The Elms, Worcestershire

Pros: Ivy-clad country mansion nestled in a picturesque rural location. Excellent facilities for kids. Good food. Helpful, friendly staff

Cons: 3-star hotel with 4-star prices. Rooms could do with an update

We stayed at The Elms in Worcestershire just before Christmas 2010, and enjoyed a pleasant and relaxing 2 night break.

After checking in at the very basic reception (which comprised a study desk at the rear of the lobby!), we went up to our rooms, located near top of the hotel, with access via a warren of corridors and stairs. The room, which we shared with the kids, was functional if lacking any sort of glamour, with tea/coffee making facilities and TV/DVD unit (a good selection of DVD’s suitable for all ages are  free to rent from reception). The kids had comfortable fold-up beds and we had a king-size double. The bathroom was sizeable, but in need of a redesign and certainly large enough for separate shower and bath rather than the ‘all-in-one’ on offer.

We booked the kids into the creche for a few hours each day to make sure we had some time to recharge our batteries, and were delighted by the facilities on offer. The girls were very pleasant, and our two were quickly engaged in craft projects. Although during our time there we didn’t see any babies in there, we did note separate play areas for little ones and a recreation area featuring table-football and video-game consoles for older children.

The swimming pool is part of the health spa, located in a recently developed wing of the hotel. It is very modern and ‘Swedish/barn’ cool, complete with overhead mood lighting that cycles from deep reds through lush greens and rich blues. The only negative we found were the tiny changing rooms, which struggled to comfortably host more than four people at a time.  All in all it made getting changed with our kids more of a challenge than it should have been.

While we were there I took the opportunity to have a massage, which was great. The spa girls were friendly and the prices reasonable. Holidaydaddy used the gym, in his quest towards marathon fitness, and was pleased enough to see a running machine, a bike and few free weights. Not extensive, but enough to please a budding gym bunny.

Food overall was very good. Kids supper was served daily from around 5pm, with a comprehensive choice on offer. It was also easy to get extras, for those kids who worked up an appetite in the pool. Our dinner was lovely, but keep in mind that in the winter the dining-room can get pretty cold. Having said that it was -5 degrees outside and snowing heavily at the time, so I don’t think we can be too critical!

In summary, The Elms is a hotel that we would certainly return to. It has a relaxed family atmosphere (complete with lovely resident hotel dog and cat), and we felt that if our kids spilled drinks or were a little messy with their food, there wouldn’t have been much fuss made. I understand why people continue to go back, but remember, it is a 3-star hotel, with 4-star prices. The rooms are functional and the main mansion shows a few signs of wear and tear.

However, the great family atmosphere wins out for us.

Holidaymummy rating: 3/5