For a family-friendly hotel in the heart of the Hunter Valley, look no further than the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. It’s a top spot that both parents and kids will enjoy.
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley is easy to get to, just a 45 minute drive from Newcastle or over 2 hours from Sydney but hard to leave. Nestled in the heart of Wine Country, this family-friendly resort offers activities for every member of the family such as the Water Dragons Kids Club, swimming pool, 18-hole golf course, on-site Lovedale Brewery and Ubika Spa.
For our stay, we opt for villa accommodation, a short 100 metre walk from the main hotel complex. Within the resort, there’s a range of accommodation options in the resort from hotel guest rooms to two-bedroom and three-bedroom villas available to fit every budget and preference.
We’re staying in a two-bedroom villa with views over the scenic resort grounds. It’s clean and spacious and includes a kitchen. Having kitchen facilities are especially important when you’re travelling with babies and children. Guests visiting the resort with small children may request a portacot, high chair, baby bath and baby nappy bins subject to availability.
The hotel features so many amenities, like us, you’ll be reluctant to leave the resort. These include a large pool area with separate shallow area for babies and toddlers.
There’s also kids amusements like Kids Train and Carousel (gold coin donation) which run at regular intervals. (Check with the front desk). For sporty families, don’t miss the tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts.
During school holidays, there’s additional kids activities. During our stay, we were provided with a program guide which lists the many activities and events around the resort. Face painting, card making, water play, handball and putting competitions are just a few of the kids activities on offer.
Parents will love the Water Dragons Kids Club. Catering to kids between the ages of 3 and 12, the Water Dragons Kids Club offers a range of games and activities to suit all ages. It’s open all week long for resort guests. However, from Monday to Friday, the kids club is unsupervised and parents / carers will need to supervise.
I recommend visiting on weekends or during school holidays, when the kids club is fully supervised. This enables parents to drop their toilet-trained kids off for a 3 hour session for the very reasonable price of $15 per child per session. I’m impressed as I walk through the Kids Club before dropping my daughter off. There’s a variety of indoor and outdoor activities for kids including craft, board games, building toys, movies and a large outdoor play area.
The staff are friendly and professional and all have Working With Children credentials. My daughter is keen to get playing with her new friends and barely has time to say goodbye before running off. Older kids don’t miss out as there’s a also a Teen Lounge in the resort. This is a place for teens to relax, chill and unwind with friends. This spot features comfy lounges, bean bags and a TV and video games.
After dropping kids off, adults can enjoy the 18-hole golf course, Lovedale Brewery and Ubika Spa.
I can personally vouch for the Ubika Spa. I enjoyed both a mum and daughter mani-pedi and massage and both were divine.
This is an area where the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley excels.
There’s two different dining choices. There’s the Lovedale Bar and Restaurant which is conveniently located next to the pool and provides colouring pages and pencils to keep little ones happy.
There’s a variety of bar food available and we select the Club Sandwich and Peri Peri Chicken Burger.
You can eat the food in the restaurant or head outside to chill out.
That evening, we enjoy dinner at Redsalt, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley’s signature restaurant. Even though it’s fine dining, children are welcomed and my daughter is warmly greeted by the waitstaff on duty. One of them even brings pencils and colouring in sheets to keep her occupied. Looking around the restaurant, we notice other families with babies and young children dining in here as well.
Hamish, one of Redsalt Executive Chefs, pops out the kitchen to introduce himself and elaborate more about the menu. A key feature of the menu is that ingredients and wine are locally sourced. There’s also a special menu for vegetarians as well as one for kids. He points out that the kids menu has a focus on healthy offerings and menu items are smaller and simpler portions of the main menu. For example, my daughter’s fish and chips uses the same fish, snapper as the main on the menu. Our meal is amazing both in terms of the food and the service. It’s a lovely treat to be able to enjoy fine dining with children in tow.
Redsalt also is the venue for a buffet breakfast the following morning. There’s a mind-boggling amount of food to choose from. First up, is the Egg Bar where you can order a variety of eggs made to order from fried to different kinds of omelettes and Eggs Benedict.
For a hearty meal, there are many bain-maries full of sausages, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms. In fact, all the fixings for a big breakfast are there. To wash down all the food, visit the juice bar where you create your own healthy concoction.
WHAT WORKS FOR FAMILIES
- Variety of accommodation options in the resort from hotel guest rooms to two-bedroom and three-bedroom villas available to fit every budget and preference.
- Kids Club on weekends and during school holidays for kids 3 to 12.
- Teen Lounge for teens to relax, chill and unwind with friends
- Large outdoor pool with shallow area for babies and toddlers
- Crowne Cinema – free family movies during school holidays
- Kids amusements like Kids Train and Carousel (gold coin donation) which run at regular intervals during school holidays
- Family amenities like tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts
- Kid-friendly restaurants like Lovedale Bar and Restaurant and more upmarket Redsalt.
- Free parking
I’d definitely recommend staying at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley if it’s within your budget. The on-site amenities and central location are hard to beat. It’s the perfect base for exploring all the fun that the Hunter Valley has to offer.