We’ve stayed at Center Parcs resorts in England quite a few times with our kids, and they love it! Yes it’s a bit commercialised and the activities are expensive but it’s just so easy. So when we don’t want to ‘travel’ and just want to chill out this is a great option for us, and we get to bring our dog!
This year we decided to go to Center Parcs Vossemeren resort in Belgium instead. I had already booked our Eurotunnel crossing for a camping trip in May which got cancelled (my youngest broke her foot!) so I amended the booking (free of charge) to a later date in September.
We booked a 3 bedroom Premium Lodge right next to the plaza in the middle of the park. Usually it costs quite a bit more to select a lodge in this location but at Vossemeren it was an extra €33 which I thought was well worth it. The lodge was a perfect size for our family of 2 adults, 3 kids and a dog (extra €15). I didn’t really feel that it was ‘premium’ though as it was quite dated and more like the standard lodges we’ve stayed in before. There was only one toilet (which was separate to the bathroom) which was a bit of a pain with 5 of us, but there were two TV’s, a sound system, a dishwasher and a microwave. However the cost for 6 nights was €539 which is only slightly more than we usually pay for 3 or 4 nights in England.
The park is set in a woodland with a huge lake and some smaller lakes. There is no land train but it wasn’t a problem as it’s completely flat terrain and you could easily walk around the whole park in under an hour.
We had our bikes with us so we zipped about on these!
And we took a pedalo out around the lake which was quite a work out!
The plaza had some nice restaurants to choose from and a really good little supermarket that had everything we needed. We also popped out to the local town which had Aldi and Lidl supermarkets. Vossemeren is a really nice town to walk around with lots of nice cafes and restaurants and only a 5 minute drive away.
The best thing about the plaza had to be the real life flamingoes and turtles! Never seen that at Center Parcs before!!
The evening entertainment was fun and mostly in English too which was handy for us! There were a few evenings throughout the week with things going on: Family Quiz Night, Extravaganza, and a musical night. Our youngest loved it although the older two weren’t ever so impressed! There was kids entertainment every evening with a bedtime story too.
In Belgium the water park is called Aqua Mondo and it’s exactly the same as every other Center Parcs we’ve been to. There was the usual lazy river, water slides, jacuzzis and wave pool. There was also a HUGE free indoor play area called Discovery Bay which was fantastic for younger children (under 10’s I would say) which also had a high ropes area (extra cost of €15), and a nice cafe area for parents to relax in while the kids play.
We loved the Children’s Farm too with the pigs, goats, a calf, ponies (you could have a little ride of these for €4), rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks and geese. There’s a play park right next to this so quite a nice way to spend the morning.
There were the usual activities to choose from but we didn’t do that many. We played squash, crazy golf and had a bowling night in the sports bar.
So what was different about this park? Well everything was exactly the same as back home, except for one thing. And for me it was quite a big deal. The Spa. We always treat ourselves to a child-free Twilight Spa (jacuzzis, Turkish steam rooms, saunas, pool, relaxation rooms etc) but we didn’t this time. I saw the sign for ‘Sauna’, through a turnstile, and you had to buy a wristband for this (€17.95/day, €8.95/evening) and I thought that was a bit expensive just to use the sauna. But then towards the end of our holiday I realised this was actually the spa and so €17.95 for a day pass was really cheap! So we decided to spend our last evening at the spa and I went to book our wristbands, however this is where it’s different from the UK. It’s a NAKED spa in the evenings. Now this is so far outside of my comfort zone and the look on my face must have been priceless when the girl at the booking desk explained to me that it was ‘naked obliged’!! Yes, I am aware that it’s perfectly normal for most people but it’s not to me. So we didn’t go to the spa. And that’s the only difference! We don’t get naked in the spa at Center Parcs in England.