2015: Alton Towers Enchanted Village

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ian, 6th Mar 2014.

  1. Scott

    Scott Former TS Team Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    I'd be surprised if this was two stage to be honest. The previous plans that were submitted clearly stated that there was a phase 1 (due in 2014) and then a phase 2 to be built based upon popularity.

    As far as I'm aware these plans don't mention that there is a second phase planned? Of course it might become a second phase if this is successful - who knows.

    After all, the park committed to extending accommodation in the LTDP - and they have at least fulfilled it. So maybe they will go further still with these lodges.
     
    Posted 8th Mar 2014
    #61
  2. CoasterCrazyChris

    CoasterCrazyChris TowersStreet Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    It has taken them 11 years (and 12/13 years by the time it's built) to get around to expanding the resort accommodation. Considering Tussauds managed to build two hotels, a waterpark, conference centre and pool/spa facility in the space of seven years this really puts it into perspective.

    This is the bare minimum expected after all this time really. I'm surprised they are not going ahead with the expansion of the ATH as well especially as they are expanding the spa.

    :)
     
    Posted 8th Mar 2014
    #62
  3. Scott

    Scott Former TS Team Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    Mentioning the ATH extension actually I have two questions that people might be able to answer:

    - when does the planning app end?

    - does the spa extension take up where the hotel extension was planned for?
     
    Posted 8th Mar 2014
    #63
  4. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    The documents for the planning extension are not working but i think they asked for 10 years. so 2021. The Spa extension is towards the lodges field (old field of 100 screams location). The hotel extension was at the back of the hotel garden.

    As for the extension i think they still plan to do it but certainly they seem keen on refurbishing the existing rooms first (all rooms are getting rethemed in the next few seasons). And to be fair to Towers it's really only been the last 3 or 4 seasons that the hotels have been hitting capacity on a regular basis.
     
    Posted 8th Mar 2014
    #64
  5. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    Because since Splash Landings was built Tussaud's/Merlin have built hotels at Chessington, a Legoland and Thorpe.
    Also if you aren't filling the existing hotels to capacity why build more? Shortly after 9/11 when the Americlan economy was suffering Disney stopped building accommodation and temporally closed two hotels until the demand increased again.
    Now that Alton Towers is seeing more demand for accommodation and also they re looking to get into the self contained lodge accommodation market it's time to build again.
     
    Posted 8th Mar 2014
    #65
  6. Jordan

    Jordan TS Contributor

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    This is the planning permission they have for the hotel extension:

    [​IMG]
     
    Posted 8th Mar 2014
    #66
  7. CoasterCrazyChris

    CoasterCrazyChris TowersStreet Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    Having studied the revised plans more closely it does look like they will be going ahead with both a spa and hotel extension....
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #67
  8. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    It doesn't quite confirm they will be building it. The application outlines that they have permission for a hotel extension as well as additional parking. They are building the additional parking which they got permission for years ago. Hotel extension is mentioned on there just so the planners are clear as to how they are using the lodges space in relation to these other approved plans.

    The Spa garden extension is a part of the lodge application. It's not a massive extension, just an added garden at the back of it so it can be secluded from the lodges development (will be nice to see it have its own garden though).

    I think Towers do have the intention of building the extension. However maybe not until the application is near the end of expiring. They seem keen to refurbish all the rooms in the hotel first before moving energy and finances towards a new extension. The last few years of the hotels getting to capacity at time could lead to things moving a bit quicker though.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #68
  9. CoasterCrazyChris

    CoasterCrazyChris TowersStreet Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    I think on the plans it shows they want to expand the spa on all sides with more relaxation rooms, bigger changing rooms and a much larger reception as well as the spa garden?

    It would be logical to build the new rooms at the same time as the spa expansion as they are practically one building. However it may well be later as you say.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #69
  10. Sam

    Sam TowersStreet Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    I only want to see new bars if they put more effort into them than the two current bars. The two bars at the Resort at the moment are very bland. They're nothing different to what you'd get at a middle-of-the-road city centre chain pub/bar - Dragon Bar especially feels like a little Wetherspoons (though with much less drink/food on offer). Ma's is a bit better I guess, but both feel very soulless.

    Going to a theme park should allow you to access experiences that you can't at home. The bars at the moment are just places to get a drink of whatever, and I imagine they are entirely forgettable to most of the public who visit them. Compare this to EP, where bars like Bar Buena Vista and Bar Colosseo are central to the life and soul of their respective hotels, and the spectacular decor and range of drinks they offer mark them out completely from your average German city-centre bar.

    Most of it is an initial capital expenditure to create a spectacular themed environment, and then it wouldn't cost much more to run than the two uninspiring bars they have right now. They could build a bar that is a draw in itself, that makes you want to come to it, rather than it just being a transactional facility to provide drinks. I'm imagining a semi-underground rabbit hole, maybe with tree stump tables and tree turned on its side for a bar. It'd be cool! It'd make people want to go and spend time there in its own right. :)
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #70
  11. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    Dragon bar and Ma'garrita's are not souless by any stretch they just have poor service. Certainly i would say both have the same amount of vibe and theme as Bar Colloseo and Circus Bar at EP. Obviously other bars at EP and Phantasia are much better but then there are much worse out there (the bars at portAventura for a start).

    Towers need more bar capacity and more drink options though.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #71
  12. Sam

    Sam TowersStreet Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    I think most who had been to Bar Colosseo/El Circo and Dragon/Ma's would disagree that they are of a similar quality in terms of the built environment and the atmosphere.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yes, those photos show a different number of people inside, but that's pretty reflective of how it always is - the Dragon Bar is rarely busy and is very small, so there are no photos of it busy, whereas Colosseo is never quiet, so there are no photos of it quiet.

    El Circo is a bit closer to Towers quality, though both EP and Phannyland bars have an intense level of detail in the decor and wall hangings that is absent from the Towers bars. That's what makes the Towers bars feel corporate and bland - yes they each have a style going on but it's very watered down and doesn't stretch any further than the fittings and furniture having a vague Chinese/tropical feel.

    [​IMG]
    El Circo. The drink selection just in this shot is absurd!

    [​IMG]
    Note the complete lack of detail in comparison.

    I actually liked the bars at PortAventura. Yes, theming and decor wise they are no better than the Towers bars, but the drink selection was a lot better. I think that's my main problem with the Towers bars - unlike at EP, Phannyland and Disney, they have extremely limited drinks selections and the staff behind the bar are not bartenders. That's really a key point - good bars have bartenders. It's what marks out good staff in an independent pub from Wetherspoons staff. It wouldn't cost Towers anything more to increase the range of spirits behind the bars - they don't go off, and offer more choice.

    Note: it may look like I picked crap photos of the AT bars above but it's because Towers haven't published any high-quality photos of their bars, and Google mostly draws a blank.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #72
  13. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    Just looked closely at the spa on the plans and it seems you are indeed correct!

    Interestingly looking close up on the new extended interior of the spa it mentions a spa reception and hotel reception in the same area (hotel reception for extension maybe?) - with a wooden walkway (outdoors) between the new car park next to the lodges and the reception area. Also shows the spa extension connecting to the (hopefully planned) hotel extension.

    Maybe the hotel extension will happen sooner. I guess when we see a spa extension application submitted it will be a bit clearer as to what plans Towers have.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #73
  14. Sam

    Sam TowersStreet Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    Presumably what is the current spa will become just the reception, changing and treatment rooms, with the extension being all the 'spa bits'. :)
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #74
  15. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    The atmosphere at the AT bars can only really be described as childish at worst and empty beyond 11pm. The new B&Q seating in Ma Garritas is awful, too. Plus - Music is basically a kids disco. The removal of the juke box was regressive too.

    I am staggered anybody could claim Bar Colosseo has a similar atmosphere. On a packed Saturday night, disco lighting and music - not a child in sight! Similarly, El Circo has its live Spanish band. Nothing like Alton where not one bar is for "grown ups"...
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #75
  16. CoasterCrazyChris

    CoasterCrazyChris TowersStreet Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    ...and that picture was taken BEFORE the horrendous recent refurbishment.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #76
  17. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    Bar Colloseo is not my kind of atmosphere, it's just a alcohol factory with no charm (unlike all the other bars at EP). And i don't really rate bar's on the presence or absence of children unless they over-take the place (which is to be fair often the case on the winter weekends at AT as there is nothing for them to do after 5pm.

    Dragon Bar on a theme park day when kids are knackered and go to bed early has a nice atmosphere. Splash less so but it's nicely themed (or was until they stated going all cartoony). Towers definately need an adult only bar though.

    But there is nothing to stop both Dragon Bar and Margs having a better atmosphere with better service and product behind them, what would help that is greater bar capacity.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #77
  18. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    I agree that Bar Colosseo isn't top of my list at EP but this talk of "charm" I fail to see with either bar at Alton. The ACTUAL Dragon Bar has some but there's next to no seating so you end up in the Atrium which has no ambient lighting really.

    Dragon Bar closes at 11, there are usually kids around till the singers finish around 10.30...

    The likes of Bar Colosseo would be great at Alton - somewhere for adults to actually hang out. I dispute the "alcohol factory" comment.

    Margs is just off reception so doesn't allow for a cosy bar atmosphere.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #78
  19. Ian

    Ian TS Site Team Team Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    For me personally, I think that the biggest issue which stands in the way of Towers' bars is the pretty abysmal service. If you ask me it actually has quite a big impact on the atmosphere in them. Neither bar is anything special, and the atmosphere is pretty dire when put next to the likes of PL's Dragon Bar, or Bar Colosseo (Not an atmosphere I enjoy personally in there, but one which I know has a wide appeal) as, like Dan says, they both have a concept and location which prevents this. At Towers a bar is... Well, just a bar in a room. There's no real depth of thought to it like you get at Colosseo, Alcazar, or Dragon Bar (PL).

    If they could just improve the service and range on offer it would improve the bars drastically for me. They would struggle to make Dragon Bar and Ma's reach the levels set by EP and co, but at present both fail to reach their full potential as they are, without trying to tackle industry leaders. I think the only way Towers could hope to match them would be with a whole new bar, on a whole new concept. I think for me this is sort of why I'm upset we won't be seeing a new bar with the lodges. It would have been a chance to start afresh, and hopefully achieve the high standards laid down by other resorts around the world.

    But ho hum, there's bigger things to get worked up over :p
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #79
  20. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    Re: Resort Lodge Development

    They could really do with keeping the Dragon Bar open late into the night. By the time ents finishes before you know it the bar is closing.

    All they need to do at a minimum is keep the bar open until 12am, have some quiet music playing and keep the lights dim around the bottom of the ship. Ideally they should have the bar open until 1am (or 2am).

    [hr]

    Main issues I find with both bars is a lack of variety of drinks. Many drinks I have in pubs around the country seem to not exist at Alton Towers. Wouldn't hurt to have more spirits in both bars - they both should have the same variety of drinks as UK pubs and much more. Lack of cocktails is another issue (which could be fixed again with more spirits).

    Poor service is another obvious flaw - and like many others I do agree that the resort needs a third bar - something on it's own that can draw people in and is aimed more at those who want just a drink and no kids running around their feet.
     
    Posted 9th Mar 2014
    #80

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