Three weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to The Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby for two nights. Tenby is just over forty minutes away from us in Pembrokeshire and a lovely seaside resort. We spent many a weekend there a couple of years ago when my mother in law owned a caravan on one of the sites. But apart from visiting nearby attractions we have not been back in almost four years. So I for one was excited to spend some time there. Dad of 3 had to stay behind to look after the family pets so we decided to take Granny with us instead. I had been asked to under take the trip as part of my role as an Approved Family Friendly Assessor. Approved Family Friendly is The Families Trustmark which has been developed by parents for parents. The Approved Family Friendly Trustmark enables parents to recognise recommended and accredited providers who provide excellence to children and families and works to raise standards for families in the UK. You can find out more about Approved Family Friendly here, where you can also search for the Families Trustmark for family days out, restaurants and holiday accommodation including campsites, holiday parks and cottages.
The trip came about fairly last minute which to be honest I think worked well as it meant the boys didn’t have too much time to get over excited. Sometimes those last minute trips provide some fantastic memories. So while the boys were at school on the Friday I packed up clothes and essentials for two days away. Then when the boys got home they helped load the car before we said goodbye to dad of 3 and headed off to collect Granny on route to Tenby.
The Fourcroft Hotel is located above the town’s North Beach and enjoys absolutely stunning views of the harbour, it’s iconic coloured houses and of course the beach. As we entered into Tenby we followed the signs for the North Beach and quickly spotted a sign to the hotel. When I had spoken to the hotel the day before I had been told to pull up outside and I would then be directed to the rear of the hotel where I could park throughout our stay. There is usually a £5 charge for a parking space and there is only room for about four cars, however on this occasion we had been gifted the parking space for the purpose of our stay.
Once parked we unloaded the car and checked in before heading up to our room for the next two nights. We had a family room on the top floor of the hotel, there were several flights of stairs up to the room or you could take the lift, which we opted for. There is a flight of stairs up to the lift though which some may find tricky with young children in tow.
We quickly located our room and went in to put our things. The boys were excited to get in and look around the room. We had a bright airy room with a double bed, two single beds and a smaller third single bed. The size meant that beds could be added or removed to suit the size of the family staying. There was a small en-suite bathroom with a toilet, hand basin, bath and an over bath shower. There was a small TV which was wall mounted, I liked the fact it was up out of the way from little fingers! There was also tea and coffee facilities and some information about the hotel, a room service list and a lovely children’s guide to the Fourcroft hotel made by a child. It was just after 7pm by the time we had settled in and I had promised the children fish and chips on the beach for tea. The forecast for the following day was for heavy downpours, localised flooding and thunder! so I wanted to make sure we made the most of being at the beach just in case.
We made our way back down to reception where we were greeted again by staff who engaged with the children, who told them we were off for fish and chips! We then made our way out and onto the road above the beach and headed off in search of the nearest chip shop.
there was. We stopped several times along the way to look at the view and take in our surroundings. The boys were fascinated by the viewing binoculars along the front and it was lovely to see that the parts of the steep cliffs down onto the beach had been utilised and were little gardens, most belonging to houses and hotels along the front, providing areas of lush green retreats where the views could be enjoyed. The boys were eager to get onto the beach and I think would have forfeited dinner if they had been allowed. It didn’t take us long to find a chip shop and with dinner in hand we walked back along to the path down onto the beach.
Half way down the path we found some benches and decided to sit and eat before reaching the sand. There were signs up telling people not to feed the seagulls, who quickly started appearing! Their actually quite intimidating when their swooping passed you and Granny isn’t a huge fan of them! However we managed to eat without them getting any and continued down to the sand.
Despite the sky being overcast there were quite a few people enjoying a stroll along the beach. The North Beach is a huge expanse of sand with the towns harbour at one end and cliffs at the other. There is a walk way along the back of the beach where some sailboats kept and you can walk along passed the old lifeboat station to the harbour. The boys headed straight for a large rock in the middle of the beach and started climbing it. So Granny, Erin and I slowly wondered over, enjoying the scenery on the way.
|Tenby North Beach|
We enjoyed a lovely walk along the beach before turning around and heading towards the harbour before heading back to the hotel. By the time we returned to the hotel it was approaching nine o’clock. On our way passed the reception I asked if there was somewhere I could leave our stroller and was directed to the Map room just passed reception opposite the stairs. I entered the Map Room via a seating area and was greeted by a small room with a TV, computer and lots of tourist information. I found a space in one corner to leave the stroller before heading up to the lift.
There was the usual excitement from the boys of staying somewhere new so settling down for bed took that little bit longer. Our room was incredibly hot and we had to open all the windows to let some air in. I think the heat was mainly due to the room being located at the top of the hotel and also the fact the weather was humid. Granny and I were tired too so decided an early night of sorts was needed by all and settled down shortly after the children had fallen asleep.
The following morning we all woke just after 8am and enjoyed a relaxing cup of tea while we woke fully. Erin was also still asleep so we let her sleep a bit longer. We spent some time watching the waves and enjoying the view from our room, it really was lovely to wake up to such a breathtaking view.
When Erin woke we dressed and heading down to the restaurant area at the front of the hotel for breakfast. We were greeted by a member of staff who took our room number and showed us to a table. The restaurant is a large room with various tables of differing sizes set out. In the centre of the room a large table was laid out with juices, cereals and croissants for guests to help themselves. On the tables were breakfast menus with a lovely array of cooked items on offer. We were brought a highchair for Erin at our request but Erin preferred to sit in a chair.
|Restaurant, conservatory, Map room, Bar and Spa/Sauna|
We were asked if we wanted any toast, tea, coffee and any cooked breakfast. Trystan asked if it was possible to have a fried egg sandwich and was delighted to be told yes. I decided to opt for toast and cereal. There were a few other guests enjoying breakfast and we were aware of a group of five men seated on a table behind us, from the conversation we overheard it became apparent they were a stag party but were polite and friendly, so we hoped wouldn’t cause any problems. I also took the opportunity to have a look at the conservatory while I waited for the toast to arrive, it looked like a lovely space which I suspected could be quite a sun trap. You could also access the outdoor space from steps leading out from the conservatory, later in the day I realised you could also access the games room and sauna/spa from there too.
Once everyone had full tummy’s we headed back to our room to get ready to head into Tenby to explore for a bit, we hoped to avoid the forcasted down pours. On the way out we asked the staff at reception for recommendations, unfortunately Tenby does not really much in the way of undercover places for families. There are lots of attractions like Folly Farm, Tenby’s Dinosaur Park, Anna’s Welsh Zoo and Blue Lagoon near by but most of these are outdoors. We decide to just explore the town and hope for the best!
The town is only a five minute walk so we didn’t have far to go. We had only been in the town for about half an hour when the rain started so we decided to head to the towns soft place. When we arrived it hadn’t opened yet so we took shelter over the road in a little covered area. We didn’t have long to wait before it opened and the children enjoyed an hour running off some steam while Granny and I had a cup of tea. We had the soft play to ourselves for the first half an hour before other families arrived. Once our hour was up we emerged into the street to discover the sun was trying to reappear. Granny said she knew there was an ice cream parlour in the the town and suggested we headed there for a treat but she couldn’t remember where it was exactly! While we looked for the ice cream parlour we enjoyed browsing the various shops the town had to offer. I spotted a Barbour and as Trystan really needed a haircut we popped in to have it done. While I waited with the younger three, Luc and Granny went in search of the ice cream parlour. Half an hour later they returned just as Trystan’s hair cut was completed and we all headed off to the ice cream parlour. Erin had fallen asleep in the stroller by this time so we enjoyed half an hour eating sundaes and deciding what to do next.
We decided to pick up some picnic bits for lunch and head back to the hotel to eat before exploring the rest of the hotel and having a swim. The town was really busy by the time we started to make our way back and there was a wedding taking place in the church, so we stopped to try and catch a glimpse of the bride. Picnic bits bought we headed back to the Fourcroft Hotel. Once back we were greeted by staff at reception who asked what we had done. The boys excitedly told them and that we wanted to try the swimming pool next! We were told that they provided towels for swimming so when we were ready to ask for some.
We spent forty minutes relaxing and eating in our room before we decided to head down to the swimming pool. The older two boys asked if they could get the towels and headed down to the reception ahead of us. We made our way out to the garden which we accessed via the basement of the hotel and up a couple of stairs into the garden. I realised as we passed that the steps out also led off to the conservatory. We were the only ones outside and the cover of the pool had been removed ready for us.
|Heated Swimming Pool, Climbing Frame, Giro scope, Giant Chess|
The boys were keen to make the most of the pool and got straight in while Granny and I were a bit more cautious as initially the water felt cold! We had expected it to feel warmer as it was a heated pool. There was also a large sign on the wall to warn that there was no lifeguard. Once in the pool it wasn’t actually that cold and we helped the younger two into the water. A couple of minutes later it started to spot with rain but we decided to stick it out as we were already wet! The rain lasted a couple of minutes before the sun appeared and we continued to enjoy the pool. There were a few swimming noodles available to use and the boys made use of these. After half an hour Granny and I had had enough of the water along with the younger two. I got out with Erin and Rowan and went to get dry and dressed in the changing room while Granny supervised the older two who wanted to stay in the pool. When we returned ten minutes or so later Granny went to change. The older two were still enjoying the pool and as I was supervising I was happy for them to stay in. Rowan quickly spotted the climbing frame and went to try it out and was quickly followed by Erin. The lovely wooden climbing frame was in a fenced off area with bark chippings surrounding it. I could see it wasn’t really suitable for children under three or four years old so distracted Erin with the giant chess set. Rowan spent a good ten minutes on the climbing frame before joining us on the chess set. I liked the fact that the garden area had different areas which were clearly defined and that I could supervise the boys in the pool at the same time as watching the younger two. However I was concerned that the swimming pool was not secure in the sense that there was no fencing around it to prevent accidents. There was literally a cover on the pool like the ones you get in indoor pools and is rolled back before and after use and that was it. So if for what ever reason a child accessed the garden unattended they could fall in and a sign does not really protect from this happening. I felt that really there sound be a fence around it for this reason.
After a good hour the older two were ready to get dressed and we decided to have a cup of tea in our room and let the boys watch TV for half an hour. After which we would go and see what the games room had to offer. It was actually nice to sit and relax with a cup of tea for half an hour after a very busy time and the day was still not over! We planned to eat in the hotel restaurant that evening so I asked the older two to see if we could have a menu to look at so we could plan what we wanted. Off they went to the reception to ask and returned five minutes later with a menu, I think they enjoyed having some responsibility. It didn’t take long to decide on our meals and as they didn’t start serving until 7pm we had a couple of hours to kill.
So we made our way back down to the basement to where the games room was located, just opposite the steps out to the garden. We opened the door and turned the lights on to reveal an huge space which was divided by a wall. The first section contained a table tennis table and a football table. Then along the length of the room was a short mat bowls mat with a baby slide, rocker and Jenga laid out. On the other side of the wall we discovered pool and snooker tables, what a great space to have. Granny and I couldn’t get over the size of the games room, the Fourcroft Hotel was literally like a tardis and had utilised the available space fully. Popping out to the toilet across the corridor I realised that the spa/sauna was next to the games room, underneath the conservatory. I returned to the games room to find the older two enjoying the snooker table and the younger two playing with Jenga.
I had to ask at reception for the table tennis balls and was asked to return them when finished too. While there I took the opportunity to ask if they had any other games etc available to guest. I was told they had a large selection of board games and puzzles stored behind reception and if we wanted some to just ask. I also asked about bed rails and toilet seats too and was told they had bed guards available but at present no toilet seats. I was told that they found guests tend to bring their own when coming to stay. I suggested that if they had a couple they could let guests use it would be one less thing for guests to pack and that if they were made aware of this when booking families would find it helpful. I know that when we go away the less we have to take the better especially in terms of bed guards etc as they take up space in the car.
Back in the games room the older two had moved on to the football table but wanted to play table tennis with me as soon as they saw the ping pong balls. After half an hour of playing table tennis I was shattered, Granny had managed to catch up on some work and looking at her watch revealed there was still an hour to go until dinner. As we planned to head home after breakfast the following morning we decided it would be a good opportunity to have a last walk on the beach before dinner. So we headed back to the room to get ready and then retrieved the stroller on the way out.
It was lovely to have the beach within a minute or two of where we were staying and to be able to let the children burn off their energy. Again the boys headed towards the large rock and started exploring the little rock pools around it. Forty minutes later I for one was starving and wanted dinner! So we made our way back to get ready for dinner.
As with breakfast we gave our room number to the member of staff and were seated at a table. There was another table of guests sat behind our table. We declined a highchair for Erin and gave our orders. Granny asked if the pieces of cutlery that were not needed could be removed from the children’s settings to prevent them hurting themselves and was told yes of course, it would be done in a minute. However fifteen minutes later they still had not been removed and the children had started to play with them despite being told no! There was also no sign of a staff member so Granny and I removed them and put them out of reach! Granny had also wanted a glass of wine with her meal and despite their being a wine list with the menu at no stage were we asked if we would like drinks and we did not have the opportunity to ask for any either due to lack of staff presence which we were rather disappointed by. We had also been led to believe colouring would be available for the children while we waited for food but again we sadly saw no evidence of this and it added to a feeling of frustration on my behalf as I was aware of the other party eating.
We had opted not to have a starter as we were so hungry after a busy day. After a good twenty minute wait our food arrived, the children’s meals were large and in fact too large for the younger two. Trystan had opted for pasta for his meal and happily tucked in. The other three had gone for french bread pizza and it was a lot! In fact they couldn’t eat much of it, they found there was too much cheese which made the pizza soggy and greasy and it didn’t help that they were all flagging after a packed day either. Myself and Granny ate our meals, both chicken dishes and decided it was best to call it a night and headed upstairs. On the way passed reception we asked for a glass of wine for Granny to take up to our room.
Again our room was roasting hot despite all the windows being wide open. The children bathed and we watched TV for half an hour before they fell asleep. I soon realised that one of the factors contributing to the heat was the towel rail in the bathroom but couldn’t find the switch to turn it off so had to leave it. The next morning when I woke Granny asked if I had heard the noise on the beach in the early hours, I hadn’t but it had woken her unfortunately, she said it sounded like some men messing about on their way back pub.
Once dressed we packed up our things so I could put a few things in the car on the way to breakfast and headed down. We were seated at the other end of the restaurant from the previous morning and were in direct sunlight which made eating uncomfortable due to the heat. I could see there were several other families enjoying breakfast too and the restaurant was busier than the previous day. Again breakfast was enjoyable apart from the warmth of the sun on us.
Afterwards Granny took the boys upstairs while I took the opportunity to speak to staff at reception about the heat in our room, it transpired the switch was above the door into the bathroom out of reach of children hence why I couldn’t find it! I also asked about the hotels policy of accepting stag and hen parties when families were staying and explained about Granny being disturbed in the night. I was told that usually the hotel shy away from such groups as they are a family hotel but third party bookings made online make this process difficult. They do identify parties they suspect to be stag or hen parties and make it clear that any problems will not be tolerated which was good to hear. I also explained our disappointment over the previous nights meal, the lack of drinks being offered, the time that dinner is served being a bit late for us personally with a young family. All my comments were taken on board which was nice.
I then headed up to help collect the last of our things as check out was 10am and then thanked the staff for a lovely stay as we left as I checked out. We had thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Fourcroft Hotel and on the whole feel they have fantastic facilities for families but there are a few improvements that could be made. Throughout our stay the staff had been extremely helpful and had engaged with us all individually as a family. The hotel and it’s facilities were clean and maintained and they had the added bonus of the games room, a valuable space to offer families.
For more information on the Fourcroft Hotel please visit their website here
Disclaimer – We were provided with two nights bed and breakfast at the Fourcroft Hotel Tenby, for the purpose of this and as an Approved Family Friendly Assessor post however the content of this post is 100% my own thoughts and feelings.