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“Nice hotel, but service needs work” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of RNLI College

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RNLI College
Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Poole
Certificate of Excellence
Surrey
Level Contributor
30 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Nice hotel, but service needs work”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2014

Visited for a big family get together to celebrate an anniversary recently. Hotel is obviously owned by the RNLI and is the main training college for the RNLI so overlooks part of Poole harbour and the views from rooms are great. The hotel can be a little tricky to get to going around the one way system a couple of times before finding a way in. The hotel is very large and nicely fitted out.

The rooms are clean, modern and well equipped, very similar to a Holiday Inn type of room, but with lovely views over the harbour. Had asked if we could upgrade our room to a king size bed or suite, but only offer standard doubles, which was fine.

The bar is well laid out with sofas, tables and comfy seating and has a lovely circular balcony overlooking the harbour. The bar itself has a reasonable selections of beers and a couple of ales and also sells snacks, sweats, tea, coffees and cakes. However the main issue is the time it takes to get served and how long food takes to arrive. Part of this problem is that the kitchen where all food is prepared is downstairs, so the waiters/waitresses have to go up and down a large spiral staircase to get food in between trying to serve people at the bar. The bar was busy and some people waited over half an hour for a basket of chips to arrive as well as 15 minutes to get served t the bar. Needs a re-think.

We dined in the restaurant and had obviously pre-booked our party of 21. However there was no urgency to serve us and we sat for over 20 minutes without being offered a drink and in fact receiving any real attention. We were allocated one waitress, who to be fair tried hard to serve us as best she could, but come on (Management) 1 waitress to 21 people was never going to work! By the time I received my main course everyone else had finished theirs and got fed up asking for a drink in the end so went to the bar (upstairs) to get one. After making a complaint we were given our drinks free of charge, which was appreciated.

Breakfast was really good, nice selection of cooked, cereals and some pastries and as the sun was shining, was lovely to stand outside afterward and watch the road bridge go up.

I would definitely go back as aside from the slow service everything else was good and is in a good location close to Poole, Bournemouth and Sand Banks.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TheJarvs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ewan S, General Manager at RNLI College, responded to this review, April 24, 2014
Dear TheJarvs,

Thank you for providing feedback following your recent stay with us at the RNLI College in Poole.

As many of our guests are RNLI Lifeboat volunteers and crew who stay with us as part of their training, we are accustomed to serving larger groups such as yours, so I'm obviously disappointed to hear that on this occasion, we were unable to provide the quality of service for which we strive.

All of our 60 bedrooms overlook Holes Bay so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the view as well as our convenient location for sightseeing purposes.

Thank you for choosing to stay with us and for supporting the RNLI saving lives at sea.

Kind regards

Ewan Steele
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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741 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (238)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
UK
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 19, 2014

Spent two nights at the RNLI College in Poole. Good rooms, good restaurant, great breakfast and good sea view from room. Five minutes walk from Poole Quay for boat rides round Poole Harbour and to Brownsea Island and for walks, five minutes to Sandbanks beach. On our last morning had a college tour of lifeboat crew training facilities - including having a go on the lifeboat simulator. Well recommended.

Room Tip: All rooms have harbour view.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MadJanet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ewan S, General Manager at RNLI College, responded to this review, April 22, 2014
Hi MadJanet,

Thank you for your kind comments on Tripadvisor following your recent stay with us at the RNLI College in Poole.

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed all the facilities on offer at the College during your two night stay and that you found our great location overlooking Holes Bay to your advantage when exploring the surrounding areas.

The tours are offered to all our supporters staying at the RNLI College and our volunteer tour guides are able to provide a fantastic insight into the history, training and work carried out by the RNLI.

Thank you for choosing to stay with us and for supporting RNLI saving lives at sea.

Kind Regards

Ewan Steele
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Droitwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 18, 2014

For my birthday my friends treated my wife and I to a two night stay at the RNLI College in Poole. We arrived on the Sunday to a warm and helpful welcome at reception and then a great view overlooking the habour when we went up to our room. The room was very clean and tidy and made you feel at home straight away. Although using the College as a hotel, there is a feeling that you are part of one of the great British organisations, "the people with the big orange boats" and walking around the College there are many reminders about heroic episodes in the RNLI's near 200 year history and of course the fleet of all weather and inshore lifeboats outside on the water. We used the restaurant and upstairs bar on both nights of our stay with its stunning panoramic view over the harbour and the impressive two sails bridge. The service was very good and friendly and the food was excellent. Whilst there we did the Discovery Tour which was a well worthwhile 2hr experience with our excellent guide Judith, highly recommended that you do this as part of your stay but best to book before your stay. We had a nice walk around the quay at Poole and also a boat trip to and around Brownsea Island. Our stay was a wonderful experience, for which we thank everyone at the RNLI College, and something that we will definitely do again.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Gareth H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ewan S, General Manager at RNLI College, responded to this review, April 22, 2014
Hi Gareth,

Thank you for taking the time to provide your gracious comments on Tripadvisor following your recent stay with us at the RNLI College.

I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed your birthday treat with us and that our friendly staff went out of their way to make your stay with us so special.

Our volunteer tour guides provide a fantastic insight into the history, training and work of RNLI and as you found out, the tours are offered to all our supporters staying at RNLI College which are both highly recommended and insightful.

Thank you for choosing to stay with us and for supporting RNLI saving lives at sea.

Kind Regards

Ewan Steele
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bromley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
69 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2014

Don't be put off by the name college,this is an excellent good value quality hotel . Very clean rooms which apparently all look out over the Solent so it doesn't mater which room you are in.

Very helpful and friendly staff, especially at reception . The self service breakfast has a good choice with the restaurant having lovely views watching the boats go by.
Its an easy 5/10 min stroll into the high street and shopping centre and plenty of good places to eat within walking distance. I would recommend the Old Quay side for pubs and restaurants rather than the high street. In all highly recommended.

Room Tip: All the rooms are similar and have the same great view so it doesn't mater which room you are i...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank keston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ewan S, General Manager at RNLI College, responded to this review, April 22, 2014
Hi Keston,

Thank you for taking the time to review the RNLI College with tripadvisor.

We appreciate you choosing to stay with us and for supporting RNLI saving lives at sea and we very much look forward to welcoming you back again in the future.

Kind Regards

Ewan Steele
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trowbridge Wiltshire
Level Contributor
74 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2014

Excellent two night stay, everything was very clean and comfortable, friendly staff and all very tidy, we will be back. Room tip, take advantage of the free discovery tour included in your room rate, brilliant. Top spot on Tripadvisor says it all. handy for Poole old town.

Room Tip: If free try the disabled bedrooms near the lifts. Large wet room/walk in shower.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Vexillologist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2014

When I booked the RNLI College to stay in I wasn't sure the 'all rooms harbour views' was true, so I didn't tell anyone where we were staying but how wrong was I ! The View from the room was amazing, the view of the harbour was so peaceful, the room was very spacious and very clean - it was like a top boutique hotel. All staff members we spoke to were very friendly and the whole atmosphere was very relaxed. Nice to sit on the balcony with a beverage over looking over the harbour. Walkable distant to and from the town which was an added bonus. The only downside was the cost of alcoholic drinks as seemed very expensive compared to other places in the area. Other than the cost of drinks a well deserved 5 star stay. Will visit again.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sarah M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cairo, Egypt
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2014

Extremely comfortable, with a nice sea view and a really excellent restaurant. Clean, well maintained. Professional staff. A bit of trouble with my check out as it was early in the morning and my card was not accepted.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Filopatore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about RNLI College

Property: RNLI College
Address: West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HZ, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Dorset > Poole
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Poole
#2 Family Hotel in Poole
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The home of RNLI training, RNLI College is a fine modern conference and training venue in a stunning waterside setting in Poole, Dorset, and now also offers hotel facilities in the 60 en-suite rooms. RNLI College also makes a stunning wedding venue with views over the harbour. Every £ Spent at RNLI College saves lives at sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rnli College Hotel Poole
RNLI College Poole, Dorset

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