Great Group Getaways – Specialist and independent hotels
In the penultimate chapter of our four-part series for great group getaways, we take a look at specialist and independent hotels.Brenda Watkinson takes a look at some of the accommodation options available to groups including nationwide chains, smaller specialist chains, hotel and coach holidays, and independent hotels.
With 13 lovely hotels and villages scattered around the UK including historic country houses and coastal hideaways, Warner Leisure Hotels offers adult only short breaks which include a huge range of activities such as bowling, archery and rifle shooting, Nordic walking, putting, curling and skittles, giving your members an ideal opportunity to try something they had never done before.
For keen walkers, Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel in North Wales offer exclusive guided walking breaks. Accompanied by a qualified and knowledgeable walking guide, participants can expect great views, fresh air and a choice of walks to suit regular walkers and novices alike. Every walking break features two walks with a packed lunch provided on each walking day and transport from your hotel to and from the walk start and finish where required.Warner Leisure Hotels offer groups of 20 or more savings off the brochure price, free places depending on the group size, single rooms without under occupancy supplements, ferry crossings to the Isle of Wight and also allocated restaurant seating.
In the centre of the picturesque medieval village of Dunster in Exmoor National Park, the Yarn Market Hotel is a friendly family run hotel featuring 28 en-suite bedrooms including family rooms, doubles and twins.
Ideally suited for, and experienced in accommodating groups of all sizes, the hotel has conference rooms where groups can meet in the evening to discuss the next day’s activities or perhaps enjoy a quiz, which the hotel can help organise.
Its restaurant offers a different menu each day, which can be tailored to the group’s requirements. Also on offer, to try a taste of the West Country, are locally brewed ales from Cotleigh Brewery and ciders produced by Sheppys.
For walkers, there is a boot storage rooms and heated drying room should the weather be inclement. Maps and guided walk information are always readily available, combined with local knowledge to help you get the best from your day’s activities.The hotel is not only popular with walking groups, it’s great for groups of all types as it runs over 20 different special breaks every year including a Jazz weekend, Music workshops, Choral weekends, Craft Weekends, Garden Breaks, and many more.
The hotel also offers to provide a courier guide for Exmoor tours and has devised its own recommended “Exmoor Safari” route for coaches comprising a full day tour that can be adapted according to the length of the coach.
GTOs are offered a special familiarisation visit rate of £75.00 per person per stay for a two-night Dinner Bed and Breakfast stay.
One of Bournemouth’s last remaining family owned and operated hotels, the Marsham Court Hotel offers exceptional service and hospitality as standard!Situated on Bournemouth’s East Cliff, and a two-minute walk from the town centre and beaches, many of the bedrooms and function spaces enjoy stunning sea views over the bay from Hengistbury Head to Old Harry Rocks. The Marsham Court provides a wonderful guest experience and is a popular choice for groups who travel from all over the UK.
As well as accommodating the needs of private groups, a full programme of special interest holidays is also available for smaller groups to join – including dance, bridge, whist, mah-jong and watercolour painting holidays and many guests return year after year. With 87-bedrooms, nine individual meeting, conference and function suites the hotel can cater for up to 230 people.
In Llandudno, nestling between the Great and the Little Orme, the St Kilda Hotel stands in the centre of the sweeping Promenade directly opposite the Bandstand.
On arrival, everyone enjoys a cup of tea and homemade scone. All bedrooms have a choice of walk in showers or baths with showers. There is a lift to all floors and a ramp into the hotel and the hotel is happy to discuss any special mobility needs.The five-course menu changes daily with the freshest local ingredients reflecting the changing seasons. There is nightly live entertainment or, for those looking for a quieter time, the Sea View Toronto Lounge is also available.
Their themed breaks are extremely popular with groups and are available at no extra cost. Many groups return year after year, so it is very important to book early if you want a special date.
Another specialist hotel group, HF Holidays, has 18 country house hotels in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Beauty throughout the UK as well as partnerships with hotels around the world, and its specialist groups’ team has been helping groups enjoy holidays that make the most of the outdoors for over 100 years. Owned by its members as a co-operative all profits are invested back into the holidays.
Alongside guided and self-guided walking and cycling holidays, HF Holidays can organise a full holiday programme for a leisure activity break for your group and you can book sole use of a house too. Special diets are catered for and each UK based country house hotel has an accreditation from Coeliac UK for its provision of gluten-free meals.