The Hotels: A deep-seated culture of mediocrity

Ian

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Dizz, Bobby’s Yarn Land 🧶
Not only do they get baked, they also then need to be frozen too, which of course uses power as well. But irregardless of the impact from the generation of the products, the fact is you have several hundred piece of non-recyclable plastic being consumed each week.

Either way though, the crux of the issue is that the quality simply isn’t there. It shouldn’t be that hard to offer a bake-off option as other hotels and stores manage to do. But as with the whole sorry affair that is Towers’ breakfast, quality comes in a very distant third place behind cost and convenience.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
They would be frozen either way, its just one is bake from frozen the other is defrost (or not as is actually the case) to serve.

I was only being half-serious about the electricity impact of baking versus packaged. Of course the plastic impact is greater in the wrapped ones.

On the plastic cup thing, they really should use resuable plastic cups on park that can go through a dishwasher. Do they use glass in welcom-inn?
 

Craig

TS Administrator
They would be frozen either way, its just one is bake from frozen the other is defrost (or not as is actually the case) to serve.

I was only being half-serious about the electricity impact of baking versus packaged. Of course the plastic impact is greater in the wrapped ones.

On the plastic cup thing, they really should use resuable plastic cups on park that can go through a dishwasher. Do they use glass in welcom-inn?
Oh they would be, but it’d be far nicer if they baked the em up on site so they’re not stone cold in the middle when it comes to the packaged ones.

And nope the only place to have beer served in a glass is Woodcutters on park. Everywhere else is plastic ☹️
 

NuttySquirrel

TS Member
Moving away from the plastic glasses discussion (which should probably have its own topic by now! ;) ) I can vouch for the quality of accommodation at Efteling as being far better value for money than any of the AT options. Three of us stayed one might in a hotel-type room (not a chalet) at Efteling Bosrijk, costing us £114 each with 2-day park tickets. This effectively meant that the accommodation itself cost no more than £40 each (slighty more for @John as he would have got 1 free day with his Europa-Park pass, though we didn't know that when booking). The quality of the accommodation was pretty high - a sizeable family room with a separate 'children's room' with a bunk bed, themed bedding, a children's story book and plenty of space. The 'adult' room had a four-poster bed, a chesterfield sofa and a games/card table, along with a TV, fridge and decent tea/coffee making facilities (including a Nespresso). There were also some upgrades available and I was able to arrange for a beer gift set to be left in the room for my husband (to his delight after a hot day on park!) - you can also order soft toys for the kids, party packs, birthday cakes etc. Breakfast options looked really good - a large selection of pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurts, cereals, fresh bread, along with the usual fare of strange European meats and cheeses. The on-site restaurant was really nice as well if a tad pricey: well themed, and a pleasant atmosphere in the evening for a couple of quiet drinks. Overall, pretty impressed - and this is the standard that AT really need to be aiming for if they want to consider themselves a top European theme park.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Moving away from the plastic glasses discussion (which should probably have its own topic by now! ;) ) I can vouch for the quality of accommodation at Efteling as being far better value for money than any of the AT options. Three of us stayed one might in a hotel-type room (not a chalet) at Efteling Bosrijk, costing us £114 each with 2-day park tickets. This effectively meant that the accommodation itself cost no more than £40 each (slighty more for @John as he would have got 1 free day with his Europa-Park pass, though we didn't know that when booking). The quality of the accommodation was pretty high - a sizeable family room with a separate 'children's room' with a bunk bed, themed bedding, a children's story book and plenty of space. The 'adult' room had a four-poster bed, a chesterfield sofa and a games/card table, along with a TV, fridge and decent tea/coffee making facilities (including a Nespresso). There were also some upgrades available and I was able to arrange for a beer gift set to be left in the room for my husband (to his delight after a hot day on park!) - you can also order soft toys for the kids, party packs, birthday cakes etc. Breakfast options looked really good - a large selection of pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurts, cereals, fresh bread, along with the usual fare of strange European meats and cheeses. The on-site restaurant was really nice as well if a tad pricey: well themed, and a pleasant atmosphere in the evening for a couple of quiet drinks. Overall, pretty impressed - and this is the standard that AT really need to be aiming for if they want to consider themselves a top European theme park.

Price-wise I think you can stay at AT for similar prices, the difference being the amount for the ticket vs room.
Random date of Friday 9 September, is £388 for two adults and one child in moon voyage room (so has slight seperation of bunk beds) with two day tickets. But thats £244 for the room and £114 for tickets. Whereas you paid £342 at Eftling, but that was £120 for the room and £224 for tickets from what you said.
AT charge silly prices for accommodation, but lower prices (especially for two days) for tickets.
Whereas most European parks (excluding Disney!) charge higher prices for the park and reasonable values for accommodation.
 

NuttySquirrel

TS Member
Price-wise I think you can stay at AT for similar prices, the difference being the amount for the ticket vs room.
Random date of Friday 9 September, is £388 for two adults and one child in moon voyage room (so has slight seperation of bunk beds) with two day tickets. But thats £244 for the room and £114 for tickets. Whereas you paid £342 at Eftling, but that was £120 for the room and £224 for tickets from what you said.
AT charge silly prices for accommodation, but lower prices (especially for two days) for tickets.
Whereas most European parks (excluding Disney!) charge higher prices for the park and reasonable values for accommodation.
Day tickets for Efteling are actually less than Alton Towers - on the days we were there they would have been 44 euros, so about £37pp. Six tickets at that price would be £222 (at gate prices). I don't think Efteling do discounted multi-day tickets though, so it pays to stay on resort.
 
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evilcod

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Pirates of the Caribbean - Paris
Whereas most European parks (excluding Disney!) charge higher prices for the park and reasonable values for accommodation.
DLP very much do this but to the extreme for their budget accommodation. We recently stayed:
Cheyenne 2 nights including 3 day park hopper tickets for 2 Adults & 2 Children - £969.86
Alone the 3 day park hopper tickets for 2 Adults & 2 Children would have been - £929.52
Making a 2 night hotel stay: £40.34 so per person per night: £5.05 😅

Obviously this doesn't include breakfast (though does include complimentary vending machine coffee) but otherwise the room and facilities were of Towers standard and far far better than the Stargazing Pods.
 

Craig

TS Administrator
Since we've veered off discussion about the hotels and more onto the resort's sustainability efforts, I've moved a lot of posts concerning this to a separate Sustainability Topic.

It's difficult to move everything into there of course, but talk about disposable cups in the park certainly doesn't fit into discussion about the hotels. That was my bad as well for replying to it *slaps wrist* but carry on with hotels in here, pointless plastic crap being used on park over in the other topic :).
 

AT86

TS Member
Just noticed that the Trip Advisor rating for Alton Towers Hotel has recently dropped down from 4 stars to 3.5, putting it at the same level Splash has been at for a number of years.
 

mo237

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Symbolica
With regards to the hotel foyers becoming kids clubs and there being a lack of things for adults/older children to enjoy - yeah, totally agree on that one. The Resort has obviously gone the route of "quantity over quality", when in fact, it should really be the inverse. Opening more accommodation made sense when both "main" hotels were consistently busy - but unfortunately, the arrival of Enchanted Village and subsequent keys brought down the quality to previously unthinkable standards.

Each Hotel has (or at least, originally had) it's own clear demographic - ATH for families with older children, Splash for those with youngsters, Enchanted Village/Stargazing Pods as a cost-friendly mix of the two, and CBeebies for the super duper young children. You'll always have a mix of ages staying at every place, but the entertainment solely being aimed for the under tens across the board makes the Resort Experience to be begrudingly homogeneous. With the general age in mind, it sort of makes sense for there to be an over-abundance of kid-friendly stuff. Children don't like to walk far - especially after a long day on park - so having Splash so far away from, say, Enchanted Village, could be a negative. However, that market is strictly limited, alienating all else. On a typical night - you'll have the choice of party dances in ATH, party dances in Splash, or nothing in the Tipi. Pick your poison - regardless, it's pretty much the same.

Changing the style of entertainment in each Hotel, and encouraging those seeking a certain atmosphere to either book a certain place, or at the very least, take the short walk to the other foyer, would be a great move in my opinion. Given the high-octane, holiday nature of Splash, it'd make sense to keep that for your party dances - just make sure the volume isn't quite so obnoxious so adults can hide in the seating area behind the bar without an additional purchase of painkillers. For ATH, I'd wager a "less is more" approach would be appropriate - perhaps the odd quirky, classy Jazz group or a (obviously clean) comedian. But above all - just make it a nice, subtle place to chill, with some suitably calm music. Enchanted Village has the Tipi, which could make for a good middle-ground. Something with energy, but not enough to be grating for the older crowd.

Some people are suggesting an adults only zone, but I honestly don't think that would work at Towers. Being a family Resort, creating an area exclusively for those without children would create a sense of seperation in the experience for some.

But there's only so much entertainment and drinking can do, and it's here where I turn to a pure fantasy that'd likely never happen - wouldn't it be nice if each Hotel had a little walk-through in a similar vein to Hocus Pocus Hall? It doesn't need to be anything amazing, just something short and sweet to wonder through. I seem to recall there being some laser-dodging thing at Europa (something about a jewel heist?) that could be a cute little thing to keep kids entertained in a self-contained area - stuff like that would work well. Cheap stuff like treasure hunts for a small gift, beating your speed in the laser thing, or something else entirely - they're tiny things that add value to the experience. You wouldn't necessariy need too much staffing for these as well. However, space is an issue - they'd work best with smart integration rather than being shoved into a prefabricated space. Second gate experiences, such as Golf, are a great start - we need more of those please!
 

Matt.GC

TS Member
And yet, AT as a park itself only seems to go from the extremes of catering for teenagers and adults to pre-schoolers.

As a father of what many of you would call "brats" getting in the way of your sophisticated drinking habits, I find the accommodation and waterpark more forgiving to families than the park itself. There's pretty much bugger all for kids too old for Cbeebies between 0.9 and 1.2mtrs high to do in the park and it only gets marginally better once they reach 1.2. It seems that the hotels are still in the era of when families would want to visit when there were decent family attractions on park to enjoy.

I think the problem is trying to keep families booking those lucrative hotel stays when as a resort AT doesn't deliver. It's like the force feeding of high volume family entertainment is making up for the deficiencies of the park itself.

If you want an adult only bar, go to a strip club.
 

Dave

TS Founding Member
So stayed over with the family on Sunday (only braved it as we got very a good price on the rooms. Not going to go over everything folk have said but key points:

1) Check in is weirdly overly complex if you have more than one room in your booking and the people on the desk don’t want to check in anyone it seems.

2) Enchanted village rooms starting to show some age but not getting much love.

3) When we arrived at our enchanted village room one of the rooms doors was wide open which didn’t fill us full of confidence.

4) Booked evening meal at Secret garden, service was ok, they no longer offer starters, the menu for mains has about 8 options and sausage and mash for £18 is a joke. The food itself was average to good.

5) The atrium is chaos, I get it’s a family resort but there is nowhere for adults or children who don’t want to be in that loud environment to enjoy their time. Thankfully it was warm enough outside to enjoy a drink in relative calm but if it was raining it really would be unbearable.

6) Breakfast was its usual below average self.

7) I did think all the staff where friendly and helpful however, lady behind the bar was dancing along as she prepared drinks and SG staff friendly and helpful.

As it stands we paid £100 per room for a night and anything above that is not worth the money to stay on resort these days.
 

GaryH

TS Member
Thing is they are going to have to lower the prices this year surely, people won’t be able to afford it. Although I dread to think how much it costs to run a hotel, particularly one work old electric room heaters and a water park!
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Thing is they are going to have to lower the prices this year surely, people won’t be able to afford it. Although I dread to think how much it costs to run a hotel, particularly one work old electric room heaters and a water park!
That’s the issue; every time something becomes more expensive for us, it becomes more expensive for the businesses as well. It’s a lose lose situation.

Let’s hope the cost of living crisis subsides before too long…
 

GaryH

TS Member
True but it’s also about perceived quality. Take apple products for example. Cost much much more than they are worth but they are deemed to be a quality product. Same with a posh hotel, does it really cost the Savoy £800 a night for someone to stay in a basic room? No, but people do because her know they will get a quality experience.

Alton towers hotels sadly used to have this, but no more. People were happy to pay more to stay in an on-site hotel because they knew they would get perks (discount vouchers, early ride time, exclusive use pf the pool etc) and be able to have some decent entertainment and a meal in the evening. It was deemed a quality experience which separated the on site hotels from your premier inn or local B&B.

This has now gone, and guests no longer feel they are getting a quality experience. Things like cleaning away litter as posted a few days ago on here, being friendly to guests checking in, ensuring the rooms are clean before letting a guests occupy it and checking everything works, having ERT or exclusive time in the water park all these things add to the perceived quality of the stay for which people would pay more for.

As it stands now, staying in the hotels just been you get free parking and you can enter the park via galactica entrance. That’s it. Where is the justification for the cost of staying there compared to a local hotel/B&B which now actually offer a nice experience?

Sadly the practice in the hotels is one of visually maximising profits and disregarding guests experience. You only have to see the constant same cut and paste “speak to guest services” response to all the complaints on Tripadvisor.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Thing is they are going to have to lower the prices this year surely, people won’t be able to afford it. Although I dread to think how much it costs to run a hotel, particularly one work old electric room heaters and a water park!

There will be a point where it is better to leave a floor of the hotel vacant, or even an entire hotel closed to save on staffing costs. Its easier for housekeeping to clean one fully occupied floor instead of having a few guests on each of multiple floors. Then better to maintain a reasonable price with fewer guests instead of cutting to bargain basement prices.
 
And yet, AT as a park itself only seems to go from the extremes of catering for teenagers and adults to pre-schoolers.

As a father of what many of you would call "brats" getting in the way of your sophisticated drinking habits, I find the accommodation and waterpark more forgiving to families than the park itself. There's pretty much bugger all for kids too old for Cbeebies between 0.9 and 1.2mtrs high to do in the park and it only gets marginally better once they reach 1.2. It seems that the hotels are still in the era of when families would want to visit when there were decent family attractions on park to enjoy.
I can relate to this, one of mine is not quite 1.2 yet but is over 0.9 and is a bit old for CBeebies now (still enjoys some of the attractions though). We’ve cut down our visits to towers because they were getting bored/frustrated about not being able to go on many coasters like their sibling can, there’s only so many times you can re ride the likes of RMT, driving school and the fart drop tower. There is a gaping hole in the Towers line up, especially if you’re below average height like my kids are, Hex being closed long term isn’t helping and there are no playgrounds outside of CBeebies either which Is something Towers really needs imo, even Thorpe has a new playground! But I feel I’m going way off topic so I’ll leave it there.
 
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Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
My point, along with I am sure many others, is that hotels should cater even in a small way for those without children. Look somewhere like EP, there's spaces like Spirit of St Louis or for a more extreme if less pleasant, El Circo. Outside EP, you couldn't imagine hearing children's entertainment from say Bar 1919, these are places to relax without chaos and carnage. Changing ATH ents to as mentioned above, a nice relaxed and turned down adult music set up, rather than Baby Shark at 169dB
 
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