Blackpool goes upmarket with its first luxury hotel by the iconic Pleasure Beach – The Sun

GOOD news for holiday­makers who are not fans of Kiss Me Quick hats and ­tartan wigs. Blackpool has gone upmarket.

Not all of it, of course. The resort that boasts a million tourist beds — a slight exaggeration — will always be a haven for budget-conscious families and thrill-seekers.

But the arrival of the town’s first luxury hotel, following on from big-money schemes to spruce up the Tower and promenade, is a sign Blackpool wants a slice of the higher end of the holiday trade as well.

And the newly opened Boulevard Hotel, right next to the iconic Pleasure Beach, looks certain to pull in its fair share of visitors.

The Thompson family, who have owned and operated the Pleasure Beach since its 1896 opening, forked out £12million to build the hotel on the site of the former Star pub — next door to the award-winning Big Blue Hotel they opened in 2003.

Having lived just around the corner from the Star for more than ten years, it came as a shock to me to see how quickly it had been consigned to ­history and replaced by a far more imposing structure.

However, it is definitely a change for the better.

The Boulevard has 120 stylish rooms, including ten suites, with views on to either the famous roller-coasters behind it, or the beachfront and illuminations.

The rooms are contemporary and chic with Designers Guild fabrics, comfy armchairs and a 55in TV, air con, superfast wifi and that modern essential, plug sockets with USB chargers by the bed.

And most of the artwork gives a nod to the early days of the Pleasure Beach, adding to the feel-good factor. Family rooms are a treat for the little ones with decent 6ft bunk beds that have their own TVs, lighting and USB charging points.

I checked in at the same time as a family with two young children, and you could see the excitement ­building as they looked on to the new Red Arrows Skyforce ride and Icon rollercoaster. Good luck getting them to sleep.

But it is not just the tourist trade the Boulevard is aiming at.


STAYING THERE: The Boulevard Hotel has rooms from £119per night B&B or from £169per night with wristbands for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, based on two sharing.

Family rooms, based on two adults and two kids sharing, are from £150per night or from £240per night including wristbands.

Suites from £249per night B&B or from £299per night including wristbands. To book visit or call 01253 336073.

With conference facilities for up to 200 delegates, it should appeal to business people, too, especially those who like to combine work and ­pleasure.

The main restaurant, The Beachside, is another big plus. It offers excellent food at reasonable prices, with most of the ingredients locally sourced.

Try the sea bass. I can’t guarantee it was caught off Blackpool, but it was delicious, whatever its origins.

Breakfast was up to the same high standard, and then it was time to cram the expanding waistline into the seats on Icon and the other ­Pleasure Beach attractions.

The park is easily reached by a private entrance just a few yards from the hotel reception area. Another tick in the plus box, especially for families.

Costing a cool £16.25million, Icon is over­taking The Big One as Blackpool’s must-do thrill ride.

It is the UK’s first double-boost rollercoaster, meaning that as well as the initial thrust-off, riders experience a second injection of speed hurling them to heights of almost 100ft, and a stomach-churning drop of 82ft.

That big breakfast did not seem such a great idea at that precise moment . . .

Then it was on to a personal favourite, the slightly more sedate but still exciting Valhalla. It is easy to see why it was recently voted the world’s best water ride for the fourth year in a row at the Golden Ticket awards.

And at the end of the day, even those with rubber legs can easily make the short walk back to the Boulevard.

It really is set to become a popular attraction in its own right.

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