Mark Scrivener, the Branch Manager of our Bury St Edmunds travel agents, recently took the short trip from Stanstead to the Isle of Man. Here is everything he learnt on a trip that opened up the wonders close to home.
Destination: Isle of Man
Operator/Host: Premier Holidays
(Hotel names/Ship name): Best Western Palace Hotel – Douglas, Claremont Hotel – Douglas, Sefton Hotel – Douglas, Groudle Glen (SC) – Onchan
Duration: 2 Nights
It was a really good flight with FlyBe, in a 78 seater aircraft. Very comfortable and spacious with plenty of legroom and I’m 6ft 3″. Surprisingly, they fly three times a day from Stansted on a Bombardier Dash 8 Turboprop. There was a good selection of snacks sold on board as well as drinks.
Most are a little bit dated which in a way is nice, as the whole Island has a feel of 20-30 years ago. Think Victorian Seafront style. My favourite was The Claremont, especially the business class promenade seafront rooms, which were modern and spacious with a walk-in shower, quality linen and bed and great views. The restaurant in the hotel was smart, open plan and with open fires (even though they were gas).
The Sefton Hotel offers superb atrium suites which have a huge balcony overlooking the inner garden courtyard – very special. It also has Norman’s Bar, which is famous because Norman Wisdom came from the Isle of Man and frequented here. He has a bronze statue on a bench outside.
We stayed at the Best Western Palace which has an indoor pool, sauna and steam room as its main asset. It also has a huge car park for guests so very handy for those who are hiring a car on their travels. The room I had, though, was fairly basic; overlooking the car park and air conditioning units. I had to shuffle around the bathroom door to get in and if you sat on the toilet your knees touched the bath.
We also visited some self-catering cottages. One of these was Groudle Glen Cottages, out in Onchan, which is not far from Douglas, but you would need a car really as it’s out in the country. It’s a good, spacious option for families, though, as they have two and three bedroom cottages which are nicely equipped if you can get over the royal blue, leather, 1980′s three-piece suites. They are very close to the sea as well.