In May this year we were lucky enough to go to Bluestone Wales for a break (Monday 11th May – Friday 15th May). We were delighted to be selected as ‘Bluestone Bloggers’ and offered a break to review. We loved our time in Pembrokeshire and were sad to leave, here’s what we thought of Bluestone Wales.
We live in South Manchester and drive down to Devon and Cornwall several times a year, we are not strangers to a long journey and this took around 6 hours. It was a bit of a schlep and I’d be unwilling to drive all that way for a night or two, but for a Monday-Friday break it was tolerable. We drove over the Severn Bridge into Wales and I’ve put a clip on YouTube of the crossing. As long as you’re prepared for the journey with activities, drinks and snacks you’ll survive.
Arrival & Check In
Bluestone Wales was pretty easy to find, following the brown road signs we got there without getting horribly lost. We drove up the long driveway and up to the welcome gate, there was no queue (it was around 6pm) and we were given our lodge keys and welcome information pack and we drove straight to our lodge, unpacked the car and took the car back to the car park. We found check in really quick, simple and efficient. Though I think there might be queues if you arrived at peak time.
We were allocated a ‘Ramsey Lodge’ which sleeps four people and has two en suite bathrooms. The bedrooms and bathrooms are downstairs and the living areas are upstairs, which makes the most of the stunning views at Bluestone. The living area had a well equipped kitchen, dining area and lounge area, all open plan, all modern and stylishly designed.
We didn’t spend that much time hanging out at the lodge though, I think I cooked two meals there and everything I needed was available in the kitchen and pretty straightforward to use. We were supplied with a few essentials to help with the washing up. Everything was clean, modern and much nicer than home, sad to say.
Downstairs in the bedrooms, the small boy was delighted to have his very own bathroom which was a wet room. His bedroom had two single beds in it which were very comfortable and with really lovely bedding which felt quite luxurious. In the master bedroom there was a comfy double bed, again with the same luxurious feeling bedding and lovely furniture, this room had patio doors which you could open if you wanted, we didn’t because it wasn’t that warm, but it was a nice touch.
The en suite had a shower over the bath which I didn’t use. The small boy did as he prefers baths, but we enjoyed the wet room, it was nice to have a choice and with my disability it was easier for me to shower in the wet room. The floor does get slippy, so do take care.
The accommodation got a really big thumbs up from us, it was by far one of the best places we’ve stayed. The lodge was far superior to other lodges we’ve stayed in. It was clean and well maintained with everything we needed, apart from a hair dryer, though these are available to hire, but we took our own.
Village & Restaurants
Having stayed in similar lodge based holiday villages, we were pleasantly surprised with the layout of the village. We were used to large noisy bio-dome type places; but the Bluestone village was set out like an actual Welsh village, with narrow rambling lanes, shops in traditional looking buildings, with a smattering of places where you could eat and drink.
Over the stay we tried a few different places, our favourite was the Knights Tafarn which was a child-friendly pub. The food was hearty and they had a good selection of drinks, as well as colouring activities for the kids. You could sit outside if you wanted, it’s a good spot to sit with a pint while the kids play havoc in the huge playground next door.
One night we went to the Farmhouse Grill. We were expecting quite lovely things, the specials board outside listed some great sounding dishes made with local produce, so we booked a table and got a bit dressed up. We were pretty disappointed with the meal, we ordered the kids macaroni cheese which arrived looking good, but when we dug into it there was a thick black solid layer of cheese underneath the top layer, indicating that it was re-heated, which you do kind of expect, but serving a child a thick layer of burnt cheese is disappointing. My meal was ok with the sweet potato fries a highlight, but hubs ordered the fillet of sea bass off the specials menu. He loves eating sea bass fillets and has them all the time, however this was riddled with bones and clearly hadn’t been checked at all before cooking, after three mouthfuls and 8 or more bones he gave up. We complained to the waitress who said it was meant to be full of bones (it wasn’t), so we complained to the manager who didn’t charge us for the sea bass or the kids meal. We left feeling disappointed but I think the manager handled it well, which is all you can ask when mistakes are made.
Bluestone is set in a small valley with a lake at the bottom of it. We were very lucky that we were less than 5 minutes walk from the village centre, which meant that the playground, spa, shops and pubs were all within easy reach. Lots of people hired golf buggies to get about in and we did enquire but they were all booked up. I was easily managing about 8k a day and because I’m not great on my feet I was starting to struggle after day 2. The small boy was finding all the walking we did quite hard work too, if we went again we would pre-book a buggy for the duration of the break, but it wasn’t terrible without it. There was a free bus which ran through the village and up to the car park, activity centre and Blue Lagoon. The bus was a godsend and the driver was really lovely.
At Bluestone they are busy building some new lodges which they are planning to open this summer. Our lodge backed on to the fenced off building site, which in some ways was brilliant for our digger loving son, especially as there was a viewing platform nearby where you could watch the diggers at work. We were given a call before we went to warn us that building work was taking place so we were prepared for it. I suspect if we had been unhappy we could probably have been moved, but we were fine with it, especially as for most of the time during the day when they were working we were out anyway. I made a little vlog (be gentle, I’m not a natural vlogger) about the building noise at Bluestone Wales.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a fabulous addition to Bluestone, it is open to the general public, but if you go before 11am it is open exclusively for Bluestone holidaymakers. It’s free to use, you just have to flash your lodge key and they issue you with a pass for your stay. It’s a brilliant pool with a wave machine and two water flumes, as well as an outdoor jacuzzi and a lazy river that meanders outside, plus a wet play area for little ones, there’s plenty to enjoy and it’s well worth a visit. The changing areas are good and there is a cafe by the pool where you can grab a drink or a snack. We went every day!
The Activity Centre
The Activity Centre is located at the top of the village. I took the small boy there for a morning and we enjoyed the huge soft play centre, which was free to go in. Later he joined the ‘Bluestone Buccaneers’ where he and his fellow pirates got to dress up and go on a pirate adventure, exploring Bluestone looking for buried treasure. He really, really, really loved being a Bluestone Buccaneer. The activity centre has a good range of activities for children and adults alike, I would have liked to have tried a few more out but there just wasn’t enough time.
The Well Spa
Both hubs and I managed to separately grab some time in the spa, located in the village centre it was minutes from our lodge. I have devoted an entire blog post to the spa, so you can read more about my experience and thoughts about it here. But yes, in short, I’d move in if they’d let me!
Things To Do in Pembrokeshire
The area around Bluestone is absolutely stunningly beautiful, with seriously breathtaking beaches and lots of family activities you can get involved in. Again, I’ve written a separate blog post about what we did while we were in Pembrokeshire which you can read here, but highlights were the stunning beaches of Tenby and Saundersfoot and a rainy day visit to Dylan Thomas Boathouse.
Bluestone was hands down the best holiday of that kind we’ve ever been on, and we’ve been on a large number of them. The accommodation, pool, spa and activities were spot on, the village was well designed and the shop was well stocked and the playground was by all accounts lots of fun. The problem with the meal was handled well and the on-site customer service team were lovely and very helpful.
What we commented on was that although judging by the full car park the site was obviously very busy, with most of their 300 lodges in occupation, it all felt quite quiet and peaceful which is exactly what you want in a holiday. Overall there were no real negatives about Bluestone, nothing we couldn’t live with and nothing which left us with a bad impression. We’re saving up for a return visit as soon as we can. We have very much fallen for the white sands of Saundersfoot and the calm clean air of Bluestone Wales.
Note: We were invited guests of Bluestone Wales and were not asked to pay for our accommodation. All food, activities and travel expenses were covered by us. All images and opinions are our own.