When we were invited by Luxury Family Hotels to stay at their gorgeous hotel Moonfleet Manor, I jumped at the chance. How could we not?
It was our first little holiday as a family of four. Alfred, in particular, was very excited at the idea of going on holiday and staying in a hotel. He’s at such a brilliant age, where he gets everything - so it was perfect timing for our first proper trip away with him.
We stayed in the lovely John Gould room, situated on the top floor. It was a really cozy space, with a lot of charming original features, such as the wooden rafter beams. It had two spacious bathrooms and two sleeping areas - one with a super king size bed and one with a twin bed. The room was also completely prepared for hosting a toddler and a baby - a travel cot was already put up for us before we arrived, as well as a bed guard for Alfred. It was such a nice touch and it meant that we didn't need to pack any bulky bits of baby paraphernalia to bring with us.
Alfred immediately made himself at home and was chuffed that there was a hidden goodie bag in the room, waiting to be found by him. The bag was filled with little treasures, such as a bucket and spade and some books. The ping pong set was the biggest hit though and Alfred refused to let go of the bat for most of the holiday.
The room had four old windows, each with an impressive view of the lagoon and coastline. It was such a treat, waking up every morning to the sight of the sun shining on the sea.
The hotel was so close to the water and one of the things we were looking forward to most, was going for a walk and exploring the waters edge.
There was also a “baby listening” service, where you had the option of putting your baby down for a sleep and then slipping away downstairs to enjoy a quiet, adult dinner. (If your baby starts crying, a member of staff will come and find you.)
As soon as we were seated at our table each evening, crudites were immediately placed on the table for the children. You also had the option of ordering straight away for them, because as we all know, small children often have trouble waiting for food when they are hungry. All the little details were thought about, to take the stress away.
The food itself was absolutely delicious and cooked to a high standard. I wish I had written down everything that we sampled, but I was enjoying it all too much to remember! I did, however, take a couple of photos, as the dishes were really well presented.
The breakfasts were wonderful too. Every morning there was a help yourself buffet, where we had our fill of eggs, pastries and fruit.
While they were happily playing with the ladies at the creche, Dan went for a hike, to soak in all of the stunning surroundings and I went to get my nails done at the spa.
The spa at Moonfleet Manor does a range of Elemis treatments and I must say, I was torn between having a hot stone massage and what I ultimately chose, a hot hand soak and Jessica gel manicure.
It was so nice to just sit and have a bit of pampering. The last time I had my nails professionally done was about 3 years ago!
My beauty therapist, Phoebe, was so chatty and warm and made the whole experience extra enjoyable. She did a perfect job on my nails too!
Once Dan and I had both had a bit of quiet time on our own, we met up with each other to enjoy some coffee and conversation in the sun, before we picked Alfred and Freya up from the creche, feeling very rejuvenated.
Because we really lucked out with the weather, we spent most of the afternoon outside in the grounds, playing football and enjoying some more coffee, before Alfred insisted on going to the playcentre for more trampolining and air hockey fun.
If we'd had more time, I would have loved to visit Corfe Castle properly, as well as Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. Next time, perhaps! There are so many areas of natural beauty in Dorset, it's hard to cram it all in.
Ever since we got home, Alfred has asked daily to go back to the hotel. I think the whole thing had a real impact on him and I know he learnt so much on those three days away.
I know I will never forget seeing his eyes light up whilst he was exploring all of the rooms, how he was very gentle with Snoopy the dog and how Freya smiled and chatted with the waiters. I will always remember how lovely it was to sit and look at the view with Dan, the warm sun keeping the Autumn chill at bay. I will forever think of how Alfred’s little hand clutched mine, as we walked down to the lagoon and how sweet his and Freya’s faces looked as they slept.
I will forever treasure the memories of this little adventure.