Daytime pool slots must be pre-booked and restaurant hours are curtailed due to staff shortages
Thinking of checking into Center Parcs Longford Forest in the coming months?
You may need to act fast. Occupancy is "currently at 90pc for the summer", Independent.ie has learned.
The cheapest remaining stay for a family of four is a two-bedroom woodland lodge priced from €1,099 for a three-night weekend, or €1,449 for four nights midweek, according to a search of the Longford Forest website this week.
Prices at Center Parcs include access to the resort’s 3,500sqm Subtropical Swimming Paradise, its show-stopping pool and waterpark, but most other activities and bike rental cost extra.
There is no weekend availability in June, with family options that month limited to an "exclusive lodge" with outdoor spa area from €2,799 for four nights.
After two years of pandemic disruption, forward bookings are "very strong" and in line with its more established villages in the UK, the resort says.
It is not fully back to business-as-usual in Longford, however, with its website advising: "Due to staff shortages, you may find some disruption to our normal services."
Daytime pool slots must be pre-booked, for example, with guests now allowed three, four or seven three-hour slots for three-, four- and seven-night stays respectively.
Before Covid, guests had no swimming restrictions, though slots were more limited during the pandemic.
New ‘turn up and swim’ sessions also allow guests to swim after 6pm without pre-booking, though slides close at 7pm.
"This approach allows us to better manage the capacity of the pool at busy times and provide an improved guest experience," Center Parcs says.
Restaurant changes see Vitale closed from 6pm, Cara's opening from 4-9pm Friday through Sunday, and Canopy open on weekends only.
The Sports Cafe is also closed for breakfast on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 11.45am.
Customers are advised to check the website (centerparcs.ie) for the most up-to-date information.
"Like a lot of businesses, we are experiencing some staff shortages and, as a result, we have reduced the opening hours of certain restaurants and activities to ensure we can continue providing our guests with the best possible experience,” it says.
However, it adds: “We are now seeing very little disruption as a result of this.”
Longford Forest generated operating losses of €24 million over the two years to April 2021, according to its last results, but it continues to employ 1,200 and is pushing ahead with plans for an €85 million expansion that includes new "luxury treehouses”.
It aims to submit a planning application in July, with the completion date dependent on the length of that process.
It is too early to identify post-pandemic travel trends, the resort says.
But it adds: "Anecdotally, we’re seeing more extended families visiting, particularly grandparents spending time with young grandchildren, which is lovely to see after two years apart."