Review: 41347 Heartlake City Resort

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I've saved some of the larger Friends sets reviews for closer to the holidays. Today we'll look at the largest Friends set from this year, 41347 Heartlake City Resort. I've been looking forward to building this since it came out, especially because of the inclusion of a monorail! Read on to discover more of the features of Heartlake City's fanciest place this year.

The front of the box shows the set - it’s a good thing it's a larger box because there's a lot to see! It's shown looking from the front. On the lower left there's a small inset that shows the set as viewed from above, which allows you to see the monorail in operation. The back of the box appropriately shows the set as viewed from behind, which includes the monorail. A number of insets show off the different features of the set, which we'll get into a little later.

Inside the box are seven numbered bags, two unnumbered bags (one with five 8x16 plates in my new favourite LEGO colour - pale yellow, and two large slides; another with two small slides and five monorail pieces), a large perfect bound instruction book with a large sticker sheet (packaged with the book so both stay flat) and a thick plastic sheet with the sails for the windsurfer and the parasail.


Minidolls

There are four minidolls in this set. Three of them are our regular Friends: Olivia, Stephanie and Andrea. The fourth minidoll is Mason, who we meet for the first time in this set. He is dressed for his job as a lifeguard with no shirt, though well defined pecs (no six pack abs though) and a pair of maroon swim trunks. Fittingly he's wearing flip flops. His hair is a good choice for a lifeguard though has been seen in several sets, mostly in Ninjago.

All three Friends have very suitable outfits for their time at the resort. All three have midriff baring shirts: Olivia in a pink shirt with blue lapels and accents, Stephanie in a blue and fuschsia cross cross shirt with spaghetti straps, and Andrea in a stained-glass patterned halter with hanging beading details. All three torsos are new to this set. The girls are all wearing miniskirts - Olivia in yellow, Stephanie in blue and Andrea in reddish violet. Stephanie's and Andrea's are new to this set, while we've seen Olivia's skirt in several sets from this year. I really like all the details in the outfits and think that they represent the resort theme well.

View image at flickr


Ancillary builds

Of course, there's a cute animal, and in this set it's Sheen the dolphin. Considering the size of the set it would have been nice to see more dolphins, as there have been smaller sets with two. Sheen looks like all the other dolphins that have been included in Friends sets. Sheen is pictured here with the windsurf board, which utilizes one of the plastic sails included in the set.

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The other small build is a water scooter with a detachable parasail. The water scooter is termed as such as it's quite compact - there's only room for one person to stand while steering.

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The parasail is attached to the scooter via a 1x2 plate with shaft, allowing one Friend to tow another.

View image at flickr


The completed model

The resort is built in three towers: one for sleeping rooms, monorail station, and a snack bar, one for central resort activities, and one for the water park portion. The build starts with one of the central resort areas - the hotel rooftop, which is customized for parties. This area is well appointed with a turntable and disco lights, and some festive greenery.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The ground floor of the residential tower is dedicated to a snack bar/kitchen. There's also an outdoor eating area that's laid out with drinks and snacks for two of the Friends. What should not be surprising to anyone is that pizza is the snack of choice for teenage girls.

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Other snacks are available in case the Friends get tired of pizza.

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The small kitchen has everything needed including a cooktop, oven and fridge.

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Two sleeping rooms are built on top of the kitchen. Each room has a shower that is separated from the bed by a glass pane; but there are no full bathrooms here. Both rooms are basically identical, down to the stickers, with the exception of the colour of the bedding and the doorknobs. Though I really wonder where the door of the top floor bedroom is supposed to be leading to…..

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Putting the rooms on top of the snack bar shows the first tower. You can see that the area right above the eating area and next to the first floor bedroom is one of the monorail stations.

View image at flickr

Next is the central tower, where there's a reception area on the ground floor. Double glass doors with greenery on either side provide a welcoming first impression for the resort.

View image at flickr

Inside, there's a stylish reception desk with a computer monitor and an absolutely enormous phone. Keys for the sleeping rooms hang from the walls and there's a space to store luggage off to the side.

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One floor up, there's a lounge area for the Friends to relax. There are a couple plush looking sofas with some small end tables - it looks like one of the Friends has left her phone here! There's also refreshments available - flavoured water (courtesy of one of the relatively new watermelon pieces), some fresh fruit, and coffee.

View image at flickr

The outside of the lounge is one of the most striking features of the facades. Thanks to curving four bright purple Technic flex rods, a large heart can be formed. The gap between the two flex rods on either side is cleverly covered by speakers for the sound system from the hotel rooftop.

View image at flickr

I'll take note here of the number of stickers in this set. There are a lot of them, and in most case you can argue that they aren't necessary to the set. However, they do add considerable aesthetic value, such as the wall designs in this last picture.

Here are the first two floors of the central tower.

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We're about two thirds way into the construction, and here's the look of the resort so far (without the rooftop):

View image at flickr

The last portion of the resort to be build is the water park. The ground floor is dedicated to a changing room - here the designer has managed to pack a lot of detail in a small space. The changing room is accessed through two swinging doors.

View image at flickr

Behind (or in front of?) the changing room is the swimming pool area, where both of the water slides empty into. There's a lifeguard chair for Mason that's equipped with binoculars and a walkie talkie. Even though water is indicated by the medium azur tiles, I think it would have been nice to have some medium azur plates to more adequately show the water. There's a sled included for the Friends to ride on the water slide (not pictured here).

View image at flickr

One of the things that I learned from my last conversation with a Friends designer is that girls have shown a preference for details in things such as bathrooms as opposed to what the rest of us would consider more practical considerations, like stairs between floors. That's evident is this set as there is no discernible way to get upstairs anywhere in this set (except for the water slides on the way down).

There are two slides, one accessed from the first floor of the park, and the other from the second.

View image at flickr

The resort is almost complete! With the exception of the top floor of the water park, here are the views from the front and back.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The top of the water park is finished with a sign (facing the opposite way in the below picture), and a tipping splash bucket to ensure anyone who gets on the blue slide gets soaked.

View image at flickr

The finishing touch on the resort is the monorail! The monorail allows the Friends to travel quickly and smoothly from their sleeping rooms to the water park. There's a single monorail car to shuttle a Friend back and forth, powered with what looks to be a solar panel on the roof.

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Dual gull wing doors allow a Friend entry from either side of the car. The car moves very efficiently and smoothly along the rail.

View image at flickr

All pieces in place, the resort looks very impressive from the front and the back.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Overall thoughts

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This is a very impressive set! It's the largest of the Friends sets this year (1017 pieces, $99.99, 99.99€, £89.99). The designer has accounted for just about every activity possible for a water park resort. There are many opportunities for play between the waterpark, the monorail and the myriad other details. I expect of lot of children will have a great time sending minidolls down the slides and dumping "water" on them.

Each room is packed with details, from the sleeping rooms to the lounge to the rooftop dancing area. The addition of the monorail is wonderfully inventive and I am happy to see that the addition of these pieces to the set does not appear to take away from the overall piece count or functionality. I found the monorail operation to be surprisingly smooth. The build experience is also appropriate for the age. Each bag completes a room or subset of rooms, so that play can start/continue after building each bag.

For those who enjoy Friends sets for the new colours and pieces, this set also does not disappoint as there are a number of new and recoloured parts, as shown by the inventory here.

I think this set would make for a very good choice for a "major" Christmas present for any child.

What other Friends sets would you like to see reviewed before Christmas? Let me know in the comments and we'll see what we can do!

 

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24 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Like this set, nice and colourful and detailed..

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By in Netherlands,

Great review of an eyepleasing set

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By in United States,

Re: the idea of girls not caring so much about stairs between floors, I think that could be said for kids in general. From my experience, a lot of Friends and Elves sets are in fact better about including stair, ladder, or lift access between elevations than many City or even Ninjago sets!

Also, with regard to Sheen the Dolphin, she’s not quite like all previous Friends dolphins: the Dolphin Cruiser set included a slightly different dolphin, Milo, who was Sand Blue instead of Light Royal Blue/Bright Light Blue and had no eyelash printing. It’s sort of a bummer that subsequent LEGO Friends dolphins have all shared Sheen’s design instead of seeing continued variety.

Overall this is a nice set, and more than different enough from past hotel, beach, and water park sets to justify its existence. That said, I have some disappointments with it. For one, when the Heartlake City monorail was teased in animated videos earlier this year, I was hoping for something a little more substantisl than a single-person conveyance. Even beyond the small size of this single car, its design is not well suited to adding additional cars since any more than two will not be able to hinge open the same way.

I really do hope to see a more detailed train in LEGO Friends after how many excellent plane, road vehicle, and boat designs the theme has managed to deliver. I feel like the best LEGO Friends vehicles and buildings convey a sense of comfort and comprehensive detail. This claustrophobic little cart really doesn’t meet that same standard.

The upper guest room’s “door to nowhere” also feels unusual for any LEGO theme. Even when stairs aren’t provided, there implication is usually that such features would be part of where the back of the building is cut away, not that a character walks out a side door into a gaping void. And it doesn’t seem like it would have been too hard or expensive to use some SNOT bricks and cheese wedges on the outside wall of the lower guest room to create an implied ladder, as in the Dolphin Cruiser and various other Friends sets.

Overall, though, these frustrations don’t detract from the set’s uniqueness, beauty, or play value. Good review!

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By in United States,

I just built this with 2-of-3 about a week ago and was wondering if I missed the review for it (rarely do I get around to building a kit before a review appears), so I can really comment on this one. Overall, it’s wonderful with two really small stumbles—the weird door and the mini dolls.

I love how easy—even for small children—it is to removed and replace the monorail track from the building to make playing in the rooms easier. That was a part of the design.

The door to nowhere for the upper room really bothers me though. I understand the choice because it would have been weird to have one room with a door and one without and it would have been weird for the lower room to not have a door since there is a landing outside of it.

There are also tacos—not just pizza—at the dining bar. The taco print is visible on the table in the picture of the dining bar.

I really love all the play opportunities and how they are laid out. Space is saved with the small guest rooms because there is little play when a mini doll is sleeping. More space is given to the lounge, dance deck, and great water park features.

Even with the weird door, my biggest complaint are the figure choices. Four figures is fine, but we have enough Olivias, Andreas, and Stephanies. I’d sacrifice one of them for another hotel employee to work at the front desk and dining bar. He’s no Noah from #41097-1, but Mason is great. Maybe my second favorite Friends minidoll.

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By in United States,

Aanchir’s comments reminded me of a few more observations I had.

The parasail is great, but its boat is very weak after a long line of great Friends vehicles. Friends vehicles have always been detailed, solid, and quite heavy. This boat has odd proportions and very little weight to it—I was surprised it could support the parasail! But it does.

Also, the instructions call for the steering wheel of the boat to be against the left side of the boat, not centered. It is difficult to tell from the instructions, and 2-of-3 tried to center it too.

With the steering wheel placed this way, two minidolls can stand in the boat with the normal arm manipulation that is required to fit figures side-by-side in vehicles (passenger arm down/back and driver arm up/forward).

Another solution that could have solved the weird upper room door without adding *too* many more pieces could have been a small balcony.

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By in United States,

Great review

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By in United States,

Uhhh why don't we get one single City set like this ??

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By in United States,

Why are the majority of lego friends sets so much more detailed and advanced than other themes like City Ninago and other things people have been saying? its not a bad thing but why dont those themes get a giant hotel! I would love a gigantic city hotel.

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By in United States,

I don't normally buy anything Friends, but had to get this set as it is a great reminder of when my cousin took his kids and I to the Wisconsin Dells back in February. My young cousins and I use it to recreate our favorite memories of our trip. That also makes for more excellent family moments.

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By in United States,

@Skela and @CM4Sci I would give it a year. The same thing happened with the Friends Hospital. One year later, boom: City Hospital. Glad I waited for the City version of that one instead of getting the Friends one right away.

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By in United States,

Umm, since when is a duel track considered a monorail? Way to misinform the young-uns TLG.

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By in United States,

By definition not a monorail. More like a shuttle.

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By in United States,

Like ericjohn, i also noticed the new tacos. As a taco lover, it is now my civic duty...
To get my hands on some of them!

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By in Australia,

Wow, they've even managed to rassle up an attractive blond lifeguard. Go Friends.

The door to nowhere on the upper part of the building is a little macabre. Once you check in to this resort, you don't check out?

"Re: the idea of girls not caring so much about stairs between floors, I think that could be said for kids in general."

As a kid, I always loved it when buildings actually had stairs. For the very simple reason of play value and real-world accuracy. How do minifigs get upstairs?

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By in United States,

What a fun set. Wonderful details and elements. Gonna' rethink getting this.

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By in Taiwan,

Knowing we have all 2018 sets, my concern is whether the monorail is what only reflects on the new cartoon series (the train in the op). If so that's kinda a wasted chance of more interesting sets.

Aside from that the whole set is very impressive. Maybe not boys cup of tea but truly more modern for a city beach scenario.

@GoZachPariseWild
I just say depends on how the style of LEGO City differentiate from Heartlake's.
For example in Modular series it would be interesting to see how they deal with hotels and schools.

There were hospitals in City before. But as for others like vet hospital, equestrian school and highschool, those firstly appeared in Friends is a good thing. You may just buy these sets and don't need to wait for same ideas reused in City sets, unless certain exclusive minifigures are hard to find or create.

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By in United States,

Anyone know if there are any pieces in this set that were made in Light Aqua for the first time ever?

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By in United States,

^ Nope. Per the set inventory (which allows for sorting by new, etc.), all the Aqua pieces used here debuted in 2017...!

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By in United States,

Love it! I wish my daughter could have stayed 10 years old for a few more years.

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By in United States,

one thing that always amazes me is how mini figs manege to floate to the higher rooms of a building.

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By in United States,

@Zordboy: Well yeah, I can definitely agree that I prefer buildings with believable access between floors are better than ones without. But at the same time I also understand that when price points have to be met, sometimes other sorts of features that add more play value or detail take priority over that. For example, I certainly prefer furnished, detailed, highly playable rooms without access between floors (as in Ragana's Magic Shadow Castle or Flying Ninja Fortress) over boring, largely empty rooms with plenty of stairs or ladders (as in many Castle sets such as Vladek's Dark Fortress).

Ladders, as mentioned, usually aren't too hard to incorporate without adding a lot to the cost or bulk of a model, but staircases can take up a LOT of space and a LOT of bricks, as I've discovered when trying to work on castle or modular building MOCs. Sometimes it can also be tricky to find places to put them that don't block visibility or physical access to the rooms for play (though a few sets like Stephanie's House, Livi's Pop Star House, and the Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters make great use of hinges to bypass this).

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By in United States,

Nice taco, but...

Where is the poll?!

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By in United Kingdom,

This is actually a really cool set!

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By in United States,

I’m so happy that I have a young daughter. I’d never have both either Friends or Elves sets if I didn’t. And they are the best stuff Lego is producing these days, IMO. So much variety, so many details. My only complaint is that they are far from robust and come with way to many tiny accessories

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