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Hotels in Colwyn Bay

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      12.04.2004 06:01
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      Once again we are on the move! Looking back over my ops in the last 2 years, I?m amazed to see just how many places we have indeed visited. And there?s me claiming to be a poor traveller! This April, Mr and Mrs Jammaker will have been married for 30 years! Daughter reckoned we should have a big ?do? to celebrate, but we thought 2 weddings in 9 months were enough ?dos? for any one family, so we have decided to get away from it all, and take off for a 6 night break on our own, and leave them to have a ?do? if they want one! Our destination this time is the Marine Hotel in Llandudno, Wales. WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS HOTEL? There were several reasons governing our final choice. Firstly, we have never actually visited this area, so it means we will be seeing something different. Secondly, having been to Australia just before Christmas, we decided we did not want to go too far afield this time. I don?t drive, and hubby decided he would like to leave the car behind on this occasion, so we decided to go with Shearings Coaches, and this hotel was in one of their brochures. As it will only be the first week in April when we go, we are not expecting heatwaves, and the Marine has an indoor swimming pool, which was a great plus! I have also heard that hotels owned and run by Shearings are often exceptionally good, and although officially classed as a 3 star hotel, they have many facilities one would expect to find in a hotel of higher classification. The final lure was the fact that travel could be arranged for the weekend just prior to our anniversary, it is possible to go for more than a couple of nights as it is the start of the Easter Holidays, and basically, we just fancied going there! Does one need any further
      reason? IMPRESSIONS OF THE HOTEL BEFORE WE GO I have seen pictures of the hotel on the Shearings website, and I must say it looks very imposing. It is three or four storeys high and stands on the seafront at the seaside town of Llandudno, in North Wales. According to the website, ?it offers comfortable furnishings, friendly service and a swimming pool perfect for active moments, but also an ideal setting in the centre of the promenade, just over the road from North Shore. Llandudno, enjoys a superb setting and tranquil ambience, combining up-to-date amenities whilst retaining its Victorian elegance.? Hmmmm. Sounds good to me so far! We have booked a double, en-suite room with a sea view for which we paid a small supplement (£3 per room per night). We are on a bed, breakfast and dinner tariff, and included in our price is coach travel to and from the resort, plus 3 trips whilst we are there. For that, we are paying £480 for the 2 of us, for 6 nights stay, which works out to approximately £40.00 each per night, including the supplement. Not bad at all! You can also book with the hotel direct, and drive yourself there, which would set you back approximately the same per night, but of course, would not include travel and excursions. Is it really worth taking the car? The hotel also runs short breaks of different kinds on selected weekends, with special offers of between £63-£73 per person for a two night stay, and a special Easter 3 night break, costing £99 per person. There are no single room supplements, which is unusual in this day and age, and there is evening entertainment on most nights. Looking at their information, this can include Ceilidh Nights, with Traditional
      Scottish entertainments from visiting bands. Now that sounds right up my street! As you can see, I am once again writing this part of my op prior to our visit. All the information above was taken from the Shearings Holiday website: http://www.shearingsholidays.com. Hereafter will be the second half of the op, including our experience of the hotel and surroundings, and my comparison with the information we have already gleaned. MARINE HOTEL AS WE FOUND IT Well the first thing I can do is to answer my own question of two paragraphs ago. No, it is most definitely NOT worth taking the car! To begin with, there was very limited car parking space, and what little there was, was on a pay and display basis. To be perfectly honest, even if you did not want to do the tours with the Hotel company, it would pay you to use their transport to and from the resort. As previously stated, the nightly tariff for self-booking and driving was exactly the same as we paid, which included all our transport costs. The Marine Hotel is situated in the centre of the promenade between Great Orme and Little Orme, and about 2 minutes walk from the centre of town. In fact, it was in an ideal situation, being far enough away from all the nightspots (I only counted 2 of these!) and the pier, yet still close to all necessary amenities. The hotel has recently been expanded by the acquisition of two adjacent hotels, which have all been knocked together to create one large hotel. It is still undergoing some refurbishment, although approximately three million pounds have been spent on it since it was enlarged. Our room was on the second floor, and was reached through a rabbit warren of corridors, up in a lift, and then more corridors! We soon
      got used to the route though, although it might be a bit off-putting for more elderly guests who can often lose their sense of direction! The room itself was fairly spacious, with a very comfortable double bed. One of the pillows was feather, to which I am somewhat allergic, but it was quickly replaced with a foam one on request. We had an en-suite bathroom, with a toilet, basin and a simply huge bath! Hubby was a little disappointed that there was no shower, even over the bath, as he prefers taking a shower. Bath towels and hand towels were provided, although they were not particularly large (maybe it?s because we tend to have bath sheets at home and have become used to that size. Guest sized bars of soap were also provided, but shampoo was not. Neither was there a hairdryer, which is unusual in a 3 star hotel. I believe you could ask for one from reception, but as we had packed our own travel drier anyway, we did not have to bother. We had 2 bedside tables, a desk containing the kettle and cups etc., which also had three roomy drawers down one side of it, a wardrobe (we could have done with a few more hangers) and 2 chairs and a dressing table stool. There was also a sort of open fronted cupboard thing, and we tended to keep the towels and stuff in that. We were also very touched to find a lovely floral display awaiting us, and a little card from the management, wishing us a happy anniversary. Towels could be changed as and when you wanted, simply by leaving the dirty ones in the bath, and the tea, coffee and milk was replenished daily. Our room directly faced the sea, and we had a wonderful view right along the entire promenade, and out across to the pier. The windows in our room were the old sash type, and opened from the bottom. ?Friendly? seagulls used to visit us on the window ledge, so we didn?t keep the windows very widely opened
      ! In spite of the old-fashioned type of window, those in our room did not rattle at all in the wind, which was quite strong at times, and that quite surprised me! Each couple (or group) were assigned a particular table in the dining room, which you kept for the duration of your stay. There are three restaurants, all roughly the same size. We were allocated to the Victoria Restaurant, and our table was nicely situated in a window alcove, adjoining one other table for two. The breakfast menu was what one can expect in a hotel of this size. You helped yourself to cereals and fruit juice, and grapefruit segments, prunes or porridge were also available to order. A normal fried breakfast was available, as was a cheese and ham platter, or grilled kippers. Eggs could be ordered in a variety of ways: fried, poached, scrambled or boiled. There was plenty of toast (white or brown bread) and as much tea or coffee as you wanted. If required, a packed lunch could be purchased, which was handy if you were going to be out all day. This consisted of a sandwich (ham, cheese, tuna or corned beef), a piece of fruit, a packet of crisps, a packet of biscuits and a carton of drink, at a cost of £3.20 per person. At dinner time there was always soup, fruit juice or a ?special? as a starter. The main courses included a roast, a fish dish, a vegetarian dish, a cold salad platter and a ?chef?s dish of the day.? Vegetables were served on a separate platter, to which you helped yourself, and there were always at least 2 varieties of potato, and two other vegetables. From experience, I can fully recommend the cold platter! I like a fair amount of meat, but even I had a job wading through the amount on my plate! Dessert included a hot pudding and custard, a selection of ice creams, cheese and biscuits, or fresh fruit, including strawberries and kiwi fruit. This was selec
      ted from a large fruit basket, which was left at your table until you had fully made your choice, and sometimes even longer. Those strawberries were delicious Tea or coffee was not served at the table, but in the ballroom/lounge. After dinner, there was a bingo session, which started at 8.15p.m. As we are not particularly big bingo fans, we usually went up to our room, or sat in the T.V. lounge for this part of the evening. This was usually followed by either sequence or line dancing, which was enjoyed by many, but once again, is not our cup of tea! At 9.30 each evening there was a visiting cabaret artist, or entertainment from the hotel?s resident musicians/entertainers. There was a country and western evening, a comedian and a very good female vocalist during our time there. From about 10.30, there was dancing to CD music for those who wanted it, but as we had to be up and ready for breakfast at 8.a.m. in order to catch the coach at 9 a.m., we tended to call it a night after the cabaret. On the night of our anniversary, we had a table to ourselves, and a lovely bottle of champagne to accompany our meal (we actually finished it off in the lounge watching Chelsea beat Arsenal in the European Cup!) We felt rather good about reaching 30 years married, until we met the other couple at out table. They celebrated their 62nd anniversary the day we arrived! GULP! We twice made use of the hotel?s swimming pool, which is one of the nicest I have come across in a hotel. For a start, children were not allowed in the water without an adult. You had to go to reception to get a code to punch in to access the pool, and they simply didn?t give that code to minors. During our stay, there weren?t many children in the hotel anyway, but I can see that during the summer months, it could be a problem. The pool itself was
      quite small, but not one of those really tiny ones where you can touch both sides at once. I usually managed about 40 lengths (yes, I counted them) in a half hour session. Towels could be hired for £1.00, but we had taken our own anyway. Various items of merchandise could be purchased, including postcards depicting the hotel from its corner angle, boxes of fudge etc, showing the same picture, pens and key-rings and such like with the hotel?s name engraved on them, and several original pieces of unusual jewellery. There was also a post box in the entrance foyer for the inevitable postcards. RECOMMENDATIONS I have to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our 6 day stay at the Marine. There were one or two little irritations, but nothing that could not be dealt with, such as the feather pillow. It would be nice to see them install a shower above the bath (from glimpses we got of s ome of the other rooms, I believe they are beginning to do that as part of the refurbishments). I also feel that it would not be too much to expect a hair drier in the room, even it is one of those that are fixed into the bathrooms. Also, we would have liked our champagne served in proper champagne flutes, rather than ordinary wine glasses. A minor niggle maybe, but one that could easily be rectified. Apart from that, I can honestly say we were very comfortable, well fed, and looked after very well indeed. Our waiter, Brian, really made sure every one of his guests had exactly what they wanted, even if it was not on the menu! We really missed him on his day off! As previously stated, we paid approximately £40.00 per night for bed, breakfast and evening meal, and that included travel to and from home by coach, and 3 excursions whilst there. I looked at their list of tariffs whilst I was there, and for th
      e same accommodation, but driving your car there, it was £38.00 per person, but then you would have to add on the cost of petrol and parking. The price rises to £48.00 in high season, but even that, for the quality and facilities, is not extortionate. Hubby and I fully intend to return to North Wales again, we enjoyed it so much. And I would most certainly look at staying at the Marine again when we decide when we will be going. You would look a long way to finding something of the same quality at the same price. But if you DO decide to visit the Marine, or indeed, Llandudno, take my advice and leave the car at home! Especially in high season. Take the coach instead. (See my next op on Shearings!) I have had to place this op in the Colwyn Bay section as there does not appear to be a category for hotels in Llandudno, and Colwyn Bay is the closest geographically! Website: www.shearingsholidays.com Address: Marine Hotel, The Promenade, Llandudno. Gwynedd. LL301AN Telephone: 01492 877521

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