££? We tried Fowey Hall a couple of times last year, but only out of season so activites weren't available for dd (anyway she was only 11m, then 13m so we didn't want to be leaving her), but listening service worked well. Heard Jonathan Ross raving about taking his lot to Knoll House, Studland - sounds a bit like Bedruthan Steps - anyone tried it?

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Marina · 30/04/2003 19:36

Sounds like you all had a very enjoyable and relaxing time, Bossykate! Thanks for posting such a comprehensive review. Dh has just come home with a face like thunder after receiving his first post-NI-hike payslip so it looks like we'll be youth hostelling this summer instead, but it's great to know what these family hotels offer!

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Twink · 30/04/2003 22:29

Thanks BK, we went about 2 years ago (where does time go ?) didn't realise we were 'supposed' to go for particular time periods but got away with it because it was quiet.
Your review sums it all really well but reminds me of a few bits too.

Teas: Twink runs screaming from the room

Not down to food or dd or the children but having to having to be in a room with some of the other parents..

Re Boden, 100% agree. Also didn't meet anyone else who wasn't from West London (no, not joking and just an observation not a critical comment)

Dh was v.v. disturbed during quiz night (better than it sounds) that only the 2 of us were drinking pints and everyone else seemed to be doing halfs (blokes) fizzy water (women). The 2 we recruited into our club got a right earfull !

Maybe we should just take our own yurt next time..

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bossykate · 01/05/2003 22:43

twink - hehe! know what you mean about the other parents! some people seemed so completely up themselves! a great deal of "intensive parenting" on display, but the bossyhouse is just as guilty of that... we did also meet some very simpatico people. we enjoyed the quiz too - gave the other "entertainments" a swerve though.

marina - that increased n.i. is a real ouch, isn't it? there are some great youth hostels in cornwall... are you getting something organised before no. 3 arrives?

bitbbh - have persuaded dh (by a cunning ruse) that we should go to bh in early july. so if it comes off (have tried and failed to go before) will report back. may be too late for you though. iirc, mumsnetters have recommended it in similar discussions.

donnie - enjoy. fingers crossed for good weather, eh?

jto, ems - thanks for the kind words!

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