Love2Stay Shrewsbury – travel review
Until very recently, I have to admit I was quite confused by the concept of luxury camping, or ‘glamping’, writes Daniel Morris.
For me, the idea of camping always meant roughing it, and being stripped of the material comforts that perhaps prevent us from being truly at one with nature and the real beauty of the outdoors.
It sounds quite noble, and a bit overly poetic when you put it like that, as the reality of camping can often be damp bedding, cold and miserable sleeping conditions and a struggle to cook even the most basic form of sustenance.
The green and pleasant land of Britain should be enjoyed and experienced by as many people as possible. But in this day and age, should that have to mean a total loss of comfort? Can we not enjoy the authentic pleasures of nature without doing our utmost to invite a case of the common cold? What if there were a half-way measure – somewhere between hotel and tent – that allowed us to be at one with the countryside, but in true relaxation, comfort and style?
When this case was put to me, my curiosity was peaked, and so my partner and I headed for a weekend at one of the UK’s most recently established glamping parks, Love2Stay.
Located in Emstrey, Shrewsbury, Love2Stay is a glamping resort that promised facilities more akin to a boutique hotel than any kind of traditional camping park. We booked in to one of the luxury glamping lodges and on arrival were both very excited.
Despite its proximity to Shrewsbury town centre, the site at Love2Stay was a charming enclave, isolated from the rest of the world, and a carefully cultivated rural paradise for its guests. Our check-in was straightforward and easy – despite our evening arrival – and the reception staff were both helpful and friendly. Our attendant directed us to the quaint meandering path from the main reception to the lodge park, which was carefully isolated from the rest of the complex to give a real sense of peaceful seclusion.
A handy drop-off point just outside the lodge enclosure made for easy unloading of luggage and supplies before moving the car to the exclusively reserved glamping car park.
On approach to the lodge itself our excitement built further. The lodges – each named for a Shropshire landmark or personality – were arranged in a circle, giving off a pleasant camping community vibe but with a clear air of luxury. Our lodge – named Darwin – was situated at the top of a shallow bank, and with daylight would offer a stunning view of the surrounding countryside. Though for now, this could certainly wait. As we walked up the steps to the lodge the first sight that greeted us was the state-of-the-art private hot tub on the porch area.
The canvas, tent-like entrance to our lodge was then opened to reveal an interior more reminiscent of a premium woodland cabin or country retreat. Replete with interior log-burner and heated flooring, this was no tent; this was charming rural heaven. And if this was glamping, I could certainly get used to it.
The lodge came with all the facilities needed to enjoy a fantastic self-catering staycation. Featuring a kitchen area with a breakfast bar, fridge and easily-navigable cooker, provisions were easily prepared. The lodge slept six; one master room with a double bed, and another room with bunk-beds. The other children’s room – and one of the most lovely features of the lodge – was a cabin-style, double-sleeper den, accessible via a short step ladder, and fronted by a charming wooden swing door. Below this was a brilliant hide-out / play-den that made the whole set-up perfect for younger children. The den was so cool that, quite frankly, I was tempted to sleep in there myself.
Decked out with sumptuous furnishings including two sofas, a dining table and a TV in the main living area, the lodge was fit for a king. The bathroom – featuring a substantial bath, a power shower and underfloor heating – was perfect, and the ideal place to prepare and pamper yourself. Indeed, it was with this that the true benefits of ‘luxury camping’ really showed themselves.
While far from being a tent, the canvas-fronted nature of the lodge meant that naturally, it wasn’t possible to lock it. Though our lodge, along with all the others, came complete with a safe that could be used to safely store valuables.
The hot tub itself was a dream. and relaxing in it while taking in the peaceful country surroundings left me a firm believer that not only did glamping have its charms, it was the perfect way to begin to enjoy rural Britain.
The facilities on the rest of the site were excellent, and a testament to the fact that the owners of Love2Stay know how to provide for their guests. Ccomplete with a state-of-the-art natural swimming pool, an adventure play area, gym, and marine-style assault course to name but a few, Love2Stay has all the facilities to allow your whole family to enjoy a great outdoors experience on site, without having to stray too far from the comfort of your lodge. Having said that, the location lends itself easily to guests exploring the delight of Shrewsbury and the surrounding countryside. Spa treatments are also offered on site for guests who are looking to indulge themselves that little bit further.
If you’re feeling a little too relaxed to cook, Love2Stay features a great pizzeria on site, and a cafe serving hot beverages, cakes and pastries. Ideal for a lazy breakfast, the bacon sandwiches served at the cafe were just the ticket.
In recent years, glamping has become more and more popular, and after spending a weekend at Love2Stay, it easy to see why. It would be very hard to fault what the owners have achieved so far, and in fact it makes you smile that such a great site – showcasing the best of a rural staycation – exists right on our doorstep.
As far as glamping goes, I consider myself a true convert, and it was wonderful that despite my scepticism, the added and ample luxury did nothing to detract from my appreciation of the beautiful natural setting that was presented to me. If anything, it made it much more enjoyable to behold. Well done Love2Stay, and good luck.
For all enquiries and to book your stay, call 01743 583124 or visit www.love2stay.co.uk