When I go on holiday there are two things I look for. The first is fairly easy to define – the facilities. What is the accommodation like, is there a pool and whats it like, location and to some degree cost. The second is more difficult to pin down exactly – its’s how well the holiday is organised and feels. That boils down to the layout, the staff, the procedures and how the whole thing feels going together.
This Easter we were able to get cut price tickets to Node Point Resort on the east of the Isle of Wight. The resort was billed as a cut price getaway with a pool, activities, evening entertainment and at the bottom of the resort easy beach access. After our first day we were were blessed with some of the warmest March days I can remember – so how was it? Taking some of those things in order.
The accommodation of the site is divided between four types – stationary caravans, touring caravans, camping and chalets. We stayed in a standard chalet before camping season started. The easiest way to sum it up was budget but hardy. It felt that everything there was selected to be the cheapest possible way of doing things in a way that would last. Don’t get me wrong – it ticked all the boxes with a serviceable oven, microwave, toaster and beds for 7, but the details were not carefully watched. The most obvious manifestation of this was things like the plugs in the kitchen – 4 high draw items on a single plug with a multiway that blocked the other plug and he living room had pictures that were screwed to the wall at two maddeningly different angles.
The pool was surprising. I’d expected a small, older pool but was very pleased to find it large (rated for 130) and very well setup for family play. I’d have preferred more than six changing rooms, but the pool itself was excellent.
The beach was another pleasant surprise – it is accessible through a gate at the bottom of the site though what would in the summer be the camping fields and is partially sandy with a good supply of rock pools, very impressive views over to Bembridge, the lifeboat station and of the Solent’s shipping. Evening entertainment was based around the central bar and while I’d quibble slightly with the timing – adult bingo until 19:30 when the kids entertainment starts – it’s a value add if your kids enjoy that and exactly as you’d expect. There were also some extra paid events available in the day such as boating on the pool, tennis, court sports and the like but we did not sample these.
This lead me to the problems with Node Point which I alluded to earlier – it all comes down to an inattention to details. Individually they didn’t cause major problems but in total they did detract significantly from our enjoyment of the holiday. I won’t try and list every little issue we found – it’d be a much longer post, but will pick on one that illustrates the overall problems well – that pool I praised earlier.
After spending a couple of hours one afternoon there with my daughter we were eager to go back the next day. We turned up at the advertised 2pm to find out that the welcome pack we’d been given was incorrect – the pool opened at 3pm. Back at three we were informed that they were short on staff and so they were operating a rota system. This turned out to mean that we were turfed out of the pool at 3:30, so with changing time included (and with only 6 cubicles we queued for those), we got to spend around 20 minutes in the water out of an allocated 45 minute slot. The staff were polite about it, but it wasn’t a good impression.
Price: From £115 upward
Included in the box: Accommodation.
Paid Extras: Required service charge, optional linen charge, optional entertainment passes charge and numerous individual charges.
About Park Resorts
Park Resorts started relatively recently in 2001 and have slowly grown and after merging with Parkdean at the end of last year now have 72 holiday parks in the UK. They operate by owning the site and reselling individually owned caravans, lodges and chalets and providing facilities for entertainment, swimming and sports and camping.
The park is built into onto the side of the Isle of Wight hillsides and is rather larger than it appears from the road. Look at a map it appears reasonable sensible but the hills make it somewhat more confusing on ground level and this is made worse by confusing or incorrect signage. The roads and paths are well maintained as is the general infrastructure.
- Age: Family venue, All ages welcome
- Optimised for leisure and family holiday
- Budget accommodation
- Open year round although not all facilities are open year round.
Node point is marketed as budget accommodation on the Isle of Wight and they’re right – if you’re sensible it’s very economic. For example if you wanted to go next week you can currently get the Bronze Chalet for four nights sleeping six for £119. Cashback is also available via TopCashBack at 5.25%. Do the math on this and works out at the best case £4.70 per person per night at full occupancy.
Park Resorts also takes part in Sun Holidays which charge £9.50 a night for some limited dates.
Ferry crossing does add some cost, but Park Resorts have made a deal with Wightlink and there are several cut price or even free crossings available if you are willing to travel on less busy – offpeak – crossings.
Travel season: Spring
Accommodation: 2 bed chalet
Location: Node Point, Isle of Wight
On-line booking: Yes
Check-in: Timed by accommodation type. 4pm for standard
Check-out: By 10am
Map: PDF map can be found here.
Kitchen & Food
Self-catering – basic with kettle, oven, microwave and toaster. Onsite restaurant/bar and small Londis shop.
Bathroom /Toilet facilities
Shower over bath, toilet, and sink.
Two bedrooms, one with a double bed, one with a single and separate 2 tier bunk bed. Linen is not included in the basic price but can be added. Pull out couch that is slightly less than standard double in living room.
19″ Terrestrial TV on the wall in the main room.
If you choose not to pay the extra you will need to bring your own linen for the beds. Basic pillows and duvets (without cases) are provided. I’d recommend stopping in at a supermarket before arriving at the site if you plan to self cater as the Londis on site it has an extremely small selection. For example we checked for extra fruit and found four shrink wrapped apples for £3 as the only fruit or vegetables available.
Being on the Isle of Wight most visitors will need to use a ferry or the Sea Cat to travel. Node Point has several deals with Wight link that can offer free or very discounted ferry prices at off peak times. Park Resorts have a request page here.
Park Node Resort is a destination that almost gets everything right for a budget trip, but the things it gets wrong – most of which were to do with staffing mistakes – seriously detract from its appeal. I’d recommend it as a good base to explore the east of the Isle of Wight, but wouldn’t count on the facilities or the feel.
Recommended for those who want to tour the east of the Isle of Wight from a budget base.
This travel review is based on a 4 night stay in a Bronze Chalet during March 2016. Click to read more about our eco icons and access icons used in this review. This article was first published on 29th April 2016.