Tuesday, 10 April 2012

LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hotel Review


The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hotel opened its doors for the first time on March 16th, 2012. The LEGOLAND Hotel houses 1,600 LEGO models and 5,000 mini-figures, promising an immersive addition to the park. Expectations were set high from the hints and teases that we have read and seen over the past few months, so I was there on the opening night to share with All About Bricks readers what it’s actually like to stay at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hotel...



When driving to the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, after passing through the main gate the Hotel is located on the left - before you would drive past all of the giant mini-figures arranging the word “WELCOME”. What is immediately striking is how bright and fresh the Hotel looks, with a classic LEGO colour scheme. The entrance is guarded by a huge, brick built dragon – with smoke coming from its nostrils. Large mini-figures are holding up the entrance way, and all of the other elements making it up are based on real, existing LEGO bricks (although upscaled somewhat!).


Entering the foyer gives a great sense of what’s in store in the rest of the LEGOLAND Hotel. There’s an awesome carousel type contraption in the centre, with LEGO models circling above representing different rides from LEGOLAND Windsor. Further down large, brick-build mini-figures are nestled amongst other LEGO models, including one based on the classic wooden duck. It’s neat to see little touches like this giving a nod to the heritage of LEGO. 
It also makes sense that at LEGOLAND the children don’t need to be hanging around becoming bored whilst Mum or Dad checks in – there’s a huge trough of bricks for youngsters to get stuck in to. Builders can then place their creations on a display space in the foyer, where the best creation will regularly win a prize. 
Behind the reception desk is the extremely impressive mini-figure wall, with a magnifying glass passing over them since they can be hard to pick out at a distance. It’s an impressive sight to see that many mini-figures lined up alongside one another. 
There’s also a shop to pick up LEGO products. A minor detail that excited me personally in the foyer was the fact that the carpet design features LEGO bricks all over the floor, which looks really cool. It might sound like a small touch, but I love the attention to detail that adds to the sense of immersion. 


Once check in is completed, the LEGO lift takes guests to the appropriate floor. There are three floors of bedrooms, each themed differently. The themes are Pirate, Adventure and Kingdom. For our stay we were checking out a Pirate themed room. 
The theme is completely immersive, as in the lobby, throughout the entire floor. When exiting the lift guests meet a brick built Captain Brickbeard (or Knight, or Adventurer on the other floors). The walls, carpet, doors to the lift... it’s all truly Piratey. 
Within the room itself there are two sections. A section for the children, with a bunkbed and pull out bed, and the other side of the bathroom is a king sized bed. Literally stepping into the room and exploring is an adventure in and of itself – there are so many awesome details to spot. It’s exciting enough as a grown up LEGO nut, visiting as a child must be truly mind-blowing.
The children’s section of the room is fully themed with completely decorated walls, the carpet is decorated throughout (the Pirates a very messy – cutlasses, coins and spilt bottles cover the floor!). The pillows and bed sheets are Pirate themed, the TV is built into a rustic Pirate ship feeling section of the wall, there’s a Pirate rat built from LEGO and a game to play. There’s also a bucket of LEGO bricks in the room in case the kids haven’t seen enough LEGO for one day!
The most impressive part of the children’s section, a brilliant added touch, is a brick built monkey sat on top of a treasure chest. On each of the bunks is a treasure hunt sheet, with four questions to answer – such as ‘How many starfish are on the floor on the room?’ Treasure seekers can count the starfish, answer the other questions which will give them the combination to the safe – sorry, treasure chest – and find the booty inside! Two LEGOLAND lanyards, a couple of little bagged sets and two of the new LEGOLAND Windsor buttons are found inside.
The adult’s section of the room is also well themed (Premium rooms have a fully themed adult section), with more LEGO models on the wall and a picture of a LEGO Pirate. The lampshades are rustic and feel Pirate-y, the curtains and bed sheets are as if made from ship masts, even the table is made from a barrel! 
As if all of this themeing wasn’t enough to complete the room, it continues into the bathroom! The mock window looks onto Captain Brickbeard rowing away with a rowboat full of loot, and there are more LEGO models to be discovered. Even the toilet paper has a Pirate label on the fresh rolls. Nothing is too obscure!


The main ‘hub’ in the LEGOLAND Windsor Hotel is on the 2nd floor. It’s where the play area, Skyline Bar, Bricks Family Restaurant and park entrance are found. The play area has a Kingdoms theme, with large mini-figures and large brick built mini-figures populating it. Naturally for LEGOLAND Windsor, it’s a little eccentric as a crane is still building and Captain Brickbeard is dangling from said crane. There are also building areas with bricks and ramps to test cars, base plates on the wall et cetera. 
At the front of the play area is a stage where Pink Brick, LEGOLAND’s Dragon and other characters are part of live entertainment to keep the youngsters happy while their parents relax with a drink. The layout of having the Skyline bar within eyeline of this stage is well planned as it means little ones can still be kept an eye on. The entertainment is fast paced and fun, and certainly seemed to have captured the children’s attention on our visit.
The Skyline Bar is nicely styled, with a slightly more subtle variation on the hotel’s theme. LEGO bricks are encased in the tables, and framed collections of mini-figures from various themes are found on the wall (including full series of Collectible Minifigures). There are also larger scaled characters from the Collectible Minifigures theme on display. The key element of the Skyline bar is the neat cityscape built entirely from LEGO bricks, with some typically awesome little details. Excuse the lack of images, but the lighting didn’t let them come out very well. The bar menu also has a reasonable variety of light bites and a full selection of beers, wines and spirits.
The Bricks Family Restaurant is fully themed with LEGO chefs everywhere making a mess and causing chaos. The dining environment is wonderfully relaxed, with all of the neat touches to keep the atmosphere fun and relaxed found throughout the hotel. The restaurant is self service, when we dined there for dinner there was a carvery, ‘fast food’ options, childrens’options and vegetarian options. There was also a wide range of desserts, including awesome cup cakes with an edible LEGO brick on top! The quality of the food was high, particularly for self-service. The staff were also attentive and available very quickly. I would suggest that if you are happy to wait and eat a little later in the evening, as we were, then do so! It seems that there might be a little more patience involved in eating when the restaurant is busy, although at least most items are available in two places to make things as smooth as possible.


The hotel is rounded out with two swimming pools – one typical swimming pool for the grown ups, and a fully themed Pirate water play area for the little ones. Unfortunately for our visit the pool was not open, as last minute adjustments were being made, however we were able to see the pool and it looks a lot of fun! The Pirate pool is overlooked by Captain Brickbeard, and features lots of great details as guests will come to expect. There is water cascading everywhere with all sorts of great interactive features.


Our stay at the hotel was rounded out with breakfast at the Bricks Family Restaurant, so even if you opt not to have dinner at the hotel guests will still get to see how great the restaurant is. The range was impressive, with full cooked English available, cereals, waffles and Italian meats/breads. The hotel will take care of your bags if you’re spending the day in the park after your stay, too. 


My experience of the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hotel was overwhelmingly positive. I have attempted to come up with a few criticisms, but really cannot think of anything that did not exceed my expectations. From when you step inside the hotel to when you leave, it is like being in another world. Even the stairwells are full of little bits and pieces to see! The themeing is absolutely excellent and is on par with the best that Disney theme parks have to offer. This would be nothing though if it wasn’t coupled with staff who are friendly, approachable and helpful at every opportunity. They were constantly available to ensure that guests experienced the hotel exactly as they were meant to. 
Obviously what has the biggest impact on whether to add a hotel stay on to your trip to LEGOLAND Windsor is whether it fits in cost wise? I would suggest that if you can pay the extra and book a stay, you are unlikely to be disappointed. It really adds that extra magic to a visit, and by the time you leave you’ll have forgotten that a world exists where there aren’t LEGO bricks everywhere.



To book your stay or find out more visit the LEGOLAND WIndsor Resort Hotel website here.

Thanks to Claire at Freerange and everyone at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort for making this article happen.


4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. if u come to bali dont forget to review our villa
    http://clubresidencecanggu.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow I have some cousins that would love this! I wish they had hotels in Peace River similar to this.

    ReplyDelete