SHARK PUNS AHOY. I’ll try and limit them, or, well, I might not. We’ll see.
One thing I can tell you for sure is that we’re definitely big kids at heart. And what better spot than a theme park to indulge your inner excitable ten year old, eh? That’s why, for Conor’s birthday this year, I decided to treat him to a surprise Thorpe Park trip. Not just because I wanted to go too…honest.
To make sure we had the maximum amount of time possible riding on all those rollercoasters, I booked us an overnight stay at the Thorpe Shark Hotel, Thorpe Park’s on-site ‘crash pad’ for the previous night.
Originally, we were going to do a two day visit through Thorpe Park Breaks, but I discovered the ‘Supercharged’ package and it was just insanely good value. In total, the package of a night’s stay, included breakfast and park entrance with Ultimate Fast Track cost around £100. Considering Ultimate Fast Track for one is £80 alone…well, you see what I mean!
There are other local hotels we could have stayed at, but for the fun theming and convenience, it had to be this one. For a start, the hotel itself is SO close to the park. Well, it’s actually in the park – there’s a little turn-off before The Dome, Thorpe Park’s entrance ‘hub’.
(P.S Sorry not sorry that photos aren’t my normal quality – I didn’t take my camera because I’d was having too much fun riding rollercoasters…)
We arrived at around 6pm, headed straight for the gates and were let through. It was definitely super weird arriving when no customers were around and staff members were leaving.
Checking in was easy, and we were soon breezing out through the rather awesome metal shark, past calm river waters and plenty of greenery, through to where we’d discover our room.
I knew before we got there that the Thorpe Shark Hotel rooms aren’t your standard hotel rooms. They’re converted shipping containers, and the hotel does make it clear online that they’re built for convenience, rather than luxury.
And actually, I was pleasantly surprised about how non-claustrophobic they felt to me.
Sure, there was no window – but for two people who just needed a ‘crash pad’ before our theme park thrills the next day, it was a decent enough space. If you’re a party of four, you might feel more tightly-packed, but I actually found the space quite cosy. The wet room serves a fine purpose of toilet-ing and showering, and the air conditioning in the room kept it cool and prevented condensation.
The theming on the walls was a nice touch too, and there’s also a TV provided (pre-loaded with Jaws, obviously). After our dinner, we got cosy and watched Kingsman on Channel 4, before an early night.
Speaking of dinner…
For our evening meal, we’d booked into Thorpe Park’s on-site restaurant, Fin’s Bar and Grill. When the park’s shut, it’s actually the only place on-site to eat. Unless you take a walk (or taxi) into nearby Chertsey, it’s your only food option.
To get it out there, Fin’s Bar and Grill isn’t gourmet dining. But it still has some pretty tasty, basic food and a few things that actually did surprise me in terms of quality. We’d pre-booked the three course meal for two, which was an extra £35 on top of my Thorpe Park Break booking.
I’d been eyeing the chicken wings, but unfortunately they’d run out, so we both enjoyed the crispy fried squid for a starter – one of the dishes that did rather impress me.
The rest of the meal wasn’t exactly the best I had, but it was perfectly enjoyable, especially if you’re not a fussy foodie. My chicken burger was small and unimpressive, but the chips were good, at least.
The dessert was definitely the bit that wowed the most – my ‘Mochabocker Glory’ was a HUGE ‘shark fin’ style sundae glass packed with ice cream, coffee custard, brownie bites and popcorn. We actually had to share, as I don’t think I’d have finished this one on my own!
For a cheap and easy on-site option, Thorpe Park could certainly do worse than the food at Fin’s Bar and Grill.
Oh, and they also keep The Dome open with its arcade games and a ping-pong table going, as well as the bar itself. So if you do want to hang out a bit away from your room (and shoot dinosaurs in Jurassic Park…), there’s space for that too.
A stay at Thorpe Shark Hotel includes a buffet breakfast, which to be honest wasn’t great – but it filled us up, at least, ready for the day ahead.
One of the best benefits of a stay at Thorpe Shark Hotel is that you’re on-site and ready for park adventures the next morning.
Normally, Thorpe Shark Hotel guests are able to get Ultimate Fasttrack until 11am the next morning – but as we’d ordered the one day ‘Supercharged’ package, we had Unlimited Fast Track all day. Even though the park was pretty quiet, it definitely came in handy. Jumping the queue for Saw and Derren Brown were particularly useful inclusions!
Unfortunately, due to high winds, we didn’t actually get to go on a few of the rides we wanted to – however, as a gesture of goodwill, Thorpe Park have given us free park entry and Ultimate Fasttrack again for another date next year. So we’ll definitely be heading back in 2018 for more thrills…
As I said above – this isn’t luxury travel. But for a really convenient, fun night before or after a day of theme park fun, a stay at Thorpe Shark Hotel is a great way to extend your visit!