A luxury weekend getaway... or not?

My apologies for the silence on here (yep, I did get the feedback dear MW!)... but I'm back and thanks to the Husband my website has been renewed for a year so time to get a bit more serious again.

Here we go - I've created a bit of a spoiler on my Facebook page already and here is my honest review from our weekend away (just FYI - we paid for this weekend ourselves in case it is an issue).

Date: 15-17 March 2019
Location: Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Reiters Reserve Family Finest
Who: Two adults plus a 3 year old and a 10 month old
Cost: 1080 EUR for two nights all-inclusive (Alcove Room south) and ca 100EUR for the rental car

We packed our big suitcase full of clothes and plenty of spares for the kids (tip: pack one more set of clothes just in case! #toilettrainingisnofun) and got our rental car to have a luxury and relaxing family to celebrate my birthday and that of Little K. It had taken me some time to decide to book this holiday as it is a ridiculous amount of money to spend, but I finally booked and decided we did deserve a treat.

What was I expecting? A luxurious family hotel, with stunning rooms, fantastic food, extremely child and baby friendly, fabulous pool for the kids to enjoy and little activities for whatever distractions were necessary.

What did we get? A hotel that was stuck in the 60's (yes, some rooms have been recently renovated to be very nice but the rest is still a bit behind the times), average food (the beef stroganoff for lunch before we left was a highlight), it was very child friendly (more for older age 5+) there is room for improvement on the baby side, pool was ok but nothing more exciting than the local kids swimming pool or Therme Wien and a few activities but no surprises or anything special.

Separate bed for Little K
The Husband and I did talk about it, and by dinner on the first night I could already tell it was going to be a bit of a failure. Little K was already crying that he wanted to go "to Knuti's house" and our meal wasn't as interesting as it had sounded when we read the menu. We got through it, took some warm milk from the coffee machine and got the kids settled. All the men had fallen asleep so I snuck out to the bar for another drink... unfortunately it was so loud (at 21:00) with kids running around and a band playing that my hope for a relaxing drink totally failed. Finally, I got my drink and a whiskey for the Husband and took it back upstairs to our silent room.

Lovely cocktails as part of the all-inclusive deal
On Saturday we did get to take advantage of Little K and Baby M joining their kids clubs (Note: babies need to be signed up the day before) so we could have one hour alone in the therme water pool (only to then be disturbed in the "ruhe zone" by an exercise class). Little K got to see all the animals and we explored the outside play area.

Petting zoo 
Sunday morning was spent in the pool, we only returned to our room at 11:00 for a shower and final pack before checking out at 12:00.

In conclusion, what we really enjoyed was the pool and kids activities. However, this is what we can easily get in Vienna and then we can come home and relax on the sofa with a glass of wine.

For this price and age combination we had with the kids, the money we spent did not feel worth it and we did not come back relaxed. With older kids, where you can fully take advantage of the child care opportunities available, or maybe only one younger one, we can imagine it would be a fun weekend. For the moment, we will continue to stay in places where we have more space or enjoy our weekends in Vienna. Our next vacation is three weeks in Portugal, we have booked two cottages and am curious how much of a difference it will make. I'll miss having someone make my pre-dinner cocktails so I better start practicing making gimlets now!

Pros:

  • The room did have some nice amenities for the kids which you can pre-book before you arrive (such as toilet seat, appropriately sized bath robes and towels)
  • Gimlet was excellent! 
  • Kids activities and staff in the baby/kids club were extremely kind and sweet with our little monsters - big bonus points to the hotel here!
  • Pool area was quiet
  • Baby / toddler play area was always empty in the morning (except for the few ants along the wall)
  • Lots of things in one place 
  • Food whenever you would need it (but we always felt that we had to wait 15-30minutes too long for the opening hours of the restaurant)
  • Cybex Priam available to borrow for the whole stay
  • Departure bag with some items for the kids
  • Laundry room with complimentary washing tabs (which even on a two night stay we ended up needing to use)
  • Check out at 12:00

Cons:

  • No ramp to the restaurant - only stairs! This was extremely unnecessary in our opinion
  • Rubbish hairdryer (come on hotels, you CAN do better!)
  • Small bath towels
  • Breakfast only started at 07:30 (our kids wake up around 5:30 so we were downstairs usually by 06:30/07:00 and had to waste some time in the play area by the restaurant while the cleaning ladies were still busy washing the floors there)
  • Things only opened / started a bit too late for young kids (e.g. slide in the pool area only started at 10:00, kids events starting at 20:00 in the evening, morning dance at 09:30 which could be at 09:00)
  • Price and value for money - We were surprised that for a hotel where we were paying so much money, there were constant reminders about paying extra and having deposits on certain items (such as 15eur for key cards, 20eur for night light, buying the soap holder that was in the bathroom in the shop... but then no deposit on the pram?) and having to pay 1eur for animal food as well also seemed a bit ridiculous. For a comparison - we could stay in the Ritz for a night with a nice steak dinner, massage, cocktail etc and go to the Therme for a day for the same price!
  • Rental bikes for toddlers were very poor! They were so heavy and some were too squeaky to use
  • Additional fence around the animals before electric fence around animals - this was there where the sheep were but not with the donkeys / buffalo which did make Little K cry as I shouted to not touch the fence as he reached out for it!

Improvements:

  • Kettle in the bar area which shows the temperature so you can have the correct temperature for formula
  • Toilet "booster" seat could be much better. It kept slipping on the seat so for Little K, who is just getting used to the toilet, it was very tricky to balance
  • Nappies and baby bottles available to use (there was no washing up liquid to clean our own bottles so having one to borrow that they would then clean each day would be a nice benefit - but I would be happy with washing up liquid in the baby food area to use)
  • Get rid of smoking room next to the bar area in a family hotel
  • Kid / baby friendly bath products in the room
  • General improvement on toiletries in the room (separate shower gel and shampoo...)
  • Lacked real attention (e.g. ants in the baby play room, dead frog in the parking garage)

Bobby cars... a big hit with Little K
Play area for the kids by the bar / restaurant

Baby / toddler room

Slide for the kids - "nochmal" was a word frequently used

Wellies to borrow

Quiet pool which we did enjoy

Baby M's first hand print! A special memory that we took home.


Comments


  1. Thank you for this fabulous post. I have a question. For a new parent that is researching the best baby products to buy, which product will you recommend as the must-have before every other baby product? Thank you.

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