It's very rare to come across a five-star hotel that offers as many facilities for children as it does adults, but during our stay at The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire, our three boys - Zack, 11, Leo, 10 and three-year-old Jake - were so well catered for we didn't have to lift a finger or raise our voices once.
We visited on a busy summer bank holiday weekend and despite the hotel being full to capacity the level of service was faultless. Our interconnecting rooms, complete with a large toy box, food treats and mini bathrobes for the kids, was huge and boasted stunning views of the hotel's grounds.
The Grove, which is partly set in a magnificent 18th-century house surrounded by 300 acres of countryside, has a first-class kid's club, Anouska's, unlike any other I have visited. Aimed at children aged 3 months to 12 years, it receives glowing OFSTED reports for its excellent staff and facilities (including an adventure playground and indoor pool) and fantastic programme of events and activities, such as juggling, kite-flying and cooking.
The kids' club is close to the hotel's walled garden, which in summer is home to a beach, where our older kids played volleyball whilst the little one happily built sandcastles. A couple of minutes from the outdoor area is a great spa with another indoor pool.
Perhaps the most challenging thing about holidaying with small children is getting them to sit still at mealtimes and finding them food they will eat. The good thing about the Grove is that two of this hotel’s three restaurants offer a fabulous children’s menu with a huge choice, plus crayons, so that even mealtimes can be relaxing. Alternatively, a babysitter can be booked for your room so that you can enjoy a romantic meal in the adult restaurant, Colette's.
The Grove is very handy for the Warner Bros' Studio 'Making of Harry Potter' Tours at Leavesden, as well as for other family-friendly attractions, including Legoland Windsor. It is also a great place to spot celebrities as on our visit our fellow guest was Tom Cruise....needless to say that made our stay extra memorable!
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Review by Suzanne Baum