Wednesday 26 May 2010

Keycamp Holidays - "This is the life !"

We've just got back from a fabulous long-weekend press-trip to the Château de Drancourt Keycamp parc in the Picardy region of Northern France. I'll be writing a separate review about the brilliant time we had there (now online here), but before we even set a foot out of the door, I was well impressed with Keycamp and the way that they take all of the stress out of organising a holiday or a weekend away.

Now, I'm a totally low-maintenance girl and I can travel extremely light. It literally takes me five minutes to throw a few clothes and toiletries in a bag and be out of the door. But things get a bit trickier when you've got kids, especially a baby, to contend with. We had to invest in a roof rack for our Scenic last year because it was impossible to fit all the kid-friendly paraphernalia in the boot !

Well, Keycamp can immediately cut your luggage by half by providing loads of handy stuff for you. First of all, the Baby Pack is a lifesaver. "We understand the practical side of taking little ones on holiday, so to make it easier, we offer all those extra things that you need for babies and toddlers. Every one of our sites can provide travel cots, which double as a play pen, highchairs, baby baths and potties. But please remember to book these extras prior to your arrival to ensure their availability." And it won't even cost you a penny extra.

Next up, towels ! We knew from the outset that the girls were going to want to go swimming, probably every day. That means five big towels per day if you want to have one each to wrap around you after climbing out of the pool, so probably best to take ten just in case they don't dry out overnight. Eeeek ten beach towels ? Firstly, I don't think we even own that many ! And secondly, that's one suitcase filled already ! Well, Keycamp to the rescue again ! "Just £8 per pair. Save some space in your luggage with beach towel hire, which includes 2 large beach towels. You need to pre-book your beach towels 1 week before departure to guarantee availability." The funky blue and white stripey towels are perfectly clean and come packed up in sealed plastic bags (presumably fresh from the dry cleaners !) so they're easy to keep dry at the poolside too !

I would also recommend the bed linen hire because, let's face it, who wants to get home from a lovely relaxing break to a whole load of towels and sheets that need washing ?! "Double £15 Single £9 Now available for mobile homes, tents and chalets on all of our sites, linen hire includes towels, sheets and pillowcases. (A double pack includes 2 double sheets, 2 pillowcases and 2 bath towels, a single pack includes 2 single sheets, 1 pillowcase and 1 bath towel.)" Definitely worth it, from a mum's point of view !

Another great idea for a nice relaxing start to the trip is the Welcome Pack. "To get your holiday off to the smoothest possible start, why not opt for our Welcome Pack? It contains the essentials such as toilet roll and tea and coffee plus a little added luxury of a bottle of red wine, allowing you to put your feet up with a drink the minute you arrive. Full contents include: Bottle of red wine, 2 bottles of mineral water, salt, pepper, 2 cartons of fruit juice, jar of green olives, coffee, tea, sugar, whitener and UHT milk, washing up liquid, scourer, dish cloth, tea towel, matches, bin liner, toilet paper and bar of hand soap. " The girls loved unpacking all the goodies and lining them up on the table so that kept them occupied while we unpacked the car and made up the beds. I have to admit, I thought I'd covered all bases but I'd totally forgotten to pack any supplies at all for doing the washing up (was that my subconscious talking there ?!) and although we did laugh because both Mike and myself had packed two toilet rolls each, it's one of those things that can easily get forgotten at the last minute ! It's great to have all the essentials already on site so you can saunter off on holiday with immediate peace of mind, well worth the £7 price tag !

Another little extra that was courteously supplied for us was the Adventure Tent. Now, I thought this was a brilliant idea and got stupidly excited about it ! "Our Adventure Tents give children a taste of real camping. For just £19.95 you will have the use of an Adventure Tent whilst on holiday and it's yours to take home." Yes, you did read that right - you get to take it home with you at the end ! How's that for the ultimate holiday souvenir ?! We didn't actually use ours to sleep in, because the girls are a bit young so I had visions of them (or me !) freaking out in the middle of the night, but it was a great place for them to go and chill out (sometimes at our suggestion when we wanted some peace and quiet !) and keep out of the sun. They loved putting their toys and books in there and going for a "tent sleep" after lunch and before heading to the pool. The absolutely great thing is that it's all set up for you when you arrive - no need to fight with tent pegs and ropes when all you want to do is sit down and guzzle the bottle of wine that is in the welcome pack !

Depending on the parc you're staying at, you may also be able to hire Toddler trucks and All-terrain buggies, Dutchtubs (that's a family-sized, natural wood-fired hot-tub !) and hammocks. You can also request to hire free Decking gates and Bed rails to keep your little ones safe and spend an even more stress-free holiday.

If you need to travel abroad to get to your holiday destination, Keycamp can also organise your ferry crossings for you. One more stressful job taken care of. On the travel theme, they also provide you with highly-detailed directions to the parc from pretty much all possible directions. We managed to find the parc without going wrong even once, which is quite a miracle for us ! The directions use lots of local landmarks that an online travel-planner won't give you so it's really handy. The information sheet telling you which places to visit or which activities you can do in the local area are also a great way of planning your holiday with minimal effort, and the parc reception offers a lot more advice as well as big maps to help you plan how to make the most of your time there.

They really have come up with some fail-proof ways of making your holiday get off to a totally relaxed, stress-free start. Three cheers for Keycamp !

star rating : 5/5

for more information about Keycamp in general :

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