Stargazing Pods

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Matt N, 7th Nov 2017.

  1. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    Since we're using film/movie analogies, the world of cinema, games and literature is stuffed full of sequel's and spinoffs that got rave reviews at time of release but later got critically and culturally panned when it eventually turned out that they were dog crap once the hype died down.

    The point is that poor quality is forgiven at the time but leaves a bitter taste long term. These pods seem "cheap" compared to other accommodation on resort. I'm sure if you've blagged a bargain and associate your stay in them with a visit to Alton Towers when you've never been before or haven't been in many years then I'm sure you've had a good time. But the OG post from @AstroDan was about the longevity of this particular proposition and what experience it adds to the resort long term.

    The pods were a typical short term cash grab of the late PLC Merlin era, whereby you knock something up quick on the cheap for short term gain and bragging rights and to hell with the long term consequences. That's next year's problem after all. I'm sure they could possibly leave a long term legacy of being a (very small) collection of affordable rooms in the future, but for now they are over priced sheds attached to a downgraded theme park.

    The difference at Europa is that theirs where genuinely conceived as an affordable way of accessing a premium park. Alton see accommodation as the bread and butter and have the park = accommodation income strategy the wrong way round. if you have an excellent attraction, people will pitch up cheap tents in fields to get a taste. With the main attraction being in the state it's currently in, where does that leave this so called "budget option" in a few years time? When you're no longer visiting Alton for it's theme park experience, where does that leave cheap sheds in a poorly landscaped field next to it? I'd argue that the (dwindling) quality of accommodation in the 2 original hotels is part of the few high quality experiences you can have that's left at the resort.

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  2. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Agree about a previous post suggesting expanding the enchanted village. That would have been ideal particularly if it were to reduce the cost of staying in the lodges a bit. The crooked spoon could have been expanded to make it like a decent pub/restaurant with entertainment area along with outdoor fire pit in the summer etc.
    A decent adventure playground leading off the expansion in to the treetop quest would have enhanced the woodland feel.
    When I wander around the stargazing area and just think it’s a mess. Three crappy telescopes in a muddy field with overgrown grass. If they had put a small decking area outside each pod with a bench it may of helped at least people then could of sat outside to look at the stars! Better still, a clear panel in the roof to look at them while you lay in bed. There is nothing start gazing about these sheds that’s for sure! Except the price is astronomical!
     
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  3. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I've not stayed there but the Enchanted village looks alright, okay size hotel rooms with a separate kids sleeping area and en suite facilities. Nicely landscaped and kids play spaces to explore. From what I've read the Crooked Spoon is too small and the village should have had some central gathering/entertainment area (apparently due to covid they are doing outdoor entertainment from a small gazebo, so a permanent set up would be nice.

    But the "Stargazing" pods don't have any of the facilities, no catering, no proper reception, no entertainment space, not even an additional kids play area.
     
  4. Plastic Person

    Plastic Person TowersStreet Member

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    I have different standards and expectations for films and media than I do theme parks, but they're nonetheless both rooted in creativity and pleasure of the consumer. From the perspective of someone closer to a twice-a-year franchise movie cinema-goer than an arthouse buff when it comes to theme park visitation, I wouldn't stay in the Stargazing Pods because they look crap, lack the charm or character I'd expect from the brand and are ludicrously overpriced. Of course, it's my choice as a consumer to make that decision, but it's a path to ruinous banality to not imagine that a park with the profile of Alton Towers couldn't have done much better.

    Post-pandemic and post Merlin stock buyout, I hope that we might be pleasantly surprised over the coming years that the resort shifts into a more quality > quantity direction. I stayed at the park lots from the late-nineties until the late oughts and was happy to shell out for the 'magical' experience, as were my parents on the earlier visits. I'm not a nostalgist, but this has been diluted. Stargazing Pods is probably the nadir of that shift.
     
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  5. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    There has been lots of things come and go within the hotel as well that feels like a quantity>quality issue too. No more teddy bears in the ATH rooms, no little extras like the goody bags with Top Trump style cards that they did in the early 2000s. Just very few touches that make it feel worth paying the extra compared to a Premier Inn.
     
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  6. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Well in the end I booked a nice B&B for 2 nights in May just 5 minutes away for £140 and that includes a decent breakfast and a toilet in the room!
     
  7. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    I've stayed in the EV a few times and it's honestly pretty decent. Especially in summer when you can sit on your porch with a pint whilst the kids run around the play areas. It's nice. It just seems a bit plain and there always feels like there's something missing.

    The pods however just look like cheap wooden sheds shoehorned onto a spare field. They ruin the look and feel of EV in the same way CBBH does in ATH garden.

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  8. Jonathan

    Jonathan TowersStreet Member

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    First time I stayed in the EV was May 2016. It was nice to just sit on the porch enjoying the good weather with a drink or two. Shame the pods look to be nowhere near as good.
     
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  9. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    EV is nice, especially in the summer as you have the outdoor area. The problem comes from the cleanliness of the room and lack of any ventilation in the hot summer months.

    Also, if you have a noisy family next door then you are screwed as the floors are hollow and the walls pretty thin.

    I did consider EV but was too expensive.
     
  10. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    I stayed in EV once in 2019 for Scarefest. It's nice accommodation however I agree with Matt that it feels like there's something missing (can't quite put my finger on what though).

    The pods are atrocious for the prices advertised. I think working on the Tipi would be a start and doing something to the large space in the centre of the complex, perhaps get a larger indoor building there with a bar and entertainment, with an outdoor fire pit for the warmer months.
     
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  11. jmc

    jmc TowersStreet Member

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    The pods are very evidently a budget option, which definitely should be provided, but the price is extortion for what it is and I would never pay it.

    A major improvement could be to really tap in to the whole idea of ‘glamping’. Provide outdoor evening entertainment in the summer months with little stalls, beer, face painting, kids activities etc. Almost like a little family festival vibe. It would keep people happy and potentially spin a bit of extra money. I cant imagine what people do at the moment when they get back to their pod and just shut the doors for the night.

    I have always felt the ‘Resort’ side of things is incredibly disjointed anyway. Rather than having a proper change to the infrastructure each time they have built accommodation (which I know would cost money), they have just kind of tacked it on where they can. This just results in a constant hopping across car parks between each location, including the theme park. It also makes you feel quite isolated within your particular choice of accommodation, exasperating the lack of things to do.

    If more people knew just how accessible European parks are these days (you can literally get a couple of nights/days away for about the same price as one night at Towers) then they wouldn’t dream of paying these prices. I suppose that is one con of being isolated from the continent.


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  12. Sharko

    Sharko TowersStreet Member

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    I enjoyed my visit to EV, however I think what it is missing is trees. It would look a bit nicer if there was a bit more nature/vegetation, since that is sort of the theme. However, very much enjoyed sitting on the porch with a bottle of Doom bar, watching the world go by.
     
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  13. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I've not visited but it sounds like this is what Warwick Castle got right with their Glamping, there is decent outdoor evening entertainment. The attractions could learn a lot from each other.
     
  14. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    I know the Crooked Spoon has it's issues, mainly capacity, but sitting on that porch outside that in the summer with a beer is also very nice. I like the design and concept of EV.

    Perhaps you're right, maybe it is trees and shubbery. Or perhaps it's colour. I just can't put my finger on it but it just doesn't seem lived in. Like it was a week away from being finished and opened anyway.

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  15. EuroSatch

    EuroSatch TowersStreet Member

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    I keep seeing they are pushing the Stargazing Pods as being open from 12th April. Does anyone know how they intend to get around the issue of bathing and toilet facilities not being self contained? Will they be closing off the shower facilities but not telling anyone who is making a booking that they won’t be able to wash?
     
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  16. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Single entry to the bog block with traffic lights would do.
    Maximum four minutes, fasttrack extra.
     
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  17. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    Under the rules toilet blocks are not allowed to open either... camping sites inc glamping (which these pods are effectively) are recommending people only book with their own chemical toilets at hand. Unless Towers are going to try and slip past this and have a one in one out policy with the loo.

    Either way it's a no from me.
     
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  18. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    From next week it seems like there are various dates that the pods are priced at £78 for the night. This is the cheapest I have seen these available for since they opened. Interesting in a time when the other accommodation is going for full wack.

    There is also no option to add towels onto the booking, so I don’t know if these are included now, or if you can only pay for them on check-in.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    The Pods will be so cheap - as above - as if what the Caravan Club are saying is correct [highly likely] they can open communal toilet & washing facilities at their campsites, but not showers.

    So £78 for a night in a pig shed with just a toilet & sink available for sanitation - doubtless with limited access / having to queue to keep numbers in the toilet block under control. No thanks.

    Premier Inn at Uttoxeter or Travelodge in Ashbourne look like very attractive alternatives!
     
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  20. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    The showers are open, no idea how they have been able to do that though.
     

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