Wannabe knights and wizards (of all ages) have an exciting treat in store at the Castle Hotel, the newly opened addition to Legoland Windsor Resort.
It has 61 fantastical family bedrooms (with separate sleeping areas), in knight and wizard themes, set to fire children’s imaginations.
I took my (almost) 4-year-old, Ollie, for a very special sleepover the night before it opened, and we were in good company. Celebs we spotted included Steps’ Claire Richards and her family, McFly’s Tom Fletcher and wife Giovanna and their two kids, Buddy and Buzz, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her brood.
Everything was awesome (of course), but these were the particular highlights...
1. There be Lego dragons (lots of ‘em)
One of the biggest buzzes about spending a night in the Castle Hotel is spotting some of its 657 Lego models, which took more than 2.1 million individual bricks to build.
Besides the the kick-ass girl knight who greets you at the castle door and the awesome wizard with an owl on his shoulder in the lobby, our favourites were the dragons.
The bright red one perched right next to the double bed in the knight-themed rooms is unmissable. It weighs 17 kilos and took 60 hours to build - kudos to the master builder.
2. The attention to detail is phenomenal
Those with sharp eyes will be rewarded. Whether it’s the eight Lego mice perching on the olde worlde chandeliers in the Tournament Tavern, the kids’ loo seats tucked within the adults’ ones (nice touch), or the little knight, slightly embarrassed at being caught in his pants, who you’ll only see when you close the bathroom door - no magical stone has been left unturned in the quest for surprising guests.
3. There’s a knight’s quest in your room - with prizes
We didn’t get to bed before 10pm, because around bath time, we spotted THE QUEST. I thought the in-room safe was pretty low-tech until I realised the brown box with a barrel lock being guarded by, yep, another Lego dragon was actually part of a game. Turns out it concealed a prize and all we had to do to open it was crack the number code by hunting down clues hidden in the room. The grown-ups were more excited than Ollie!
4. The steak at the Tournament Tavern is mouth-wateringly good
Choose from fillet, sirloin or rump - or for those who are good at sharing, chateaubriand - and they’re all done to juicy perfection (prices from £10.95).
The kids’ menu looks pretty tasty too: Ollie had a ‘duo of melon salad’ with raspberry coulis for starter, and melt-in-the-mouth roasted chicken (I might have tried it), with corn on the cob and chunky chips, then jelly and ice cream (three-courses for £13.50).
Breakfast is in the same place - with hot options like full English, eggs Benedict or waffles with bacon and maple syrup - and a buffet of the usual suspects: cereals, fruit salad, yogurt and pastries. All great for setting you up before a full day in the park.
5. There’s Lego Worlds on the in-room Xbox
This was another reason why bedtime got delayed. Lego Worlds is a sandbox game that lets players build their own constructions - and it’s visually stunning.
We only dipped a toe into what it’s capable of - but cosied up on the bunk beds, we had escapist fun making our Lego spaceman go swimming, climb trees and steal gold coins from pirates on a desert island.
6. You can use the Pirate Splash Pool in the other hotel
Castle Hotel guests can use facilities at its big brother Legoland Hotel next door. We changed into swimming gear and strolled over to cool off in the Pirate Splash Pool, beautifully designed (again), with a water slide and cannons - just enough fun to get us hungry for that steak.
7. You’re in the park already - and get 30 minutes extra on the rides
For those organised parents, who can get kids up, dressed, breakfasted and out of the hotel by 9.30am (we’re looking at you, Tom and Giovanna Fletcher), you get Exclusive Early Ride Time in the park, before it opens to non-hotel guests.
There’s a gate to the park just outside the Castle Hotel entrance, which was opened by a smiling Lego jester after a countdown - and Ollie had already got his driving licence before anyone else turned up.
8. The mural next to the bath is insanely good
The bath itself is a wonder to behold, with buttons to switch on the water, a clever hidden tap and a rainfall shower head. But the best bit is the bath-length mural of a happy little knight indulging in a bubbly soak, with his helmet still on.
And we weren’t the only ones who thought so. Sophie Ellis-Bextor also posted to Instagram with an adorable pic of her youngest child having a bath with the mural in the background.