Shrewsbury glamping getaway sets luxury standard
It's said to be the most luxurious and spectacularly equipped glamping site in the UK, possibly the whole of Europe.
More akin to a boutique hotel, you'll find roll top baths, hot tubs, lavish furnishings - even a private chef if you so desire; everything is high spec and stylish. And it's right on your doorstep here in Shropshire.
For the past six months or so, diggers, cranes and a team of construction experts have been busy creating Love2Stay, a £4 million, 22-acre holiday destination tucked away behind Salop Leisure, Shrewsbury. It's aim is simple: to raise the bar for UK holidays.
The hill-top park has 124 generously sized pitches, all with their own water supply, hook-up and lighting; July 21 will see the unveiling of 22 sumptuous six-berth glamping lodges.
News of last month's opening quickly spread through social media, and almost every pitch was booked for the recent half term break. And daily scores of passers-by are dropping in asking to have a look around.
"The response has been absolutely phenomenal," said Salop Leisure's head of marketing Ed Glover. "We were recently featured on a caravanning Facebook page and within two days we had attracted 710 comments and 15,000 likes.
"The phone hasn't stopped ringing. People are visiting from far and wide, and about 70 to 80 per cent of those have rebooked. Many people have come from the Midlands – even here in Shrewsbury – and they all say it's great to have something like this on their doorstep.
"We are confident there is nothing like this in the whole of the UK. And we are getting feedback from seasoned caravanners they have seen nothing like it in Europe either."
It's hard to imagine the extensive, landscaped site was nothing more than a farmer's field this time last year. Salop Leisure had purchased the land 10 years previously, and managing director Mark Bebb had long held a vision to create a holiday park out of the ordinary.
Mark said: "Here at Love2Stay we have developed a resort that is at one with nature and will instil a feeling of well-being and tranquillity for visitors. As daily lives become dominated by technology, and children are easily glued to i-pads and the Internet, we aim to create an environment which is in harmony with nature and where guests can experience the grass between their toes.
“We know that we need to put effort into the re-generation of our industry, and it’s our vision that Love2stay will accomplish this. We have been mindful when developing the park that we needed to create an offering which appeals to a younger, fresher audience, in order to ensure the success and longevity of the business.
"Lots of the facilities we have incorporated are family orientated with healthy living and wellness being at the core. We are hoping to encourage people who are new to touring too. We’ve built our amenities to the highest standards and included such things as Dyson hairdryers, and The White Company branded shampoo and shower gels.
"Conveniences such as Camperclean, the automated cassette toilet emptying station and Motorhome drive-up disposal points should remove some of the more unpleasant barriers to ownership and the location of the park; adjacent to one of the premier dealership’s in the UK works well for too – there’s a huge accessory shop and access to the aftersales and service team for any advice customers may need.”
The stunning centre piece is the natural swimming pool, and is synonymous with the rest of the park, it’s a place where guests will be able to swim safely in pure, chemical free natural water and feel like they are wild swimming in a mountain lake.
This 432 metre squared natural swimming pool has been designed and supplied by Poolscape Ltd in collaboration with multiple RHS Gold Medal winning landscape design practice, MOSAIC. The team have used the latest technology from Austrian natural pool specialists BIOTOP. The bespoke pool design will offer swimmers crystal clear, chemical free water, which is naturally filtered.
"The natural pool area also incorporates a huge planted regeneration zone filled with water lilies and native reeds and rushes. The pool is flanked on three sides by spacious teak decking and thermal hot tubs, sunbeds and seating, where guests can enjoy light refreshments from the inhouse coffee shop. During the evening the indoor and outdoor area turns into an Italian eatery, with most dishes being cooked in the huge woodfired pizza oven, shipped direct from Tuscany.
"For more energetic guests, complementary access to the onsite fitness suite is available, and the marine style assault course is a must for all adrenaline seekers, regular Yoga, Pilates and meditation classes are available, and a small menu of spa treatments for a more holistic experience," added Mark.
Guests are given an activity diary to pre book activities such as paddle- boarding, kayaking, and raft building; plus a whole range of bushcraft skills with the inhouse forest ranger including foraging, survival skills and even a teddy bears picnic. All ages and abilities have been catered for.
Mark added: "Customers can look forward to holidays in an environment with facilities and levels of customer service that are expected at a luxury boutique hotel. There is a separate reception and concierge service desk, food delivery service and even the opportunity to book private dining with a personal chef at one of the pre-bookable outdoor kitchens and barbecues.
“We want to breathe fresh air into the industry and this is the next step in staycations, We know it’s cliché to say we want to put the quality back into family time, but it really is the vision we’re working towards, and we hope that others will follow suit and help us regenerate the industry for everyone’s future.
"We'd like to think this is the first of many Love2Stay sites."