Last month I was very kindly invited by Bluestone Wales to be a Bluestone a Blogger for the launch of their FourPlay package for adults only. Whilst this beautiful holiday village may appear to be aimed at Families and Children, Bluestone certainly proved to us that they know how to show us Adults a good time…
Aimed at couples and groups who are looking to break away from the real world for a few days, the FourPlay package offers four unique ways to let your hair down; Taste, Excite, Amuse and Relax. Guests can choose one, two, three or all four of the FourPlay packages on offer.
As I was a Bluestone a Blogger for the weekend, I was to sample all four of these intriguing packages. And best of all, I got to take the Beard with me. We hired a car on the Friday around midday and made the journey from London to Pembrokeshire in South Wales.
(£40pp) We arrived at 7pm, which was perfect timing as our Taste package was to begin at 8pm. Once we’d settled into our lodge we freshened up and then headed to the village for the first part of our taste package; a two course meal at the Carreg Las restaurant (that’s Welsh for Bluestone apparently, drop the G). Although the food was part of the taste package, drinks were not, so we treated ourselves to a bottle of wine and toasted to the beginning of what was sure to be a brilliant weekend.
The food at Carreg Las was Devine. That’s not a word I use a lot because it sounds quite pretentious, and that I am not, but seriously the food was DEVINE. The only critique I have is that I wish the portions could have been a little bigger (says the girl who is supposed to be on a diet). My salmon starter was perfect and my Tempura Monkfish was yummy, but I’ll be honest, I couldn’t stop drooling over the Beards Salt Marsh lamb. Sampling it was a big mistake because then I just had major food envy. But my tasty monkfish with curry and lime chickpeas and chips sufficed. After we had eaten every crumb of courses one and two, we finished our wine and headed back to our lodge. (Watch the full Vlog here)
Whilst the restaurant dining is the main part of the Taste package, it doesn’t finish there. The taste package also includes breakfast over the next three mornings. This is prepared and given to you at Millers, an adorable little bakery that sits in the Village. I had originally been informed that it would be a pastry accompanied by tea or coffee, but much to our surprise, the Beard and I were presented each with a box of Breakfast delights. Both boxes held a croissant, some jam, a pain au chocolate, a yoghurt and a piece of fruit. We were then offered Apple or Orange juice, plus a tea or a coffee, this included cappuccinos and lattes and such. What a great way to start each day. And all for £40pp, I thought this was a great deal.
(£40pp)After we kick started our Saturday with our ‘Taste’ breakfast, it was time to put some excitement into our weekend. I was invited to take part in a group session of ‘High Ropes’, and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like, a bunch of ropes very high up. I may be a fearful flyer but I love anything adrenaline rushing, so when I was told I would be flying through the trees at 40ft in the air I was very excited!
The first 40 minutes was spent with our guide, learning the safety rules and doing some training. Then it was down to us individually to make sure we didn’t fall as we clipped ourselves to a wire and leapt out into the forest. It was actually quite liberating. In between swinging on the large zip wires there was lots of rope climbing (or in my case rope clambering) as we made our way through what can only be described as a mid-air assault course deep in the woods. (Watch the Vlog here)
Part two of the Excite package was Rock Climbing in the adventure centre, but I was a very naughty blogger and skipped this activity choosing instead to sneak home and use the tub. Rock climbing just didn’t seem as adrenalin rushing as the previous activity, plus my hands were quite sore from the high ropes, and if I’m being honest all I could think about was a lovely hot bath.
(Part One £25pp) After some lunch, a loooooong soak in the tub, and a few drinks in our lodge, it was time for us to enjoy the ‘Amuse’ package, otherwise known as Camp Smokey! Deep in the woods, just down from where the high rope course is, lives a huge wooden lodge, perfect for parties – and that’s exactly what it’s for. Throughout the week and during the day, Camp Smokey is a great place for families to hang out and they even throw kids parties. BUT, from 7.30pm on a Saturday evening, Camp Smokey is an adult only area, open to those on the Amuse package. It’s basically a big party involving lots of Cider, BBQ food, utterly weird games, dancing on tables, and there’s even toasting of marshmallows on the fire.
We were welcomed in with a cup of steaming hot Cider (named Bluestone Moonshine) which was then served to us throughout the night in teapots. We plonked our bums onto a table with a few fellow bloggers where we were encouraged to sing along with the live band and bang our cups and fists on the table. Food was served to us about 8.30pm (general BBQ food; a burger, chicken kebab, sausages etc, and apple crumble for desert) and was followed by yet more live music from an amazing two piece band. Once our food had digested we played games involving tea pots, bark, a piece of string – don’t ask – and of course lots of dancing. My team won the dance off, obviously.
It was a great night, and the staff let us hangout by the camp fire for a further 40 minutes after the party was over to finish our drinks and chat with other guests. Included in the Amuse package was the food, the welcome drink, one drink from the bar, plus any drinks won throughout the night. Other drinks we paid for, but to be honest we actually won a lot and so didn’t spend much money at all, thanks to our mad dance skills! (Watch the full Vlog here)
(£40pp) I woke up the next morning feeling extremely tired, yet I eagerly tottered down to the Well Spa bright and early to ensure I made my 9am appointment. The Relax package gives you a well deserved relaxing morning by offering up the Spa facilities for you to use from 9am until 1pm, not to mention Breakfast in the Spa’s cafe. Okay, confession, so that may have been my real reason for getting out of bed, I didn’t want to miss my yummy breakfast food. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get the Beard out of bed, nothing budges him on a hangover unless it smells like bacon.
I don’t have any real experience with Spa’s (it’s on my 30before30 list to have a Spa Day) so I’ve not much to compare it to, but I found the Spa itself to be perfectly pleasant and the staff nice and polite. The cafe was a little under staffed so I had to wait a while for my Breakfast, but as the purpose of the package was to RELAX, that is what I patiently sat back and did.
As the Beard was back at the lodge, it was just me, so I ate by myself and it was actually a pleasant and relaxing breakfast; I soaked up the calm atmosphere whilst I caught up on some blog emails and drank my tea. Once I’d finished my Breakfast I joined the other bloggers in the outdoor jacuzzi. We had amazing weather for it, 23 degrees and clear blue skies, not bad for Wales in late September eh?
After a 20 minute soak in the jacuzzi, in which we had showers and bubbles, I headed into the Celtic steam rooms. Again, I’m new to Spa’s, so I’ve no idea what the difference is between a sauna and a steam room, but this place had quite a few different rooms that all looked rather, well, steamy. There was a red one, a blue one, an orange … I hadn’t a clue. In the end I headed into the red steam room, where I got too hot, so I then headed into the ice room, this cooled me down, but then I didn’t really know what to do, so I decided to get changed and head back to the lodge. (Watch the full Vlog here)
I was a bit gutted that the Relax package didn’t offer any specific treatments, like a massage or a manicure (although they are available to book separately) but I can’t say I didn’t have a relaxing experience. A tasty breakfast and a lovely cuppa followed by an outdoor Jacuzzi and some steamy time – not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning, beats eating cereal in my bed to the sound of London traffic and noisy sirens.
(Part two £15pp) That afternoon we were invited to a Wine, Cider and Ale tasting down at Camp Smokey, which is another part of the Amuse package. This was one of my favourite parts of the weekend! We were split into two groups of four and were to sample three wines, four ciders and NINE ales! The point is to sample, discuss with your group, make some notes and then continue on with the next drink. But it actually turned into a bit of a wine, cider and ale soirée, with all eight of us polishing off most of the bottles, chit chatting about our lives and quizzing Liam (our taste leader) on not only his knowledge of ales, but his rather exciting past (basically a well traveled, well cultured, cider and ale expert, who began working at Bluestone from Day one as a builder and is now the lead entertainer!)
The taste session began at 3.30pm and at 6.45pm the pair of us in our tipsy taste, staggered up the long Boardwalk out of the woods and into the village for a much needed Calvary at the a Farm House Grill. A superb way to end the weekend! (Watch the full Vlog Here)
Whether you and your partner fancy a luxury weekend away, or your thinking of booking a trip with your mates, I would recommend Bluestones FourPlay package. You can book all four packages for £160pp on top of your accommodation. It sounds pricey, but it does include all your breakfasts, activities, parties and access to the Spa. Or you can mix it up, treating each package as an add on. (Did I mention that bluestone also has a giant swimming area? With Slides? Oh, and it’s own Rollercoaster?)
Bar the Relax package, which I’m not sure is worth £40, every other package is great value for money. Particularly the Amuse package, which is £40pp but includes the Saturday night party at Camp Smokey with Food and some drinks PLUS the wine, cider and ale tasting the following day.