We arrived around 2.30 p.m. and had no problem finding a parking space on the car park. At reception we were greeted with a friendly welcome. I checked to see if the room we had been allocated had a Solent view, as previously requested, and this was confirmed - room 501. We had booked a dinner inclusive deluxe room. I doubt whether there is any discernible difference in the size of rooms and suspect that the deluxe tag has more to do with the supply of bath robes and bottled water than anything else. The room had a side Solent view, which was fine, as we could watch the comings and goings in and out of Portsmouth harbour and the room did get the sun all afternoon. It was also well appointed in that everything you could possibly need for a short, comfortable stay was provided. Toiletries were replenished daily and we got water and chocolate two out of the three days we stayed. We were off to a promising start!
Dinner time was when things started to go downhill. We had already paid for dinners and were told that we could choose a three course meal from the main menu from all the items marked with an 's.' If we wanted to stray from these options we had to pay an additional £2.50 per item. 4/6 of the starters were so marked, but the pate (which wasn't,) was the same price as the others. Only 6/15 mains carried the magical 's,' but, again, some of the other meals listed were the same price. We were informed that this made the steaks great value - wow - fine if you like steak! Three of the mains were unavailable on the first night. We might have been tempted to pay the extra for salmon, but this was 'off.' Only 2/8 puddings were blessed with the magical 's,' despite them all being the same price, apart from the cheese, (which you would normally expect to carry a supplement.) This meant, that if staying for three nights, as we were, we could not have something different without paying a premium for it. We also noticed that our menus showed items at different prices, with mine carrying mains at £1 extra and puddings at 50p extra. Despite telling the server about this, the more expensive menus were still being handed out on the third evening. The food, when it did arrive, varied between poor and atrocious. Very few people were using the restaurant (no wonder!) They appeared to be mainly business people and those trapped in the dinner package thing, like ourselves. Despite there being many available tables, the servers did turn people away. I really felt sorry for the front of house staff. They face the flak for poor, late food. I am pleased to say that on two occasions they did use their discretion - we were given a drink on one evening, after waiting nearly 25 minutes for soup and just as long for dessert. we entered the dining room around 6.50 p.m. and left around 8.30 p.m. The quality of the food was appalling.
Breakfast was an education. This is a very busy place at breakfast time, but it was chaos. On being shown to a table, we were asked if we wanted tea or coffee On one morning, it simply did not materialise at all. Guests are trusted to make their own toast, so why not trust them with self-service beverages also? The usual help-yourself buffet was the order of the day, so people are continually foraging and waiting for milk, plates, dishes and refills of coffee. Although there were plenty of members of staff, they lacked overall direction, so tables were not being cleared and items were not being replenished on the buffet to meet demand. People waiting for a table were seen to be ignored, even though staff were passing by them. Food was fine overall - there was something for everyone, even if you did need to wait for it at times. There are clearly serious staffing issues in the restaurant and we certainly would not have dined in the restaurant at dinner after the first night if we had not already paid up front.
All this is such a shame. The location of this Holiday Inn is fabulous and clearly, many of the rooms have great views. Individual members of staff are great. There is a leisure centre with a reasonably sized pool. All in all, it is a very comfortable place to stay. We just found ourselves dreading the evening meal. Our complaints about our experience were reported to staff at the time and also to the reception manager on checkout. He reponded to our concerns in a most professional way, making notes. When we told him that we would never have dined in the hotel in the evening had we known how poor an experience we would endure, he offered us a partial refund on the dining cost. We were not expecting this and found it to be a very positive gesture. We really felt that he cared about it spoiling our overall experience. The dining room issues need to be dealt with. Ten minutes from the hotel is Gunwharf Quay, with more reataurants than you can shake a stick at, so there is plenty of competition. Do not let this put you off staying here. Just remember that the choice for dinner is out there!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located near the seafront in Portsmouth in the heart of Hampshire within easy access of the M27 MotorwayOnly a five minute walk from Old Portsmouth where you can spend a nautical day discovering the famous Historic Dockyard and ships HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary RoseThe leisure and shopping destination Gunwharf Quays near the Spinnaker Tower is set on the waterfront and minutes from the hotel with designer label stores, cinema, bowling alley, comedy club and numerous bars and restaurants. Port Solent is one of the south coast s most impressive marinas with shops, restaurants, bars and a cinemaThe hotel consists of 165 en-suite fully air conditioned bedrooms, Spirit Health Club, Academy Conference Centre, Restaurant, Bar and Lounge AreaThe excellent accommodation has all the comforts you would expect from a first class hotel including interactive TV's with movies and Play Station Games and high speed internet accessThe facilities include Restaurant, 24 hour Room Service, Lounge and Bar Area and complimentary use for residents of the Spirit Health Club with gym, indoor pool, Jacuzzi and sauna. The hotel has 9 conference and training rooms and can accommodate from 2-150 delegates in the fully air-conditioned Academy Conference Centre with wireless internet access and all day tea and Starbucks coffee. Accessible & Family Rooms available. Kids Stay & Eat Free (terms and conditions apply)The hotel has limited onsite parking but can supply permits for in house guest for the ample parking surrounding hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Portsmouth Hotel Portsmouth
- Portsmouth Holiday Inn