Summer is waning and it is time to put my little LEGOLAND Billund series to rest with the final installment from my recent visit there. (See previous stories on the theme park itself, the Miniland photoshoot, the Outlet store, the shop as well as my mementos and more.) In fact, I would like to think I saved the best for last. Not because it actually would be the best part of LEGOLAND (it isn’t), but because it was the most pleasantly surprising.
That pleasant surprise is of course Hotel LEGOLAND – the 199 room, four star hotel, five star conference center sitting on the edge of the theme park – where we stayed on our visit. First things first: this is your average Scandinavian small town hotel, not a luxury venue (although the conference center apparently is quite good). Think some average Scandic, without air conditioning in all rooms, a generic grey box of a house built a few decades ago. Second things second, it is a family hell with children going berserk everywhere.
And it is great.
Our pre-schooler has seen some really nice hotels during his junior years, yet it took him all of five minutes to announce this is the best one ever. I wouldn’t go quite as far personally, but it is way up there even in my adult frame of mind. If you dig LEGO, and are visiting LEGOLAND Billund, this is the place you want to book. And not just because it is very close to the park (though it is), with own park entrance to avoid any entry queues (though it has) and includes free parking and Wi-Fi (though it does). There is more.
I guess it doesn’t come as a surprise it’s all themed. Entering the hotel, a giant LEGO dragon and a brick-built jungle setup greets you in the lobby. Right after LEGO Darth Vader and the mandatory mini-LEGO Shop, of course. Behind them a video room stylized after a LEGO fire truck, playing LEGO cartoons. You get the picture: rooms marked with minifigure signs, exposed decorative plumbing showing bricks “flowing” through the building, LEGO style blankets on beds and soap dispensers in bathrooms, buy a drink at the bar and get a minifig. In our room, even a foldable glass counter was held up by an actual LEGO construct.
But that’s to be expected, even tacky perhaps (though kids like it). It isn’t what’s great about Hotel LEGOLAND. What’s great is that the entire hotel is playable. After all the decorative hooplah, one of the first sights I witnessed at the hotel was a young child swimming in LEGO bricks. Well, perhaps not quite Scrooge McDuck in his money bin, but sort of. You see, the hotel is filled with LEGO building areas, some of them with brick boxes the size of baby pools. So the child was in the “pool”, diving in and building. Admit it, you would have loved to do that as a child. I know I would have. And the selection of bricks and pieces was formidable, not simply basic 2×4’s, but all sorts of special pieces as well.
Getting in to our room, after what was probably the easiest and least painful of any check-ins in my recent memory, the play continues: two large boxes of LEGO awaited on the floor. One with DUPLO and the other with a healthy assortment of all kinds of LEGO for our building pleasure during the visit – and as an extra for the child, a Police Boat polybag (and a few other goodies) on his pillow to take away. This turned out to be very therapeutic after our long drive there. Color me a believer, I think it should be mandatory that all hotel rooms everywhere had a box of LEGO to play with – hotels would be much more peaceful.
There was also an outdoors play area and a recreation room with all sorts of fun and games, but one of the coolest ideas were the little daily competitions they were running throughout the hotel. Here’s two examples: Use any of the numerous building areas to create your MOC from a set theme (say, police life) and place it on display on a shelf. The next day the best design is rewarded. In another, kids were tasked to “treasure hunt” tips around the hotel, usually involving some LEGO decorations, and find letters that formed a word. Every day a few lucky participants were rewarded with large LEGO sets.
To top it all off, the hotel’s two restaurants and a bar are surprisingly high quality. While the breakfast can get a bit action packed with all the antsy kids roaming about, the evenings were different fare. Not that the kids weren’t well taken care of during the evenings as well, they were – with a drawing kit waiting on the table, in-restaurant LEGO playrooms on hand and fantasy-dressed staff taking kids for walks – but the atmosphere, food and beverages were good even by adult standards. I’d go as far as to call them classy. They even had an outdoor barbecue with a cook preparing all sorts of grilled foodstuffs.
If you intend to visit LEGOLAND Billund (and you should), I say book Hotel LEGOLAND and bring your inner child with you. While booking, make sure you get a room with a view overlooking the theme park itself – you’ll want the full experience.
And with that note I conclude my coverage of LEGOLAND Billund. This was my third time there and it was a charm. I’m already hoping it won’t be the last.