Butlins Minehead unveils £16m chalet village

Butlins Minehead unveils £16m chalet village

A new chalet village is being unveiled by Butlins at its Minehead resort as part of a £32 million investment plan.

The £16 million West Lakes Chalet Village includes 117 chalets designed partly in consultation with parenting network Mumsnet together with two lakes.

A further £16 million is earmarked for spending on accommodation and food over the remainder of the year.

The chalets offer two, three or four bedrooms set around the lakes and landscaped gardens.

“In the 1930s, Sir Billy Butlin’s iconic chalets changed the way the nation holidayed. Since then, while we’ve gone more for apartments and hotels, the traditional Butlins chalet has always remained close to our heart,” the company said.

“To honour our past, ahead of our 80th birthday celebrations, the great Butlins chalet will be making a comeback for the 21st century.”

The chalets have been designed to allow families to “unplug” form day-to-day life, the company said.

The chalets include balconies and verandas, open-plan living areas, L-shaped family sofas, with the area including giant board games, village greens and children’s playgrounds.

Butlins has opted not to install televisions in childrens’ bedrooms in the chalets. While children can bring their own video games consoles, Butlins will not be providing them in the village.

Managing director, Dermot King, said the intention was to provide an “excuse for families to do things together”.

“It’s more about what we’ve not put in,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“We have a village library where you can borrow old-fashioned family games such as Twister,” King said.

“That’s because the research is pretty clear that mums are looking for that part of the holiday break where the family come together, rather than kids doing their own thing and parents doing their own thing.”

The chalets are a deliberate attempt “to bring to us back to what a traditional seaside holiday was all about”, King added.

If the village is successful and the rebooking rate is strong, the company will introduce similar accommodation at its two other resorts, in Bognor Regis and Skegness, he said.

King said he was hopeful that the appointment of John Whittingdale as culture secretary might pave the way for a cut in tourism VAT from 20% to 5% that would bring the tax in-line with rates in other European countries.

Whittingdale was the chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee for a decade.

“His committee was generally very supportive of the policy of reducing VAT on tourism,” King said.

“I think it’s a good sign that we might be able persuade the Treasury to see sense.

“The issue of VAT has been a long-running sore within the industry. If we’re allowed to compete on a level playing field with France, Germany, Spain and Italy we would be able to produce huge benefits to the economy.”

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