The classic UK seaside break has enduring appeal but Warner Leisure Hotels has brought it into 2017 with a £1.5 million investment including five new Clifftop Lodges at Corton Coastal Village.
The seafront resort, three miles north of Lowestoft on the Suffolk coast, brings a modern touch to the nostalgic seaside break with its Clifftop Lodges (there are 23 in total), daubed in a trio of pastel colours and designed to look like beach huts.
I arrive a little later than expected with my grandma Margaret in tow but we have our own parking space right in front of the lodge, so unpacking turns out to be a breeze.
Warner’s new Signature Experience is included in our booking, so we’re able to enjoy a welcome cup of tea with fresh milk and home-baked cookies – it’s the perfect pick-me-up after a long drive.
The package also includes cosy bathrobes, which we lounge in while sipping a glass of the included bottle of wine and nibbling on the provided crisps before getting ready for dinner on Saturday night. What’s more, Temple Spa toiletries in the bathroom mean we can travel that bit lighter.
Despite resembling a cute beach hut, the lodge is a Tardis-like space. It’s step-free, so it works brilliantly for those with mobility issues or simply older joints.
Our bedroom has twin beds with a bedside table each and a dressing table area with hairdryer, the bathroom has a spacious walk-in shower and the lounge features a corner sofa, coffee table, tea- and coffee-making station and mini-fridge. Outside, two loungers are perfectly positioned for relaxing while soaking up panoramic views of the sea.
The lodge is decorated in neutral white and biscuit tones with bright splashes of colour on cushions, lamps and shelves adding to the sense of seaside nostalgia while feeling modern and fresh.
Grandma Margaret points out the seaside-themed accessories from wooden seagulls and a blue and white life-ring hanging from the rafters to abstract metal birds flying across the bedroom wall.
It wouldn’t be a Warner break without a roster of entertainment both day and night. On Saturday morning, we watch a group taking an archery lesson, but not until after breakfast – a vast spread of cooked and continental items with options to order items such as pancakes, kippers or eggs benedict a la carte.
There’s also giant chess, petanque, boules and mini-golf. Grandma Margaret and I try our hand at the mini-golf on Sunday morning. She beats me at the first hole.
We’re blessed with a gorgeous sunny weekend, but for less favourable days an on-site cinema showing movies and an indoor swimming pool provide alternative activities.
And there is plenty to do beyond the gates of the resort for those able
to tear themselves away from the activities. Great Yarmouth is less than 10 miles north with its Pleasure Beach, sandy shoreline and attractions including Merrivale Model Village and the Nelson Museum, which focuses on the life of the renowned admiral. And two-and-a-half miles south is the seafront town of Lowestoft, the UK’s most easterly town, with a stretch of beach and two piers.
However, we opt to take a trip inland to Oulton Broad, the southern gateway to the Norfolk Broads. We meander through a park and while away an hour or so watching sail boats on the water and enjoying an ice cream – a must for any seaside trip.
Back at Corton, post-dinner entertainment ups the ante. After our three-course feast – during which we struggle to choose between the carvery with all the trimmings, a curry buffet and a la carte options – the fun begins. Kicking off with a round of bingo, the tempo changes when entertainment manager Katie hosts Chart Toppers – a music-themed quiz that ends with half the guests storming the dance floor and busting out their best moves to Rockin All Over the World in a bid to bag that essential bonus point.
“It’s like Britain’s Got Talent,” I hear one excited guest exclaim.
The evening comes to a climax with headline act Laurie Briggs’ presenting The Ladies of Song.
Fresh from tours to Spain and Peru, Briggs and her band take the audience through hits from female artists over the last century from Judy Garland to Nancy Sinatra.
After all that excitement, we are ready to sink into our cosy beds. We’re not sure whether it’s the sea air or the added comfort of the mattress toppers, but we both fall almost immediately into deep, uninterrupted sleep.
As we enjoy one final stint on our loungers, catching final glimpses of the sea, Grandma Margaret regales me with tales of her young years growing up just a few miles from where we are sitting. Her face lights up as tales from almost 80 years ago spill from her memory. I’m struck by the power of nostalgia and realise what a great job Warner Leisure Hotels has done of reviving it in this little enclave of the Suffolk coast.
Book it: A three-night half-board stay at Corton Coastal Village, arriving on November 17, starts from £134pp based on two adults sharing Standard accommodation and from £218pp for a Clifftop Lodge.
What feedback have you had from guests on the Clifftop Lodges so far?
Guests are really enjoying the experience. We’ve have had fantastic feedback on the views from the lodges as the lounge area looks out on to the sea and it’s a perfect spot to watch the sunrise. Guest feedback also highlights that the additional space has impressed. The convenience has also been noted as the lodges are close to parking, so it’s easy to move luggage.
What is Corton Coastal Village’s top selling point?
It offers a friendly atmosphere for those looking to unwind. Its main selling point is the clifftop views.
Are there similar accommodations at other Warner Leisure Hotels?
Warner Leisure Hotels has recently added chalets and lodges at various sites: Harbour Suites at Lakeside Coastal Village; Garden Lodges and Garden Suites at Gunton Hall Coastal Village; and Garden Suites at Norton Grange Coastal Village.
Are there any other plans in the pipeline for Warner Leisure?
Warner Leisure invests millions of pounds in the portfolio annually. In addition to Corton, Nidd Hall Hotel has undergone a £2 million renovation. As well as property updates, we continually strive to improve the whole guest experience and have this year introduced My Warner Table to allow guests to book a zone in the Late Lounge prior to arrival. This means guests don’t have to feel they have to rush to dinner to secure their preferred spot for the evening entertainment. They have the same space every night of their stay.