Holiday review: Glamping at Love2Stay

Love2Stay glamping yurts are a great way to spend the weekend in Shrewsbury
Love2Stay glamping yurts are a great way to spend the weekend in Shrewsbury

Tuesday, 10, Nov 2020 05:05

By William Coleman

Natural hot springs, glamping, wood fire pizzas, pools, jacuzzis, gyms, water activities, oh and then there is an award-winning campsite and dealership there too. Love2Stay is not a caravan site, it's an all in one-holiday retreat.

The CaravanTimes team are usually found onboard a motorhome or towing a caravan, so it is safe to say that a luxury glamping lodge with a personal fire pit and hot tub is a far cry from the norm.

As the cold sets in and sites begin to close for winter, we decided to see what all the glamping fuss is about. Is it fun? Comparable to a caravan stay? Worth the cost? We would answer yes to all three of those questions.

Let's start by saying that this review is very much about the glamping side of the amazing Love2Stay site, but we will touch on the overall site later on. So, where do we start when there is so much to cover?

Staff and hospitality

This resort has a lot going for it when it comes to design, layout and overall luxury. Where this site shines is in its staff members.

Upon arrival, the staff had their hands full with an extremely busy site and packed cafe/restaurant, all with social distancing measures being followed strictly. No matter what was asked of them, they were extremely polite, helpful and always smiling. They were genuinely happy to see you and help out however they could.

Shortly after arrival, we ventured into the main area, where the check-in desk is, to ask how far the local town is and what restaurants are open - lockdown rules are different across the UK, so we felt it was worth the ask. We were given all the local hot spots, where would be busy, where to avoid and then the front desk staff made our reservations and ordered our cab. This little bit of effort by them made a great impact on our night, as all we had to do was arrive for the cab, the rest was taken care of for us.

Every suggestion made by the team was perfect, especially the American smokehouse where we had dinner. All the site staff know, by name, the staff at the different bars and eateries they book for you. It is safe to say the local town very much knows and appreciates the Love2Stay site and business they provide. This team goes above and beyond to ensure you have as much fun both on and off-site.

Activities

The local town of Shrewsbury has a lot to see and do, but so does this holiday park. There is a huge range of activities for families to take part in, children of all ages will be able to take part in one activity or another.

If you want to hop in a canoe or try your balancing skills on a paddling board, you'll be very happy here.

There is also an army assault course, archery, fishing, swimming and yoga available for those who want to stay active while staying. You can try your hand at den building and make your own woodland hideout.

The new gym is very well stocked too and has everything for beginners and fitness enthusiasts.

Facilities

Aside from all the fitness activities on-site, there are also a lot of things to do if you want to relax and simply put your feet up.

Throughout the day and evening, there is a cinema tent with lots of seating. They mostly show family films, so this is perfect for the kids during the day or the whole family of an evening before bedtime.

If you have packed your swimming costume, you can take full advantage of the freshwater pool and hot tubs that are located just outside the restaurant.

The food served onsite is made fresh and extremely tasty. We indulged on some pizzas and locally-brewed beers, which made an evening in the hot tub even more enjoyable.

During the summer, this poolside area is exactly where you want to be - a few feet from the food, with plenty of space to tan and swim.

Glamping lodge and village

The CaravanTimes team has spent a fair amount of time out in the wild under the canvas of a tent, but none of that compared to the luxury we found glamping at the Love2Stay resort. We've never quite been able to fit a range cooker into our four-berth tent before.

Within a few moments of being checked in, you are given a guided tour of your holiday accommodation, a walkthrough of how to operate the heating, where everything is located and how to safely operate the wood-burning heater. The wood burner makes it feel extremely cosy once you're settled in.

Before entering the tent, not that the word 'tent' suits this accommodation, you are greeted by a fire pit and a comfy bench to use while stargazing of an evening. The night sky, and view during the day, is stunning.

As soon as you step inside, you will be blown away by just how home-like these safari tents are. Think more bungalow than a tent. The interior decoration looks like something from a John Lewis catalogue and all appliances are top of the line.

When you walk through the zip-up front, you walk directly into the main area, which is an open plan kitchen/living room and features a large six-seater dining table and a two-seater breakfast bar.

The kitchen is amazing if you enjoy cooking, you'll have a great time with the six-burner Smeg range oven and the miles of prep space. We cooked several meals in the tent and used the dishwasher to clean up. This saved a lot of time when it came to getting things clean again.

In the living room, there are two large, very comfortable sofas (we had trouble getting off of them, truth be told, especially with all the throws and cushions provided). If you want to relax and put your feet up with a coffee, you will struggle to find a setting more comfortable than this.

Sleeping arrangements are perfect for families or friends and will comfortably sleep six, as long as people do not mind bunk beds. If the kids are coming, they will have plenty of space in the secondary bedroom and playroom.

The main bedroom has a king-size bed, wardrobe and a large chest of draws that will easily hold a week's worth of clothing.

The one area that wowed us, because you usually do not see this level of detail, was the bathroom. From the heated flooring to the large walk-in monsoon shower, it was luxury and comfortable in equal measure. The large double bath was also great for relaxing in after a long day walking around town. Having soap and cosmetics from The White Company was a nice little touch too.

The glamping villages feel very separate to the rest of the site and look a little bit like the Shire from The Lord of the Rings. It seemed like it's own isolated little community, which made the atmosphere a lot calmer and peaceful.

Each tent is very well spaced from its neighbour and is separated by a hedge for that extra bit of privacy. You can hear neighbours from time to time, but it's usually the sound of fun and laughter, something we all need right now.

Of an evening, most neighbours have their fire pit burning and it makes the whole environment smell great, not overpowering or smokey. It is like camping in five-star accommodation with a hotel-spec bathroom 20 feet away.

Once you have had your day out and evening meal, you will very much want to take full advantage of the preheated hot tub. Quite a few hours were spent bubbling away with a beer in hand, while gazing into the night sky. It was a perfect end to a great day in Shrewsbury.

Setting and locality

We went into this trip with little knowledge of what to do outside of the site, so it was great that the staff were so helpful and knowledgeable of the local area. The research we did was based more on walking trails and the river system, rather than eating and drinking.

You could say we intentionally didn't look too much into the town because we wanted to explore and organically find places to visit.

In town, it was amazing to see so many smaller independent eateries and bars open, as well as your typical Greggs and Starbucks. Food tastes better when it's made with love and not mass-produced.

The town sits on a beautiful stretch of river, which had overflown due to rain (yes, we went for a paddle), and the autumn colours made the riverside look romantic; you simply won't want to leave.

As it was one of our birthdays, we stumbled into a little cocktail bar to have some Halloween-themed drinks before heading back to the site. These little hidden gems make the area so fun, as you can spend so much time exploring.

We also found out that Shrewsbury is Charles Darwin's hometown, not sure if that is common knowledge, but it surprised us.

Verdict

During our three-day trip, it was very hard to find anything negative to say about the experience we had in Shrewsbury, so this is going to be a very positive verdict.

Even if you are a keen leisure vehicle user, we would strongly recommend that you give glamping at Love2Stay a try, you will not regret it.

If we had to pick one negative thing, it would be that when the wind is up you can hear the tent section of the safari lodging flap quite a bit.

This is a five-star site because of its location and activities, but we will have to add an extra star for the staff and all their hard work that made this a trip we will be going on again.

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