We stayed here for five days in June 2013, our first trip to the Isle of Man.
Friendly and helpful staff made it a good experience right from the start, including during the phone booking, as our preferred choice of a double room was not available on the first night.
The Ellen Vannin is one of the many traditional tall Victorian terrace B&B style hotels on the long Douglas promenade. It has a couple of rooms on each floor, quite a lot of stairs and no lift. So perhaps not for those with mobility problems. Even the fit take it gently going up after the big breakfast served in the basement restaurant!
The rooms reflect this Victorian period character, although decorated in 1990's (?) style and ours was certainly comfortable with flat screen TV, a good toilet/shower bathroom with high quality soap/shampoo from fitted dispensers. Daily cleaning, top up of tea/coffee sachets, biscuits etc made it all very welcoming. Our room faced the back, so no views, but it was peaceful giving a good nights sleep. The room had a very useful folder guide to the Isle of Man, written by the hotel team. There was also a communal living room on the ground floor with TV and drinks machine.
Breakfast was excellent, one of the best we've had...cereals, porridge, tinned and fresh fruit, full cooked breakfast menu including veggie options alongside Manx kippers, omelettes, toast, pastries etc,and wide range of teas and coffee. The basement breakfast room itself was great, just right for a relaxing start to the day, light and airy with open French window opening out to the - luckily for us - mostly sunny morning light, with flowers etc.
Evening meals were also on offer, though had to be ordered earlier in the day. The traditional menu looked good, though perhaps quite expensive (3 courses would work out about £20-25 per person - this reflecting what seemed overall quite high eating out costs in Isle of Man generally).
The location is also great, in a very good position on the long sweeping attractive promenade with its gardens, seating, cycleway etc. It was only 5 minutes walk to the ferry port, 15 minutes to the steam railway, and only a couple of minutes to the most useful of the shops on Douglas's main, if low-key, pedestrianised shopping street.
So very highly recommended all round and a great base for exploring the island and we'd certainly go back. It is definitely a B&B style hotel, as most that we saw in Douglas seemed to be, so no coffee/bar, entertainment, or other facilities should the weather not be so good.
For what its worth we went as foot passengers on the Liverpool ferry, and bought the 5 day Heritage pass (£55 each) at the Douglas ferry terminal tourist information centre. This pass includes entrance (including repeat visits if wanted) to all main historic sites and unlimited travel on steam/electric trains including the Snaefell mountain train, horse drawn trams and the excellent bus network, apart from express buses (though as tourists there seemed no need to use these anyway).
This worked out perfectly for us, tho its important to pick up the well laid-out public transport timetable booklet when you buy the tickets so you can plan journeys...there seems to be a lot of seasonal variation in services. As well as the railways/trams etc being quite a big part of the fun, the bus network also goes to pretty much all the areas of interest and natural beauty including the very peaceful Craigneash and Sound area, overlooking the Calf of Man island.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Ellan Vannin is situated in a superb position on Douglas sea front, facing the historic and picturesque Tower of Refuge. The majestic sweep of Douglas bay can be enjoyed from the sea view rooms and the very comfortable guest lounge. We are just minutes from the main shopping area of Douglas. five minutes from the ferry terminal and main bus station. The famous steam railway and electric tram are a short stroll. We provide home cooked evening meals, a free high speed internet connection and a great cooked breakfast including Manx kippers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ellan Vannin Hotel Isle Of Man/Douglas