Review: Alton Towers Hotel - Arctic Explorer Room



My son and I just got back from a 2 night stay at the Alton Towers Resort. Our stay included two nights in the Arctic Explorer room, two days at the Alton Towers theme park, a day at the waterpark and 9 hole golf for £432.40


First of all I’ll start by saying that the entire resort is in the middle of nowhere and is HUGE so you’ll definitely need a cab to get there. I pre-booked mine through Alton Towers Taxi's You can select the type of car you want (budget/luxury), add any requirements (e.g. accessibility, car seats) and pay a deposit or the full amount online before your journey, taking the hassle out of paying on the day. You get an email confirmation upon booking and a text on the day of your journey to confirm your travel details and your driver details. I found that the drivers were very friendly and the cabs were super clean.

The Hotel

We stayed at the Alton Towers Hotel for the duration of our getaway. It’s theme centres around Sir Algeon, an explorer who crashed landed his flying ship into the hotel and loved it so much that he decided to permanently make it his home. The hotel features a gorgeous duck pond complete with waterfall – perfect for an early morning stroll before breakfast! Top tip: If you stay at an Alton Towers Resort hotel then you’re given early entry into the theme park. Weekends are usually more expensive to book than weekdays.

The hotel includes a cash machine by the entrance, an on-site Costa Coffee hub (serving a selection of hot drinks) and a small shop (housing various gifts, sweet treats, drinks, baby milk and toiletries) – be warned everything is pricey! As I said before you’re in the middle of nowhere (that’s right, no Asda, no Starbucks, no corner shops!!) so you’ll have no choice but to visit these facilities. Top tip: If you’re travelling by car do a quick Costco trip beforehand for cases of drinks as each normal sized bottle of drink will set you back almost £3! If you’re in need of cows milk head down to the hotel bar where they’ll kindly fill your little’uns bottle for you.

You’ll also find a small arcade room (filled with penny machines, shooting games and grab machines). A lot of the machines are cashless so you’ll have to load up a top-up card to play (which you can do in the room). Top tip: head to the Splash Landings Hotel gaming arcade as it’s bigger than the Alton Towers Hotel one. Also, save your tallow prize tokens as they can be redeemed within the theme park arcade.

In terms of entertainment there’s plenty on offer in the evenings from singers to pirate ‘magicians’ for the kids. It’s conveniently located in the comfort of Sir Algeons boat, in front of the bar, outside of The Secret Garden restaurant (handy if you’ve just finished your evening meal). Top tip: Sit towards the front part of the ship on the side closest to the duck pond for the best view.

The under-sea diver themed lifts are quite cool – when the lift starts to ascend/descend the lights dim and flicker (at first I was scared shitless because I thought there was something wrong with the lift!) then adventure themed music kicks in, pumping you up for your journey.
Parking is free – just make sure to show your room information card to the guy (or girl) at the entrance.



The Room

All of the hotels rooms are themed – I opted for the Arctic Explorer room mainly because I was travelling with a two year old and didn’t want to go for a room with bunk beds he’d no doubt be trying to jump off of every five minutes. It came with a double bed, a kids single bed and a kids pull out single bed. Top tip: if you’re booking multiple rooms you can request adjoining ones. If you’re lucky you’ll get a room facing the duck pond. 

The Icelandic décor gave the room a chilly vibe; perfect after a day of rollercoaster rides in the sweaty sun. The room also comes complete with an air con,  iron and ironing board, tea/coffee making facilities, complimentary toiletries, a mini fridge and a giant polar bear plush for the kids to play with for the duration of their stay.
I loved the fun furnishings, as did my son. There was clearly a lot of attention to detail put into the designing of this room – from the doors to the carpets, bed head to the bathroom. The theme blended perfectly throughout. I was really disappointed with the kids bed as it didn’t end up being as advertised – it was supposed to be a wooden bed with icy stickers replicating the room décor. Instead I was lumped with a standard metal framed bed reminiscent to the old cheap Argos bed I used to have as a kid. Another issue I had was that every so often the TV lost its signal for about 4-6 minutes at a time – frustrating when you’ve got a little’un to keep entertained or during an ep of Love Island! There are no plug sockets by the bed, another annoyance because I’d have to go to the other side of the room to use my phone when it was on charge. On the plus side the room was very spacious allowing for my son to run around and tire himself out in the evenings and we were fortunate enough to have a room onlooking the gorgeous duck pond and waterfall (which was surprisingly quiet given that we weren't too far from the outside lounge area). The rooms aren't soundproof and occasionally we heard an overly excited family trotting past.
In terms of cleanliness I found the room fell short in some areas. The toilet had dirty stains up the inner back of it, there was a stain on the rear wall as if something had been dropped down it and certain corners of the room hadn’t been dusted properly in a long time – not what you’d expect for the price you’re paying.




The Food

The Secret Garden is the on-site restaurant at the Alton Towers Hotel. The menu can be found here. On average a kids meal will set you back about £18 (starter, main, dessert and a drink) and around £30 for an adults meal (starters, main, side, dessert and a drink). I found that the cutlery wasn’t always clean and the tables were semi-stickyish (think Wimpy vibes). A giant tree centred the front of the restaurant but I found that its branches were in need of a good dusting.
I have no complaints about our dinner it ended up being really nice (I had the King of the Prawn Cocktail, Thai Style Crispy Beef and the Strawberries and Cream drink) and my son wolfed his bangers and mash down too. The breakfast on the other hand was just ‘okay’. A full English breakfast buffet is included with your stay along with a selection of cereals, pastries, toast and juices. Top tip: make sure you book all of your meals in advanced (you have the option of going in early if there's enough space for your party). Book your breakfast for around 8am – early enough for you to eat and have enough time to get to the theme park for early access. I also found that after 8.40 there was less food availability.



Proximity to Waterpark

It’s fairly easy to get to the water park from the Alton Towers Hotel – it’s about a 5 minute walk, just follow the green footprints outside the hotel to the Splash Landings Hotel. Top tip: if you ask the staff at the front desk there’s a shortcut to the waterpark through the hotel, great if you don’t fancy walking up and down the sloped pavement in the sweltering heat.
We didn’t stay too long at the waterpark as it’s geared more towards older kids. Although there is a toddler section my just-turned-two-year-old found it too ‘splashy’ because of the mini water cannons and waterfalls. Top tip: you cant bring in inflatables but they provide some in the venue. You can buy swim nappies and armbands in the shop by the waterpark entrance. Lockers cost 20p, which you get back when re-opening the locker. Towels can be rented for £2 each.



Proximity to the Theme Park

Following the green footprints from outside the hotel will lead you to the monorail which takes you directly to the theme park. The monorail opens at 9am it’s about a 7-8minute walk up and down sloped paths to get there. It gets pretty hot and packed during peak times so be prepared to line up for a while. You’re not allowed to take open food and drink onto the monorail. Top tip: bring sunglasses and some form of pram shade as it can get very bright on the monorail. It also gets very hot so it’s handy to have a bottled drink for emergencies.





Verdict

Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at the Alton Towers Hotel. The staff were extremely friendly and went out of their way to help us whenever we needed it, the Arctic Explorer rooms were pleasant to stay in and the décor was amazing! The food wasn’t bad but for the price could have been a better. I’m going to give the hotel 4 stars instead of 5 as the room wasn’t completely as advertised and could have been cleaner. Similarly priced rooms also come with a second TV and Xbox in the second room that's within room but an Xbox could have been thrown in as there was more than enough room for it! The price is probably a bit steep for single parents like myself and there is a Standard Explorer Room option too.




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