Last month we went on a family road trip to Thomas Land UK. We live in Dublin, Ireland, so the trip to the theme park was more than just a day out: we spent in the UK two nights and for one of them we chose the Drayton Manor Hotel.
When looking at accommodation options for Thomas Land, no matter what search engine you use the Drayton Manor hotel is the first to come up: it is attached to the park and when booking your tickets you are given the opportunity to book a room there as part of a ‘short break’ package, at a special price. This is a great no-stress way to book a mini stay: if you choose one of their offers, with just one transaction you can get your tickets, room and even meals sorted out: it is absolutely perfect if you like an all inclusive, low-effort option.
Despite this convenience, when we started looking at the accommodation we went beyond the park website and compared other hotels in the area. My concern about the Drayton Manor hotel was that it was a bit more expensive than the others and me being me I wondered if I was paying for better service of just booking convenience. In the end, I decided to go with it and I am very happy with my choice. If you can spare the little extra money requires, Drayton Manor Hotel is the perfect option to visit Thomas Land and we have no doubt that we would choose it again.
Drayton Manor Hotel: location and facilities
The hotel is located beside the park entrance. They share the same parking space and the walking distance between the door of one to the other is about 1 minute! This is fantastic as it means that, once you leave the car, you don’t have to worry about it until the day you leave: for us, who drove a full day to get to the park, the freedom to not have to even hop in to go to dinner was alone worth the extra cost (it means you can also treat yourself to a drink in the evening!).
The hotel is spacious, clean, functional and welcoming. The main entrance is bright and airy and while not overly themed out, it is decorated with Thomas the Tank memorabilia, sculptures of Sodor inhabitants and a gorgeous merry go round (to look at, not to go onto). It strikes a great balance between what kids love and parents need, with design Thomas features that are fun but not overpowering.
The staff is very pleasant and attentive to children. As soon as we checked in, the kids were left free to roam around the lobby and were given a small Thomas themed present of colouring pens and stickers. They cherished it as a memento of the day and rushed to the room to check the small bag for its precious content.
When booking at the Drayton Manor Hotel you can choose between standard rooms and themed rooms. The themes rooms look absolutely spectacular, fully themed out with Thomas beds and decor, but they do come at a price and we decided to get standard accommodation instead. Our kids did not know of the other option but I believe we didn’t short changed them (they might have felt differently, given a choice…). Our room was spacious, bright, well equipped with tea, coffee facilities and a spacious bathroom and the Thomas theme across the common areas was enough to make the kids feel they hadn’t finished their Thomas’s just because they had left the rides.
The hotel is fully family friendly and you can see this in the little touches: if you have forgotten something, for yourself or the kids, a sign in your room invites you to ask reception for supplies: they are even able to give you nappies and wipes!
The hotel is equipped with a nice restaurant where we had both dinner and breakfast. When we arrived, we were advised to book a table as especially in the late afternoon the restaurant tends to get full: indeed, from about 5 to 7.30pm the restaurant is packed, while later the atmosphere is much quieter. The food options are good and varied and include kids menus with both meat and vegetarian options.
A nice touch: the restaurant is not fully themed out but it does have some small tables with wooden train tracks that the kids can play with. Most of the children had their own Thomas trains from home, but if you do not have one, you can go to the shop at reception and borrow one for the duration of your meal!
The restaurant also has a bar and you are welcome to stay after you finish your meal. This was lovely for us as not having to drive, we could relax with a drink while the kids were safely playing on the floor.
For breakfast, we chose the full English breakfast included option and it was amazing: they have a hot and cold generous buffet with anything from cereals, to eggs, bacon and fresh fruit. It filled us up for the morning and we didn’t even need to stop for lunch!
The hotel offers free entertainment at selected times. From about 6 to 8 pm a room downstairs is dedicated to the smaller guests with singing, dancing games and balloons. Our kids did not participate (they felt the music was too loud) but other kids absolutely loved it. The Fat Controller often wonder around the premises and he is always quite a sight for the kids to spot!
Did anything go wrong? It did and it didn’t, this is the story. At about 8 am on the day of departure the hotel fire alarm went off and all the guests had to gather outside. The alarm thankfully had detected smoke but not fire and we were soon let back in, but because of the time of the day this meant all of the guest made the most of the fact that they were up to go for breakfast at the same time! This could have turned into a disaster but the staff managed the situation perfectly and we were all able to be served as nothing had happened. After working for over 10 years in customer service, I know that the way to judge a service is not the problems that arise but how they are managed and it’s because of this great professional reaction from the staff that I feel like truly recommending this hotel and answer my own question: is Drayton Manor hotel worth it? Absolutely yes!
Do you want to know more about prices and facilities in Drayton manor? Found them on booking.com (affiliate link)