High rollers — also known as ‘lifestyle investors’ — are being enticed to holiday parks like never before.
The Lookout, a new type of lodge at Aberconwy Resort & Spa — a Darwin Escapes holiday park in North Wales — is a case in point. It’s being launched with the sort of clamour you’d expect for a star-studded film. Canapes, champagne, the full red carpet treatment.
Costing £399,000, in an area where the average detached house sells for £325,000 according to Rightmove, the price tag may seem ambitious.
Beauty spot: Cedar-clad The Lookout at Aberconwy Resort & Spa sleeps six
However, Lindsey Esse of Darwin Escapes points out that the lodge sleeps six and, clad in cedar wood with split level balconies, is genuinely luxurious.
‘The exterior is elegant and inside everything is meticulously planned to show off the most fantastic sea views,’ says Esse.
The master bedroom has its own wet room, as well as a shower and walk-in wardrobe. It also has a fitted kitchen with Bosch appliances, integrated coffee machine, five-burner gas hob and eye-level oven.
On-site amenities, which include an award-winning restaurant, hair salon, indoor pool, spa and country club trumps the Seventies shower block and chip van.
There’s access to the beach and Conwy is only a five-minute drive away. All this costs £6,019 per annum in site fees, but that excludes security, water rates, gas, electric and maintenance.
Who is buying such luxury lodges? ‘All sorts, from professional footballers to retirees who want somewhere to take the grandchildren,’ says Esse. ‘Some spend most of the year abroad but keep a lodge as a base for visiting friends and family.’
These top-of-the-range lodges first arrived in holiday parks about five years ago. In 2013 locals in Abersoch were astonished when The Halcyon at Haulfryn’s site, The Warren — with a hot tub on its deck — cost £565,000. Yet it sold well and today similar units are for sale for up to £425,000.
If that sounds steep, keep in mind that in Abersoch, a beach hut sold for £160,000 last year.
Pitch fees, of between £7,375 and £9,110 a year, grant you access to three heated swimming pools, gym, tennis courts, sauna and tanning room, plus a helicopter pad, which is handy.
Not all luxury lodges cost mega-bucks. You will pay far less for a second-hand lodge in a less pricey area. On the California Cliffs Holiday Park in Norfolk, a 2008-built Willerby New Hampshire lodge, with high-end features, is for sale.
It has a spacious lounge and en-suite bedroom. Close to Great Yarmouth and the Norfolk Broads, it’s reduced from £69,995 to £54,995. Pitch fees vary between £4,344 and £5,000 and do not cover water rates, insurance and power (01493 731963, parkdeanresorts.co.uk).
Meanwhile, one of the most expensive lodges for sale is The Deck House, with 2,025 sq ft and a roof terrace on The Cotswold Water Park next to the M4 near Cirencester.
‘London is only two hours away,’ says Philippa Reeves, of Watermark. ‘Owners can go off for the day to Cheltenham, Bath or Oxford and return to the peace of the lakes, where they can kayak, water-ski or sail.’
The Deck House costs £650,000 and there are service charges of £3,000, plus annual ground rent of £1,200. Some of this can be offset as the lodges let for as much as £2,808 for four nights in the peak season or £3,750 for a week.
‘It’s a lifestyle investment,’ says Reeves. ‘When I see the view over the 40 square miles of lakes on a lovely day, I know it’s worth it.’