Resort of the Past

Alton Towers has been welcoming guests to its hotels and resort for almost a quarter of a century. Over that time, the resort has experimented with many different ways to keep guests entertained overnight and many attractions have come and gone as tastes have changed.

The development of the Alton Towers Resort began when Tussauds opened the Alton Towers Hotel in 1996. The hotel was a huge success and paved the way for the huge influx of themed hotels linked to many of Europe’s major theme parks. Having proved the concept, Tussauds started working on a much bigger project – to become a fully fledged resort with the addition of Splash Landings Hotel and Cariba Creek in 2003.

Over the following years the resort continued to expand with the arrival of the Conference Centre, Spa and Extraordinary Golf, but the next major expansion was not until Merlin had taken over, with their significant focus on expanding accommodation. The first big addition under Merlin was the Enchanted Village in 2015, followed closely by the CBeebies Land Hotel in 2017 and Stargazing Pods in 2019.

Whilst the resort has seen much expansion over the year, here we take a look at some features of the resort of yesteryear, which have since been closed or shuttered.

Past Attractions

Nickelodeon TV Lab

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1996 - 1999)

An opening day attraction for the hotel, the Nickelodeon TV Lab was a highly themed TV Room, where classic Nickelodeon shows were on tap throughout the day, the perfect way to unwind after a busy day on park.

Nickelodeon’s connection to Alton Towers was relatively short-lived, and it is likely that the TV Lab closed at the same time as Nickelodeon: Outta Control in 1999. It is unclear as to exactly when the transformation occurred, but the TV Lab is now used as the Alton Towers Hotel’s Game Room.

Pirate’s Lagoon

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1996 - 2003)

The original hotel pool complex opened in 1996 and was located in a secluded spot at the very end of the building, beyond the guest bedrooms. As the name suggests the pool was themed around a fantasy pirate cove, surrounded by rocks and palm trees with walls were adorned with sumptuous hand-drawn murals, creating a truly unique atmosphere.

Unfortunately, for the size of the hotel, the pool complex was rather small, which meant capacity was strictly limited and sessions had to be booked. And so, when a second hotel was planned, this situation was rectified by the inclusion of a full waterpark as part of the new development. This meant that Pirate’s Lagoon closed mid-way through 2003, before being transformed into the Alton Towers Spa.

Pirate Bill's Club

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1997 - 2003)

Located above Pirate's Lagoon, looking out over the action, was a large games room, home to Pirate Bill’s Kids Club. Every day from 2pm, the club invited kids to take part in all sorts of activities, from treasure hunts and discos, through to crafts and face painting.

Pirate Bill sailed into Alton Towers the year after the hotel opened. Originally, it had been assumed that a full day at the theme park would be enough to keep all the family busy. But it soon became clear that the hotel needed more evening activities for kids, and and Pirate Bill came to the rescue.

Tree Top Quest

(Enchanted Village, 2015 - 2019)

For those who like a bit of adventure during their resort break, Tree Top Quest offered a quest through the tree tops for young and old alike. Split into two courses, Explorer or Challenger, depending on how adventurous you are feeling.

Tree Top Quest opened alongside the Enchanted Village in 2015, but only operated for two season before being shuttered. The course reopened briefly in the summer of 2019, but there is no indication on when or if the course will reopen in the future.

Alton Towers Spa

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2003 - 2023)

The Alton Towers Spa was one of the resort's premier spots. If you were looking to chill out after a long day on park, this was the place for you. Unfortunately, as the resort restructured to become a less premier product, the Spa was on the chopping block.

Past Rooms & Suites

Explorer Rooms

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1996 onwards)

One of the original standard Alton Towers Hotel rooms. The Explorer Room invited guests into a world of adventure, with a secret drawer to be discovered and decoration based around a vintage map.

Around the room could be found various trinkets brought back from Sir Algenon’s travels, including a lamp made from the boots of Captain Henry Morgan.

The original Explorer Rooms are the rooms that contain bunk beds and they were rethemed into Discovery Rooms in 2003 after the opening of Splash Landings.

Garden Rooms

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1996 - 2003)

The other half of the standard rooms at the Alton Towers Hotel were originally the Garden Rooms. These rooms were much more traditional in style, with strong floral motifs and wallpaper inspired by trellis.

Despite the more traditional theme, the hotel still brought quirky details into the rooms, with lamps made out of watering cans and straw hats.

In 2003, all the Alton Towers Hotel rooms were rethemed into Discovery Rooms (now the modern Explorer Rooms), though you can still tell if your room used to be a Garden Room if it doesn’t contain bunk beds.

Coca-Cola Fizzy Factory

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1996 - 2003)

In 1996, the new hotel brought new sponsorship opportunities to Alton Towers with Coca-Cola sponsoring the Fizzy Factory, bringing a refreshing night’s sleep to any guests staying in this ‘olde worlde’ drinks factory, complete with all you could drink from an old fashioned drink fountain.

The suite, located on the top floor of the hotel, could sleep up to six and was a popular choice for guests, so much so that when the suite was removed in 2004 the “all you can drink” concept (and some of the furniture) was retained in the new Celebration Suite. The Fizzy Factory itself was replaced by the Big Pyjama Suite.

Cadbury’s Chocolate Room

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1996 - 2003)

The other sponsored room that opened with the hotel was the Cadbury’s Chocolate Room, which allowed guests to relax amidst a factory that Willy Wonka himself would be proud of. The room was themed as though it was built from chocolate bars and offered guests as much chocolate as they could eat, some of which could be found in vintage-looking vending contraptions, which adorned the walls.

There is still a Chocolate Room in the hotel today, though this is much smaller than the original suite and located on the floor below. The original Chocolate Room closed in 2003 to be replaced by the Celebration Suite.

Nemesis Room

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1997 - 2003)

For many years, the brave could test their nerve by spending the night under the watchful gaze of the Nemesis monster in this unique themed room. The Nemesis Room opened the year after the hotel in 1997, a sign of the success of the hotel’s themed suite programme and their desire to expand the offering.

Despite its late arrival on the scene, the Nemesis Room was one of the first to be removed in 2003; the idea of sleeping beneath the Nemesis monster possibly dissuading potential customers from booking. It was replaced by the new Chocolate Room, which was a world away from the room’s monstrous past.

Princess Suite

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1996 - 2005)

When the hotel first opened, it had two luxury hotel suites for two people located on the upper floor of the hotel. Alongside the Arabian Nights Suite, the Princess Suite offered pampered luxury for those who wanted to spend a night in their very own fairytale medieval castle.

Offering a much more traditional style room, the Princess Suite was always the less popular of the two luxury suites, and so in 2005 it was amongst the first set of themed suites to be replaced. The Princess Suite was replaced by the family friendly Imperial Suite (now the Splish Splash Suite), though hidden reminders of the suite can still be seen in both the Splish Splash Suite and Big Pyjama Suites, which both reused various pieces of furniture from the Princess Suite.

Oblivion Room

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1998 - 2006)

1998 saw the hotel expand its themed suite offering, with a new room based around Oblivion, the park’s latest coaster project. As with the other additional themed rooms added after the initial four, the Oblivion Room was created out of the standard room stock, and likely saw two standard room knocked together to create a suite that could sleep up to six.

The Oblivion Room was one of the few rooms to survive the first round of room rethemes in 2004, but its days were numbered and it was removed two years later. In 2006 the futuristic and rather stark Oblivion Room made way for the bright and bold Sleepover Suite.

Tatty Teddy Rooms

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2007 - 2014)

These beautifully realised rooms invited guests into the charming world of Tatty Teddy. The Dreamy Den was aimed at couples on a romantic break, whilst the Hidden Hideaway was more family orientated, though both rooms could sleep up to four guests.

Tatty Teddy left the resort in 2014, but the two rooms remained, reimagined into the perfect luxury breaks for grown-ups, with pampering gifts and a bottle of Prosecco upon arrival.

Sonic the Hedgehog Room

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2010 - 2016)

If you dream of falling to sleep in the Green Hill Zone, this was the room for you. The room brought the iconic Sonic level to life, complete with a dedicated gaming area, where guests could play your way through a catalogue of Sonic’s adventures.

Sonic stayed at the hotel until the end of 2016 and was replaced by the Princess Room for the 2017 season.

Celebration Suite

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2004 - 2017)

Inspired by the larger than life celebration of Mardi Gras, this suite made its grand entrance in 2004. The Celebration Suite ignited a party atmosphere, complete with balloons and a fridge full of refreshing Coca Cola.

The suite was replaced by the current Coca Cola Room in 2017, though many elements of the Celebration Suite can still be found in the room today, including the party busy bunk beds.

Mike The Knight Room

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2014 - 2018)

This room transported guests to the Kingdom of Glendragon. If you had what it takes to become a knight, you could even take part in the Mike the Knight magical treasure quest challenge to find a special reward!

The room slept up to five people and opened in May 2014 with CBeebies Land. It was the first of the CBeebies themed rooms to be removed, closing part way through 2018.

Tree Fu Tom’s Treeling Hideout

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2014 - 2019)

This secret hideout was alive with the sounds and smells of Treetopolis. Guests could help Tom, Twigs and their friends use Big World Magic to reveal the location of a special treat! This room slept up to 5 people. It opened in May 2014 with CBeebies Land and closed at the end of 2019.

Charlie and Lola Room

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2014 - 2019)

Charlie and Lola were having a sleepover in their themed bedroom. Whilst staying over, you could take part in the buggy trail treasure hunt to try and find Charlie and Lola and their special treat. This room slept up to 5 people. It opened in May 2014 with CBeebies Land and closed at the end of 2019.

Postman Pat’s Sorting Office

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2014 - 2019)

In this room you could help Postman Pat sorting the mail, whilst staying over in his very special sorting office. And whilst sorting your parcels, you might even have found yourself a little treat! This room slept up to 5 people and also came with a selection of Postman Pat DVD’s. It opened in May 2014 with CBeebies Land and closed at the end of 2019.

The Chocolate Room

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2004 - 2021)

The luxurious décor of this travel inspired room was based around a marvellously understated railway compartment, complimented by as much chocolate as you could eat.

This version of the Chocolate Room opened as one of the reimagined suites during 2004, replacing the Nemesis Room. It closed at the start of 2021, being replaced by the current 'chocolate factory' version of the Chocolate Room.

Hidden Hideaway Rooms

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2014 - 2023)

Bright and breezy, the Hideaway offered cottagecore luxury for those wanting a relaxing stay at Alton Towers. As a bonus the room came with a complimentary Elemis gift bag, Prosecco and three hour access to the Spa relaxation rooms.

The Hidden Hideaway was originally one of the Tatty Teddy Rooms, but got a facelift in 2014 when the mascot left the park. It was then linked with the Spa, but closed at the end of the 2023 season, just ahead of the Spa itself.

Peter Rabbit Burrow

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1998 - 2024)

Immersed in the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, this lavishly themed room brings the wonderful characters and stories to life in this fantasy warren.

The two room could be booked as a suite, using the connecting door, with the neighbouring Benjamin Bunny Room. These rooms were among the earliest themed rooms to be added to the hotels, opening in 1998.

Benjamin Bunny Room

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1998 - 2024)

Sleep like a vegetable in Mr Mcgregor's Garden in this immersive room, themed to the tale of Benjamin Bunny. The lavishly themed room brings the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter to life, as you fell asleep in this fantasy garden setting.

The room could be connected to the neighbouring Peter Rabbit Burrow to form a suite. The Beatrix Potter rooms were among the earliest themed rooms to be added to the hotels, opening in 1998.

Ice Age Suite

(Splash Landings Hotel, 2012 - 2024)

From the tropical heat of the Caribbean to the freezing Ice Age, but you were as snug as a sloth when you joined Sid, Manny, Scrat and Diego in this fantastic room.

Past Food & Drink

Time For Tea

(Alton Towers Hotel, 1996 - 1997)

When the hotel first opened, there was a traditional tea shop in the lobby, offering lighter bites than the Secret Garden or elevenses for those having a relaxing morning in the hotel. Time For Tea’s façade was located in the opposite corner to the reception desk, though its seating spread throughout the area.

It would seem the shop was less than popular, having closed within the first couple of seasons of the hotel’s opening. Despite its long absence, remains of Time for Tea can still be seen around the hotel lobby today, where the walls are lined with clocks that were part of the café's theme. Its shopfront is still in place and over the years has been used for park ticket sales and upgrades, a Costa Coffee Portal and even the Scare Room check-in desk at Halloween.

The Emperor Grill

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2011 - 2016)

The Emperor Grill was a dedicated steak restaurant, operating out of the Emperor Suite between the Dragon Bar and Secret Garden, to add additional capacity during busy times.

The Coffee Shack

(Splash Landings Hotel, 2011 - 2017)

The Coffee Shack was the Splash Landing coffee kiosk. There were two units, the first opened opposite Flambo's Exotic Feast with a second unit following in 2014, outside the entrance to the hotel.

After its closure, the unit was SBNO for a season before being transformed in the entrance counter for Flambo’s Jambo in 2019. Since its closure, the outdoor shack has occasionally reopened with other food offerings.

Flambo's Exotic Feast

(Splash Landings Hotel, 2023 - 2017)

The OG dining experience for Splash Landing, Flambo's Exotic Feast was an all-you-can-eat buffet style restaurant, with a tropical/round the world vibe to its menu.

One of the more memorable features of the restaurant was the iconic umbrella fountain, which cascaded water down from the lobby above. The fountain was refurbished into the water feature we see today around 2013. Flambo's Exotic Feast closed at the start of 2017 along with the rest of Splash Landings, and reopened as Flambo's Jambo in May of the same year, after minor alterations.

The Crooked Teaspoon

(Enchanted Village, 2015 - 2017)

Part of the Tree Top Quest reception area, The Crooked Teaspoon was on hand to offer drinks and light snack to those that had braved the high ropes course.

The unit closed along with the rest of Tree Tops Quest at the end of the 2017 Winter Season and was later repurposed to become the reception for the Stargazing Pods in 2019.

Tipi Bar

(Enchanted Village, 2017 - 2023)

The Enchanted Tipi was a festival-style bar alongside the Stargazing Pods, having originally been introduced in the Enchanted Village.

Coffee Portal

(Alton Towers Hotel, 2016 - 2024)

An ideal spot to grab a cuppa before you head out for your day on park, the Coffee Portal was located in the reception of the Alton Tower Hotel. The portal opened in 2016, in the shopfront that had formerly been an annual pass desk and more recently had been used as the reception for the Altonville Motel during the 2012-2013 Scarefests.

For a potted history of each of the hotels, check out individual hotel pages for a look at how they have evolved over the years they have been open.