You know when you book a holiday and you think about every detail – where everyone will sleep, what you’ll do every day, how many kids’ books you should take to keep the children occupied on the plane? But, as the date draws closer, it dawns on you that you’ve got to actually get there. And your flight is at 3am and how are you going to keep the kids happy for four hours during check-in? That’s where travel add-on site Holiday Extras comes in.
We were off on a brilliant adventure to the Isle of Wight with Blue Chip Holidays on our first ever double family holiday that didn’t involve extended family. There’ll be more of our holiday with Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog and her family very soon. But first, I want to tell you about the night we stayed in Southampton before we got the ferry to the Isle of Wight.
The team at Holiday Extras organise all the extra bits of your holiday that you may not first think of. They’re all about parking, extra hotel stays and any other holiday add-ons that you don’t first think of when you’re in the midst of holiday booking excitement.
We told the company we would be travelling to the Isle of Wight with Red Funnel from Southampton, and the hotel they arranged for us – The Grand Harbour Hotel – couldn’t have been better. Location-wise, it was literally two minutes from the Red Funnel terminal, and with an added bonus of being two minutes’ walk into town it had pretty much everything we could hope for.
Here’s a little vlog I made of the first part of our half term trip to give you an idea of our experience at The Grand Harbour Hotel:
We had such a brilliant time! As you’ll see in the vlog, Frog was hugely excited about the prospect of a night in a hotel (she loves a good hotel – girl after her mother’s heart) and her excitement was infectious. Staying in a hotel the night before our holiday not only made everything less stressful because we didn’t need to worry about packing up the car and making the long journey to the ferry terminal in time, but it also added to the whole pre-holiday excitement.
The Grand Harbour Hotel is a four star hotel right next to the medieval wall into Southampton’s city centre, overlooking the docks. It has a bar, restaurant, swimming pool and spa on site, plus ample parking. We were staying in a family “quad” room, which was basically a double bed with a little put-me-up bed for Frog and a travel cot for Baby Girl. The bathroom had a bath and separate shower, and there was all the usual tea and coffee making facilities you’d expect in a four star hotel room.
For us, the highlight was the bar area where we enjoyed a pre-dinner time drink before walking over to Pizza Express ten minutes away in the town centre. The bar enjoys lovely views over to the medieval walls of the city, and it’s really light and airy. There’s a terrace area which I imagine would be very popular on a warm sunny day, and plenty of comfy sofas to sit back and relax in. The wine was pretty good too!
Another bonus of staying in a hotel the night before our trip was that we got to enjoy an epic breakfast – something we never usually have time for. We went all-out, stuffing ourselves with a full English cooked breakfast, fresh fruit, cereal, yoghurts and croissants, washed down with fresh orange juice and plenty of tea and coffee. Monday mornings have never looked so tasty.
We also got to squeeze in a quick swim at the hotel pool before we left (plus points for the family changing room and big fluffy towels) which was far more fun than a stressful cross-country trip to get to a ferry terminal on time! After we checked out we had an hour and a half to kill before we needed to be at the ferry, so we wandered over to West Quay Shopping Centre which was literally two minutes’ walk from the Grand Harbour Hotel. We had a browse in the shops but ran out of time to explore IKEA (we saved that for the return journey home). There are loads of family-friendly places to eat here, including another Pizza Express, so if you stay at the hotel but don’t want to eat there you’re spoilt for choice.
Thanks Holiday Extras for taking the stress out of the start of our holiday. And thanks Grand Harbour Hotel for making us feel so welcome. I’ll be posting vlogs and plenty more pictures of our holiday very soon, both here and over at family interiors site Roost (the house we stayed in on the Isle of Wight was AMAZING).
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We were guests on behalf of Holiday Extras for the purpose of this post. You can call the free UK helpline for all travel add-ons, including hotels, parking, airport lounges, holiday insurance, car hire and overseas transfers – all your extras needs in one handy place. The helpline is 0800 093 5478. All words and opinions are my own, naturally. For more information about how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.