Alison road tests the Blue Chip Experience, which promises to take the heartache out of booking and organising a family break…
Don’t know about you, but sometimes, the booking and preparation of a holiday can be so stressful, I feel like I need a holiday! Oh the irony. I’m currently planning a trip to the States in October, and the process of searching for flights can only be described as painful. Balancing the cheapest, with the best landing times and the most suitable stopover time – and don’t even get me started on travel agents who were advertising fares that were no longer available. I felt like I was going a bit mad, after four solid hours of looking at my screen, one day last week. Now the flights are finally booked, the activity planning starts, and in the week before we go, it’s going to be all about washing, packing and organising.
Thankfully, I know it’ll all be worth it and once I’m actually on holiday with my family, any memories of endless organisation goes out of the window. But one UK based accommodation company is doing everything they can to eradicate pre-holiday stress and get you in the holiday mood long before you set off on your trip.
Blue Chip Holidays have launched the Blue Chip Experience – a genius concierge service which will research and book a wealth of activities for you and your family. The premium self-catering holiday specialist has hundreds of properties in the UK from quaint country cottages with log-burning stoves and thatched roofs to stylish apartments with dramatic sea views and hot tubs. Their Baby Blue Chip Collection features a range of baby-friendly properties that are fully kitted out when everything you might need for your stay, from stair gates to high chairs and beyond. Rather cleverly, Blue Chip Holidays realised that they’d amassed lots of useful information about the areas local to their properties, and could use this knowledge to make their customers’ holiday experience even smoother. And the Blue Chip Experience was born.
So how does it work?
Once your Blue Chip Holidays booking is made, a Blue Chip Experience expert will ring you for a consultation, finding out what kinds of activities you like, how you imagine your perfect holiday before handpicking the best local operators and tailor making a holiday to suit you.
What they book for you entirely depends on your preference and the location of your stay. By the coast, there’s beach foraging for precious shells followed by a jewellery-making workshop in the comfort of a Blue Chip holiday home, a molecular gastronomy and mixology master class at sundown, beam fit pilates at sunrise on a serene local beach and a picnic on a secluded bay reached by private yacht. Or for those staying in a rural location, there’s llama trekking on Dartmoor National Park, fishing in a well-stocked lake on the doorstep of a Blue Chip lodge and clay pigeon shooting at one of Blue Chip Holidays’ Grade II listed country manors.
Is it as good as it sounds?
Yes! I road-tested the Blue Chip Experience recently, and it was fantastic. We booked to stay at The Hermitage, an impressive 10-bedroom home on the Isle Of Wight, with another family (Molly from Mother’s Always Right).
On day one of our holiday, Blue Chip Experience organised for us to go to Robin Hill Country Park, where an amazing festival of lights was taking place – we wandered through the trees, with the kids climbing and running before eating Chinese food and candy floss. Despite the kids getting a bit tired and ratty (it was past their bedtime after all), we all had a fantastic time. And we would never have known about it, without Blue Chip Experience.
The following day, we set off to Tapnell Farm – where we had the most amazing lunch at The Cow Co restaurant (seriously – best burgers ever!) They’ve got a brand new indoor play barn, which is open now, and in May 2016 Tapnell Farm Park opens to visitors. Another Blue Chip Experience success!
On our third day, the dads took the older girls to Isle Jump, a trampoline park, and it’s fair to say everyone had a brilliant, bouncing time!
But the pièce de résistance was on our final evening – Blue Chip Experience arranged for two private chefs to come to The Hermitage to cook us a three course meal. We put the kids to bed, poured ourselves some G&Ts and excitedly waited for their arrival. The meal was exquisite and the chefs were incredibly friendly as they prepared prawn cocktail, garlic chicken and mashed potato and profiteroles. (You know when you have a meal, and weeks later, you can’t stop thinking about it?)
The attention to detail was impressive and knowing we had a whole itinerary of activities planned and organised really took the pressure off, in the run up to the holiday. Thank you Blue Chip Experience – you really know your stuff.
If you want to see more of our stay at The Hermitage, watch this video…
Alison was a guest of Blue Chip Holidays at The Hermitage for the purpose of this post. Blue Chip Holidays offer 7 nights at The Hermitage in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight from £2,635 sleeping up to 20 guests on a self catering basis, based on a 6th June 2016 arrival. Blue Chip Experience can organise a number of activities and unique experiences for guests who book a Blue Chip Holidays property including but not limited to those activities mentioned in the above review. Book at www.bluechipholidays.co.uk