What a place for a family to stay at Fairmont Windsor Park (Picture: Claire Eaton-Rutter)
It might be hard to believe but we might have found the secret formula to getting over a hot, sweaty day with the kids at a theme park. Fairmont Windsor Park has launched a Legoland package and while kids’ days out and luxury don’t often go hand-in-hand, we thought we would give it a try to see if it’s worth the hype.
We can confirm, yes it was.
Parents will know that a day out at a theme park needs some psyching up, not only is it mentally taxing but also physically – especially if your little one is too young to ditch the buggy but wants their own independence to march around. Legoland is a wonderland for children of all ages. It was busy, with some rides up to 60 minutes long, meaning they were quickly ruled out as my two-year-old does not have the patience to wait that long so I would definitely advise on getting an upgrade on the tickets to fast track.
Racking up the steps, you find yourself in awe of the majestical sculptures built out of Lego which was totally lost on my kid but was impressive to us adults. There wasn’t much time for any chilling out as I was conscious of nap times and how my son, Louis, was far too over-stimulated to contemplate a nap while we were out. So the day ended around 3pm which was plenty of time for our family, but of course, if you had a full day you could stay until it closes at 6pm.
We loved these mythical beasts at Legoland (Picture: Claire Eaton-Rutter)
And this was just the bedroom area – please note the supremely stylish cot at the bedside (Picture: Claire Eaton-Rutter)
Thankfully there were no major queues to get out of the grounds at that time, although brace yourself for the uphill climb (don’t say we didn’t warn you!) and we were quickly on our way to the hotel which was around 20 mins away. It was a welcome relief to not have to jump on a motorway or face several hours in a car as we were quite shattered and in need of a drink. It took a few minutes for my son to fall asleep in the back of the car and he was well and truly on his way, so missed the hubbub of two wedding parties when we arrived at Fairmont Windsor Park.
Positioned just a short walk from the top of The Long Walk in Windsor Great Park, the hotel is in a great spot and the beauty of the surroundings is impressive even if the grounds showed the scorch from our recent 40-degree heatwave.
The hotel reception is tucked away in a dark cavern, making way for an imposing feather sculpture which sits central of the entrance walkway. I navigated through with a snoring toddler and giant buggy, while a bridal party made their way to say ‘I do’ but aside from that brief excitement upon arrival, the atmosphere was muted.
You can only imagine my horror and his shock as I whipped the no-doubt pricey statue out of his hands
We were shown to our King suite on the second floor, and I prayed that my little one would stay asleep long enough for me to get acquainted with the room. I say a room, this place was never-ending, I was convinced it was bigger than my three-bedroom home and better decorated too, as I mentally took note of all the design details for future renovation projects. Once my son woke up, he was also a big fan of the decor and started to lift some of the elephant figurines that had been poised on the floor. You can only imagine my horror and his shock as I whipped the no-doubt pricey statue out of his hands and placed it high on a desk out of reach. I did try to steer him towards the gorgeous squirrel toy they’d placed thoughtfully in his cot but that was nowhere near as fun.
Children are only permitted in the 1215 bar until 5.30pm, and I wanted to check it out and while the dark wood was imposing on arrival, the bar itself was relaxed and the staff was welcoming especially with a little one. I paid £15 for a glass of English sparkling rose wine which is obviously pricey but was a delicious treat. It was a gorgeous day, but we were restricted to the bar for a couple of hours while a wedding on the lawn went ahead to give them privacy. It wasn’t a major concern and most people were happy to just relax inside as there was plenty of space and the staff was very attentive.
We managed to get a walk in before dinner around the grounds, and what a place to burn off some energy. While my toddler was adamant he wanted to see cows, he was unlucky – but the doorman did kindly point out where he could find the ducks and geese which seemed to be a winning substitute. Phew, meltdown averted! How much easier does it make your life when people are great with your kids?
Is this not the most beautiful spa? (Picture: Fairmont Windsor Park)
While I’m normally relaxed when we’re on holiday about schedules, I was conscious that after a full-on day at Legoland we would need to eat early and I’m grateful we did. The first and only table for the first 45 minutes of our dinner, I would normally be a bit put off by the lack of vibe but the atmosphere was so pleasant and my son (as predicted) was definitely getting to the end of his attention span. So we were grateful not to be causing a scene in front of a swathe of diners. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed our dinner. After a few small plates to share including the lamb kofte and the caramelised onion and garlic flatbread, my husband had the steak and I went for the harissa spatchcock poussin with tzatziki and while there wasn’t a stand-out dish, it was a lovely setting and hit the spot.
I paid the price (literally) for having a sweet tooth when I ordered a brownie up to the room later
Our server, Frank, was a particular delight bringing over an impressive activity pack with colouring books, puzzles and more importantly, stickers and helping out with our menu choices. When I say the attention span was short, we didn’t manage to get dessert. My son went with my husband to walk off his frustration at being penned in at the dinner table for an hour to see the stunning horse statues on the front lawn, they were obviously more exciting. I paid the price (literally) for having a sweet tooth when I ordered a brownie up to the room later and our in-room service charge was triple the price of the pudding so had to cough up £20. Whoops. We’re on holiday, I told myself.
Bathtime was a treat with the absolutely massive bathtub that could have fit us all in. While the luxury was lost on my son, it certainly made a difference to be tackling the slippery human octopus with some space rather than squeezing myself like a contortionist into a tiny box inches away from a door that might open in my face while also avoiding a scalding hot towel rail at a budget hotel.
Can you see the gorgeous and most likely very expensive elephant in the background? Yes, that was swiftly moved (Picture: Claire Eaton-Rutter)
A solid effort on the breakfast buffet – it certainly got my two-year-old’s attention (Picture: Claire Eaton-Rutter)
Having the lounge area allowed us to be able to relax, my husband and I took to our separate sofas with our feet up as our son went to sleep quickly in the dark lair. I expected some resistance as it was exciting and new, but the electric black-out blinds did their job not letting a sliver of light in, signalling bedtime. Being the emperor that he is (and that I allow him to be), he was in our super king bed in the night but we all managed to get the most decent kip we’ve had in a long time. I certainly made note of the incredible bedding for tips to take home.
In the morning we did have to really plan our last few hours at the hotel, as there are limited hours for kids in the swimming pool, but we also needed breakfast so there was no luxuriating in bed. We had to get up and out. Thinking back, we should have made use of the late check-out option.
Trays upon trays of freshly baked muffins at MOREISH (Picture: Claire Eaton-Rutter)
The attention to detail and arrangement made it all the more enticing – we wanted to try everything (Picture: Claire Eaton-Rutter)
Horses are a massive favourite in our house – so these beauties were a big hit (Picture: Claire Eaton-Rutter)
If there was a lesson on how to do breakfast, look no further than The Fairmont Windsor. I am a lover of breakfasts. It’s my favourite meal, especially when I’m away. What’s not to love about an English breakfast and pastries? But I was genuinely impressed by the effort and thought that goes into the breakfast and MOREISH and would pay to come here just for that. The spread was vast, with quality products. Alongside an à la carte menu, there’s also the hot buffet with all the usual suspects cooked sublimely. You can help yourself and have as much or little as you want. There’s also a cereal arrangement, muffins, pastries and cakes as well as charcuterie. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything else that you’d need. My husband had the Eggs Benedict – his go-to option anywhere and gave it a double thumbs up (high praise), while I grabbed bites from the buffet. The word buffet doesn’t do it justice. Perhaps banquet would be more fitting.
It was time for a quick dip at the renowned spa before we had to check out and we were expecting a group of families and their kids due to the narrow window so imagine our surprise when it was just us and another couple by the pool. We were conscious that we were ruining the peace with a toddler, who wanted nothing more than to splash but over the noise of their spa – but they didn’t seem fussed at all. Hours on our feet the previous day meant the Japanese foot spa was an absolute treat, I’d never used one before and can strongly recommend and with the stunning cherry blossom, it certainly whisked me away for a brief moment as I allowed myself to soak up the vibes. My son’s excited screams quickly brought me back to reality and it was a joy to watch him splash about. We did manage to make use of the facilities like the aroma steam room and Himalayan salt room one at a time and it went by all too fast.
Overall verdict: We would definitely come back as a family to Fairmont Windsor Park in future but perhaps bring in some grandparents for some babysitting. If you’re looking to do something special with your family and are keen to make it luxe, then this package fits the bill, albeit a pricey one.
- Price: 2 adults and 1 child start from £510 per night
- Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast in MOREISH, tickets in Legoland Windsor Resort, 4pm late check out time
Places to go in Windsor:
If you’re staying at the Fairmont Windsor Park there’s plenty to see and do as a family as well as Legoland especially if you’re staying for more than one night. Of course, you’re only a short drive or train from London but also you have Windsor Castle right in the town.
Check out our tips below:
The summer menu in action at Cote
Yes, it might technically be in Eton but you have an unbeatable view of the castle over the river. It’s a matter of metres over the bridge into Windsor, and Cote has introduced a delicious summer menu that includes a showstopping Lobster Frites and a Breton Tomato salad. Mouth-watering just thinking about them, but all the better to taste in real life with a summer breeze on the Thames. We can strongly recommend their Pamplemousse Spritz. If you like Aperol Spritz, then you are going to love this. This refreshing zinger is made with pampelle grapefruit liqueur mixed with Blanc de Blancs and soda. They’ve played a blinder with that addition.
Patch on the Plaza
Patch on the Plaza is coming at you fast with a menu not to be missed
Born out of the pandemic, Patch on the Plaza is a welcome addition to the food scene in Windsor. The town has long been in the need of a shake-up and the food by Test Kitchen is what it’s been looking for. Test Kitchen started out as a supper club by a local couple and now runs an impressive menu out of Patch on the Plaza. We’re so used to al fresco dining as an add-on to restaurants because of the pandemic but here, it’s the whole experience and one to be embraced come rain or shine with thoughtful and Instagram-worthy decor. If you are staying for a weekend, then brunch is calling to blow your tastebuds and will make all of your pals jealous.
The Ivy Royal Windsor Brasserie
What a view (if you get the window seats)
Newly-opened this year right opposite the castle, The Ivy Royal Windsor Brasserie has been a hit and it’s not hard to see why. Still loaded with the favourites like The Ivy Shepherd’s Pie and truffle arancini, there are also gems like lobster linguine and chargrilled halloumi on the menu. But as I say, it’s super popular which can mean getting a table at the last minute can be a problem and if you’ve got a kid I would advise booking ahead so eating late doesn’t cause any unnecessary tantrums.