Toddlers and nice hotels are not usually a winning combination.
But CBeebies Land Hotel, which opened on Saturday, is far from a conventional run-of-the-mill place to stay.
Part of the ever-expanding Alton Towers Resort, the hotel is designed completely with pre-schoolers in mind.
Themed around characters which feature on the popular BBC children’s TV channel, the CBeebies Land Hotel takes every tot’s fantasy and brings it to life.
With bright colours and hundreds of the lovely yellow CBeebies bugs hiding in every corner, there is nowhere on Earth more perfectly suited to the under-fives market.
The prices are admittedly eye-watering, with the starting price for a room coming in at £197 a night, but this is a destination in its own right, rather than somewhere simple to rest your head.
From the moment you check in to the hotel, the children are put centre-stage with steps leading up to the hotel’s reception so those with little legs aren’t left out of the experience.
At checking in and checking out time, there is the chance to meet Little Monster from Justin’s House. And the entrance area is full of lights, noises and interactive features with plenty of buttons for curious fingers to press.
Although the hotel was created to be a convenient pit stop for visitors to the CBeebies Land quarter inside the famous Alton Towers theme park, there is plenty to do before you even step foot in the park itself.
There’s a secret tunnel leading to a toy shop and regular appearances from CBeebies favourites including Bing, Postman Pat, Igglepiggle and Ubercorn.
The packed entertainment schedule runs from 7am to 9.30pm, with games, music and dancing, as well as shows including Andy’s Prehistoric Quest, Bing’s Sleepover and Octonauts Cadet Camp.
As bedtime approaches, the fun becomes calmer to help guests wind down for the night with a relaxing storytime in a library-themed room and stargazing in the main entertainment area, known as Musical Meadow.
Meals are available in the hotel’s restaurant, The Windmill – complete with brightly-coloured Windmill in the centre – which serves a hot and cold buffet breakfast, light lunches and dinner.
The menu is the same for both grown-ups and littlies – the only difference is the sizes of the portions. Highlights include the fishfinger dog – a cross between a fishfinger buttie and a hot dog – and pizzas which guests can design themselves by adding stickers of their chosen toppings to a picture of a pizza base, before the chefs have a go at matching them as well as they can.
Even a trip to the toilet is fun at the CBeebies Land Hotel with talking lavatories which lavish you with compliments as you go to spend a penny.
However, after a long day at Alton Towers the one thing you are probably looking forward to most is kicking off your shoes and relaxing in your room – and this is one place you won’t be disappointed.
All 76 bedrooms are fully themed and kitted out with loads of features to make life as a parent that little bit easier. This includes a travel cot in every room – no ringing down to reception or having to remember to book one in advance here – as well as a baby bath, a bottle warmer, a nappy bin, a stool in the bathroom and tot-friendly toiletries.
The toilet is fitted with a smaller children’s seat, although the rooms lacked a potty which would have been a useful addition for those in the midst of making the switch from nappies to big kid pants.
The “standard” Bugbies room is far from standard, with colourful walls and carpets covered in the loveable CBeebies bugs which dominate the whole hotel. The room is split into a grown-up area with double bed and a separate children’s area with bunk beds and a handy trundle bed if you have more than two little ones with you.
While not separated from each other by any doors, they feel like different rooms and each have their own TV which is, of course, automatically tuned to come on to CBeebies when you switch it on. The children’s area has toddler-friendly activity toys fixed to the wall and a nightlight which looks just like a window.
If your child has a passion for a particular programme, you can choose to pay more for a premium room with a different theme. Guests can choose from In the Night Garden, Swashbuckle, Octonauts, Something Special and Postman Pat.
Larger families or those who want a bit more room can book a suite which sleeps up to seven with a sofa bed as well as the usual double bed, bunk beds and trundle bed.
It’s refreshing to find a hotel where toddlers are the focus rather than an afterthought. Your only problem may be convincing them to leave their room long enough to explore CBeebies Land itself, which has two new attractions this year – the Go Jetters Vroomsters Zoom ride, where little ones take the controls to fly their own vroomster up and down, and the Furchester Hotel live show, where Sesame Street favourites Elmo and Cookie Monster join forces with newer characters Phoebe, Funella and Furgus to prepare for the arrival of a special guest.
* Standard rooms start from £197 per night for a family of four while premium rooms start from £272 per night and suites from £347 per night.
* Guests can check in from 3pm and check out is at 10am.
* Those staying at the hotel can enter Alton Towers from 9am, an hour before the theme park opens to the general public.