We were due to spend our family summer holiday at Hilton Malta this week, but decided against travelling abroad due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, as part of our ‘staycation’ activities we checked into Hilton St. George’s Park for 2 nights and made a day trip to Twycross Zoo. Whilst it didn’t have Malta’s sunshine, this hotel did have a lot going for it and is definitely one I’d recommend for a UK family break.
This hotel is part of the St. George’s Park England FA football training complex. Built in 2012, the complex boasts state of the art football training and education facilities, as well as large attractive grounds. The on site Hilton hotel includes a spa, swimming pool and health club. The hotel clearly reflects its surroundings with England football imagery and artefacts displayed throughout the buildings and rooms. I felt this was done fairly tastefully – if you like football you’ll find it interesting, if not then I don’t think it’s too ‘in your face’!
Based on our stay I’d suggest that the hotel appears to appeal to two main audiences (at least during the summer anyway). Firstly, groups using the sports and education facilities. There were a number of football groups staying, including the Barnsley FC first team squad. Secondly, families like us using it as a base for local days out to attractions such as Alton Towers and Twycross Zoo. There were a number of families with young children staying.
Note: Current regulations and restrictions obviously impacted on what was available during our stay.
We booked two standard, interconnecting, rooms which were priced at £105 or 35,000 points per night. Family rooms, which are suitable for 4 people are available as a standard room redemption with points.
I have to say that I was very impressed with the hotel’s management of the current situation, both in terms of systems and staff approach.
The executive lounge was unavailable and the swimming pool was open but with pre-booking essential, other spa facilities were closed. Breakfast was available in the restaurant with one-way counter service and masks were required in public areas. In some areas floor tape was in place to divide key areas.
This was implemented well, largely due to two factors. Firstly, at check-in clear information was provided along with an apology for what wasn’t available and helpful details about replacement options. For example, there was no lounge, but as a Hilton Gold member I was given two paper bags containing bottled water, lager and a snack. Similarly, swimming was more difficult to book (we did manage to get a one hour slot), so they were also offering bookable Xbox gaming pods, pool table and use of the football pitch. The second key factor was that staff were consistent and friendly in their approach to managing systems. There was no over the top policing of this, but expectations were clear and everyone was following these. It felt like the approach was well thought through.
Consistent with this, the level of service was good. Staff were attentive and friendly throughout our stay. Check-in was particularly well managed and service in the restaurant was very good.
We had two interconnecting family rooms on the 2nd floor, which although compact worked fine for a family of 6. The rooms were clean and modern, the bathrooms had showers. Each room had black and white canvas prints of England footballers on the wall, this included images from England’s blind football team and women’s team.
At check-in an apology was given for the lack of a Gold status upgrade. An upgrade is always nice, but obviously not guaranteed and to be honest the fact the request for interconnecting rooms was met was more important. That said, I’d be interested in a future stay in a suite here. Given the surroundings and likely clientelle I’d be curious to see what a more ‘luxury’ break looks like here, particularly once the lounge and spa are fully operational.
As above facilities were limited due to Covid-19 restrictions. The bar, restaurant and pool were all open, but required pre-booking. Gaming pods and the pool table could be booked for 45 minute slots, a football pitch was available for guest use and a map of the grounds’ walking and jogging routes was provided. The executive lounge and facilities such as the sauna were unavailable.
Booking was well managed and the only real limitation was that we were only able to book one swimming session across the 3 days we were there. When we did use the pool there were 14 people, including us, and we had an hour slot. The pool and spa area is an attractive space with full lengths windows. Again, the staff were helpful, friendly and efficient.
I found the walking route interesting – no tours are currently available in the football centre, but we had a look at the various outdoor pitches where there was some activity. This included a session being filmed by a very impressive drone camera!
The hotel lobby is a very spacious and attractive space, behind the check in desk large video screens show images of England teams training on site. This large space was required as a number of the teams seemed to be using the lobby as a meeting point prior to training – this was pretty well organised.
Given the number of families staying, perhaps a small play park would perhaps add further value.
We had breakfast and dinner twice during our stay. Breakfast for the whole family was complimentary due to Hilton Gold status and the hotel was part of the ‘eat out to help out scheme’ which made this exceptionally good value!
For breakfast a one-way system was in place with counter service for hot items. Drinks and cold items were self service (food items were covered individually). I got the impression the selection was slightly reduced, but there was still a good range of items. The system worked well and we were happy with the breakfast.
The evening bar menu was served in both the bar and restaurant to support social distancing. The menu was accessed via a smartphone QR code and table service was provided. Options included pizzas, fish and chips, vegetarian burger, Greek salad and steaks. There was also a children’s menu. I thought it was very decent bar food with good service, perfect for a family meal, especially with the current discounts. Children’s meals were £4.50 (£2.25 with the discount!) and adults ranged from £9-20. My portion of Greek salad with halloumi was enormous and the children were very impressed with the desserts! Again, I’d be interested in the restaurant options for a more high-end stay, outside of current restrictions.
I’d go as far as to say that this is one of the best options I’ve found for a family stay in the £100/night range. It’s an interesting site, whether you’re a football fan or not (!) in a good location for days out. Add to that a modern, attractive hotel with very good standards of service and I think this represents very good value for money (or points!).
I wouldn’t hesitate to return here, perhaps for a child-free weekend in one of the suites next time!
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