Bluestone National Park Resort Review

This post is slightly different to anything I would normally post on my website and blog but I was invited as a #BluestoneBlogger to spend 4 nights at the resort and to take photos then blog about my experience at Bluestone National Park Resort. So here goes:

From our very first Tweet my experience with Bluestone was nothing short of First Class. Booking was simple and within minutes a confirmation email was sent with details about activities, hire services, spa treatments and facilities on site. Given time to look through this email my partner and I decided we would treat ourselves and book time at the Well Spa (more about that later). We chose not to hire bicycles or a buggy but it looks really easy to book online as do the other activities.

So, fast forward one week and it’s our day of arrival. Minus the fact that ten minutes down the road from the resort a lorry spat a HUGE stone at our windscreen and making an equally huge chip we arrived safe and sound having followed the signs from the M4. As a guest arriving you are able to use facilities on site from 11am but not have access to your lodge until 4pm (For an additional cost you can have access from 1pm to your lodge). We queued at what looks like a fast food drive thru to be greeted by a very helpful, smiley member of staff. Given an information pack and instructions we had just 15 minutes to wait until the barrier allowed us access to our free range break.

I must at this point tell you that it was just me and my partner, no children, so I am unable to comment on the activities for families and children. Although we did venture into the Adventure Centre to get some photos.

We had been allocated Ramsey Lodge, which boasts upside down living. Rightly so, as we found out it was at the side of the lake, giving a gorgeous perspective over the lake looking toward the village and up the hill. Stunning.

 

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First thing is first – unpack and then venture to the pub and check out the local hospitality! Yes we really did! The Knights Tafarn in the centre of the village is great for couples and families alike and a welcoming roaring open fire. A bonus point from my partner’s point of view is that they had “proper ale” on tap too. We didn’t eat on this occasion but it did look and smell divine.

The next two days were wet, grey and fairly grim if I am honest but we are hardy outdoor types and ventured out with our walking boots and waterproofs on. There were families making the most of the indoor facilities and off to the Blue Lagoon but we explored the trails around the resort. We found Camp Smokey and although at this time of year is closed we could see that it’s a fabulous location down in the woods (one of many good excuses to come back later in the year). All the trails are well marked and vary in length and difficulty. Through the woodland, along streams with some steep hills. Great Free range adventures. Trees covered in damp moss and lots of squelching mud – brilliant! Yes I really am in my 30’s and saying brilliant about mud!

There is only one thing to do after getting back soaked and covered in mud and that is to have a hot chocolate at the bakery in the village. Accompanied by a lemon and poppyseed mufin (other flavours are available). Please note the lack of any muffin in my photo below – I had devoured it by the time I thought to photograph it! Ooooops……

Back in the lodge it really is home from home. The kitchen equipment and facilities allowed for us to cook on three nights of our four night stay. The open plan living area upstairs was beautiful. For those visiting with children there is plenty of room for them to play and remain safe as there were stair gates already fitted top and bottom of the staircase. With just the two of us in the lodge it was great. Peaceful. I did quite a bit of reading. I have to say that the wet room was probably one of my favourite places. Powerful and hot shower after being out all day. Bliss.

After all the walking in the cold we were more than ready for our Celtic Spa Experience and aromatherapy massage in the afternoon. We were greeted and given robes, a towel, a pair of flip flops each and shown the changing rooms. We had decided to split our time in the Thermal Rooms in two. One hour before our massage and one hour after. Relaxing in the sauna, steam rooms and invigorating ice room was a great start. The massage was just what I needed. My therapist talked me through the oils she would use and level of pressure she should use on me and what I wanted to gain from the massage. She was absolutely spot on and managed to find several rather large knots in my shoulders! Possibly the best massage I have had in a long time.

Our third day – last full day, we woke to a hard frost, blue sky and sunshine. We decided to find out directions to Black Pool Mill and have a walk off resort. After asking for a map and directions at the office in the village we set off. It only took us about 25 minutes to get there. We then came back a different way through more woodland paths – all marked.

On our last night we decided to try out the fish and and chips that we had seen on our first visit to the Knights Tafarn. Not at all disappointed by the food that was put in front of us. Sadly, again I have no photo of my dinner but believe me it is well worth it.

I haven’t paid much attention in this post to the fact that the resort is mostly a car free zone. Upon unpacking your vehicle on arrival you must return it to the car park near the entrance for the duration of your stay. This makes for a much better environment to be in. It is safer and obviously has less impact on the environment. Bluestone pride themselves on their guests being able to be Free Range and this is a great ethos.

There really is so much to do on site for families and couples alike. Something for everyone. Indoor or outdoor. My post only scratches the surface to what is on offer. So what, the weather didn’t come up trumps for us in early February. We had an amazing time and came away thoroughly relaxed and re-charged.

Thank you Bluestone National Park Resort for your kind hospitality. It’s not goodbye, it’s see ya later…..

Mel and James x

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And the Winner is……..

Massive Congratulations to Maria Knight (and her Hubby to be) on winning a photo shoot in Iceland with me.

Maria entered the competition by emailing me and on News Years Day her name was drawn from the “hat” (a pasta bowl).

I have visited Iceland (this time last year) and fell in love with the people, landscape and whole feel and culture of this stunning Country. So many photo opportunities and amazing light from a photographers point of view too. Brilliant chance to share it with others and help them get some great holiday snaps!

Looking forward to planning the trip with Maria and HTB for later in the year. I LOVE making plans for adventures especially when it involves photographing lovely couples and epic landscapes. We can travel in style too thanks to a discount on car hire offered by Thrifty.

What an amazing way to kick off 2015. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Mel x