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“One of the best”

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Southernhay House Hotel
Ranked #19 of 31 Hotels in Exeter
Certificate of Excellence
Kent
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“One of the best”
Reviewed June 3, 2013

My wife and I stayed one night en route to a week's holiday in the Isles of Scilly and three nights on the way back - and it was one of the best hotel choices we've made.

Excellent, friendly service; spacious. well-dresssed, clean rooms; great breakfast menu and top-notch evening meals; good bar with cocktails on offer; first-class city centre location. All presented in an interesting, handsome period property.

With hindsight, perhaps a tad too much enthusiasm for muzak? But that's a personal bete-noire, others don't seem to mind. Other than that, absoutely no fault to find.

Overall, wonderful: this has to be one of the best small hotels in the UK.

Room Tip: Don't worry about bedrooms. We were allocated two different ones, both very good. Others we peek...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Walktolunch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southernhayhouse, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this review, July 5, 2013
Thank you for your generous review and we are delighted that you chose to stop over en route to the Scillies, both ways. We wanted to upgrade you on your return so that you would have a different experience of our rooms and I'm really pleased that you liked both rooms (and had a peek around at others). It was great to see you both at home in SH - my apologies about the Muzak! I fully understand the point however all staff are encouraged to add their playlists (as long as clean) to the repertoire so we're going to have a diverse collection. Please, always ask staff to move a particular track on - or take home a recommendation, as you wish; it's very much a background thing and should remain so!
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269 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
Date | Rating
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English first
schweiz
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 25, 2013

We were looking for a centrally located and elegant hotel and found it at Southernhay. The moderne and luxurious design was very pleasing, esp. the large sized bathroom. Excellent choice of products! And we loved the little personal gift - the Smarties!!! The breakfast can't be beaten and we were spoilt by the staff! A very pleasing and altogether fabulous experience, sorry we could only stay one night!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank CorinneSchweiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southernhayhouse, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this review, May 31, 2013
Thank you for your lovely review and appreciation of our hotel.. I'm pleased you enjoyed the Smarties - although did you know that they went into hexagonal tubes back in 2005! Smarties do, however, remain an iconic brand. They're just one of the nods to lasting design around Southernhay; I'm sure you spotted the first generation mobile phones in the bar, the '60s seating and the Trimphones in the room...it's fun to take a classic from any century and celebrate it. I hope you will return in future.
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England
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed May 23, 2013

I admire William Dalrymple's books and have followed the author's interest in James Achilles Kirkpatrick by visiting both Calcutta and Hyderabad, so the chance to visit his brother, William Kirkpatrick's house in Exeter could not be resisted. James's two children by Khair un-Nissa reportedly visited their uncle in Exeter frequently.
Now converted from offices to a very special hotel, I would strongly recommend a visit.The food was excellent and the staff extremely helpful and friendly.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Goodtouristfood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southernhayhouse, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this review, May 25, 2013
What a pleasure to have a review from a guest who knows about our history. I hope that you took away my (very brief!) history of William Kirkpatrick, who was, indeed the (illegitimate) brother of James and who brought up his niece and nephew after their father's death. Indeed, William himself had four children (two by his English wife and two by his Indian mistress) and so the whole house must have been quite loud! Anyway: history aside, thank you for your very generous review and I'm pleased that the Georgian memories of social events, parties and good food and friends are enjoyed once again in central Exeter.
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 28, 2013

An elegant welcoming hotel in a great location within the centre of Exeter. A great bar and lovely food - including great veggie option. The room ( wilberforce) was beautifully decorated and spotless. One big NO is the open plan toilet- there is no nice way of saying this- it just does not work and spoils am otherwise great hotel- make sure you book a room with a separate bathroom- well worth paying extra for! I'd read reviews on the " toilet" issue before I went and thought maybe people were being fussy - but seriously NO! It may look ok but have the owners actually TRIED it for a night? Hmmm - otherwise it was fabulous!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Homebay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southernhayhouse, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
Thank you for your lovely review of the Hotel and appreciation of the "effortless elegance"; it's a lovely expression and one for which the Georgian builders of the original house must take most of the credit! On the vexed question of the loo in Wilberforce (I have slept in every room) I beg to disagree as the full length loo door (glass) is tucked just 18 inches or so from the facing wall and so I think it would be tricky and involve some contortion for anyone to peer in. The design was agreed with the planners in the context of putting en suite into a Grade II* building. However, absolutely each to his own and I am grateful to you for flagging this up; please, if any doubt, do ask us whether the shower and loo is intergral to the bedroom or separate; we have all options!
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Devon
Level 5 Contributor
40 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed April 28, 2013

I loved everything about this Hotel, its location, service and most of all the decor. Every room was tastefully decorated and nothing was too much trouble. We were late down for breakfast and the manager was insistent that we should have something - our settings were still laid up and nothing was too much trouble. we spent the evening sipping cocktails in a beautifully decorated cocktail bar. We stayed in the Spice room which was spacious and tastefully furnished. The bedding and furnishings were of high quality. I believe that each room has its own style.
I highly recommend this hotel and will return in the future (if they will have us back!!).
Thank you to the staff for making it such a wonderful stay.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank CatherineBrophy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southernhayhouse, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
Thank you for your very generous review of the hotel and for being such lovely guests - we hope we will very definitely welcome you back in the future. Spice Room is very popular and is especially sunny, with its double aspect windows but do try a different room on future visits; as you say, they are all different in layout and finish but they all have the guaranteed luxury of the important basics.
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Reading, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 10, 2013

A brief Friday-night stop to break a journey on the way back from South Devon. Beautifully restored merchant's residence in quiet central location, very relaxed and friendly welcome. Shame there's no onsite parking but ample spaces close by. Room was huge, comfortable and well-equipped; open-plan bathroom quirky. Great cocktails in small but lively bar pre-dinner; shame we were virtually the only diners but food was imaginative and well executed. A special place to stay, which deserves to succeed.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank as1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southernhayhouse, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this review, April 14, 2013
Thank you for your generous review; we appreciate your kind comments. I adore the bathroom set up in Chai and find it very discreet but would urge guests to call us to check on the best bathroom arrangements for them; we have several different permutations (all very posh!). I'm pleased that you were able to spend some time in the Bar and also join us for dinner on your fleeting visit - one of many I hope to come in the future.
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Hitchin
1 review
Reviewed April 9, 2013

We came because we love the sister hotel Burgh Island so much that we drove 3 hours to get here at 9:30 am to make the most of the short break. Embarrassed to arrive so early but staff couldn't be more solicitous and actually got us into the room by 10 am. Lovely room, comfy bed and good food all served with a smile. Restaurant and bar are busy with non-residents on a Saturday which spoils the club-like atmosphere. My only real gripe is with the parking - the cheap car park £6 around the corner is privately run and cost me a £60 fine (paid early otherwise £100) because half a wheel was across a white line. For the most part there are no lines and that's how they make their money their company website almost boasts about it. Their address for appeals doesn't work but it accepts your money OK - daylight robbery - be warned!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 324PeterR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southernhayhouse, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this review, April 19, 2013
Thank you for your kind review; I appreciate your testing us out on the basis of your Burgh Island experience - you may have recognised some of the staff, as we like to train up where we can at Burgh to ensure the same standards of guest care.
I can't apologise enough on behalf of Exeter for the rather shoddy car parking system in this city; it's nothing we have control over, I'm afraid, save for our endless complaints on behalf of staff and guests alike to the private owners of the nearby car park. Alternative parking is slightly further away.
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Additional Information about Southernhay House Hotel

Property: Southernhay House Hotel
Address: 36 Southernhay East, Exeter EX1 1NX, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Exeter
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
#4 Luxury Hotel in Exeter
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Southernhay House Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Charming boutique townhouse hotel with 10 individual bedrooms, chic cocktail bar, private dining room for parties and informal Club Room for casual dining and meeting. Al fresco eating and drinking on our terraces and secluded garden. Food is modern, local and highly seasonal with daily changing menus. Southernhay House is located in the centre of Exeter just yards from the Cathedral and within easy reach of the University and Quayside. Staff are long-term, friendly and live locally so are able to recommend seasonal and regional activities during your stay. Languages spoken: English, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Hebrew. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Southernhay House Hotel Exeter, Devon

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