A two-storey lodge with balcony
Center Parcs Longford Forest officially launched last week and gave the nation a glimpse of what families can expect at the much talked-about resort.
Center Parcs currently has five destinations across the UK and welcomes more than 2.2 million guests each year — and they claim that almost 100% want to return.
The complex — the size of a small town — has been literally built out of the ground of a Coillte forest in less than four years.
It’s no more than one hour's drive from parts of north Kildare and it certainly beats the hassle of going abroad, including M50 traffic, crowded airports and weighing your luggage etc.
The cost of staying at Center Parks can rise to nearly €2,000 but at its cheapest, you can get a four-night stay from Monday to Friday during an off-peak period for around €350.
With this, you get unlimited free access to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise for 12 hours every day and you can save on the nearby restaurants by cooking all your food in the well-equipped kitchen in your high-spec lodge.
The stand-out feature is the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, Ireland’s largest waterpark, which is open from 9.30 to 9pm every day.
There are also over 100 indoor and outdoor activities including Zip Wire, Archery, Rollerskating or Segways.
The facility will be open 365 days of the year and the operators said the unpredictable Irish weather won’t interfere too much with your stay.
Set amongst 400 acres of beautiful woodland, Center Parcs Longford Forest can accommodate up to 2,500 guests during each short break.
A logistical marvel, the €233 million development was been delivered on time and within budget.
The construction phase alone saw over 750 jobs created and a further 1,000 permanent positions now the village is operational, with most of the team coming from the local area.
The forest resort is home to 466 high quality self-catering lodges and 30 apartments.
It also features a wide range of cafes, restaurants and shops, not to mention the innovative Aqua Sana Spa which has 21 separate pampering experiences such as heated outdoor hot tubs and salt therapy saunas as well as a range of face and body treatments.
You can also order takeaways for dining in. The kitchens in the lodges are very modern and include a coffee machine.
The ParcMarket supermarket has certainly very reasonable prices and there is a fantastic sweet shop for kids called Treats.
When you stay, it’s a car-free zone so vehicles are only allowed when you arrive and leave and are then taken off to a car park.
The rest of the time you hire a bike or bring your own and you find yourself clocking up several kilometres on two wheels unknown to yourself. Where else can a family of four cycle for miles in absolute safety?
The resort is expected to inject €32 million to the Irish economy each year.
Martin Dalby of Center Parcs Ireland said he is confident the resort “will provide an amazing space for families to enjoy quality time together and create memories that will last a lifetime”.
Current sample prices quote a two-bedroom Woodland lodge available mid-term from Monday, October 28 to Friday, November 1 for €1,099.
But go off-peak from Monday, November 4 to Friday, November 8 and the price drops to €349.
Bicycle hire for the duration of a visit is €35 for adults and €27.50 for children. Sample activities include: Rollerskating for 60 minutes at €9.50 while the Segway experience for 45 minutes is €30.
See www.centerparcs.ie for more information.