A room of one's own
Date Posted: 28/01/2011
From student digs to manor houses, there’s a vast array of property types out there to suit any group’s budget.
If your group is keeping a tight hold on the purse strings - sometimes a sensible option if you’re planning on attracting a large number of people on your trip - then there is a wide range of options open for you. And cheap doesn’t necessarily mean basic.
Thinking of taking a break in London over the summer, and looking for somewhere central? King’s College London offers a range of affordable accommodation in its Halls of Residence, and promises security and accessibility to the capital’s many attractions. King’s has accommodation in four London locations: two centrally located modern en-suite residences at Waterloo and London Bridge, plus two traditional residences; in leafy Hampstead, north west London and Denmark Hill, south London. The university offers bed and breakfast or room only options, between July and September, with group rates available to parties of ten or more.
If staying in digs reminds you of your misspent youth, then why not reminisce with a view at the campus accommodation in Aberystwyth University, Wales? Offering a refreshing blend of historic and modern, in a relaxing environment just five minutes from the town centre, the rooms have stunning views of Cardigan Bay, including the option of a single en-suite. Facilities include a sports centre with an indoor swimming pool, and a major arts centre, with cinema, theatre and exhibitions.
Both of the above locations - and more - are available at groupstayuk, part of Venuemasters, which promotes the accommodation facilities at over 40 academic venues in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Group accommodation ranges from budget to hotel standard, with standard and en suite rooms available.
If travelling in the north of England, Scotland or even further afield, you might be interested in the value-for-money accommodation offered by Euro Hostels. The hostels are suited for those looking for a low-cost alternative to cheap hotel accommodation, and locations include Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle, as well as Amsterdam, Paris and New York. Group savings and discounts are available, with rates from as little as £19 per person, per night.
Budget hotels are also a cost effective option for groups, with locations throughout the UK. Travelodge, Premier Inn and Comfort Inn are chains that offer a direct service for group bookings, and en-suite facilities with every room.
Hotels and leisure breaks
If your group has more cash than dash, then there are a wide range of hotels to suit more moderate funds. There are also a surprising amount of hotels that offer leisure breaks and themed stays. Ramada Jarvis is one such chain and, with its associate hotels, it boasts 46 locations across the UK. Options include pamper packages and tribute band evenings.
Groups now have a larger choice of location with Britannia Hotels, which has recently announced that it has increased its number of hotels to 36. With one of the hotel’s ‘Value for Money’ breaks, groups are entitled to discounted rates – with a free place for the coach driver, and a free place for the organiser if your party is 40 people or over – a free drinks reception, and a 99p bar for an hour each evening.
Group organisers will also have the opportunity to sample a Britannia Hotel in early spring as the company is hosting a Group Organiser Educational Weekend; an opportunity to go and see what Britannia Hotels have to offer groups, and meet some of the travel trade team.
If you’re looking for hotels in Blackpool, then All Seasons Hotels has three good establishments on the north promenade in Blackpool, just a stone’s throw from the north pier - The Parisienne, Tiffany’s and The Ambassador Hotel. Groups will be greeted personally by the general manager, and provided with a porter service and complimentary tea/coffee on arrival. The group organiser is entitled to a free room, and from January to July, the hotels do not charge a single supplement on mid-week breaks.
Additionally, if your collective enjoys entertainment, the All Season’s Hotels have a wide range, from afternoon bingo to complimentary coach trips. The hotels also promise live performers every night, including cabaret artists, singers, comedians and variety acts.
Grand UK Hotels can host groups in many of the UK’s most popular destinations for touring holidays. The chain’s 11 properties are part of The UK Holiday Group, which also includes tour operator Grand UK Holidays and groups specialist just for groups!. GTOs can work with just for groups! to tailor-make their own itinerary and arrange a special break.
Among the most popular options for groups is ‘We’ll Meet Again’, which is based in Hotel Richmond, a Grand UK property in Torquay. This nostalgic trip down memory lane features ration books, music from the good old days, wartime quizzes and sing-alongs. Extra departure dates for group tours have been added for the tour, which features a brochure price of £225 per person, for five days’ half-board accommodation, travel and excursions.
If your group wants to escape from the more juvenile members of the population, then a Warner Leisure Hotel is something you should definitely consider. The adults-only chain boasts seven country hotels, and six coastal hotels in a variety of locations. Warner offer groups of ten or more up to 25 per cent discount, and extra benefits are available for the GTO.
Holiday parks and villages
The British stalwart – holiday parks and camp sites - can offer real value for group accommodation, and have the added advantage of a vast range of leisure facilities onsite.
Pontins Gold Breaks are exclusively designed for the over 50s and are suited for group organisers and tour operators seeking value-for-money. Pontins Pakefield Holiday Park is set in a picturesque and peaceful cliff top location amidst the woodlands, inland waterways and marshlands of Suffolk. In addition to Gold Breaks, it offers a wide range of themed stays, from ballroom dancing, salsa and the Pakefield Proms, to country music, big bands, fishing and a brand new event for 2011 called Antiques Made Easy with BBC Antiques Roadshow expert, Eric Knowles and his friends.
Brochure prices at Pakefield Holiday Park start from £182 per person half board for a four night break on 2nd September. There is an early booking offer of 40 per cent discount for January bookings, making the price £109.
Potters Leisure Resort is a five star option set in 65 acres located on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk, and almost everything is included in the price; the bungalow accommodation, full board, sport and leisure activities, a full programme of daytime activities, as well as entertainment each evening. GTOs can enjoy savings and free places on selected breaks, plus group organiser incentives on special events, such as cash back commission for your company or club.
If you want to take your group to the seaside, then Haven has a wide choice, with 35 holiday parks around the UK, many with direct access to some of Britain’s most beautiful stretches of coastline. Haven offers a full programme of daytime and evening entertainment with a lot included in the cost – plus it has the advantage of group benefits and discounts for as few as five units of accommodation.
2011 at Haven sees an action-packed programme of sports and splash activities, with selected parks offering fishing, golf or tennis coaching as well. The cost is per holiday home and not per person – making it easier for groups to budget – and there is accommodation available that will sleep up to eight people.
For something really different, why not try Eurocamp? Its mobile homes and tents also sleep up to eight people each. The parcs are set in great locations to explore Europe, as well as offering lots of on-parc activities to keep your group entertained, including pool complexes, bars and restaurants, and activities such as archery, bicycle hire and horse riding. Prices start from £10 per person, per night on four units or over of accommodation.
Country cottages and desirable residences
Holiday cottages can be a cost-effective accommodation solution for your group, and if you really want to flash the cash, there are a range of exclusive residences that actually work out rather cheap for larger numbers. Short-term renting offers GTOs a wide selection of properties nationwide, including locations to suit all tastes – from the ultra rural, to a town-centre prime spot. If your group can’t fit into one property, there is always the option of moving some of your numbers into another property nearby.
Unique Home Stays provide just that for groups. Its properties range from the luxurious to the sublime, and are located throughout the UK and worldwide. Its largest property is stately home, Lady Elizabeth’s House, built in 1671 which sleeps up to 52. The property has magnificent gardens and up to 1,000 acres of parkland to enjoy lavish activities such as falconry and helicopter rides. Elegant interiors, breath-taking architecture and beautiful gardens set the scene for a special stay.
English Country Cottages specialises in holiday cottages in the UK and Europe, and runs a variety of offers and deals throughout the year. Ivy House Farm in Cheshire is an 18th century renovated farmhouse that sleeps up to ten people. The extensive grounds include a woodland area, and stabling for guests’ horses. Many of the region’s country estates and historic houses such as Tatton Park, Arley Hall, Dunham House and Gawsworth Hall, to name but a few, are within easy reach and a golf course is on the doorstep.
The National Trust has a collection of over 370 properties in locations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, for short breaks, weekends away and holiday lets. Eastshaw Farmhouse is a typical West Sussex farmhouse-style, centred around a large kitchen. The original house dates back to 1732 with later additions and is situated on the edge of Woolbeding Common, enjoying far-reaching views over Weald to the South Downs. A summerhouse in a separate building opens onto a large courtyard.