The Alton Towers Hotel is one place that definitely lives up to its advertising. If you want a night of unashamed luxury combined with all the fun of the fair, then this is the hotel for you. The TV adverts show the grandeur of the public areas and the sheer opulence of the suites and none of it is overstated. Allow me to explain further…. In 1998 my father won a small amount of money and shared it with my sister and me. As I had told mom and dad they should use the cash to treat themselves to things that they would not normally have bought, I thought that I should do the same with some of my share. After much deliberation I decided on a night at the Alton Towers Hotel for my partner and myself. It was somewhere we had both wanted to visit but had never had the spare money to do so. Alton Towers itself is just outside a small village called Alton (believe it or not!), between Stoke and Uttoxeter in Staffordshire. You can reach it by using either junction 5 or 6 of the M5 and it is well signposted from both of these junctions. The Hotel is situated on the edge of the same site as the theme park, but far enough away from the rides so that the guests are not disturbed in any way. I looked through the brochure and chose the Princess Suite at a cost of £200 per night, bed and breakfast for two people. This was the most I have ever paid for a night in a hotel so it had to be good. At this point I'll just mention that The Princess Suite is only one of the suites - Oblivion, Arabian Nights, Chocolate are 3 of the others, there may now be more, but I digress ..... We arrived at Alton Towers early in the morning for our first day on the rides and we went and parked the car on the hotel car park and checked in straight away. The staff were friendly and efficient and told us that our room would be ready at about 3pm that afternoon. No problem – we were off to try out the white-knuckle rides! We returned to the hotel at about 4pm and had our first chance to have a good look around the entrance and foyer area. The path to the main entrance circles a pretty fountain in turn surrounded by flower beds. The foyer and check in area is built on the theme of Around the World in Eighty Days with the check desk appearing to be made of suitcases piled on top of one another. The foyer leads into a lounge, which is dominated by a flying ship, which appears to be held aloft by a hot air balloon. The whole structure reaches the top floor of the hotel so various parts of it are visible from windows on the higher floors. Then we went to our room – WOW! The room was huge containing a king sized bed, table, two seater settee, two dining chairs, two easy chairs (seated on one was a large resident teddy bear) and a television. The bathroom was also rather large – a Jacuzzi bath, two sinks, a walk in shower and, obviously, the loo. There were bathrobes for our use, numerous thick luxurious towels, and all the necessary toiletries. We had plenty of Cadburys chocolates and a bottle of champagne and glasses waiting for us at no extra charge and two complimentary tickets for entrance to the park for the following day. It was easy to see why it was called the Princess Suite – we were being treated like royalty. We had our evening meal in the hotel restaurant, which was fine but nothing special. We went out for a walk around the grounds, which are very pretty and had a look at the swimming pool complex, deciding to bring swimsuits if we ever came again. Then we adjourned to the hotel bar for the evening to listen to the resident singer who was excellent. After a wonderful night’s sleep we went down to the restaurant for a continental breakfast. You could pay extra and have a full English breakfast but we thought that may not be such a good idea as we had booked an early ride on Nemesis, before the park opene d to the public. Hotel guests could either choose a lie in or an early breakfast with a ride on Nemesis or Oblivion. After checking out and putting our luggage in the car we waited in the hotel reception where a member of staff collected us and took us for a woodland walk to enter the park next to Nemesis. All in all it was a wonderful experience and one which I would love to repeat one day when we have enough spare cash. There are standard rooms available at about £100 per room and the rooms sleep 4 people so that would be much better value, but the Suite was VERY special……..