Let me start by saying that I like this comfortable hotel very much, the room that we had was lovely and the restaurant very good indeed. However the thoughtful décor of the building, the quiet position close to the cathedral and the restaurant deserved a 5* excellent and the reason that it was a 4* is down to being let down by a few minor but disappointing details. On arrival we were greeted by one of the staff about to go off duty and without hesitation he obtained the key and showed us to our room, carrying our luggage there too. A good start. After a stroll around the interesting historic centre of old Exeter we returned to the hotel and found the smart cocktail bar was buzzing and literally full of people enjoying a 'Friday' drink on the way home. The atmosphere was great and we joined in. After a shower in the very expensively equipped marble tiled shower room, we returned to the restaurant to find that we were the only table booked in and on a Friday night that is disconcerting. We feared the worst. To the contrary the meal was excellent, the three tomato and whipped English mozzarella starter was a brilliant twist to the Italian classic and the dressed crab that followed was fresh and cleverly presented. This was a very good meal unfortunately served in the solitude and silence of ourselves, atmosphere lacking. Breakfast the following morning was good too, the perfectly cooked boiled eggs a rare treat served around a huge Victorian walnut dining table, ourselves at one end and the other end laid up for the only other guests that night. The hotel has been exquisitely renovated and decorated with Indian silks and very interesting pictures and filled with a mixture of antique and deco furniture, everything is in excellent condition. Our large bedroom was likewise expensively decorated along with a large and very comfortable bed and a large high-tech television mounted on the wall. So what was my problem then? It seems that many reviews do not take into account the cost element. The more that it costs, the greater the expectation. There were a few too many small things that reduced the enjoyment level a few notches to be able to award the highest accolade. For example, there was no cupboard to hang clothes in the bedroom, just five smart wooden pegs on the wall along with only four smart hangers that left us having to drape jackets and dresses on chairs. When I raised this issue on booking out, I was informed too late that a mobile hanging rail was available. The shower was excellent with masses of hot water flowing but the washbasin had only a dribble of warm water and I for the first time in many years I had to shave using cold water, a small technical hitch that is fixable. One of the lamps in the shower room annoyingly flickered too, only worth mentioning with the other matters. The second night in the cocktail bar required a bottle of champagne to celebrate an amazing and rare victory by our football team so a rose champagne was chosen. This was not in stock so we were offered an equivalent from a previous wine list that was a few pounds more expensive and we were charged the higher price. Perhaps I am being picky here but the 'new' lower price would have been nice gesture especially when paying over £70 a bottle. The second breakfast was served in the dining room with the many other guests that had appeared on Saturday night and was a more leisurely affair being on a Sunday. Perhaps I took more that the allotted time scanning the football results in the paper and caused a problem. When the waitress appeared ahead of my schedule with the plates of magnificent scrambled egg and bacon, the unfinished muesli and fruit was unceremoniously removed from before me, the cooked breakfast put in its place leaving me with a spoon in hand and the muesli the other side of the table where it was impossible for me to reach it with any style. Quite extraordinary. Eventually the breakfast plates were removed and warm toast served, but the muesli was still on the table when we left! I liked nearly everything about this hotel, it has style, presence, great location and is away from the hubbub of the town centre while being close to it. It just does not quite get to where it should be for the money. We visit many hotels around the world, some more expensive and some less so I would like to think that we have a reasonable expectations on value. However I am fully aware that on another day some of these little deficiencies might not have occurred, that I would have been allowed to finish my muesli in peace and I then would now be joyously recording, 'great hotel, wonderful restaurant, fantastic value, five star'. Perhaps next time as I would return.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Travelocity, Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Booking.com and Priceline so you can book your Southernhay House Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Southernhay House Hotel Exeter, Devon