We set off full of excitement and expectation for a lovely night in a sea view hotel in Bournemouth. A package deal of junior sea view suite, afternoon tea on arrival, a bit of a splash in the pool & spa followed by a wander round the sea front, three course dinner lovely nights sleep breakfast then home. What could be finer?
Well....plus points are that it is by the sea,the walk on the sea front was great, the room with the sea view was lovely and the staff very pleasant & accommodating. Sadly that is the best we can say. We promise we are not picky petty people but we do like nice food and facilities when paying £140 a night which we don't think is unreasonable.
Firstly the pool and spa facilities - my hear sank. The indoor pool had tiles missing off the bottom of the pool which could be quite painful if you caught your toe, ripped wallpaper along the sides of the complex, piles of sand and grit accumulating in the corner of the pool, freezing cold jacuzzi which no one could use and a general feeling of being unloved and poorly maintained. The outdoor pool was a total eyesore. It had bits of furniture in 1/4 full dirty grimy water and made a very sad view from the balcony. A real shame as both could be stunningly beautiful.
Onto the food. We recognize hotels have to make a profit on the deals they do but my goodness, whoever calculated the price per head for this place must have been taught by Ebeneezer Scrooge. Afternoon tea was a tiny pot of breakfast jam and what appeared to be a small swirl of watery squirty cream on a tiny dish and a couple of scones. My experience of hotel afternoon tea is a double tier presentation plate with finger sandwiches on one level, dainty cakes and scones on the top level and clotted cream. Afternoon tea is NOT this, which amusingly had been dusted with icing sugar to make it look better!!! We asked for real cream as is traditional for a Dorset cream tea but no, this hotel didn't do cream...?
The evening meal. In fairness, wonderful attentive staff, candlelit tables so we were ready to enjoy.. out came the first course of lobster and crab bisque. Sadly very gritty and bland - the guys on Masterchef would have gone nuts! My other half opted for main course of Dover sole. Being a big bloke of 6ft 4 and 17 stone, his face was a picture as they grandly presented a gigantic plate which swamped a small golf ball pile of lettuce leaves, SIX chips, a thimble of hollandaise sauce and a slice of lemon. I thought he was going to cry!
I had an anorexic salmon the size of half a postcard, lettuce leaves and the requisite six chips. I'm all for presentation and fine dining but this was neither and we looked at each other mournfully wishing we'd gone for the better deal in North Wales. By now we were feeling a bit sorry for ourselves but perked up when we saw Sticky Toffee pudding on the dessert menu, yee ha all was not lost! Sadly , the toffee sauce was so badly burnt the pudding was bitter and inedible so we left it and went to bed feeling really disappointed and debated ordering in a pizza!! The waiter asked if all was well. Because the staff were so lovely and didn't seem to speak English too well, we didn't want to make a scene and ruin our own evening further - in hindsight we should have complained but you do need the energy for that and we were exhausted. Hotel management please note - we have had far superior food in foreign all inclusive resorts where we have paid the same amount f money for a WEEK not a night, this was truly awful.
Off we went to sleep hungry followed by an unwelcome early knock on the door by the maid before 9am which then cheesed us off even more as we had wanted a good rest but there we go - should have put the do not disturb on, didn't so lesson learned.
Breakfast was pleasant but even if it had been outstanding it was too late, our minds were totally made up. This place could be something really really special but it fails on so many levels. We wont be returning and we write this with a heavy heart because we desperately wanted it to be a wonderful experience :(
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- Also Known As:
- Menzies Carlton Bournemouth
- Hotel Menzies Carlton
- Carlton Hotel Bournemouth