A couple of weeks ago the four of us headed to Gorey, santa hats on and YouTube Christmas playlist blaring to stay and visit santa in Amber Springs.
I, like most had heard Amber Springs was the place to go with kids but I must say it exceded my expectations, so it’s not surprising that only a couple of years ago Amber Springs won the award for the Best Family Hotel in Ireland.
The hotel was decorated beautifully and from the minute we arrived until we left we had the pleasure of dealing with exceptional staff their genuine positive attitudes were lovely.
The rooms were nice and spacious and the family room had two single beds and a double.
After settling in we got ready to board the train to see santa.
We were greated by the elves in reception and they then took us to a room where the kids got colouring sheets and their faces painted while waiting to be brought for story telling, hot chocolate, photos and letter writing. The snow queen told us all about Santa’s village in story form which was lovely and after happy elf asked a mum a question based on the story (her correct answer was the key to boarding the train!) we were lead singing jingle bells to our festive transport for a quick spin to Santa’s village.
We were helped on and off the train by lovely elves and informed our number on our ticket to see santa would appear lit up outside his base when we were due to que up, this was a fantastic idea as it elimated waiting.
The village was laid out with wooden huts housing Santa’s elves each doing their piece to make Christmas perfect, circling a grass area that was decorated with lovely lights.
We just had time to visit Santa’s pets before our number popped up but the kids were so enthralled with the chinchilla etc that we went back after.
Santa was situated in a lovely homely room and he was super! The fact that I hadn’t sent info in the kids and their requests like previous Santa visits meant he chatted more naturally with them and posed for a photo before calling on the elves to get some gifts for their respective ages.
The elves were very accomadating in snapping some lovely photos but there was no official photographer there which was a pity as it was a lovely setting. The gifts were great and age appropriate and both of mine loved what they got.
We met some amazing friendly elves who were fixing toys, making elf clothing, singing Christmas karaoke, wrapping gifts, checking the naughty or nice list (lf you were lucky enough to be on the nice list you received a cert! ) and the kids made Reindeer food along with getting little gifts too.
The person stood out for us adults and children alike was Mrs Claus she was just amazing… She was even better than santa and the children loved her. She was so warm and loving and it was clear this lady loved children. She spoke to the kids but more importantly listened to their every word as if it were the only thing that mattered. My two would have stayed all night with her and left only as other kids needed her attention.
We then got the train back to base where we picked up our photograph for ten euro from the energetic elves and bid them farewell!
Little James was worn out from the excitement but my little lady was no where near ready to sleep so we spent an hour in the soft play area before grabbing a delicious pizza from the Italian on the way back to the room.
Usually the soft play is open 7am to 7pm but I was delighted with the extended opening hours to burn off the extra excitable energy Lucy had!
The next morning the excitement woke James at 5.50 am and l only managed to keep him in bed for an hour after that before he was ready for breakfast.
They have a traffic light system like most hotels indicating level of chaos but I usually ignore it and things work out OK but here the red light is not just busy but jammed so it’s worth getting up that bit earlier!
The food itself is just amazing and there was everything from continental to a delicious hot breakfast with all the trimmings but I must say my treat and favourite is pancakes I don’t have to stand over a pan flipping!
When it is busy your room number is taken and you can enjoy hot drinks and pastries while you are waiting to be called and relax in the comfort of lovely seats while the kids play which I thought was a nice touch.
Before a last run in the soft play we headed out to check out the other on site entertainment which includes a football pitch, a gorgeous rustic playground, the petting farm (which was well and home to happy animals), the go carts and the mini golf. Note the golf and go carts are charged for but it’s not expensive and the shop isn’t outrageous either! We had intended to visit some local attractions but didn’t even have to leave the hotel as the fun to be had on site was more than enough!
Over all we had an amazing time and will certainly return as there is no doubt that it is an amazing place to holiday with kids, my gripes although minor were that on the Friday morning the kids club was not open despite a hotel full of kids and our official family picture this year does not include santa but more importantly does not have the year (or location) on it…
We look forward to returning to Amber Springs, all my opinions as always are my own and this was not an ad or gifted! We got a deal on pigsback so keep your eye out for future deals or contact the hotel directly for packages and bookings.