It's really hard to believe all the reviews on here relate to the same hotel, they differ so widely - perhaps the rooms vary a lot, or they have chefs with different skills on duty at different times! I don't recognise the place from the very negative comments below.
Our room (205) :- not a sea view (we hadn't paid extra) and somewhat smaller than the pics on the website. It looked from the fire escape plan as though ours was smaller than those on the sea side. It felt a little cramped, but we were only there for 2 nights so not an issue - otherwise it was clean, not noticeably shabby, and comfortable. Bathroom a little more 'tired' than the room, but all clean & perfectly functional.
Breakfast:- selection of fruit, pastries & cereals, plus hot items to order. Good selection of pastries the 1st day, very limited on the 2nd, as though they had almost run out. Very busy on 1st day and the 2 staff were stuggling to keep up, so things were a little slow - better the 2nd day. Cooked stuff fine, coffee not very hot.
Dinner :- only ate there the 2nd night & had a bar meal as husband doesn't eat meat & didn't fancy the only fish option on the restauarnt menu. My meal was just as you'd expect a pub sausage & mash to be, with some bonus red cabbage on the side. 3 normal-size sausages, not the huge ones you often get in pubs - enough for me, others might disagree. A pre-dinner G&T (double for the price of a single) and the fabulous view from the conservatory meant it was a very nice exeperience overall.
Public areas:- maybe a little worn in places (but the carpets looked fine to me), but it's an old building - if you want all sleek & modern decor, wouldn't you choose a modern hotel? Nice garden, bit too windy for us to sit out in but had the same views as the conservatory. Direct access to the beach down a long set of steps.
Staff:- all very friendly & cheerful
Parking:- this was our only real complaint about this hotel. Very few spaces at the hotel, and couldn't find anywhere in the streets around when we came back after our day out - we had to go away & do something else, & even after that ended up about half a mile away. But it was a sunny day in August and Swanage was packed with day trippers.
We booked late so didn't pay the full tarff - I would probably have felt overcharged if I had. I'd be perfectly happy to stay here again but would probably first try the Pines just up the road - similar views & prices but a much larger car park (no pool or gym though).
I would have given a 'Good' rating if there was one - 3.5 stars
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.