I recently booked a Hilton Honors points stay at St Anne’s Manor for a family trip to Legoland, Windsor. I thought this one was worth reviewing as, due to its room options and points pricing, potentially it’s a fantastic value option for bigger families (i.e. more than 4 people!) looking for a decent hotel near Windsor/Ascot/Heathrow. When traveling solo, or with my wife, I generally use the excellent Hilton Reading as a base for this side of London, but for a family trip this was a much better option.
St Anne’s Manor is not far from junction 10 on the M4, near Wokingham & Bracknell. From the hotel it’s about 20 minutes drive to Legoland, 25 minutes to Windsor, 15 minutes to Ascot and 30 minutes to Heathrow – so potentially a very useful base.
A country hotel set in 25 acres of grounds, facilities include a gym, pool and spa, tennis courts, restaurant and attractive outdoor seating areas.
The hotel has a large footprint, with long corridors of rooms. The entrance area is attractive and on our visit we were pleased with the check in process. Service was friendly and Hilton gold benefits were extended to the whole family.
The room options are what makes the hotel very attractive for families. Unusually there are actually room options for families of 2, 3, 4 and 6. Unfortunately on our visit as a family of six we booked at very short notice (about 6 hours before checking in) and only a double (2) and neighbouring double family room (4) was available. These were actually both of a similar size, with the obvious difference being the additional bed. That said, for one night the family room size was workable.
Relative to the pricing and the type of visit, the standard of the rooms was good. They were well equipped, clean and it looked like the bathrooms had been refurbished relatively recently. Whilst I definitely wouldn’t refer to them as luxurious, I’ve seen worse in much more expensive hotels. Although the rooms probably would benefit from further refurbishment, I’d suggest that if that happens the hotel is unlikely to remain the same good value option for families, as the location and grounds mean potentially it could become quite a desirable higher value hotel.
The large grounds apparently contain a host of wildlife. We spotted squirrels, ducks and a shrew – signage suggests there are resident deer too, but we weren’t lucky enough to spot them. The children enjoyed climbing in trees, exploring the woodlands and there is also a small play area. Again, this was great for us as a family and a bonus for the price and convenience, but it feels like the grounds definitely have further potential. There were a few areas which would benefit from further attention – including a potentially interesting pond space with garish red construction tape and ‘at your own risk’ signage, and a nice stone fountain with a fairly pathetic pond pump spraying a half hearted water feature! As with the rooms, this is probably what is keeping this as a practical option for families, rather than a luxury country hotel.
Breakfast was good, a decent amount of choice for the children – who always love the novelty of hotel breakfasts! Nothing spectacular, but decent service and a nice restaurant space. The presence of a number of families – likely also on their way to Legoland! – also made the restaurant feel family friendly.
We used the pool and spa in the morning. Accessed near reception, with internal windows to the corridors and large skylights, it was relatively quiet when we visited. The space was clean and the pool was split into two, one side for lane swimming and one for general use. There was also a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and gym. The pool was surrounded by sun loungers/beds. Again, it could be summarised as a nice practical, family friendly space – but I think, at the moment, would fall short as a luxury spa break destination.
Points and Prices
For me, St Anne’s Manor’s pricing is generally quite attractive, but it’s major selling points is it’s points pricing.
A standard room redemption is usually 23,000 points. At a general accepted value of 0.33p per point that equates to about £75, which I think is OK value for the hotel.
However, things become more attractive for families – especially large families like ours (2 adults, 4 children). Unlike many Hilton hotels, the redemption price for St Anne’s Manor doesn’t leap dramatically for premium or larger rooms (sometimes with Hilton a room costing just £10 more can be double the points!). The hotel offers ‘double family rooms’ which sleep four and a ‘two double deluxe family room’, which sleeps six. The base price for these is 32,000 and 41,000 points respectively. This makes it a fantastic option for two reasons. Firstly, we’ve learnt from experience that finding a room for six people in a decent hotel is almost impossible. Secondly, finding premium rooms with sensible points with Hilton is just as rare. This offers both, and is well located.
We usually have to book 2, or even 3, standard rooms if we’re using points, and then hope for an upgrade or adjoining rooms. With St Anne’s Manor we can redeem a room for 6 people for 41,000 points, rather than 3 doubles for 69,000 – and we’ll get more suitable accommodation. We also discovered that with Hilton Gold status, free breakfast, bottled water, etc. is also honoured for the whole family, not just the minimum 2 guests.
It is always worth checking points prices against the cash prices, as the point redemptions may be less attractive on low demand dates. When we visited cash prices started as £85 for a double or £122 for double family room, which made 23,000 or 32,000 points good value at 0.37+p per point.
At these points prices, it would be feasible to book a free room here using the American Express Gold Card Bonus (Amex points transfer at 1:2 to Hilton Honors). Your 10,000 bonus points would get you 20,000 Hilton Honors points – but you could quite easily increase this to 18,000, to get 36,000 Hilton points (as detailed in my post here).
St Anne’s Manor is a great base for family trips in this area of the country. It’s major advantages are its family friendly room options, and sensible Hilton Honors point pricing. Whilst it’s not really a luxury country hotel, it is a nice hotel with pleasant grounds and good service. We will definitely use this hotel again for this kind of trip.