The building bricks for a happy family adventure?
If you like Lego, you’ll be in heaven in the Legoland Windsor Hotel. It not only looks like it’s built of Lego, it’s full of it. And what kid doesn’t like Lego? The saying goes if the children are happy then the parents will be too, but is it true? As part of our Twin Theme Park Adventure, we went to check out the theory…
So many bricks
“Why don’t you add that bridge to your flower bed?” I suggest to Cameron, passing him a green plastic curve to add to his garden of destiny. “It’ll go well with your twig of turmoil.”
“That’s my bridge actually,” says a woman about my age, who has trumped our garden of destiny with the 2012 Olympic Games stadium. She snatches it back to provide a walkway for her crowds.
The parents are the most competitive
This mad scramble to build a Lego model by 6pm is competitive parenting at its most ugly. Most of us only left Legoland Windsor theme park at 5pm, when it closed. That left an hour to check in; discover the quirky details of the pirate, adventure and kingdom themed rooms, and make an award winning model. What makes it even harder is having to pretend that it’s our kids are turning out these multi-noduled works of art. But on the plus side, no adult or child is short of bricks. They are literally everywhere in this imaginative 150 room hotel that turns flashing the plastic into a fine art.
Thousands of mini figures staff reception
There are buckets of Lego bricks in the bar, in the playrooms, in the bedrooms, in reception. The receptionists are framed by a vast wall of mini figures and surrounded by vivid multi-brick blooms.
The dining room is designed to mirror an industrial kitchen; with giant Lego chefs making mad spagetti, falling in the jelly, mixing up a sundae. There are Lego egg splats all over the walls, while the shelves are filled with champagne bottles. Unfortunately the bubbles might get stuck in your throat.
Letting the imagination go wild
Our room is even wilder. I know we’re approaching our ‘fully themed adventure room’ because the voice in the muralled lift congratulates me on becoming an official Johnny Thunder raider. That’s never happened to me before.
Our room’ has giant spiders on the ceiling, a Crocodile Dundee hat hung by the mirror, and a monkey squatting on a safe full of prizes that needs to be cracked with a code.
The kids run off round the hotel to find the answer while I grab the box of Lego from under the bed, “This isn’t enough to make an award winning sculpture. We’ll have to go to reception. There’s loads more there.” I tell Stuart. No time for coffee or chat. Relaxation is brick shaped in the Legoland Windsor Hotel.
Fun written right through it
But aside from the art challenge, this is accommodation designed and constructed for kids. It’s like a stick of Blackpool rock with fun written all through it. And the younger the child the better the experience.
At 11 and 9 our boys seem too old to really revel in it; it’s the toddlers that squeal with delight at the wandering man size Lego figures (always with a minder like plastic rock-gods) the giant tree house made for clambering, the multi cogged mobile in reception that carries hot air balloons, space ships and birds on a circular overhead journey, and the dragon at the door.
If you’ve never been to a themed hotel before, and you like high concept stuff, this will blow you away. I watch with interest as a coach load of Japanese stand open mouthed in the doorway. None of them have kids but it doesn’t seem to spoil their enjoyment. (Although they do get very frustrated by the lifts. They may speak to you, and they’re lovely to look at, but they’re not really adequate for a hotel full of people, giant Lego figures and their minders, and the thousands of tiny bricks that are starting to make their way up to other floors in pockets and underfoot.)
It must be a nightmare to hoover
By 7pm, the deadline for competitions, there are nowhere near as many bricks in the boxes. And the Lego on the floor isn’t just in the carpet design; the plastic stuff is everywhere. Am I the only mother to start worrying about it getting into hotel hoovers?
Kids are lying spreadeagled, pushing around long multicoloured snakes. Adults are admiring the entries they’ve carefully placed on the spotlit podiums, with the names of their children attached.
Someone has constructed the word Legoland out of bricks. There’s a pizza parlour and a weapons shed. There’s a huge sunflower. Of course there’s the olympic stadium, but there’s also a rather magnificent garden of destiny and twig of turmoil.
Over a breakfast that’s so family sized we can’t squeeze in another bite of pancake, danish pastry, bacon or egg cooked to your every whim, I find out I haven’t won. I mean the kids haven’t won. In Lego, as in life, there ain’t no justice. Any chance of us checking back in?
Have you been to a family themed resort hotel? Did it work for you?
Disclosure Note: Thanks to Legoland Windsor Resort who allowed us to check out the hotel and park to bring you this story.