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“Embarrassingly disappointing” 2 of 5 stars
Review of St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa

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St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   The Terrace, St Ives TR26 2BN, England   |  
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Ranked #12 of 25 Hotels in St Ives
Certificate of Excellence 2014
anon
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
123 helpful votes 123 helpful votes
“Embarrassingly disappointing”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2010

We booked this hotel for a Valentine's break for just under £100 for a superior room with breakfast. I last stayed here many, many years ago. I must add I have stayed in many different types of accommodation - from some very basic hostels to some top hotels in many different parts of the world so I have a rough idea of what you would expect for that price, even for a busy weekend.
We checked in an hour early and were allocated room 215. Our car keys were handed over to reception in case of any parking difficulties within the small car park opposite. We took the charming old lift up to the floor and entered through one set of doors, through another, and onto a freezing cold, creepy corridor with stripped wallpaper. I have stayed in hotels that are being refurbished before- it usually turns out to be fine - as they normally allocate you to a different part of the building- not in this case.
We opened the door to a freezing cold room with a very nice sea view and and a fairly old good luck symbol from a seagull on the sash window. There was a small heater in the corner which I turned on before we started to settle in. Above the heater was a battered hospitality shelf- with teas, a good coffee and a couple of biscuits - much like you'd expect in a basic b and b. There was one small bottle of mineral water on the dressing table with a small sign next to it explaining that the running water in the room was 'non potable'. There were two small bedside lights, one of which had a broken bulb.
The tiny tv was hooked up to a wall, with a trail of wires around it, and there was no clock, digital or analogue, anywhere in the room. An iron and ironing board were provided.
I looked at the fire route plan on the back of the door and then noticed the pretty art deco symbol that to me, used to symbolise the style and atmosphere of the hotel.
The bathroom was basic but fine, with slightly tatty towels, two cheap looking shower gels, one tiny soap and two basic sachets of shampoo. There were no shower caps, body lotions etc.
The hotel booklet had the basic stationery but with no pen, only a tiny pencil (?) and I noticed there was no customer comments/ survey slip.
There were two twin beds, zipped together. They were comfy, unlike the amazingly lumpy pillows and the two unattached headboards that slammed against the wall everytime you sat against them. There were also two small comfy chairs, with a cushion each. There were plently of coathangers in the wardrobe, and a basic blanket should you get cold in the night. If this was a superior room, I wondered what the standard rooms were like.
We went downstairs and asked for the lightbulb to be replaced and for another bottle of water, and this was done. We also took advantage of the 'Tate' card scheme, where you can pay a returnable deposit of £10 and have free entry to the Tate gallery and the Barbara Hepworth Museum.
St. Ives is lovely, and we really, really enjoyed our time there in spite of the hotel. There is plenty to see and do, lovely shops and places to eat. We decided not to eat in the hotel restaurant - I guess I thought if the room was basic then perhaps the food would be also. We did try to buy a coffee in the bar downstairs later on in the evening, but this could not be done, I can't remember why.
My breakfast was fine (scrambled eggs and smoked salmon) and my husband's fry up was edible, but of rather basic quality.
As we checked out, to add insult to injury, I noticed the 1st floor corridor rooms - that particular corridor looked totally normal (and warm!).
We weren't asked if we enjoyed our stay on checking out. I noticed a few smiles from the staff but not many from the customers during the stay.
I didn't mention my feelings during the stay, as to be honest, I was a bit embarrassed to think they thought the room standard was perfectly acceptable for the price.
Don't let this review put you off visiting St. Ives - it is really worth visiting now as it was all those years ago - just don't stay at the Porthminster for the time being- until perhaps the refurbishment has been completed in full.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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PorthminsterManager, Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, February 15, 2010
Dear owlAnon

Thank you for your review, I only wish it could've been to report a better experience at the hotel - clearly we would've welcomed the opportunity to put things right for you at the time.

I would be delighted to now make amends for any disappointment you feel over the standard of accommodation encountered, please do contact me directly in order that I may now be offered a chance to reinsall your faith in us as we continue to improve the standard at the hotel.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Yeovil
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2010

I booked this hotel as a Christmas present for my lovely partner after falling in love with it on the website! We were not disappointed!
Although there are renovation works going on at the hotel it did not affect our 2 night stay.
We were very kindly upgraded free of charge to a beautiful suite, overlooking Porthminster beach which was simply amazing.
I had also booked a massage for my partner which unfortunately could not take place, in compensation for this the staff took 10% off the proce of the room for each night and gave us a complimentary bottle of wine, which we enjoyed in our gorgeous suite!
We ate in the hotel restaurant on the first evening, the food was divine and the staff simply can not do enough for you.
All in all I can not fault the Porthminster hotel, it is a beautiful hotel in a stunning location, where the staff are extremely helpful, nothing is too much.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Gloucestershire
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2010

Excellant Food with a good menu, fantastic views, easy walking distance to town (slight incline coming back).
Room was cold on arrival (time of year blowing a gale) warmed up later.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Notts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2010

We recently booked at the Porthminster Hotel for a long weekend, we arrived on the Friday for a 3 night stay, unfortunately due to family problems at home we had to leave on the Saturday morning, the receptionist went out of her way to help us out and find a solution.
The restaurant staff were excellent and extremely friendly yet professional, as for the menu and food it was of a very high standard, we loved it.
We have seen the reviews for this year and cannot understand the reasoning for the bad reviews, we have booked a return visit and will enjoy the lovely St Ives and a wonderful hotel.
We would recommend it.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ireland
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2010

We flew from Ireland to Bristol in late October and spent a week travelling around Cornwall. It was a great experience, one of the highlights being our stay in the Porthminster in St Ives. We were greeted by genuinely friendly staff, we had a beautiful view of the sea from our room which was spotless and classically decorated. The hotel has an elegant, old fashioned appeal which we loved.The hotel is a short taxi drive from St Ives-staff were only too delighted to arrange our transport each evening, and to recommend some great restaurants in the area. Our only regret was that we couldn't stay longer than two nights. If we ever take a trip back to Cornwall, the Porthminster will be our first port of call!

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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nottingham
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2010

Having been to this hotel in Mid August last year, I thought it was great, so when a flyer was delivered offering a special rate in low season, we decided to book. We always viist st Ives three times a year, and always in jan/ feb. We booked for New Years day leaving on the 5th Jan. We were not told at all about any refurbishment works at all, when shown to our room we were relieved that we did have the sea view as promised. We had room 306, which had just been refurbished. It looked clean and modern. On closer inspection, it did lack the facilites that our previous room had in August, which was not refurbished. There was no ironing board or travel iron, no instructions on how to use the shower, which was quite tricky. There were no sheets on the bed, just bottom ones. There was twin beds, booked double, with just a single duvet on top.
It has been quite cold, which you would expect at this tme of the year, the heating in the hotel seemed be not exisitant, our room was cold, the bathroom, because it was so large was also cold with just a towel heater in. There was no extra blankets given, just a bottom sheet on the bed and the single duvet, this was lumpy and cheap about 5 tog, not suitable at all for winter, no sheets on the bed, which I consider very lazy. The two pillows on each bed were also lumpy and cheap. Last night we spent the night shivering in bed. As you open the doors to the 3rd floor to walk down the corridor, the air smells veyr strongly of stale cooking oil, it was very off putting, also when we first arrived, it also was also in our room, and we had to air it.
We opted to have our breakfast bought up to us, the first day, they missed mine off completely and just bought one breakfast, I had to ring down for it.
The 2nd day weate breakfast in st ives.
The 3rd day everything was remembered, but was cold.
the last day, I asked for a cooked breakfast without certain items, which left just sausage, bacon and beans, which was fine this is what I ordered. On the plate they put just one rasher of bacon, one sausage, and beans, it was pitiful, they could at least popped two bacon/sausages on. They forgot the coffee this day.
On all days the bread was hard, breakfasts were luke warm or cold, and £5.00 was charged per day to bring the breakfasts up, although they forgot items.
We didn't have our evening meals, the menu was not very inspiring, and even though they said in the brochere there were specials, they weren't advertised as they said they would be, and the member of staff we asked didn't think that they were any.
The first two days we had only one bath towel and two hand towels between the two of us. The towels were not what you expected of a hotel, not fluffy and clean looking, dirty white colour and threadbare in parts, although they did have their name engraved on, like that matters. My partner used the one packet of coffee and biscuits in the room the first night, this was never replaced again, which is very poor.
Overall the staff seemed friendly, bt the service weren't greta, they weren't rushed off their feet. obviously the hotel was empty which we expected anyway having always come to St Ives in low season, however the hotel is like a cheap motel now, I have stayed in better guest houses in St Ives at half the price.
If this hotel wants to stay open all year round, they need to consider that the weather is not the same in the winter as the summer.
I was very disappointed and I have visited St Ives 12 times in the last 4 years this has been my worst visit because of this hotel. The cost was £578.00, one night room only [new years day] and three days bed/ breakfast/ evening meal [which we never bothered with]

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Cornwall
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2010

Had a look round this hotel in the summer, liked what we saw, so we booked in for a three-night Christmas break. Arriving on Christmas Eve we immediately noticed that there was very little in the way of festive decoration - just a couple of Christmas trees and a bit of tinsel here and there. In fact, the public rooms looked stark and bare - no curtains at the windows, for example.
The room we had chosen was lovely - clean, comfortable and spacious, with a superb view across the bay. A problem which I seem to encounter more often than not is that there was no clock in the room, so it is fortunate that we brought our own travel alarm. There was the usual guest handbook available, which told you lots about room service and the like, but there were no instructions on how to operate the television (freeview, but with only about half-a-dozen channels). I tried for about 20 minutes to get the TV working and shaver light to come on in the bathroom - no instructions in the book - and somebody had to be called to show us how they was switched on and off.
This was a Christmas package (over £400 each for three nights) but to our dismay there was a complete lack of fun or festivity, and the "entertainment" laid on was a pianist and singer from about 9 to 11 in the evening, manfully trying to compete with the musak (a tape of christmas songs repeated ad nauseum over the three days) coming from the speakers. The whole weekend was dismal and dreary, with a complete lack of any organised activity or fun.
The meals were about average, and I do feel that in a htoel of this status the vegetables should be served separately and not dished out on the plates. The breakfast menu listed the usual Full English, etc., but did not mention omelettes. My wife asked for an omelette which caused the waitress to go to the kitchen to ask if it could be done. She came back and told us that the chef said he could do an omelette, but only a plain one!! Some chef, eh? We were served coffee in the lounge after our dinner, together with a mince pie which was plonked on the table - no plate for it.
We feel that the hotel had made no effort whatsoever to give us any decent sort of Christmas, despite the money we had paid, and this was, for us, the worst Christmas we have ever experienced. Our weekend coud have been a short break at any time of the year, apart from the cost, that is.
Having siad all this, the hotel itself is very nice, in a lovely location, and you should not be deterred from taking a break there (but not at Christmas). Do remember to bring a swimsuit, as there is a nice spa, pool, etc (we forgot ours). There is some refurbishment going on, just as most hotels do during the winter months. Seems to me that there needs to be a good, experienced manager needed to put this house in order, though.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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PorthminsterManager, Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, January 5, 2010
Dear Georgio

Thank you for your review, I am truly sorry that you feel disappointed with the Christmas package offered at the hotel. I do take such dissatisfaction personally and I am alarmed at how different your expectations were to the reality encountered. I really do wonder why we failed to meet your expectations so greatly - not least because we had so many other guests who were delighted with the Festive package, indeed we’ve already had 10 bookings from this year pay a deposit for Christmas 2010.

I am delighted that you feel the accommodation is comfortable, clean and spacious.

I am also pleased that you would enjoyed the location and that you would recommend others to stay with us.

But clearly I am bitterly disappointed to hear of your comments regarding the festivities - not least because we had varied entertainment each night and more decorations than ever before!

If you would care to contact me directly I would be delighted to have the opportunity of putting this right for you and attempt to reinstate your faith with the hotels usual high standards of customer satisfaction. May I express my apologies, once again for the shortfall in experience to expectations you feel.
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Additional Information about St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa

Address: The Terrace, St Ives TR26 2BN, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > St Ives
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in St Ives
#5 On the Beach Hotel in St Ives
#12 Romantic Hotel in St Ives
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel is directly above Porthminster beach, a position which gives stunning views across the water. Watch as the waves lap against the famous Godrevy Lighthouse in the distance and feel your troubles disappear. Explore the local harbour, as you meander through the cobbled streets, and then return for dinner at the Harbour Restaurant, serving up seasonal and local food, along with stunning sea views. The Harbour Spa will provide the perfect hideaway, as you indulge in a soothing treatment and then unwind by the pool, gazing out to sea from the comfort of a deeply relaxing and luxurious Spa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Porthminster Hotel St Ives
Porthminster St Ives
St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa St Ives, Cornwall

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