My daughter likes nothing more than staying in a nice hotel. Or any hotel. She’s just as happy in a Premier Inn or
Travelodge as somewhere a bit posher. She loves researching hotels on th internet. So she was VERY happy when she
heard we were going to a hotel for my mother-in-law’s 70th.
Plan a) was the Lake District, but the distance was prohibitive for us for the weekend when we have school on Friday
and Monday. Plan b) was the Midlands, halfway between us all, but we ended up at plan c) – Oxfordshire – nearer to us
than everyone else. Result!
We stayed at Heythrop Park, which is fabulous building on a HUGE site. It’s got a swimming pool, spa and golf course
and a little petting zoo for kids, all set in the most amazing grounds, like something straight off Downton Abbey. It’s an
amazing place to relax, especially if you’ve got older relatives with you. I don’t know how much it cost, but suffice to say
it wasn’t cheap and was of course twice as ‘not cheap’ for us as it was for the rest of the family because they didn’t have
rooms for five and we had to have two rooms. We chose the hotel because they assured us we could have two rooms
with an interconnecting door. The plan was we would have one room for my husband, daughter and I and one for the
Amazingly, for such a huge site, we couldn’t find it and got lost several times on the way there. But we found it in the end. And were given rooms 2028 and 2067. But they were supposed to be connected? They weren’t connected. They
weren’t even near each other, the most that can be said for them is that they were on the same floor. I wasn’t happy for
the boys to be on their own when we were so far away from them, so we had to swap for the boys to share with Daddy
and my daughter to share with me. The situation with the rooms wasn’t good as we had only one suitcase between the
five of us and a very long corridor between our rooms. We should have pushed for the rooms we’d been promised – even
rooms on the same corridor would have been better, although not as good as the interconnected rooms we thought we
We’d booked a table in the restaurant and been made to pre-order as there were so many of us. Sadly, this didn’t mean
we were served any quicker. We had our two year old nephew with us, plus four other kids. We’d hoped to have some
time sitting in the bar after the meal, but that wasn’t to be.
The vegetarian selection was poor, so I didn’t order a starter (I was the only one), then I didn’t like my main course,
which was coated in creamy, mild cheese sauce. I love cheese, but I can’t bear cheese sauce, so I ate my kids’ vegetables
and some of their chips. I’d ordered a brownie for pudding to replace the starter I didn’t have. The kids and I were the
only ones to order desserts. The kids were bored and restless. My younger two both got a stomach ache during dinner (I
think it was boredom-induced) and they completely forgot our puddings (not to mention my husband’s main course),
which I think is pretty poor when you’ve pre-ordered and it’s such a posh hotel. My pudding finally arrived at 5 to 9
(dinner started at 6.30!), I wolfed it down and took the younger two back to my room. As it was only a double room,
they sat on the bed and I sat on an uncomfortable seat. The rooms are a bit glitzy for my tastes.
At 10pm, my eldest came to collect his brother. Daddy was still in the bar drinking with his family. I know they’re 13
and 11, but I hated the thought of my boys being on their own in a hotel room. I wanted to go to them and check them,
but I couldn’t because I had my daughter with me. She watched Take Me Out: The Gossip, which is AWFUL and
eventually went to sleep.
I was too hot and too uncomfortable and too worried about the boys to go to sleep. I was disappointed that there were
no instructions in the room of how to do things – I’d had to work out the internet myself (and it was still very dodgy),
my son had to sort the telly out for us and I’d eventually found the air conditioning at midnight. My daughter’s cheeks
were bright red and hot. The room was at 22 degrees! TWENTY TWO. We’re used to about 17. I turned it down to 17
and got into the horrible, squashy bed and went to sleep.
I woke at 5.15 and thought I’d had a good night’s sleep. I couldn’t get back to sleep. My phone rang at 5.45. I panicked.
It was my eldest. He was outside the door. He’d had no sleep at all due to his dad’s snoring (welcome to my world, son),
so I put him in my bed next to my daughter and went back to the uncomfortable chair. My daughter woke up and got
cross with him. He was cross with her. 6am and I had two kids arguing, nowhere to sit, no way of contacting my
husband and younger son without walking down the corridor and abandoning my kids and no way of getting anything
to eat, other than the Belvitas I’ve packed (which taste really flipping sweet at 6am).
It was a lovely hotel, but give me home any day of the week.