The two of us had been wanting to get away for awhile, but it’s just been a little hectic this summer. Plus, the Brit has to save up his holiday time not only for our wedding, but for my cousin’s wedding and for his stag do in November. So yea, it just wasn’t happening until he surprised me with a quick weekend away to CenterParcs!
I’d heard about CenterParcs from a few people, so had been wanting to check it out. I think the most unique aspect of CenterParcs is that you are not permitted to drive within the resort outside of check-in and check-out times on Mondays and Fridays. This was especially appealing to us because the Brit drives crazy distances and hours for work, so to park the car up and walk everywhere sounded fab.
Then, the Brit informed me that we would be renting bicycles as well. I truthfully cannot remember the last time I rode a bike, so I was nervous. I was glad there would be no cars around to crash into me, but I was a little unsure about how I would do. (Yes, I realize this sounds lame.)
I could not believe how many bikes they had for rent. This photo only shows half of them. I asked the guy who helped us if they ever rent them all out and he said during summer and school holidays they do rent the majority of them!
Anyway, we got to CenterParcs around 4:30 on Friday afternoon and immediately unloaded our stuff into our villa, so we could park the car and pick up our bikes. The villa we stayed in was Birch 463, which is a shared building with villas 464 and 465. Our villa was either recently built or recently renovated because Birch 463 is very modern and contemporary inside with a separate kitchen/living space, bedroom, and bathroom. (If you’d like to see what it looked like, then you can click here.) I think the other two villas were for 4 people while ours was for 2 and just the perfect size. Each has their own kitchen which is a nice perk if you are coming in larger groups and don’t want to eat at one of the restaurants every night.
Our section of the villa is the front part with the bikes in front of it. I realize it looks like there are no windows in our villa, but the whole back is floor-to-ceiling windows, so we had lots of natural light.
I have to show this picture I took of one of the treehouses, which appear to be absolutely incredible! They have 4 bedrooms with a separate games room, an outdoor hot tub, and a sauna. Anyone want to rent one of these with us for a weekend sometime – we could take turns cooking evening meals?! And, it just seems like such a fun thing to do with a group of friends!
CenterParcs has a number of restaurants and places to grab a snack or even takeaway (Chinese, Indian, and pizza). They even have a market where you can pick up pretty much anything you might need to make a meal. On the first night, we walked into Strada, which is an Italian restaurant, without a reservation and were seated right away. I imagine if you visit during peak times, especially school holidays, that this wouldn’t happen because the restaurant was still packed during this low time.
There also are a lot of activities available to participate in and for all age ranges because CenterParcs does really cater to families. There is even a spa, which we didn’t use but I would definitely check out if we ever return. A few weeks prior to our arrival, we each picked an activity and signed up for those. I wanted to do stand-up paddleboarding, but wasn’t too keen on being colder than I normally am or to do this in the rain. Instead, I chose hydrospinning. Yes, spinning in the pool! I take a spin class here, so I thought this could be good fun. We both ended up loving it and got a killer workout. If you have an opportunity to try this, I would highly recommend it! The Brit chose badminton. So, on Sunday morning, he crushed me in game after game of badminton for nearly an hour. This proved to be another amazing workout for us and we had so much fun laughing at ourselves!
Other highlights for me include the water slides in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise (felt like a kid again!), our meal on Saturday night at Forester’s Inn which included a delicious lamb shank on mashed potatoes and a slice of apple pie for dessert, a Sunday mid-afternoon snack of a waffle with berries and ice cream at the The Pancake House on the lake, and not crashing my bike (seriously!). We took some long walks, watched the Ryder Cup in the pub in the Jardin des Sports, and slept. It was a relaxing weekend and I don’t think either of us were ready for it to end!