A few weeks back, we went to The Vale Resort for what I think I’ll call a micro-break.
A mini-break is at least two days by my reckoning, but we just went for an overnight stay. We had planned on just going out for a nice meal but after thinking about the extra costs of a taxi home we opted for a DBB instead. I suppose we could have not had wine with our food but hey, this was a night out and they are pretty few and far between right now so why not treat ourselves!
The Vale Resort
When we saw our room we were over the moon. Contemporary, huge and with floor to ceiling French doors looking out onto a lovely view of the golf-course. We even had our own patio but with snow on the horizon, we didn’t get the chance to use it unfortunately. It was lunchtime when we arrived so we popped down to the Vale Bar for a chunky, filling sandwich and a beer. Considering it was midweek, it was pretty busy and we had lots of fun people-watching. Mothers with babies, businessy people, post-workout lunchers and even a snoring fifty-plusser slumped down over his laptop …
Mr 50 Plus fancied a swim later so off he went while I had a read. I’d just got stuck in to my Kindle when he turned up back at the room as he’d caught the after-school ‘rush’ in the pool. Lots of youngsters and families in one half of the pool and roped-off swimming lessons in the rest of it. Every other time we’ve been to The Vale Resort swimming, it’s been quiet but on this occasion, it was quite the opposite. A shame but can’t be helped.
I’d have loved to have gone to The Vale Spa as it’s one of my favourite spas with the best relaxation rooms and water-beds. The trouble was, we’d just had Mother’s Day and it was completely booked out, presumably with lots of mums using their gift vouchers. (Which reminds me, I have one myself from my daughters so I must remember to book something soon!)
In the evening we decided it would be nice to go down to the Salamanza Bar for drinks before dinner.
The ‘blurb’ on the hotel website sells it as:
“A grand piano, modern art, plush sofas and ambient lighting: when you fancy a glass with class, pre-dinner drinks at Salamanza Champagne bar are a must. From 6pm until late, the bar’s master mixologist works his magic, crafting cocktails to suit every mood. For those seeking a sparkly sundowner, Salamanza’s top-drawer bubbly comes courtesy of centuries-old Champagne house Laurent-Perrier. Ooh la la.”
The reality however was very different!
Yes there were some empty, plush sofas but the aforementioned piano had no piano player and the LED lights were really bright and clinical. The barman on duty was nice enough and did his best, however there wasn’t even a Cocktail Menu to look at. He said that one had been ‘ordered ages ago’ which didn’t really help. There was no sign of any champagne being drunk or offered anywhere and certainly no buckets of ice with bottles of champagne temptingly on display. I did end up with a Mojito of sorts but the mint wasn’t muddled and I’m fairly sure that he wasn’t a mixologist of any kind, let alone a master! We didn’t stay long …
The Vale Grill
After our underwhelming preprandial drinks, we made our way to The Vale Grill and what a difference in atmosphere! It was busy with ‘just right’ lighting and engaging, friendly staff. The flat-iron steak I had was massive and cooked to perfection. And the triple-cooked chips were a delight. We were both so full by the end of our main course that we only had room for ice-cream. Next time we go to the Vale Grill, I won’t be having a starter, amazing as they are, as the desserts looked delicious.
So would we go back to The Vale Resort? Of course we would, it’s one of our favourite hotels. Next time though we’ll give the Salamanza Bar a miss and go straight to the Vale Bar.