*This article was published during the time of the Enchanted Village construcion.*
Join us here at TowersStreet as we provide a comprehensive summary of what the new Enchanted Village project has in store for us…
On 2nd May 2014, Alton Towers Resort published a Press Release to confirm that their new Enchanted Village development had been given the go-ahead. The Enchanted Village is pencilled to open on April 18th 2015 and will house 120 Fairytale Lodges and 5 ‘unique luxury Treehouses’ (plans had been submitted to request permission for 61 double lodges and 10 Treehouses) and is set to be ‘completely themed around a fairytale hideaway’.
To complete the development there will be children’s play areas, a restaurant and planned family entertainment. The lodges will accommodate up to 5 guests and the Treehouses will each accommodate groups of up to 8.
For regular followers of Alton Towers Resort future plans, this is a particularly welcome development that follows a 2012 planning application for a “Phased Development of 150 Lodges” which was withdrawn in 2013.
The most notable changes from the 2012 plans to the 2015 plans are:
- Change of location. The Enchanted Village will now sit on the meadow to the side of the Alton Towers Hotel (on the site of the former Field of 1000 Screams scare maze)
- Loss of ‘holes’ and ‘huts’ but in their place, Treehouses
- The Lodges will no longer have their own kitchenette
- Treehouses are advertised to be fully self catering with 4 separate bedrooms
So, what’s the ‘Fairytale Enchanted Village’ going to look like?
Concept art provided from the planning stage gives us an idea of the finished products:
A show lodge has been constructed within the park:
How big will the development be and where will it go?
Planning documents show the overall area of the development to cover 3.95ha on the site to the east of the Alton Towers Hotel and Spa. Inside this space is planned 61 double lodges (122 residences in total), 12 of which will be accessible for guests with disabilities, and an additional 10 Treehouses (though only 5 were noted on the Press Release). In addition will be a large restaurant building which will be used for meals, check-in and is also described to provide family entertainment. 10 children’s play areas will be sited within clusters of Lodges, and parking will be provided on what is now carpark J & K. For Treehouse guests, parking will be available to the side of the Alton Towers Spa, and 9 disabled parking spaces will be provided for accessible Lodges.
What about food, drink and entertainment for lodge guests?
As per the press release, it is stated there will be “…a brand new themed restaurant that will also feature family entertainment”. Plans show seating arrangements and a designated stage. The official Alton Towers website names the restaurant as The Crooked Spoon:
The Treehouses are new – what are they?
The original planning documents submitted requested permission for 10 Luxury Treehouses, though the Press Release from the Resort in May 2014 states only 5 Treehouses. The official Resort website provides more detail:
“Our five exclusive treehouses sleep 8 people and all have 4 separate bedrooms with their own plasma TV. Each treehouse has its own unique style, with luxury furnishings, full self catering facilities and a relaxing lounge area with 50” plasma TV and games console. Guests can relax in their outdoor dining area, with private hot tub on the decking and beautiful views over the enchanting woodland.”
There are 3 concepts available for the Treehouses, and the original planning document stated:
- 4 x Concept 1
- 4 x Concept 2
- 2 x Concept 3
Based on the press release, numbers/types are now unknown.
An overview of the finished products are shown in these sketches:
Based on the 10 Treehouses originally planned, the layout and positioning was submitting on the planning application as follows:
What about the Lodges?
The lodges seem very similar to the original 2012 plans, with an open layout and a decked area to the entrance. A description from the official site gives us an insight into the design:
“Enjoy a short break in one of our 120 fantastical lodges. All sleeping 5 people, each lodge will house a king size bed, bunk bed and truckle bed. Guests can relax on their outdoor decking area, children can have fun in the quirky play areas around the village and guests can make use of the free car parking and easy access to the Theme Park and the rest of the Resort.”
There is planned to be a main room with a double bed and small seating area, a bathroom with bath and overhead shower (for the accessible lodges this is a wet-room style bathroom with walk-in shower) and a seperate sleeping area with bunk beds for children with a pull out bed if needed for a fifth guest. A small table and chairs will be placed on the decking to the entrance of the lodges.
The lodges will have lighting controlled by key-card, whereby guests insert their room card into a switch to enable lighting to switch on and thus switch off upon leaving. Bathrooms will contain a fan to ensure a constant draw of fresh air throughout the lodges via trickle vents within the bedroom windows, with a boost to the fan when the bathroom light is switched on. No air conditioning is planned.
As the Resort grows, the traffic grows. Isn’t this a problem?
Similarly to the 2012 plans, traffic and access worries have been assessed and the outcome remains the same. A quote from the Transport Assessment document concludes:
“In summary, the main users of the lodges/treehouses will be resort guests who’s arrival and departure will be spread across the day therefore having little or no conflict with day visitors to the theme park.”
Parking is provided on existing J & K carparks. What about my luggage?
As per the transport assessment, guests luggage will be transported to their lodges via golf cart if neccessary (guests are likely to be encouraged to take their own bags to their accommodation).
Won’t construction need to start soon if it’s due to open in early 2015?
Construction has already started on the meadow to the East of the hotels, and reservations can be made through the official Alton Towers Enchanted Village page.
Won’t this new development spoil the landscape?
The Enchanted Village has been designed to complement its surroundings, and features natural materials as described in the Design and Access Statement. Natural materials with a rustic influence will be used, including timber shingle roofs, timber doors and windows, stonework walls, feature chimneys and timber fencing around each lodge’s entrance area. Each Treehouse will have its own private decking area to the front and rear to allow guests to view the woodlands and surrounding areas. In addition to this, landscaped mounds will be constructed between the lodges and the Treehouses to shield the Treehouses from the general development.
What about guests with disabilities?
Of the 122 lodges planned, 8 will be considered ‘accessible’ for wheelchair users, with a further 4 being ‘extra large’ which may be converted in the future. 1 Treehouse will be accessible for wheelchair users. In addition to this, consideration has been given to those with visual impairments and hearing impairments, with visual contrast decor being used for ease of accessibility and visual indicators for fire alarms. Car parking provision for guests with disabilities means vehicles can be parked close to the accessible lodges, however this may not be the case for the accessible Treehouse. It is proposed that external lighting will ensure that all guests feel comfortable in the area during the evening, and will also maximise the vision of those with visual impairments. As a conclusion, the planning documents state:
“…The result is an exciting development which will offer disabled guests a real chance to experience the lodges and tree houses in the same way as is afforded to non-disabled guests”
Stay with us here at TowersStreet for more information on the Enchanted Village development as it becomes available! New images will be uploaded to our construction gallery as the project progresses, and discussion will continue over on our Talk forums.