We've read through some of the comments below & feel we should try & put a balanced opinion of our recent experiences at the Royal Bath.
We looked at a four night stay in Bournemouth using a sister booking site & considered five hotels on both east & west cliff. Having holidayed in Bournemouth since childhood I knew of the Royal Bath & its reputation as a top class hotel, though I was puzzled at the change in ownership from Devere to Britannia group & I noted Britannia's ownership of the Heathlands hotel where I stayed in 1996! Undeterred, we compared prices & booked four nights for around £330.00 - the other hotels averaged around £400.00 for four nights.
On arrival I enquired about car parking & was advised by the porter that it was £20.00 per night valet parking, or we could use the pay-&-display car park on Bath Road at £12.50 per day. £30.00 is better in our pockets so we unloaded our bags & parked in the Bath Road car park - using the "RingGo" facility we obtained seven days parking for only £40.00 - but still £40.00 more than we should have had to pay.
We then checked in, & paid for room before having seen it - I thought it rather odd to pay for the room up-front but assumed it was part of the deal & that we had opened credit on our room. We were also informed that breakfast was available from 07:30 until 10:30 at an additional charge of £9.95!!! "But I thought we had booked bed & breakfast?" was my question. "Oh no - you're on room-only" was the receptionists reply. Oh well two of us at four breakfasts would mean another £79.60 on top of our room - so the other hotels quoting £400.00 for four nights was perhaps not unreasonable - our fault for not checking exactly what we were booking
We then set off to find our room, exploring the first floor above the reception, we returned to reception to ask again for directions, this time setting off in the right direction through the lounge, past the restaurants, up some stairs, finally reaching a lift that took us to the floor where our room was - 282. The room was clean, tidy, comfortable bed, large bathroom with shower, decent sized window that could be opened but not much of a view other than the room of a derelict building - in a building of this age not every room can expect to have a fantastic view. Generally speaking, the room was good, though the shower screen on the bath had a tendency to swing away from the bath allowing shower water to drench the bathroom floor - a shower curtain would have been much better.
Nights sleep: we slept very well as the bed was comfortable & included a mattress-top. However, room service tried to enter our room at 08:30 before we had even got out of bed, so the following nights the "do not disturb" tag was hung on the door until we had finished with our room for the day. Creaking floors? Yes there are, but in a hotel of its age it is to be expected, & there are many other hotels I can name that have a similar problem. Doors slamming? Yes, but that is entirely down to the lack of consideration by guests for other guests. Over all - a good nights sleep.
Breakfast: our first morning we sampled the hotel breakfast - not without difficulty. The hotel restaurant seemed unable to charge this to our room & we were told to go to the reception to pay there & then. Once back in the restaurant we picked a table & chose our food from the buffet - it was not good. Fresh fruit was limited to water melon, grapefruit segments, & mandarin segments, while fresh orange juice had to be tipped out of the dispenser as the level was so low & the contents were not replenished. The bacon was ok & plenty of it, but the sausages were poor quality frozen, deep fried so they were dark on the outside, barely cooked on the inside, swimming in fat/oil & had a strange taste. The eggs were poor, broken, cold, picked over by other guests & not replenished while scrambled egg does not keep well on a hot plate. It would not be difficult to set up a griddle where staff can cook fried eggs to customers requirements. Tomatoe ketchup? Yes it was available - from a fixed dispenser attached to the end of the breakfast counter - something I've never seen before in a hotel of this type - whatever happened to the traditional ketchup bottle? All in all, the breakfast was worth about half what we were charged - needless to say we didn't bother with the hotel again & on the second morning found a nice café in the town centre where a breakfast could be obtained, cooked fresh to order, for only a few pence more.
The remainder of our stay: we used little of the hotels other facilities as we had plenty of things to do elsewhere, though we noted the lack of patrons in the restaurant for evening dinner. On our last morning work started on demolishing the aforementioned building behind our room, it was 08:30 but the sound of breaking glass was startling, & several guest were complaining about it when we checked out.
What do the locals say? We chatted with a few locals who knew the Royal Bath in former days & said it was one of the best hotels in Bournemouth. They have a very low opinion of it now - not good!!!
And check-out? We checked out, the receptionist simply checked our room number on the system, said "There's nothing more to pay" (obviously there wouldn't be with no credit on our room!!!). I handed the key cards over, & that was that! No request for feedback, no questions of had everything been ok during our stay, nothing!
Overall opinion - great location, one of few hotels to have a decent size garden not turned over to car-parking, it's age means it is not without a few problems that some people don't expect, such as staircases, different parts of the building on different levels, a rambling layout, & of course the creaking floor boards. No hotel can carry out structural work in complete silence, & the work behind the hotel will improve the outlook from the rear rooms, & some people will complain at the smallest inconvenience, but there is a feeling in this hotel that no one cares, maybe low staff morale or poor management. Another concern is the lack of responses to comments from the hotel.
Whatever, there are better hotels in Bournemouth - I don't think we'll book at the Royal Bath again - that is if it is still around in few years time!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Opened on Queen Victoria’s coronation day in June 1838, The Royal Bath Hotel was the first hotel in Bournemouth and embodies the finest traditions of first class comfort and hospitality, so naturally it has a fantastic position on the sea front. Nestled in secluded grounds, with outstanding views across the bay, this classically styled hotel is one of a kind. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- De Vere Royal Bath Hotel Bournemouth
- Royal Bath Hotel Bournemouth