Sunday 1 December 2013

Menzies Hotel Cambridge

We recently visited the Menzies hotel at Cambridge with our two boys, aged 12 and 8. Menzies hotels have introduced M.I.K (Menzies Important Kids) to improve the travel experience of families with children and having stayed in a number of different hotels over the years I have to say without doubt that this is the best hotel group we have ever stayed in. All too often companies think a small bag with a colouring book and some crayons is all that is required to be family friendly. Menzies have upped the game with their M.I.K club and I know our boys will insist we stay in their hotels in future. 

So what makes their hotel so much better than others? Well the fact that they regard children so highly is probably the main factor. As soon as we arrived, knowing that we had had a long journey, the boys were offered cartons of fresh orange juice and the promise of ice cream once we had settled in. They were also told that they could go and get juice, water and ice cream whenever they wanted which they were thrilled with. Once we reached the room they found bags of popcorn, sachets of hot chocolate and tins with fresh chocolate chip cookies as well as the usual tea and coffee (with plenty of milk which made a pleasant change) and pre packed biscuits. There were also bottles of water too. As you would expect the popcorn and cookies didn't last long but these were replaced when the room was cleaned which the boys were very grateful for.

Our family room was very spacious; often family rooms are just ordinary rooms with a couple of camp-beds squeezed in but there was a king size double plus a full size single and then a pop up bed but still plenty of room to move around. The room was very quiet, it was on the first floor looking right out onto the A14 but we never heard a thing. Heating was provided by an air conditioning unit, easily controllable and very comfortable. 

The room was well equipped with complimentary bath robes and slippers, a desk and chair, a hair dryer, iron and ironing board, trouser press and a large TV. 

The one most useful thing in the room was something very simple which I don't think we have had in a hotel room before......... coat hooks by the door! Such a simple idea but very useful.

The bathroom was clean and spacious with a bath and shower and plenty of towels. There was a nice range of toiletries for everyone.

The food at the hotel was excellent, the breakfast was a self-service buffet style with everything from cereal, porridge, pastries, pancakes and a full English breakfast to meals cooked on request (kippers, haddock or omelettes).

The evening meal was a real treat, the food and service was worthy of an excellent restaurant, the staff were attentive but not intrusive and nothing seemed too much trouble. The childrens menu was perfectly suited to an eight year old without just falling back onto sausage, chips and beans! It all sounded delicious and I could quite easily have eaten from it myself (bigger portions obviously!!) Luke chose tomato soup as a starter with pasta in a cheese sauce as his main. He chose jelly as his pudding which came in a tall glass which he loved. It was very reasonable at £6.50 for two courses and £8.50 for three which also included a soft drink. The glass of coke Luke had was huge and I was just about to ask for a straw when the manager brought one across to us, he had obviously spotted the problem and was one step ahead of me which was fantastic.

The adult menu was great too with a wide range on offer. When staying away with the boys we often resort to cheap hotel chains and put up with mediocre food and service so this was a real treat. If we lived closer I would have no hesitation retuning for a meal out with friends. Surprisingly the meals were not expensive, starters and puddings were around £5 and main courses were around £12 to £15, certainly on a par with decent pubs and restaurants that we normally use.

The meals were so tasty that I didn't manage to get any photos before they were devoured however I did remember to take a photo of the puddings., which is the most important part of a meal and the standard that I always judge restaurants on!

The hotel is attached to a golf club and has its own gym and swimming pool. Whilst golf isn’t my thing and I’ve never used a gym in my life, I do enjoy a swim and it was nice to see a “proper” swimming pool i.e. one that you can actually swim in. The water was warm and in addition to the main pool there is a shallow children’s pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Towels and lockers were provided and the changing rooms were clean and spacious. Again, when travelling with children a pool is a really welcome distraction and Luke would have stayed in it all day.

Whilst we were staying at the hotel we visited Cambridge and used the Park & Ride service that was nearby. Other family friendly attractions are the Imperial War Museum at Duxford that is well worth a visit.

The highlights for the boys were the free ice-cream 

and the wi-fi

Here is Luke's review of the hotel

Special mention must go to the staff. Everybody from the receptionist to the cleaning staff had a smile on their face and were happy to help. It was especially good to see the manager actually interested in the guests and leading from the front rather than being a shadowy figure in the background. He was especially noticeable when in the restaurant directing his staff and ensuring that we were all happy. He had an excellent rapport with children and joked with them when we were sat at the table for our evening meal. When we were talking to him you could tell he enjoyed his job and had lots of exciting ideas for children, we can't wait to go back and see how he has got on with them.

Disclaimer - we received one nights accommodation along with breakfast and a three course evening meal for the purposes of this review. All words, opinions and images are our own.

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