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Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!

All-inclusive seafront apartments with hotel services for older people on the north Somerset coast

Imagine waking up to this view every morning. Going for a stroll along the promenade, breathing in the fresh sea air (it’s proven to help you sleep better), then going back to your own seafront pad and enjoying a chef-cooked three-course lunch with friends. After lunch, maybe a trip out or just relaxing with the newspaper. A film in the evening?  With an apartment in The Hawthorns Retirement Village in Clevedon, north Somerset, you’d feel like you were on holiday every day of the week.

With many of us having parents who are getting older and starting to think about the next move, renting an apartment in The Hawthorns could be just the thing.  Residents have the best of all worlds:  the independence of an apartment with its own front door combined with all the services of a hotel (it’s no coincidence that general manager Tim Somer comes from the world of hospitality), within a community of like-minded people.

Renting on a month-by-month basis gives total flexibility, it’s all inclusive (with no hidden costs) and there’s the security of knowing that there are always people on hand if necessary.

 

LOCATION

Prime position right on the seafront in the north Somerset town of Clevedon, overlooking the beach,  the iconic Victorian pier (to which residents have free access) and with views across the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel over to Wales – the sunsets are said to be spectacular.

In the summer, bands play on the Victorian bandstand, donkeys rides, ice creams, boat trips – all very traditional seaside stuff.  All year around,  the independent shops, cafes and restaurants and Sunday market in Clevedon are a short stroll (or free private mini bus) away. The Art Deco Clevedon Cinema & Arts (it’s still got its original organ) and its vibrant programme of events is nearby.

 

THE VIBE

From the outside, you could be almost be in beachfront Florida.

Inside, light and airy, with large atrium and impressive chandelier, lounges, an enormous dining room with windows out onto the garden and a shiny grand piano. Definitely a bit of a holiday feel.

Upstairs to a mezzanine with gym equipment and snooker;  a hair and beauty salon, home cinema, a library and chapel (they’ve got their own choir). Free WiFi throughout all the communal areas.

Watch film screenings in total comfort

Outside, landscaped gardens with flower beds, places to sit and a putting green (I said it was like being on holiday). A couple of wild deer live in the grounds.

 

THE APARTMENTS

Selection of studio, one and two bed apartments, all with en suite shower rooms and kitchen areas. Some have wrap around balconies and sea views (yes please), others have doors out onto their own patios and gardens (but gardeners can do all the heavy work).

Poked my nose into a few apartments. Light, spacious (typically, a one-bedder will have a 19′ x 11′ living room), neutrally decorated and carpeted to a high spec, each apartment is a blank canvas ready for residents to make their own. Hawthorns will add grab rails and other aids, help hang pictures, if required.  Residents can redecorate, change carpets, whatever – to make it their home.

Seems fairly flexible, a two-bed apartment with living room can become a one bed with two receptions. Someone had made their walk-in wardrobe into a little study. Even though there’s the restaurant downstairs, there’s a fridge and enough space in the kitchen for a microwave, slow cooker, etc.

No need to do any housework  – apartments are cleaned and fresh bed linen provided weekly. Nice touch.  The Hawthorns team are always on hand if anything needs attention. Got an overnight guest?  They can stay in the guest suite.

 

SCOFF & QUAFF

Hotel style dining, with freshly cooked, nutritionally balanced food made with local seasonal produce as far as poss.  Veggie, vegan, non-gluten or special diet?  No problem.  Cereals, juices,  porridge and cooked breakfasts to order.  Three-course lunches with wine, mineral water and soft drinks – starters and desserts from the trolley, table service for mains.  Slightly lighter suppers but still three courses or sandwiches and side salads, which can be taken in the apartments. Six-week menu cycles means there’s little chance of getting bored. Here’s what I had for lunch: pâté with wafer thin Melba toast; a veggie stir fry; lemon and lime mousse.

Staff get to know residents’ likes and preferences, so food’s cooked just how they like it – rare or medium steaks, toast with crusts on or off, decaff coffee – the personal touch. Guests welcome in the main dining room and the private dining room on special occasions.

Tea, coffee, fruit, homemade cakes and biscuits always available.

 

WHAT ELSE?

Whilst everyone’s independent and can come and go as they wish (obvs), if residents don’t come down for a meal, the Hawthorns’ team will check they’re OK (without being intrusive) and they have a sign-in-sign out system in place.  Emergency call systems with speakers in the apartments and pull cords direct to the office 24 hours a day. Open door policy with Tim.  Good liaison with family members.  Links with local GP.

Wellbeing Coordinator Jules runs an innovative wellbeing assessment and programme to encourage a healthy lifestyle, with a weekly calendar of events –  Zumba, singing, circuit training, bridge, anyone?  No pressure to join in but it’s all there if wanted. Links with local organisations like Avon & Somerset Wildlife Trust.

Pets can come too.

Free parking for residents’ cars.

 

OUT AND ABOUT

All the amenities of Clevedon on the doorstep (literally). The north Somerset and Devon coastline just outside. Bristol and Bath close by.  The rest of Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, south Wales and beyond, all ready to explore. Recent trips include Banksy in Bristol,  Stratford upon Avon,  Montacute House, Lynmouth on the north Devon coast, the cost of most trips are included in the monthly rental.

 

MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Older people who don’t want the hassle of running their own home but want to stay independent and get the most out of life. Chance to make new friends.  Residents aren’t locked into a long term contract – it’s on a month-by-month basis. Can try it out first, a one-month stay costs £65 a day.

Not for: This isn’t a care or nursing home (though residents can employ individual carers if they wish).  It’s for independent older people.

The damage: Studios from £2,770/month; 1-bed from £3,660/month; and 2-beds from £4,750/month.  Just for comparison, a couple of hundred metres up the road, a new 2-bed apartment with sea views will set you back a cool £425,000  * picks jaw up from floor* .  Prices are fully inclusive of all the hotel services – all meals, cleaning, laundry, entertainment, etc – as well as costs like maintenance, council tax and more.

See for yourself:  Give them a call and have a look around. Open House days throughout the year as well as events open to the public – there’s an an art exhibition on 20– 22 April if you want to have a nose.

 

The Hawthorns Clevedon, 18–19 Elton Road, Clevedon, Somerset BS21 7EH. Tel 01275 7821947. hawthornsretirement.co.uk

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