Pontins has been a popular holiday resort for families across the UK for decades.
Famed for its family friendly activities and lively nightlife in years gone by, sadly Pontins’ reputation has taken a hit in recent years, with reports of disappointing stays at their resorts.
Although public opinion appears to have suffered, thousands of guests holiday at Pontins each year.
The company was founded 75 years ago and has six holiday parks across the UK, including North Wales’ Prestatyn Sands resort.
We sent North Wales Live reporter Annie Owen for a night’s stay at Pontins’ Prestatyn Sands resort to find out what it had to offer.
As I checked-in to a ‘Standard Apartment’ at Pontins’ reception on a quiet Saturday afternoon, I felt a little apprehensive about what was to come.
The room was priced at £45 a night, plus an additional £12 for bed linen if you’re not bringing your own, so my stay came to a total of £57.
As I approached my apartment block, I saw the somewhat neglected exterior and worried what I had let myself in for.
I was confronted with a set of concrete stairs which had begun to sprout weeds and looked out onto a storage yard containing disused mattresses and an old shopping trolley.
After taking a deep breath, I let myself into the room and – having prepared myself for the worst – I was pleasantly surprised.
The bed, kitchen and en suite bathroom appeared to be in relatively good condition with no obvious dirt or grime.
When I looked a little closer, I was reassured that the room had been thoroughly cleaned before my arrival. I even ran a baby wipe along the floor, which only picked up a few specks of dust- pretty good by anyone’s standards.
Some parts of the room could certainly benefit from a lick of paint, particularly the section of the wall where someone had etched their initials.
But despite being a little rundown and dated, the room was clean and functional and met my expectations.
So, if luxury isn’t what draws people in, what’s Pontins’ special ingredient that brings loyal customers back year-on-year?
I dug out the itinerary from the welcome pack and found that an impressive night of entertainment was on offer, kicking off at 6pm with bingo, followed by children’s entertainment.
Determined to make the most of my stay, I got ready and headed out to the main entertainment area, just in time for ‘Cabaret Showtime.’
After struggling to find a seat in the packed out venue, I eventually settled in to watch cabaret singer Khuda take to the stage.
Khuda played a medley of crowd favourites from different genres and guests exchanged grins as they danced in front of the stage throughout his hour-long set.
The singer clearly put his all into the performance, and seeing him do cartwheels mid-way through one song was a definite highlight.
The energy remained high as the famous Bluecoat entertainers took to the stage to host a gameshow, giving the audience a chance to win a free bottle of wine.
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It was refreshing to see the guests getting involved and having light-hearted fun together. Perhaps cheap laughs (and drinks) are exactly what we need after a difficult couple of years.
As the night progressed, more and more guests piled onto the dance floor to enjoy the late night disco and before I knew it, I had been swept into a conga line around the room.
The atmosphere was fantastic, enough to rival any decent nightclub. People were grateful to reconnect with their families after missing out on holidays last summer.
As the night came to a close I returned to the apartment and despite the plastic-covered mattress and peculiar green sheets, I had a pleasant sleep in the apartment- though perhaps the excitement of the conga line helped with that.
What stood out about my stay was how much the guests enjoyed themselves. There’s no denying the camp is in need of renovation, but one thing they can’t improve is the atmosphere.
It was great to see families from all walks of life getting the chance to create new memories together, and it showed you don’t have to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds to enjoy quality time with your loved ones.
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