Center Parcs resort launches officially to the public on Monday, but today the gates were opened for an invite-only weekend.
From Maura on Love Island to Center Parcs’ long-awaited debut, all eyes are on Longford this weekend.
The resort launches officially to the public on Monday, but today the gates were opened for an invite-only weekend. It was Ireland’s first look at the holiday destination we’ve been waiting for since planning permission was granted three years ago.
The highly anticipated venue caters for up to 2,500 guests in 466 lodges and 30 apartments, across 400 acres in Longford forest.
As well as providing 1,000 permanent jobs, Irish suppliers have also been a priority, according to CEO of Center Parcs Uk and Ireland Martin Dalby, who was on site for the weekend launch. While Center Parcs tends to follow a design template, he says changes were made to the Longford site - market research showed an Irish pub was key, as well as an independent coffee house.
“Just over four years ago, on April 2, 2015, we announced we acquired a site,” said Dalby.
“We want to revolutionise Irish short breaks,” added manager Daragh Feighery.
Since construction began in Longford in 2016 Center Parcs been a big talking point in Ireland - largely over the cost. There is, in reality, a price point for everyone.
Provided customers are willing to travel mid-week and off-season, breaks are available for as little as e300, though the price in peak season for the top of the range accommodation could set families back e3000.
Over 100 activities - from aerial tree walks and zip lines for thrill-seekers, to cupcake decorating for quieter guests - are available to book at an extra charge. But guests don’t need any additional itineraries - not when they have access to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise and its edge-of-your-seat water slides.
The 3500m2 indoor pool is heated to a balmy 29.5 degrees. With leafy ferns and a glass-domed roof guests will feel like they are abroad - rainy Irish days just won’t matter anymore.
“We will be open 365 days a year - it has weatherproof appeal,” says Darby.
And if the sun does shine, there’s also a man-made beach on site.
There are 10 eating options to choose from too, including Irish bar Cara’s Kitchen. But again, families can choose to bring food and eat in, or shop in the very affordable supermarket on site.
Center Parc’s Aqua Sana is now Ireland’s largest standalone spa, but again, you can opt for a run in the forest to wind down rather than pay for a massage.
This holiday can be as expensive or as affordable as you choose.
And Irish customers are making reservations, with Darby announcing they already have 25pc of the bookings they need for the next 12 months, on par with UK operations.
Tonight’s opening ceremony will include music from Cork YouTube sensation Allie Sherlock with a family party and fireworks on the beach.
Center Parcs opens to the public on Monday.