Organising our annual trip down to Tankfest at the Bovington Tank museum, this hotel caught our eye because of the great reviews it had received. Taking these on-board, we booked two rooms for three nights arriving Friday June 27th 2014 (room numbers 125 and 126).
Until we arrived, we didn't realise there are a number of chalet type units built in a line around the edge of the car park at the rear of the hotel. Some are one storey and some are two. Rather than being allocated rooms in the main hotel, we were given two of these upper floor chalet rooms. It only takes a minute to walk from these rooms to the hotel front entrance so the distance is no big deal even in the rain. At first we were a little unsure as to what they were going to be like but we ended up being very pleasantly surprised. Both rooms shared a private outside entrance door and a short, fairly steep, stair case. The actual room doors were at the top of the landing, one either side.
Both rooms were generously large and tastefully decorated giving them a classy feeling. There were lots of windows to the rooms on the car park side and these were certainly needed. The one criticism of the rooms was that they got quite hot and it was necessary to leave the windows open overnight to cool them down. The hotel management must have recognised this issue as each room contains a large floor standing fan which proved to be invaluable. With the windows open, we only had a problem with outside noise on one occasion when a couple of drunken residents in a neighbouring chalet woke us at 4am one morning as they returned after a night out. On the window side, each room had it's own lockable internal door which joined the two rooms together by a short connecting passage over the stairs. Having a door at each end was a nice touch as it adds to the soundproofing.
There were some creaky floorboards in the rooms which made a noise at the slightest touch. This didn't pose us a problem but we wondered whether the occupants of the downstairs rooms were getting a bit annoyed with them. A good reason for insisting on an upper floor room.
During our stay the staircase walls were repainted whilst we were out. Having said that, when we first walked in I can't recall that they looked in desperate need of redecoration.
Looking through previous reviews we could find very little information about the parking at the hotel so here's what we thought. There are parking areas at the front of the hotel, on the left hand side and at the rear. There's an automatic barrier which goes up when you drive into the hotel but you'll need to key in a pass code to raise the exit barrier on the way out. Parking costs £2 per night. Some parking spaces are end to end ones whilst others are in a row. A few of them are a bit narrow but most are ok. Unlike other nearby hotels there look to be an adequate number of spaces (even when the hotel is full) and we always found a space. Down the road, some of the hotels we walked past really do have parking issues. Although their car parks might have been bigger, at times they were absolutely jam packed with some cars blocking the driving lanes. However we had no complaints about the parking at this hotel.
The inside of the main hotel was again tastefully decorated and had a classy feel to it. The breakfast room was nicely furnished and was a really nice environment to eat in. There was a good help yourself breakfast selection including a cooked a breakfast.
I can't remember a hotel where the staff have all been so nice and polite without exception. The reception staff were lovely as were the staff in the breakfast area. At the previous hotel we stayed at you could see that there been a drive by the hotel management to introduce good customer service which felt a bit gimmicky. Here it was absolutely effortless making it feel all the more sincere.
The hotel it located down a wide quiet leafy road and it's only a 3-4 minute walk to the seafront. You're quite high up the cliff so you need to walk down steps to the lower promenade and beach. Bournemouth pier is a short 8-10 minute stroll away. It's downhill on the way there but uphill on the way back. There's a large Harry Ramsden's fish restaurant on the hotel side of the pier overlooking the beach.
Going in the other direction, the walk to Boscombe pier is very pleasant.