September 13, 2015
Review: 41101 Heartlake Grand Hotel
The place to stay when visiting Heartlake City is the Heartlake Grand Hotel. Let’s take a closer look to see why!
The FriendsBricks community wishes to thank TLG’s CEE Team for generous support of this set to review and share with fans.
The front of the box shows the hotel located on the outskirts of Heartlake City. I noticed after that it was missing the flag at the top of the elevator section - no doubt to make it easier to fit onto the box.
The set box carries the familiar purple flanges on the sides and ribbon wave across the top, indicating that this set belong to the base theme and not a sub-theme. We also get to see the five mini-dolls that come with the set, including the new ones: Susan and Nate.
I was surprised how big and heavy this box was, and hadn’t appreciated the size of this set. It is big!
The back of the box shows us what we can expect to find in the box, highlighting the playing features and loads of accessories. The left hand shows the modular nature of the building, and some alternative combinations.
I see that the flag has been reinstated at the top of the hotel for these shots.
Inside the box are:
There is one very small booklet and one very large one, which made me wonder why they just didn’t just put it all in one big instructions book. Let’s take a closer look at the instruction books:
The front covers of the two books have the same main image as the set box. This sticker sheet is numbered, which came in very handy during the build. I don’t recall seeing this in Friends sets previously.
The instructions are simple to follow, with parts lists for each step:
Each instruction book has a different back cover. The back of the larger instruction book (Book 2) has the cute Emma letting us know how we could win a free set.
The back of the smaller booklet is loaded with advertising for the Friends Popstar subtheme, as well as Elves, Creator and Classic. It also has a map showing where the Heartlake Grand Hotel is located in Heartlake City. It would have been nice to have the map in the larger booklet to be able to see more of the detail (without having to put my glasses on).
Let’s have a look at the parts in the first bag:
The part that immediately caught my eye was the Pearl Gold clam shell. While this part is new for 2015, it is not unique to this set or in this colour. The Pearl Gold frog is new in this colour and unique to this set. The other things that caught my eye were the Pearl Gold chains, the Medium Azure tiles and the Reddish Brown jumper plates with the new style bottoms. We also get Andrea and Olivia in the first bag, but we’ll look at them in more detail a little later.
Oh yeah, we get another brick separator - these are reaching plague proportions in my house.
The Bag 1 build starts with the water fountain, which makes great use of the clam shell piece.
And continues with a dining setting, food trolley and baggage trolley:
These are all neat designs and I particularly like the dining chairs, although they would have been better with printed tiles rather than stickers.
These builds, which take us to the end of the first booklet, seem a little disjointed and I’m thinking at this stage that these were actually an afterthought. Hence the small number 1 instruction booklet.
There is quite a change of colour for the contents of the second parts bag, with loads of Black:
While it is a nice selection of parts, I couldn’t identify anything that is new or unique to this set.
Bag 2 builds the gorgeous little taxi:
The taxi comfortably seats four mini-dolls. However, the boot only holds one small suitcase, so I imagine it will only be carrying one passenger at a time.
This brings us to Bags 3, 4, 5 and 6, which contain the parts to build the ground floor of the Heartlake Grand Hotel.
Bag 3 has the first of the new arched windows in Tan, which remain exclusive to this set and in this colour. I suspect I’m not the only one excited about this piece! For me, the other interesting pieces in Bag 3 were the Medium Lavender bricks and the 1x2x5 bricks with groove in White. It is interesting that there were this number of 1x2x5 groove bricks included as several of them are placed with the groove facing towards other bricks.
Bag 4 gives us another one of the arched windows in Tan, as well as a couple of printed tiles, Pearl Gold macaroni pieces and a pair of over-sized keys.
Bag 5 contains the elements for the revolving door and chandelier:
Scroll bricks!!! The Pearl Gold scroll bricks, Pearl Gold 8x8 round tiles and Medium Lavender macaroni bricks are exclusive to the Heartlake Grand Hotel. The 6x6 Dark Purple round corner plates are new for 2015 but not unique to this set.
The scroll bricks deserve a closer look:
Bag 6 provides the accessories and sub-models for the ground floor:
The pieces that caught my eye in bag 6 were the printed strawberry and cookie tiles, new style plant stems, White bowls and Pearl Gold saxaphone.
The first build from Bag 6 is the buffet:
Followed by the planters for the front door:
I really think that these should have had more colour. Seems a waste not having flowers on those beautiful stem pieces.
Bag 6 also builds the piano, which is one of my favourite details from this set:
The piano has a lid that can be opened up, showing the inner workings. The stage with microphone reminds me of Andrea’s Stage from a couple of years ago, although it is somewhat different.
The final subset from Bag 6 is a table with a random selection of things on it.
I must admit that this table really feels like it doesn’t belong to with the rest of the set.
This is where the building is at at the end of the Bag 6:
I love the chandelier and buffet. It does feel a little bare otherwise and I think it may have benefitted from a few more details. Maybe swap out the long bench table for a couple of smaller round ones for the buffet? And every lobby needs a lounge chair or two.
Also, the first thing my daughter did was to try and turn the revolving door to let a couple of the mini-dolls in. I’m not sure if it was something I did but it was quite stiff.
Bag 7 continues the theme of lots of White and Pearl Gold with a hint of Medium Lavender:
The parts that caught my eye were the Pearl Gold columns, which are exclusive to the Heartlake Grand Hotel, and the Pearl Gold and spindled fences.
Bag 7 builds the first room:
The ensuite is compact to say the least and is missing a basin. This could be easily fixed with a couple of White 1x1 corner panels, a White 1x3 brick and tap, on the expose brick along the front wall.
Bag 8 contains the parts for the other room:
There are a lot of similarities with bag 7, which is not surprising given that the outside structure for the second room is a mirror copy of the first room. The difference reflects the difference in the beds:
I really like the look of this bed, especially the bedhead, which looks fit for a princess.
The doorway on the right connects to the doorway for the ensuite room. Does this mean it is a very exclusive hotel with only one large suite?
Bag 9 is dominated by Dark Purple pieces:
The Dark Purple 1x2x6 arches, 2x1x3 slopes, 2x2x3 slopes and 2x2x3 convex slopes are all unique to this set in this colour. In addition to the Dark Purple roof tiles and arches, we also get two more of the arched window pieces in Tan, more Pearl Gold spindled fences and a Trans-Dark Pink umbrella. The other parts that caught my eye here were the Medium Azure tiles.
The builds from Bag 9 include the rooftop food bar and deck chair:
I really like the design of this deck chair, which has a few more features that the deck chairs we have seen in previous Friends sets, such as the ‘wheels’ and reclining headrest.
Bag 9 also includes my favourite part of this set, the roof top pool:
My image doesn't do it justice, but I just love the dolphin pattern!
Here is a closer look at the arch window piece:
This was another one of those instances where I had to resist the urge to put love hearts all over the image.
Bags 10 and 11 contain the pieces for the elevator:
The highlights for me in these bags are the Pearl Gold 1x1 scroll bricks, Medium Lavender bricks, Trans-Clear 1x6x5 panels and Dark Purple jumper plates.
There is also a printed round tile piece which is used in the DJ’s booth:
The elevator itself wouldn’t pass any safety tests, although it is functional and anything that moves is always a winner with my daughter.
I like the how the scroll brick has been used here:
The elevator is attached to the main building with technic pins. This makes it easy to take it off an on, but I am not sure why it would need to be.
This brings us to the animals and mini-dolls:
There are five mini-dolls, being (from left to right) Nate, Susan, Andrea, Olivia and Stephanie. We also get a kitten and poodle. Let’s start with these two:
Neither of these are new. The Light Bluish Grey kitten was with Olivia in her Tree House (3065) in 2012 and has since been in the Heartlake Stables (3189) and Sunshine Ranch (41039), as well as a couple of books, calendar and picture frame. The White poodle is the one with the pink-collar and blue eyes that we have seen previously in the Heartlake Pet Salon (41007) and Heartlake Shopping Mall (41058).
Now for the mini-dolls, starting with Andrea:
Andrea is wearing a white vest with necklace, teamed with tan shorts. This is the same shirt that Andrea was wearing in Andrea’s bedroom (41009) and in the current Pop Star Red Carpet pollywog (30205). The shorts are also recycled, being the same shorts that she wore in the Jungle Rescue Base (41038).
Next up (in alphabetical order) is Nate:
Nate, the hotel boy, looks smart in his Dark Red uniform. With the exception of his hat and hair, Nate is all new.
Olivia’s Dark Purple skirt and Magenta shoes combination is new this year, but not unique to this set. Emma wears the same bottoms in Emma’s Tourist Kiosk (41098). Olivia’s top is similar to one she wore previously in Olivia’s tree House (3065) Adventure Camper (3184), Olivia’s Desk (30102) and Olivia’s House (3315), but the current one has a white part at the top (like a layered look).
Stephanie looks like she is planning to spend her holiday by the hotel pool:
Stephanie looks very relaxed in a Magenta wrap skirt and Lime bikini top with flower. She wore this outfit at the Heartlake City Pool (41008) a couple of years ago, and has also worn this skirt at Stephanie’s Beach House (41037). Maya borrowed the wrap skirt when she and Mia went on the Dolphin Cruiser (41015). Stephanie seems to be the one who most often recycles her clothes - she must be the cost conscious one ... which is probably why she can afford to stay at the Grand Hotel.
Susan in her smart Dark Red vest and Red skirt is the other hotel employee.
Both the Dark Red vest and the long Red skirt with Red shoes are unique to this set. The skirt is similar to the long skirt worn by Anna, but Anna’s shoes didn’t have the White trim. Susan’s hair is worn in the same style and colour as Emma’s mum, Charlotte in Emma’s House (41095). I still love this hair piece! It is the harder glossier style of hair, unlike the softer material generally used for the Friends mini-dolls.
This brings us to the end of the build. There are quite a few spare parts:
Lots of useful pieces here, inlcuding the flowers, butterflies and bugs in Bright Light Orange and some printed strawberry and cookie tiles. It’s rare to see a 1x2 plate as a spare part. I thought I must have missed that somewhere in the build, but it shows on BrickLink as a spare part for this set.
Let’s have another look at the building as a whole, front and back:
Overall, I think this is an fantastic set. In terms of playability, there are lots of subsets for role playing different aspects of hotel stays and moving features. In terms of parts, the colours are beautiful and it has quite a number of parts that are new and exclusive to this set. It also has a wide range of accessories, which we have come to expect from a Friends set.
If I were to change anything on this set, it would be to try and make some of the subsets more cohesive and have more details on the inside of the ground floor.
If you made it all the way down here (or even if you just skipped to this part), thanks for reading! C&C welcome.
Note: All exclusive parts mentioned in the colours noted were applicable at the time this review was posted. Parts may be available in other colours and sets after the post of this review. Brickset and BrickLink were use to verify this information.
Posted by Kristel