Reviewed by Jonathan Edwards
The Time Together buyagift Smartbox is an £80 voucher which offers 975 experiences across the UK and Ireland for two people to enjoy. The options available include short breaks, adventure days, pampering and romantic meals out.
The Time Together buyagift Smartbox arrived in a beautifully presented presentation box with a wraparound sleeve detailing what the box contains. It is very nicely designed, colourful and clear. The box contains the experience voucher itself and includes a booklet showcasing a range of the activities available in the various locations across the UK. The voucher itself is packaged within a nice yellow sleeve so it is all well presented. It definitely feels like you have been sent a treat when it arrives on your doorstep.
We enjoyed browsing through the booklet and thinking about which options would be suitable for us to use. Unfortunately, some of the activities that were promoted in the book weren’t then available on the website. It is clear in the book that ‘experiences and locations are subject to change’ but we were quite disappointed when we’d decided that we wanted to do a spa day with afternoon tea that then wasn’t available.
The website was much better to use for looking at activities as this is kept up to date, so we used this when trying to choose what option we would book. Out of the 975 experiences we were frustrated that there weren’t very many close to Sheffield and they all required travelling a decent distance to do. One of the limitations of the buyagift Time Together Smartbox is that some areas didn’t have very many experience options, for example according to the booklet there are only 10 in the North East compared to 140 in the North West.
One of the things that we thought was great about the buyagift voucher though was that it was valid for 24 months so it gives you a lot of flexibility in when you want to use it. This does mean that if you are located in an area where there aren’t many experiences, you could use it whilst you are on holiday elsewhere in the UK where there are more options. Also, if nothing from the Time Together options suits you, buyagift give you the option to exchange it for thousands of other experiences available on their website at no extra cost which is fantastic.
The voucher was easy to use and the instructions on the voucher and on the buyagift website were very clear. It is a simple process of logging in with your voucher number and pin, browsing through the experiences available and then contacting the business using the contact details on the website to book a suitable date. The different experiences have different availability, so this can help with flexibility.
One thing we found with some of the different experiences was that they weren’t all good value for money. The experience we ended up choosing to do was definitely worth the £80 voucher but the Segway adventure option that we considered only costs £60 to book direct so it felt like that wouldn’t have been worth it. We were also limited in what we could use the voucher for as we either had to find a daytime activity we could do whilst someone looked after our daughter or take her away with us to a hotel. The Waterfront Hotel in Brighouse gave us the option to bring our daughter with us and provided a cot as part of this at no extra cost. They also offered the option to upgrade to a family room, so our daughter had a separate room to sleep in, linked to ours through a door, for an additional cost of £35. Because we’d been gifted the stay we chose to pay it as it meant we could properly enjoy a night away without having to stay quiet all evening whilst our daughter slept. We loved the flexibility that that gave and it was great that the voucher didn’t limit that being an option for us.
The Waterfront Hotel was a lovely, centrally located hotel next to the canal in Brighouse. Our room was simple and functional with a comfortable double bed, Freeview TV and coffee making facilities in the room. The hotel offered the option to help yourself to additional tea, coffee, pillows and towels from a self-service area which we thought was good. The extra room which we put our daughter’s travel cot in was nice and light with a couple of sofas and a tv too so that was a comfortable family space. The bathroom was located within that room which wasn’t ideal because it meant we weren’t as able to use it when our daughter had gone to bed as we didn’t want to disturb her so things like filling up the kettle or having a shower in the evening weren’t as easy to do. The overnight stay included a bottle of prosecco on arrival and breakfast in the morning. The prosecco was a nice additional extra and was ready in our room in an ice bucket when we arrived. The breakfast on offer was a continental breakfast alongside a buffet cooked breakfast; the selection available was really good and I liked that the eggs came to order so I could choose how I wanted them to be cooked. The options were also child friendly.
The staff at the hotel were very friendly and accommodating. We arrived a bit early and were able to check into our room straight away. My wife and daughter had an accident whilst we were there and they provided ice and plasters and offered to bring breakfast to our room for us; they did everything they could to look after us and make sure that we were ok. Jo, the receptionist and one of the cleaners were particularly kind and helpful.
Overall, we really enjoyed our buyagift Time Together experience. We weren’t aware of buyagift prior to receiving the voucher but we would definitely think about looking at the gift options for other people now. It would be ideal for someone who was hard to buy for or could be a nice option for a wedding or anniversary gift as a nice treat for the couple who could then decide how to use it themselves.
We would love to be able to give it a 5/5 rating but because of the limited options we felt were available to us and the fact that some of the activities didn’t seem good value for money, we would give it a 4/5.
For more information or to buy visit www.buyagift.co.uk.