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Your favourite (and most hated) Theme Park Hotels/Accomodation

TPSou

Member
My wife and I tend to stay on-site whenever we can at theme parks, partly because of the travel convenience (so nice waking up and walking to the turnstiles or collapsing back into bed after a day in the park) but also because it's all a part of the experience. In the places we've been to there's some really amazing ones, and we've never been really disappointed. So I was curious as to which places are people's favourite or most hated Theme Park Hotels and why?

I'll go first.

Favourite: Port Orleans French Quarter at Walt Disney World, Florida

I love the atmosphere of this place so much. WDW holidays can be a bit much but French Quarter is always calm and quiet, and you can take a nice walk up along the river to Riverside. The rooms aren't crazy and don't have nice views, but they're comfortable and now they've added Smart TVs so you can cast from your phone to them which is always a plus when you want to catch up on Youtube in the evenings. The food is unique on the resort and there's never big queues, and all the staff seem consistently great. We love French Quarter, even over some of the deluxe resorts on property.

Most Hated: Enchanted Village at Alton Towers, UK

I quite like the campy fantasy of the Alton Towers hotel, and the escapism of Splash Landings, but the Enchanted Village is like a poster child for everything wrong with Merlin Parks. It was a nice enough idea, make some small wooden huts in the woods and give it a slightly magical twists. What we actually got were tiny little cupboards on a field. The rooms are very small, have no air ventilation at all (they wouldn't even give us a fan) and the restaurant is worse than the Secret Garden for Breakfast. The larger villas look a bit nicer, but the whole site seems really unthemed and barren. If you've ever seen the forest accomodation at Efteling, that is how you do it right.
 
Some reviews:

Hotel Matamba at Phantasialand was pretty unique.
Pros:
  • Superb theming.
  • Amazing breakfast selection. Possibly the best I have ever seen. Children have their own breakfast buffet with a low arch entrance. It was pretty spectacular to be honest.
  • Relatively spacious room. I had a balcony and never asked for one. Maybe luck of the draw.
  • Decent view of the park. You are pretty much inside of the park to be honest.
  • I had to pull out of a visit to Matamba and the park in 2018 due to health reasons. They refunded me the cost of my stay of two nights without me even asking or cancelling. As it was last minute I never expected the money back but just shows you the type of people they are: honest and meticulous.
Cons:
  • Confusion over ticket entry at hotel reception. I stayed 2 nights / 3 days and because they do a two for one entry, they had to spend some time working out the final figure. Which is obviously just 2 * single entry. They never explained I needed to get a new ticket each day so was sent back from the main entrance on the second day. Seemed clumsy to me.
  • Shower is very nice but the bathroom has a sliding door without a lock from what I can remember. Just so that people are aware when you want your own privacy.

Big Blue Hotel at Blackpool Pleasure Beach is close second:
Pros:
  • Amazing view. Has to be the best anywhere for coaster fans. You can literally see 9 of the 10 coasters in the park from most of the north facing bedrooms. I have stayed there 3 times and each time the view is just superb when you get in the room. It is actually great watching the park in motion on a busy day. So much to see from your bedroom.
  • Good breakfast (not the best, but better than average), great restaurant in the evening and probably the best room service food I have had.
  • Nice rooms. Everything you need, very well looked after for UK hotel standards. Suites are mega spacious. Like a small apartment almost.
  • Relatively quiet considering many kids in the hotel usually.
  • Quick access to the park in the mornings.

Cons:
  • Nonsense carpark charges brought in. Exit code for carpark didn't always work. Unnecessary nonsense for the money you pay.
  • Quick access should be all day but I believe they have now introduced a return train (The main train in the park) that stops at the old Burger King stop and they let you back into the hotels from there. But is a one time only I believe. Otherwise you have to walk all the way around the park which can be irritating if your riding the likes of the Big One last as you are sort of double backing on yourself then.
  • I had a suite two years ago and the weird thing to note is there was no hand basin in the separate toilet. So you can use the toilet if your partner is in the shower or having a bath but you can't wash your hands. Dumb.

I don't really hate any hotel I've stayed at, at theme parks but Hotel Cheyenne seemed to have gone downhill somewhat at Disneyland Paris
Pros:
  • Rooms are pleasant and have obviously had a makeover, with the Woody from Toy Story theme.
  • Exterior of the buildings seem well enough maintained. It still looks good mostly.
  • Free bus access to the park which is good and saves the long walk.
Cons:
  • Somewhat rude staff at hotel reception, but I noticed this everywhere at Disney Paris last year. That definitely never used to be like this going by my numerous visits.
  • Theming seems to have gone downhill somewhat. I remember more sandy roads to fit in with the old west. There seems to be a lot more concrete about. Probably for practical reasons but it doesn't seem that well done to me. There is not much to see or do during the day considering this is Disney. There is no swimming pool at this hotel (I knew that - but still worth mentioning). There were some donkey rides for kids on the last day I was there. Nice to see the donkeys but maybe they could include horse ride facilities for adults too and sell more western gear (only available in the park from what I remember - though I could be wrong about that, just didn't see a shop at the hotel).
  • Breakfast is a complete chaotic mess. Far too busy, even though you now have to pay for it. Phantasialand put Disney to shame for me last year easily. Somewhat uninspired food which is obviously catered for the masses which I understand.
  • I felt I should make use of the early hotel guests only access, starts at 830am, which is early if you like to stay in the parks till close the night before (during summer). This is thus tricky with breakfast. You feel pressured to make use of it so breakfast is much more of a hectic experience now as everyone rushes at the same time because of this.
  • No complimentary drinks / water in the room. I feel I should mention this since the cost of hotel stays/tickets have about doubled in price over the last ten years. There is an on site Star Bucks but expensive and slow. No simple drinks machine but there is a free coffee machine in the hotel lobby. Still a bit poor I think. Guess that's the problem being British, you expect tea / coffee facilities in the rooms everywhere.
  • During my stay they were busy with the bridge and walkway near the new Marvel hotel / Hotel New York so you had to walk along a tiny path alongside the Sequoia Lodge hotel. This was not made clear by hotel reception staff at all, that this was now the case (temporary or whatever). I appreciate maintenance has to be done but the path was very badly indicated when I was there and not sure where to go so I walked all the way back to security staff near Disney village to ask about this. Very poor and it made me wish I had upgraded to Sequoia immediately.
 
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Nitefly

Member
The Loews Pacific resort at universal Orlando is excellent. Really worth it for the fast passes, convenience and the nice pool area. The only downside is that the resort area is very expensive (unnecessarily and unpleasantly so) for food and drinks, forcing you towards junk food options.
 

zazobo

Member
The few I’ve stayed at:

Europa:
Hotel Bell rock- fabulous, classy and comfortable
Hotel Santa Isabel- also fabulous, calming atmosphere

phantasialand:
Matamba- great themeing and location, divine breakfast
Hotel Ling Bao- beautiful and smells divine

Portaventura:
Hotel Gold River- cute themeing, noisy breakfast but not bad
Hotel Carribe- bit average but fine, probably worst of the bunch

Efteling:
Efteling hotel- very plasticy and old fashioned, probably wouldn’t stay there again...
 

JammyH

Member
My favourites are Ling Bao and Bell rock.

I haven't really stayed in any theme park hotels that I haven't enjoyed, mainly because if I don't like the look of them when researching online, then I choose to stay off-site instead.

I haven't stayed in it but the shark hotel at Thorpe Park looks horrendous.
 
Lowes Portfolio Bay at Universal Orlando wins hands down for me. Such an immersive experience plus you are just a short boat ride from what, in my opinion, are the greatest theme parks on the planet. The fact that staying in the Portafino gives you free unlimited fast passes for Universal is just the icing on the cake
 

hendrixmarshall

New Member
Favorite would have to be the Cabins at Lighthouse Point at CP. The only drawback is the walk back there. Even with the shuttle, after a couple days of hard core riding I get "Popeye" legs. So sore but so good!

Worst is Camp Rudolph RV rentals at HW. State of the Art around 1978 or so. And they charge a crapton.
 

Harry347

New Member
In terms of value for money I really like The Park Front hotel at Universal Studios Japan, it's an awesome hotel and is pretty cheap however it is pretty light on theming.

Least favourite is probably Splash landings at Alton Towers, rooms a super outdated and the everything just seem old and un-loved.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
Stayed in a handful so thought I'd make a list and give a quick one liner of my opinions on each of them:

Thorpe Shark Hotel - It serves a purpose
Alton Towers Hotel - Adore ATH, from the theming to the bar and general little touches of magic. Still feels very old school Towers.
Splash Landings - I love the smell and the warm climate inside, very clever. Theming is fun and unique too but feels a little outdated.
Hotel Matamba - Adore, adore, adore. Probably my favourite Resort hotel. Lovely sized rooms, well themed/decorated without feeling too garish
Efteling Hotel - It was nice and cute (the little mice under the bed etc, all very Efteling) - extremely overpriced
Disneyland Paris Hotel - Priced at €1800 per night (we got a comp room so thankfully didn't pay that!) I was shocked at how outdated the place was. Proximity to park and castle view from the window obviously fab but not fab enough to cover the underlying smell of cigarette smoke and general need of a huge update
Hotel Santa Fe (Disney) - Always think this place feels like a prison block but hey, it's Disney so it has that as a redeeming factor. If you can get a cheap package deal then it's fine but wouldn't go out of my way to revisit
Hotel des Pirates (Nigloland) - Secretly really loved this hotel even though it's got an ever so slight touch of what I like to call 'Blackpool chic' about it (eg trying to be glam but coming off as cheap)
Mt Olympus - Oh GOD this hotel. It's fine because it's SO CHEAP but the bed frame was literally painted on the wall. But it's the Dells so you accept it - it's kitsch!
Port Aventura Gold River - Adore this hotel, gorgeously themed including the rooms (THERE'S THEMING IN THE TOILETS!), great views of the park from your window
Hotel Port Aventura - fine, a little too 'cheap Spanish package holiday' for my taste but nothing inherently terrible about it
Heide Park Abenteurhotel - Really love this hotel - great themed rooms and you get unlimited beer/wine on tap with dinner <3

I *think* that's everything but let's face it if there's something I'm missing it obviously didn't make enough of an impression to make the list.
 

Crazycoaster

Active Member
Animal Kingdom Lodge (WDW) - An incredible resort, awe inspiring everytime you walk into the lobby, and having giraffe and zebra outside your window is awesome. You can't beat Disney service at a resort like this.

Coronado Springs (WDW) - This was before the new tower was added, so not sure how much that changes the dynamic, but this was an awesome Disney resort. Only moderate resort with a gym, and because of the convention centre attached, it had a much more grown up vibe, with far less children than the other resorts, which is always a bonus. Perfectly located in Disney World too, being pretty smack bang in the centre, within easy reach of each park.

Hotel Matamba - Probably one of the best hotel rooms I've ever stayed in, with the two separate bedrooms, and great view of Black Mamba out your window. Plus Taron ERT makes staying priceless.

Portaventura Hotel El Paso - Nice clean resort, food offerings were a bit dire to be honest, but the pool and rooms are nice enough.

Hotel Santa Fe (DP) - It's so hideous and basic, the theming reminds me of a bridge underpass, but I paid £300 pp for a 5 day stay with food included (food was pretty good), so was more than happy with the accomodation for that price.
 

Howie

Active Member
Hotel Port Aventura: It was 15 years ago but I really liked it here. Everything was still new and shiny. Loved the simple, spacious decor, the big balcony full of of potted plants, the evening buffet, but most of all I loved the fact that our room was like 20 metres away from the park entrance.

Hotel Colosseo, Europa Park. Loved it, lavish theming, room overlooking the fountains in the courtyard, great restaurants etc..
The spa is lovely too... but you are encouraged to use it, ahem, 'au naturel', ie; tackle out, which seemed a bit weird in a mixed use setting, but hey ho. That's Germany for you.

Hotel Matamba, Phantasialand. Really nice. Probably the comfiest bed I've ever slept in. Great theming and a fab restaurant.

AbenteuerHotel, Heide Park Resort. Very decent, but not particularly 'special'.

Newport Bay, Disneyland Paris. Nice, but waaay too big. From park to hotel is a 5 minute walk. Hotel lobby to room is another 10 minute walk.

Alton Towers Hotel. Pretty good.

Splash Landings. Waterpark is a plus, obvs, but the rooms are too small.

Enchanted Village, AT. Actually not bad. Not great, and a bit chilly during the colder months, but staying in a log cabin is kinda cool.

Safari Hotel, Chessington. Sh*t. Nowt more than a Travelodge with random bits of giraffe theming. Staff were beyond useless.

Big Blue, Blackpool. I liked it here, had a room with coaster views so that's always cool. Nice breakfast.

CP Express, Cedar Point. Not really an onsite, themed hotel per se, but it has got pictures of the Cedar Point creds on the walls, soooo....

Santa's Lodge at Holiday World, does that count? It's just as on-site as some of the others mentioned here, and it's Christmas all year round, so it kinda felt like part of the resort. Fun. I liked it!
 
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Will

Active Member
I like Chessington's hotel when I stayed there - but admittedly that was in 2010 when it was still a Holiday Inn.
The showers were good, the food was great and there were giraffe views (and a fish tank) but, like most of Chessington, I'm prepared to believe it's gone very much downhill.

Bar St Louis at EP is one of my favourite places in the world.

I was meant to be checking into Cedar Point Express on June 1st 😒

You'd have to pay me to stay in Thorpe Shark.
 

BlueSonicHD

Member
Don't really have a favourite, a hotel is just a bed for me to sleep. for the amount of time spent in the room doesn't matter how nice it is..

that being said, Shark "Hotel" @ Thorpe Park 🤢 🥴

I will never ever in my life time deign to lay my head in one of their shipping containers
Hot, Damp Noisy and the worst breakfast offering in the entire history of breakfast offerings
 

TPSou

Member
Don't really have a favourite, a hotel is just a bed for me to sleep. for the amount of time spent in the room doesn't matter how nice it is..

that being said, Shark "Hotel" @ Thorpe Park 🤢 🥴

I will never ever in my life time deign to lay my head in one of their shipping containers
Hot, Damp Noisy and the worst breakfast offering in the entire history of breakfast offerings
I've stayed in the Shark hotel a couple of times, and while I'm happy enough to stay there again when it's on a super cheap deal thanks to not having to drive in the morning and having the fastpass, I'll go buy a breakfast rather than having one of their free ones. So, so bad.
 

gavin

Administrator
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I've stayed in surprisingly few park hotels. When I do trips, I generally prefer to stay in city centre areas so there's more to do and see around the place, and do nearby parks as day trips. The few I've done then:

Chimelong Hotel (Chimelong Paradise)

Despite having been to the park a few times, I'd never stayed on site, but made a weekend of it for my birthday last year (doing the park one day and safari park the next). The room was really nice, but pretty generic. The hotel is fab though; they've even got animal exhibits inside (the lobby has a white tiger enclosure, and there are more white tigers connected to one of the restaurants).

Chimelong Henquin Bay Hotel (Ocean Kingdom)

Stayed here on my first visit soon after the park opened. It was the only hotel at the time and is still the most luxurious of the (current) 3 hotels on site. I ended up getting a deal (or it might have been an upgrade I can't remember) on a suite, and it was gorgeous. There's a huge pool (and a small water park now) with a connected dolphin pool (turtles at the time I stayed there). I think I remember breakfast being decent, but definitely more geared to the local market.

Chimelong Penguin Hotel (Ocean Kingdom)

Stayed here twice now. It's generally cheaper than Henquin Bay (though often you can get them for similar prices), and is their more mid-range hotel and seems a bit more family-oriented when you look at the shops, facilities and decor. The rooms are still really nice though, and the main advantage is that it's right at the park entrance. The buffet restaurant is really good and has penguin pools inside.

Ocean Park Marriot

This was me being a bit extra since I can potentially get to Ocean Park in 15 minutes from my house, so there's absolutely no need to stay over. It isn't exactly a park hotel, but you really wouldn't be using it if you weren't going to the park. They don't seem to have any park deals/combos which seems a bit strange. Even though I don't think Ocean Park own it, you'd think they'd come to some arrangement, especially since it's also on their website. It's just a couple of minutes walk to the MTR Station and park entrance. Anyway, it's lovely. The rooms are really nice and the pool area in the middle of the complex is gorgeous. I had some "club" room, which gave access to a club lounge (inclusive drinks and snacks in the evening and breakfast in the morning away from the main breakfast buffet). We did the buffet restaurant for dinner and it was great but very busy and SERIOUSLY expensive, even for Hong Kong.

Disney's All Star Music Resort

Ugh. I wanted to stay at a Disney hotel to make the most of the (let's face it, AMAZING) transport options, but didn't want to pay silly prices. It was still really overpriced for what you get. I knew this wasn't going to be anything amazing, but I was still pretty disappointed with it. The room was fine, but really basic. It felt like any halfway decent motel room to be honest - nothing wrong with it, but really nothing special either. The onsite facilities were crap as well. The restaurants (well, it's a food court, let's face it) were always packed and the food was mediocre and extortionately priced, but if you've just got back from full days at the parks and can't be bothered going out again, you're kind of trapped there with no choice. They also stupidly had music pumping out over the pool area all night, so I did what I very rarely do in hotels and complained (I usually can't be bothered and just suck it up if there's any issue) until I got moved away from it. Anyway, I'd probably stay onsite at Disney World again for the convenience, but I'd pay a bit more next time. Either that or not stay onsite at all. You could get a much nicer hotel for a much lower price and the money saved would more than cover the costs of Uber to get around.
 

Tonkso

Member
I've only stayed in two.

Hotel Port Aventura

  • Fantastic food included in the price.
  • Evening entertainment, kid focused but not boring at least after a few drinks.
  • Our room was right (one level up) next to the park entrance. We were first in the park every day we were there, except for the Ferrari Land day.
  • Great pool, closed for the season why we were there but we'd have definitely used it if it was open.
DLP Hotel Cheyenne

  • Decent enough food.
  • Short walk to the park via the Disney Village.
  • Not really any advantage over the cheaper non-disney properties to be honest, besides the walk rather than shuttle bus.

Not official, but closer than the official...

Trough Ivy (next to the Alton Towers entrance)

  • Run by a lovely older couple who work incredibly hard to make you feel welcome.
  • Closer to the park gates than the car park or Alton's own hotels.
 
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